I was lamenting the other day that I couldn’t continue my Adam and Ava short stories on the blog because my source of prompts had dried up. The whole series was written entirely based on the prompts, with no other planning or ideas about what would happen next, so it wasn’t like I could just carry on. I needed the prompts to guide me.
Fortunately, Carole answered my plea, providing me with a prompt on her blog. And here is my response.
Previous stories are catalogued under the ‘Writing’ tab.
A Break in the Clouds
by Liberty Gilmore, 21/10/12
As Adam leads Ava to the end of his trail, Ava realises something is wrong…
Adam’s hand was closed tight around hers as they walked, like he was worried she would pull away again. Despite its warmth, Ava’s own hand felt clammy and cold. It was an alien feeling – her Fey blood meant Ava never felt the cold – but a shiver passing through her body confirmed it wasn’t just her imagination.
‘You alright?’ Adam said. ‘It has gone chilly, hasn’t it?’
Ava looked around. The sky was overcast, clouds blocking the moonlight. A light breeze was rustling the trees with increasing intensity. Hadn’t it been a warm, clear night?
Eyes in the darkness distracted her. The animals were gathering, following behind her. Ava closed her eyes and allowed Adam to lead her, instead focusing on diffusing her Fey energy. She couldn’t let the animals surround her – quite apart from the fact that it would make Adam ask questions she couldn’t answer, it would mean her energy had got away from her, making her a completely open book to anyone who wanted to check in on her on the psychic plane.
Ava knew she had to get herself under control, remove herself from this situation, before everything blew up in her face. She knew her mother would kill Adam if she knew about any of this, and just the thought of that made Ava’s temperature drop even further.
‘Hey, you’re freezing,’ Adam said, stopping. He released her hand to remove his jacket and place it over her shoulders. It was only light, and barely touched the cold she was feeling. But it smelled so very much of him.
‘I think I need to go home,’ Ava said, clutching the jacket around herself as another wave of chill passed through her.
‘Okay,’ Adam said, voice full of concern. ‘Okay. Are you alright to walk, or should I call someone…’
‘I can walk,’ Ava protested, not wanting to draw the attention of someone else towards her. ‘Just… shortcut. Woods.’
Something was wrong. Ava felt so cold she could barely get her words out. She pulled Adam’s jacket on properly, zipping it up and wrapping her arms around her. But still she felt colder, and when she exhaled, her breath was a plume of white in the air.
Adam turned towards the woods. Most parts of the village backed onto some part of it, and as kids they’d spent many hours exploring it. Ava knew Adam was as comfortable as she was in the darkness of the trees.
As the branches enveloped them, Ava paused, placing a hand to steady herself on the trunk of a nearby tree. She closed her eyes, trying to distill some of her energy into the woods. The trees resisted her.
Ava let out a choked sound, flinching away from the trees. Adam span round, rushing back to her side.
‘Something’s really wrong,’ she said, voice small and trembling.
Adam took out his phone. ‘I’m going to call…’
‘No!’ Ava knocked his phone out of his hand. As it skittered away from them, landing amongst the roots of a nearby tree, the wind kicked up a notch, blasting through the gaps in the trees.
‘What is going on with the weather today?’ Adam asked. He was trying to keep his voice light and cheery, Ava could tell, but she could see the fear in his eyes. ‘Ava,’ his tone was more serious now, ‘you’re scaring me. What’s wrong? Why can’t we phone for a lift?’
‘I just need to get home,’ Ava said, trying to smile, clenching her hands so he wouldn’t see the tremble in them.
‘Come on then,’ he said, picking up his phone and putting an arm round her waist. The gesture was purely supportive – and Ava needed it, leaning into him more with each step – but the heat of his skin burned her, even through his jacket. Ava tried not to think about how she could never be held by him in any other way, but the thoughts crept in, and each one that did seemed to widen the difference in their temperatures until Adam’s arm was like fire against her back.
