It was dark and so quiet, so very quiet.
It was late at night, so it was to be expected, but as I laid on my bed with the fire all died out and the air so still around me, it felt so empty, so lonely.
The anxiousness of my heart sent an invisible rope slithering around my neck, suffocating me. The agitation took hold of my body, as if someone threw a net at me, wrapping me, sinking deep into my skin.
Minutes passed and the net felt tighter and tighter; my mind overwhelmed by the screeching screams of my soul, my lungs restless by the lack of air.
Get out, my mind shouted at me. I shot up.
My feet, touching the cold floor, moved on their own, knowing the way, as I opened door after door and ran through the mansion’s corridors. I ran and I ran, my vision blurred, blind to my surroundings, the ones I got so accustomed to the past few months. I could not breathe or feel any comfort, until I shoved the glass doors wide open and ran out to the balcony and down the stairs, not caring about the stinging feeling from the freezing cold.
I halted and gasped at the sight of the wide free land before me. The lands that held no borders, no walls and no limitations. My soul burst with energy and ruptured its captive net, air shot through my lungs.
I called for more air as I stood there, shaking, not from the cold, no, I welcomed the frosting breeze that soothed my skin, no, I shook from the fear of being trapped, from being crushed by the walls I just ran from. But as I stood there with nothing around me, I let go of the fear, feeling it seep out of my skin, like water evaporating to fog.
“It’s quite beautiful.” I heard his voice. I turned and he stood there, behind me, keeping himself at a distance. He was wearing his riding cloths and traveling cloak. Did he just returned from his trip to town, or was he going out again?
“Why are you here?” I huffed and gazed at the scene before me again.
“Why shouldn’t I?” he said, as calm as always. “You don’t want me to be here?”
I always want you here, I thought, but did not say it. “I hate it when you see me like this.”
“Like a mad woman,” I whispered.
“You don’t look like a mad woman,” he said, his voice sounding closer, but I didn’t turn. “You look scared.” He was right next to me.
“I needed to breath,” I said, resisting every urge to throw myself at him.
“Then breath. As much as you like.”
I looked at him. His eyes weren’t joking, or judging, but told me something I longed to hear; I understand.
He ungloved his right hand and slid it around my clenched fist, reminding me to relax it. His touch was warm and I shuddered.
“Can I offer you my cloak?” he said, cautiously.
My body locked up and I pulled my hand from his. I shook my head. I couldn’t bear the thought of something wrapping me.
He nodded and took his cloak off. I panicked at the possibility that he might force me to wear it.
But of course he would never do that. He spread his cloak on the ground before me and offered me his hand. I hesitated, but then took it. He pulled me to stand on the cloak and when both my feet were on it, he kneeled down and pushed the cloak around my feet, slightly covering my legs.
Holding his hands away from the cloak, he lifted his face up at me and said, “Is that all right?”
I nodded and I knew I failed in holding back a smile, as he winked at me before getting up.
As my feet all wrapped up in warmth and his presence next to me, I felt every inch of me finally relaxed.
“I hate my room.” I said finally.
“Then we will change it.”
“I want the one on the second floor with the balcony. The one no one uses.”
He raised his eyebrows at me and laughed. It was so blunt of me to request that, but it was what I needed. I couldn’t be running like this every night. Everyone living in the mansion thought I was too crazy already.
“I’m not going to throw myself out of the balcony.” I blurted out when he didn’t respond.
“Hey,” he tugged my elbow, “I know you won’t”
“Why not? It’s what’s everyone is going to tell you.” I pulled my elbow out of his reach.
“Because,” He stood before me, facing me, his face serious, “Yes, you are quite mad sometimes, but I know that you are as much sane as you are mad. I trust you.”
And this time, I couldn’t hold myself back and leaned on him; my head on his chest and my hands gripping his shirt.
He laughed, relieved, and wrapped my body with his arms and brought me closer.
And I felt it then, every piece of me that was shattered from that fear and suffocation found its rightful place again in my soul and I allowed his reassuring energy to strengthen my spirit.
“So, can I have that room, then?” I said and I smiled so wide, as I felt his laugh anchoring me back to myself.
Kummam Al-Maadeed is an author from Qatar, who believes in magic and the existence of fairy worlds. She started writing in 2007 when she was attending Qatar University to study Mass Communications. She now works at Qatar University as a Section Head of Media & Publications, as she dreams about her next novel. The Lost Rose is her debut best selling novel. The first book of her new series, Calling Magic, is now available on Amazon.