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efflorescence

United States

15 | INFJ | ♀️

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I appreciate any and all feedback on my writing (as long as it's constructive)! I post my experimental stuff here, but if you want to read my novels please check out my Wattpad profile :>

Of Silver and Swans

June 4, 2019

    Like a flock of birds, the seven sisters fell into order from eldest to youngest, Circe heading the front with Evelyn making up the rear.
    Lynette shivered, biting back the urge to complain. Snow blanketed the ground and chills shivered down her spine, yet they were only dressed in flimsy nightgowns. She and her sisters made an eerie but beautiful picture as they traipsed toward the lake, their gowns and hair billowing out behind them. 
    Circe sidled toward Lynette. Odette and Laraline gave her curious looks before slipping forward to fill her place, blocking them from Maman’s view. Though they often bickered and bemoaned, they were part of the same bevy, and they looked out for each other. At least, most of them did.
    “Maman should have punished you more,” Circe hissed. Lynette shrugged her shoulders, much to her eldest sister’s annoyance. If Lynette showed weakness, it would not be long before her sister found an opportunity for exploitation. So Lynette stared straight, ignoring the challenging glint in Circe’s eyes. 
    Circe sniffed, but she made her way back to the front, taking her place behind Maman.
    Odette and Laraline shot sympathetic looks over their shoulders, but Lynette shook her head. They always felt sorry for her, but she didn’t want their pity. She wanted their help, but that was impossible. While not as blindly loyal as Circe, Odette and Laraline would never agree to renounce their magic and flee with her.
    The lake rose to meet their procession, peeking its head above the hillside. The sisters fanned out, arranging themselves with Maman kneeling in the middle.
    As they bowed their heads, Lynette sunk her fingers into the numbing snow. She needed something to remind her that despite the ceremony’s beauty, darkness lay buried beneath.
    Maman let out a cry, and their voices rose to join hers, harmonizing into a lilting lure. The swan song.
    Lynette tried to trap her song in her lungs, but the moon pulled it from her throat. Lynette blinked back a tear. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see her sisters, their heads tilted toward the moon. None of them seemed the slightest bit distressed.
    Maman’s singing cut off, and Lynette’s voice was shoved back into her throat. She choked it down alongside a rush of unfairness. The moon shone down on her, smiling sadly. Life’s not fair, my blessing, she seemed to say, even though Lynette already knew.
    Life’s not fair, Lynette responded, but why can’t it be?
    The moon had no answer for that.
    Odette nudged her sharply in the side. Silently, Lynette apologized for not paying attention, lowering her gaze so that she stared into the icy lake. 
    Maman lifted her hands, cupping them around the moon. It was full, swelling silver in her grasp. She lowered them, and a wedge sat in her palms like a hunk of cheese. The moon was now a crescent, its corners curving into a sly smile. Moonlight trickled from between her fingers in rivulets, the droplets winking like gemstones. Lynette and her sisters rose to their feet, forming a line behind Maman.
    As the eldest, Circe had the honor of drinking first. She knelt underneath Maman’s clasped hands and parted her lips. The moonlight dripped into her mouth, and she let out a soft, luxurious sigh. Circe’s severe features melted, the corners of her lips upturned into a blissful smile. She waited for another drop, but Maman’s patience had waned like the moon.
    “You’ve had enough,” she hissed. A slight frown crinkled Circe’s features, but she merely bowed her head.
    “I’m sorry, Maman,” she whispered, tucking a strand of golden hair behind her ear. Maman dismissed her with an impatient wave of her hand. Circe trudged to the back of the line, ignoring the sympathetic looks of her sisters. As she passed, she glared at Lynette, as if Maman’s rebuff was her fault.
    The girls shuffled forward, and Lynette shifted as Laraline and then Odette took their sips of moonlight. She felt naked standing so openly before the moon, as if she sensed her ungrateful heart.
    Maman crooked her finger, beckoning her daughter forward.
    “Why so afraid, my little cygnet?” she asked, allowing the moonlight pooled in her palms to glisten alluringly. She tilted her head. “Don’t you want to reap the moon’s blessing?” Lynette darted a glance at the moon, seeking a sign. Any sign that would let her get out of this, just once. But the moon’s lips were sealed.
    “No, Maman,” Lynette lied. “I have no fear.”
    She crouched down, tucking the hem of her nightgown under her knees. Maman spread her willowy fingers, allowing the liquid silver to seep through the cracks. A drop landed on Lynette’s tongue. As much as she wished she could hate it, the moonlight tasted like stars colliding and crystal cold waters all at once. She gritted her teeth, but magic rose unbidden in her chest, called forth by the moonlight.
    Lynette blinked away the bliss and rose to her feet, meeting Maman’s saccharine-sewn smile. The magic intoxicated her, but she would not let Maman see, crafting her features back into sculpted stone.
    She made her way back, ignoring Circe’s smug look. Odette reached out her hand, her fingers imploring. Lynette took her offer, twining their fingers together, feeling the same soft hum of magic through her sister’s skin.
    As Lyra, Aderyn, and Evelyn joined the ranks behind her, Maman lifted the parcel she had brought from its resting place in the snow. Inside lay their cloaks. Moonlight wove through the feathers like gossamer, sparkling like pearls. Maman doled the cloaks out, and Lynette took hers gratefully, sliding the slippery fabric over her cold shoulders. She tied it around her neck, the weight of the moonstone-inlaid clasp settling against her clavicle. As if in a trance, she and her sisters made their way to the edge of the lake, where they stood in solemn silence.
    Jump, the moon whispered.
    And they did.

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