‘Ava,’ Adam said through chattering teeth. ‘You’re freezing.’
Ava wasn’t sure who stumbled, but they fell to the floor together, Adam pulling back from her, rubbing warmth back into his arms. Ava sunk her hands into moss floor and watched as ice spread from her fingertips.
She was beyond crying out. Terror had cut off her mind from the rest of her body. She could only watch as the ice spread, tendrils reaching out towards Adam, who was watching her with plenty of his own terror.
‘Adam,’ she croaked, ‘get out of here. Go!’
‘Ava,’ he said. The tremor in his voice could have been from cold or fear. ‘What’s happening?’
‘I don’t know. Please, just go. I don’t want to hurt you.’
The thought made Ava’s eyes burn with tears. As her fear and dread combined, she cracked, shuddering sobs wracking her body. As her tears dripped to the frozen ground, they were joined by icy rainfall. Ava looked up through the gaps in the trees to see the clouds grey and heavy in the sky, emptying their load.
‘Ava, you have to calm down,’ Adam said, sinking to his knees beside her. ‘You’re doing this. Somehow. It’s coming from you.’
He was shivering with cold, lips blue, thin t-shirt plastered to his body by the rain.
‘I know,’ Ava said, gritting her teeth against the cold. ‘I can’t… I can’t stop it.’
‘Yes, yes you can. You just have to calm down, find inner peace. Zen.’
‘Adam, please, get away from me.’
It was such a stupid, untimely, Adam sort of question that Ava felt a rush of exasperation. With it, the wind picked up and the rain eased off.
‘Because,’ she said, like the word alone was answer enough. ‘Because I couldn’t bear it if I hurt you, Adam. It would kill me.’ As her sadness swelled, so did the rainfall, answering to the pain in her heart. ‘Adam, I love you, please…’
For a moment his face was completely blank. Then, ‘No.’
‘No,’ he repeated, catching her face in his hands and resting his forehead against hers. ‘No, Ava. I love you, and I’m not going anywhere.’
Before she could speak again, he claimed her lips with his, kissing her fervently. Even freezing as he was, his mouth still burned against hers, but now Ava felt an answering warmth spreading through her. The rain slowed, then stopped, and as Ava glanced upwards she saw a break in the clouds directly above her, spreading outwards, clearing the skies.
Breaking away from Adam’s kiss, she looked down to the ground, sinking her fingers into the slightly damp, but unfrozen moss. She was so busy being relieved, she didn’t notice Adam stiffen beside her.
She turned to look at him, then followed his gaze to a shape emerging from between the trees. A long muzzle, followed by two glittering, intelligent eyes.
‘Ava, that’s a wolf.’
‘I know,’ she said, watching it as it padded into the clearing, fur sleek and silvery in the moonlight.
‘Ava, there aren’t wild wolves in England any more.’
‘Ava!’ Adam grabbed her arm as she made to stand up, pulling her back. The wolf snarled at him.
‘It’s okay,’ Ava said, to both boy and beast. The wolf stopped snarling and eyed them both curiously, but Adam’s grip on her arm didn’t ease. ‘Adam, seriously, it’s fine. Trust me.’
She locked eyes with him, and something he saw in her face must have reassured him, for he let go with a gentle nod. Ava stood and walked to the creature’s side, crouching beside it. She held out a hand, letting it sniff her. The wolf pressed his strong neck against her hand, and Ava stroked the rough fur.
‘Where did you come from?’ she said.
‘It’s a totem animal, Ava,’ the sharp tones of her mother cut through the clearing. ‘Called from the spirit world into this one by a display of extreme power.
Natalia stepped into the clearing, crisp and perfect as she ever looked, cold eyes taking in Ava’s bedraggled state, the wolf and Adam, sitting on floor not far behind them.
‘Ava,’ Natalia said, her voice as cold as the tendrils of ice Adam’s kiss had just dispelled. ‘What did you do?’