A short story inspired by a song called The Voice, as sung by Celtic Woman.
The wind changed, and I stiffened. I heard it again; my name. I turned into the breeze and resumed my journey with renewed vigour, my eagerness propelling me forward as I walked against what was now a gust, determined to force me off my path.
I pressed onward, paying no attention to the snow crunching beneath my feet as I continued, one foot always following the other as I steadily made my way to my destination; a place of which even I did not know the exact location.
It is amazing how nature retains its ability to exhibit beauty, even in the winter time. For despite this wretched cold, I spied birds in the trees and small mammals on the earth, which fled at the sight of me. It seemed that nature never slept, no matter how desolate the location happened to be.
The wind caressed my face and turned, blowing at my back, speeding me along my journey and egging me onwards. I followed blindly my chosen path, accepting wholeheartedly the guiding breath of the air nymphs so prevalent; a definitive sign of the unspoiled splendour of the land I trekked through.
Again I heard my name, spurring me onward where I might have hesitated before a towering fortress of trees. The eloquent nature of the voice at once both banished all fear and called out to my very soul, leaving me with no choice but to follow it.
I passed through the walls and entered the grove, the sweet scent of pine needles surrounding me, engulfing me, stupefying the senses. The voice forever calling me became progressively louder with every step that I took, an ever present reminder of my purpose for following it.
I continued my pilgrimage deeper and deeper into the trees, using both the wind and the voice as my guide. I plodded along no set trail, creating a new one in the process.
Eventually I came across a break in the woods and at once the voice, which had before been all I heard, fell silent. The gale blowing at my back ceased. I stopped, confused. I swayed in place; I almost fell. Soft singing started up, singing that brought to mind the lush green meadows of summer so dear to my heart. And so it was that I wearily took the final few steps towards the single greatest, most empowering incident I ever experienced.
I edged around the border of a small clearing, where I spied a woman so majestic, so graceful in her movements that I caught my breath. Her auburn hair flowed seamlessly behind her as she danced to some tune unbeknownst to me. I was compelled to trespass, emerging from my hiding place.
Her dancing gradually slowed and she approached me: her walk almost as a skip. I noted, with awe, that every step she so lightly took left a small growth of spring’s lawn in its wake, which would disappear but a few seconds later.
I felt my knees grow weak; she placed a gentle hand on my arm and smiled at me. I felt a new sensation welling within me, as if all of my life up to this point were something trivial, insignificant: that my entire past had been swept aside. It was plain in her enlightened smile that she could see all there was to know about me; all there was ever going to know about me.
Her hand slipped into my own and she led me to the centre of the clearing. She softly began another song; a lament expressing perfectly the feelings I had been experiencing in recent times. My heart’s drum beat resounded through my chest; it struck a deep chord within me, giving voice to all of the sufferings of my previous existence.
She faced me, placing my hand on her hip and beginning to dance, her sweet smile encouraging me to follow suit. The heavens opened up, giving way to but a sprinkling of rain.
Her tune picked up, setting the pace for us; the rain fell heavier as we danced progressively faster. The autumn leaves littering the ground rose around us, emerging from both beneath and on the surface of the snow. All the while, she continued to sing, banishing my former self and ushering in a character that would remain throughout my life in its entirety.
The wind blew a gale, pelting us with water droplets which went unnoticed in the rapture of our feverish dance. And then she was gone: the gust and the rain simultaneously died, leaving me clutching naught but sweet air. I blinked, standing stock still, shocked into immobilisation.
A soft breeze touched my face, waking me from my reverie. A smile curved my lips as a feeling of utter peace enveloped me. I felt liberated; purged of my past existence, free to pursue my future in whichever way I chose. She had taken my stone boots and replaced them with wings. And so I quitted the site of my rebirth, never for as long as I lived forgetting this time of revelation.