Ice Eyes, Chpt. 1
Years later, Kaitlin came back to her aunt’s house. She was now sixteen and her aunt expected her to get married. She was planning lots of parties and calls and things like that. Kaitlin had never really forgotten her encounter with that boy. But now she pushed it to the back of her mind as she rode down the broad path to her aunt’s house. As she looked to the side of the road, she thought she saw something looking out at her from behind a tree. She shook it from her head as the carriage approached the front gate of the huge estate her aunt called home. She stepped out as the carriage stopped in front of the door. She walked up to the double doors. Before she could even put her bags down to ring the bell, her aunt flung the doors wide and gave her niece a hug.
“Welcome, my dear! You must have had quite a journey! Come inside! Harold, take her bags up to her room.”
Kaitlin and her aunt walked into the parlor.
“Mary, get tea.”
They sat down and Aunt Liza began asking questions. When tea was finished, Kaitlin went up to her room. She stood at her window and looked at the woods she had come through earlier. She blinked hard. Had she just seen a person walking through the woods, just in the shadows? She looked closely, but she couldn’t tell. The next day, she was riding a horse through the grounds. She had just ridden into the woods, when suddenly, her horse bolted. She managed to hold on for several minutes, but she soon fell off onto the ground. She stood up and looked around. She didn’t recognize anything. She heard a twig crack behind her. She spun around. There stood the boy from years ago. He was older now, and still thin. His hair was longer, and if possible, messier. But she couldn’t forget the eyes, those cold blue eyes that looked like ice.
“You’re here,” she said quietly, as if seeing him there was normal. He held his hand out. She put hers in his and he guided her back to the house. He disappeared into the woods and came back out leading the horse. She smiled at him and led the horse back to the stable. When she looked back, he was gone. Weeks later, she went to her first party. She met a gentlemanly young man named Horace Basser. He was kind and polite, not to mention handsome. She was swept off her feet, and Aunt Liza noticed. She kept getting them together on “accident” whenever she could. After weeks of this, Kaitlin got tired of it. Sure, he was nice and sure he was handsome, but he wasn’t right for her. But Aunt Liza was convinced he was perfect and kept arranging for them to bump into each other. One night, she was tossing and turning in her bed, trying to figure out what to do about this “love thing,” when her aunt came up the stairs and knocked on her door.
“I have some bad news, dear.”
“What is it?”
“Your house burned down yesterday. None of your family escaped.”
Her aunt turned and left the room. Kaitlin flopped facedown on her bed and began crying stormily. She felt a soft touch on her shoulder. She wiped her eyes and looked up. The boy was standing there. She grabbed a cloth off her nightstand and wiped her face. She stood up and gave him her hand. He took her to the window and they jumped. He held her hand tightly and they landed softly on the ground. The boy motioned toward the woods. Kaitlin ran with him into the woods. They stopped in a clearing where her nightgown was suddenly transformed into a beautiful green dress that looked like it was made of nature. He was wearing vines and all sorts of treelike things. He smiled at her and she smiled back. Her family sank to second importance. They danced together. All the trees around them started moving. They looked like humans. The humanlike trees, or treelike humans were dancing around the clearing with Kaitlin and the boy. She realized that the boy was a dryad, a tree-person. She looked down at herself. So was she! She laughed out loud. Never had she been happier. She danced in and out of the tree people gaily. Suddenly the dance seemed to end. All the trees froze. The boy looked terrified. Kaitlin stopped, too. She, with all the other trees, turned back into, well, trees. She watched as a tall woman with black hair walked through the trees. She walked straight up to the boy.
“Well, have you found her?”
The boy, shaking, shook his head.
“Well you’d better find her soon!” the woman boomed. She turned and strode away through the now-still trees. Kaitlin rushed up to the boy. She took his hand. He looked like he was about to collapse. She put her arm under his shoulder and helped him sit down. She looked into his eyes. She seemed to ask who that woman was. The boy turned his face away like he was ashamed. Kaitlin sat next to him. She touched him as if to say “It was me that woman was looking for, wasn’t it.”
The boy buried his face in his arms. Kaitlin got up and walked away into the trees. One of them kindly put her up into its branches to sit. Why would that woman want her?