The wind picked up, the heavy earthy scent she knew so well overpowering the cloying sweet aroma of the roses. “Please,” she whispered. “Not now, not yet.” The breeze ignored her plea, pulling at her long, tangled hair and the gold ribbons entwined in it, grasping her dress, whipping around her until she was lifted up in it’s embrace. She felt the miles flowing beneath her, exotic smells drifting up from villages and cities.
The gale released her at the edge of a jungle. She stepped through the trees to the bank of the river, her short black hair covered by a wide, flattened cone hat made of straw. It kept the blistering heat off her face as she stepped into the long, flat bottomed wodden canoe waiting for her. She picked up the paddle, dipped it in the water and helped propel the small, fragile craft, the old woman behind her mumbling as they passed through canopies of deep green leaves. Small villages grew in the clearings, ramshackle huts with smiling children waving.
Eventually, she climbed out of the boat and walked for miles and miles, not knowing where she was heading, not caring. The sticky forest gave way to grass-covered hills. Eventualy she entered a crowded city, where a man on a bicycle pulling a small cart stopped for her, as if expecting her. She stepped in, her light white cotton dress and head-covering already stained with dust and dirt. She was happy when the city ended and she traded the rickshaw for a small horse-drawn cart. The cities tired her. She fell asleep to the gentle sway of the horse’s gate.
When she awoke, she was sitting on the edge of a road, a track, so she walked, following where it lead, her cow-hide sandals making little noise on the well-backed earth, her skin darkening in the sun’s glare, her black hair curling under its rays. She trekked through dry plains with short tough grasses, small sturdy trees providing bits of shade. A glistening pool caught her eye, and she realized she was thirsty, but only a foolish woman would have stopped and attempted to share with the lionesses slurping the water.
Finally, she came to a village and, without hesitation, entered one of the small round mud huts. Later, in the cool of the evening, she joined the rest of tribe, a small child with solemn dark eyes gripping her hand. Her black hair was shaved close to her head, her dark, smooth skin glowed warmly, and beads in all the rainbow’s colors adorned her ears and neck. Her new life had begun.
The A to Z Challenge is hosted at its own blog.
Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take.