You are the world
Strung together with ribbons
Sticking together like spiderwebs,
The sparkling dew mimicking stars in the
Vast space, the same stars
That are laced in your eyes, the
Same ones that I want to
Drown in, to skate circles
Around their heat, to
dance with you
in a meteor shower, leaving
umbrellas behind, the moon
beyond us not even
a focal point
We are giants
Belladonna of Sadness
short hair dark
red eyes, hidden by big
didn’t need her neck
wrapped in black, her
she danced around me as I
waited, sitting on a stone wall,
two days was too much
for me then
two days within two months
now two days is what I
She’s still dancing
she’s dancing how I
want to dance and I want
everyone to see her to
see her paint her surroundings
red as she swings her head,
dark locks standing up
like a madman
I didn’t remember my dream the night before.
I remember that was the first thing I thought when I woke up that morning. It was as if I had blinked and hours had passed. It was still very early, my room was still dark and everything was quiet.
A buzz from my phone jolted my groggy mind. I checked my phone and couldn’t stop smiling when I saw what it was.
Meet me. You know where. 1 hour. -Emma
My sister was back.
I excitedly got dressed in a sweatshirt and some leggings, dressing warm for the cool autumn air that was waiting for me outside. I snuck through the hallway, trying not to wake my other sister, Olivia, whose room I had to pass, but then I realized that the cheap beer she’d been drinking all night had probably put her to sleep pretty well.
I walked out the door, immediately enveloped by the cool, soft, darkness. I walked through my neighborhood, alone and silent, accompanied only by the occasional car driving past me, leaving a breeze behind. A half an hour later, I found myself surrounded by dark trees and the sound of rustling leaves as I tried my best to carefully hop around roots and duck under branches. Fall had just started to show its face and the sea of green around me was spotted with red and orange. I continued to not-so-gracefully make my way until I reached the edge of the forest.
I walked into a clearing, completely encircled by trees. One lone tree stood in the middle of the clearing, occupied by a treehouse. It looked like the entire world had been spilled on by blue watercolor. I walked further from the edge, the grass squishing under my boots. I checked the time. 5:38. Damn. I got too excited, now I'd be walking in circles on wet grass for twenty minutes until she showed up.
"I see you haven't lost your impeccable punctuality."
I spun around to see Emma standing only a few feet away from me, hands in her pockets, swaying from one side to the other. Her shoulder-length dark hair fell over her face, but nothing could hide the size of her grin and her piercing blue eyes that still lit up in the darkness.
Without response, I ran to her and embraced her, knowing that soon this moment would be gone. "Where did you even come from," I quietly chuckled, my face buried in her shoulder.
Ignoring my question, Emma grabbed my arms and held me in front of her by my shoulders. "I can only be here for a couple hours at most."
I stepped back. "What? Why? Why is it the only day you come to visit has to be a couple of hours before sunrise?"
I was taken aback by how unexpectedly aggressive I was. However, Emma didn't seem to have the same reaction. In fact, she was almost smiling, almost glad. "How ‘bout you catch me up, mm?"
She spent the next hour or so recounting the last couple months as a teenage runaway.
To give some backstory, the forest we were in is a couple blocks away from our house. In this forest, our dad had built a treehouse, and it's been there for as long as me, Emma, or our other sister, Olivia, could remember. We grew up running to these woods in the warmer months, coming back with bug bites, scratches, and sun burns.
But one particular day, a few years ago, we came back without a sister.
At this point, Emma only came to the treehouse for her sisters. She was 16 and had definitely lost interest in the treehouse over the last couple years. However, Olivia and I hadn't quite left that phase yet. I mean, we weren't playing pretend or going on extravagant adventures like we used to, but it was still a nice place to just get away from everything. And it wasn't the same without our oldest sister.
One day, on the way there, when we reached the woods, I remember Olivia challenging me to a race. Now, being the youngest child, I strived to surpass them. Olivia and I ran as fast as we could through the trees, sunlight soaking through the leaves and dancing on us as we went by. Emma strolled behind us, chuckling at our childlike behavior. Well, I didn't see her do that but it seems like something she would do.
I remember barely reaching the treehouse before Olivia, climbing up the ladder and promptly taking a seat on the wooden floor. Surrounding me was artwork, pinned up over the years, depicting family portraits, or mythical creatures, or imaginary adventures. On one of the walls was a shelf that my dad made us for books we wanted to read and it was currently overflowing. The treehouse wasn't big, but we didn't need it to be. I remember everything looked light and alive.
Olivia scurried up shortly after, and I was so excited to be able to gloat my win. "Whatever, you just got lucky," she exhaled between breaths.
I yelled out the door, "Emma? You coming?"
"Yeah!" she yelled back. "Don't expect me to be as fast as you guys!"
I laughed and popped my head back in the treehouse, still bathing in the glory of my win.
But after a few minutes, Emma never came. She never climbed up the ladder and sat down with us. I called again, but wasn't greeted with a response. Olivia tried, then both of us together, so loud our throats hurt.
We climbed out and followed the path out, seeing nothing but leaves and branches, not even a footprint.
The next few days were tearful and the colors of red and blue police car lights. The police searched and searched but could not find any trace. I remember feeling the loss of my best friend.
One night, she was brought home. Her hair was matted, her face was dirty, and her vibrant blue eyes had turned dull. They said she was found passed out in the middle of the road a few minutes away from our house. She didn't remember anything that had happened.
That same night, I woke up to Emma nudging me awake. It was the middle of the night and she was carrying a backpack. She told me that she was leaving. She would be visiting, but she only wanted to visit me. She said she left our parents a note, but to not mention anything about it, to not tell anyone that she was visiting me, or that I knew anything of her whereabouts. She never told me why.