Arts & Culture, Open Mic

Open Mic: //Steps\\ by Dorothy Foo Xiao Hui

My leather boots hit the stones of the top floor, echoing weirdly in the silence as I strode to the edge of the stone fortress. Pink and red streaked the sky as I glanced up, and clouds wafted lazily across the sky. Yellow burst from the left side of me, and bright morning rays stretched out into the clear, blue sky. My eyes lowered down to the other walls of the castle, where soldiers stood at attention. Silence hung heavily in the air, but I was used to this nothingness. I had lived here for many years in this dank castle, and I had always loved this silence at the beginning of the day. I fingered the bow slung across my back, running my hands over the beautifully carved wood. Swinging it to the front so I could see better, I traced the swirls imprinted in the wood, my mind flashing back in time.

——————————–

“What’s this, Daddy?” I stood on tip toes, my dress swishing against the floor as I tried to see what my father had been working on. “Tell me!”

Daddy had laughed softly, not taking his eyes off whatever he was working on. “I’ll let you see in a second.”

I had sulked, folding my arms across my chest and had sunk back to the floor in a whoosh. The grating of wood filled the room, and Daddy’s eyes narrowed in concentration as he leaned closer to the object. After muttering to himself, he stood back and dusted his hands.

Wordlessly, he lifted the object and lowered it so that I could examine it. I gasped and covered my mouth as I saw what it was—a bow. It was curved perfectly such as to fit me, and twirls and swirls filled its surface. The string was made up of tough horse hairs, and it sparkled as if just polished. And there in the middle of the curve of the bow, my favorite animal—a hamster. Most importantly, my hamster, Fluffy. It dipped and rose, imprinted by Daddy’s steady hands. The real Fluffy chittered on my shoulder, poking her head out of her little hideout.

“Wow,” was all I could say as I reached out to touch this stunning thing.

He smiled at me and gently handed over the bow. I took it carefully, running my fingers over its smooth surface.

“Thank you,” I whispered, looking up with sparkling eyes. “This is so gorgeous.”

“Anything for my dear girl,” he had said, stroking my flowing black hair. “You need this for the time.”

——————————–

Chattering filled my ear, and I was jolted back to the present.

“Fluffy!”

She squeaked mischievously at me, running her paws over her head several times. I smiled, stroking her little head with my finger. She disappeared into the hideout on my shoulder, where she curled up in the cloth. I held up my loaded bow, the wind tugging at my hair. I focused on the forest beyond, letting the arrow fly. It soared then dipped down, vanishing into the midst of leaves.

I lowered my hand, staring out at the leafy forest. It loomed threateningly, its branches waving in the breeze. Shadows surrounded the forest, which stretched far, far ahead. I couldn’t see the end of the forest. I shivered; that was my destination. Into the forest and out the other side.

I clutched my bow tightly, narrowing my eyes; I could do this.

“Violet! It’s time to go,” a voice called out behind me.

“I’m coming.” I spun around, heading down the winding stairs, Fluffy’s gentle snores filling my ear. “Where’s Daddy?”

“Here,” a male voice answered from the bottom of the stairs. “Is that Tiana with you?”

“It is.” Out from behind me came the slender figure of Tiana, her famous daggers hanging on a belt. “The rest are waiting.”

I nodded and briskly walked out into the courtyard, where several other children stood tensely. There was Finn, his sword hanging on his belt, and there was Lila, her quiet confidence hovering in the air. I saw Fiona, Johanna, Danis, Will, and Rina, their eyes lighting up as they saw me.

“It is time.” Daddy’s deep voice reverberated around the courtyard as I stepped in with the other children. “The forest awaits.”

Silence met his words, but we all shared a determined look. Daddy’s eyes ran over the children, looking each of them in the eyes. Unspoken words passed between him and each child, and his eyes came to rest on mine.

I will come back.

Emotions battled inside him, his eyes clouding, but he nodded once at me. Come back soon daughter.

I’ll try.

With a simple gesture of his hand, we were being escorted to the edge of the forest, the clomping of horse’s hooves slicing the air. I turned back once to wave at Daddy, and he lifted his hand in return, his eyes filling with sorrow. Good-bye. The others didn’t look back once, their eyes focused ahead on our task.

Soon, we were at the edge of the row of trees lining the forest. I slid off my horse’s back and stared into the dark of the trees. The others clustered around me, and they too searched the forest. Loud chattering broke from the shadows, and my spine prickled. Branches cracked as unknown creatures bounced from tree to tree, and eyes stared eerily out at us. Harsh barks cracked the silence, and crashing sounded in the forest. The captain of the guard nodded at us, turned his horse around, leaving with the rest of the soldiers.

I swung out my bow, the others at the ready with their own weapons. Fluffy appeared back on my shoulder, her ears pricked and eyes alert. Rola pawed at the ground, a growl deep in her throat. Tiana was crouched, a dagger in each hand. David hefted his sword with one hand, eyes dark. Finn was on David’s other side, his sword glinting in the sun. Lila’s hands clutched wooden poles with spikes on the end, her eyes glittering as she gazed out at the forest. We could do this; we had each other’s backs. Faith and trust was strong, and our bond was unbreakable. Whatever we had to overcome, it would be together.

I took the first step, my foot crunching as it hit the dry leaves scattered on the floor. The others followed my lead, tense and ready to lash out at any threats.

Out…into teenagehood…together.

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Meet the Author

I’m a crazy, weird, teen girl who loves to write, and I’m really active on TPS Forums or on any of my social media platforms. My tag on TPS Forms is @dfoo. I am 14 years old. I live in Singapore. I am taking Life Science (Honors) with Mrs. Selby and English 1: Journeys and Quests with Mr. Leonard right now. My favorite thing about writing is how I am able to express my feelings, thoughts, or any plots that I am able to think of with words.

15 Comments

  1. gj dorothia (;

  2. GJ Dorthy!
    (i saw you at Mrs. S pictionary

  3. Fantastic job, Dory! Loved it!

  4. Oooh, I loved this, Doryyy! Amazing job! <333 *hugs*

  5. Natalie Paravalos

    Wow!!!!!! Awesome job Dorothy!! =)

  6. Dorrryyyy! I did not except to see you here! 🤗 gj btw!

  7. Awww, Dory fantastic job!! I LOVE IT! <33

  8. Beautiful work, Dory! *applauds*

  9. Ooooh, great story! Awesome job Dory =)