This challenge required to go to Flickr, choose a photo and write a story from the inspiration. I can’t place the photo here because of the rights, but if you want to see the picture, it is by Geoff Moore, and it’s still on Flickr.
When Milo first saw her, he didn’t really see her, just the pile of books she was carrying. It was such a mesmerising sight that he followed her for a while. Sadly she was lost in the busy marketplace. But that meeting stuck. Milo asked around who she was, and some of the local villagers told him her name was Skye. They spoke in hushed tones about her but he couldn’t figure out why. He decided he wanted to meet her, and even though people were reluctant to tell him, he found out she lived just outside of town.
So Milo went out, with a pack full of food and his favourite books. Beyond the town was a mountain, and it was said that she lived in one of the caves there. It took him some time to find it but eventually, he found the cave. It was clearly her home, but she wasn’t in it. Milo retraced his steps back to a clearing in the woods and sat down to have lunch. Halfway through his sandwich, he heard someone singing. It was beautiful and he was so mesmerised he followed the sound. Reaching another clearing he saw her, carefully picking berries from a bush. She was stunning, and Milo just stood there, watching. Slowly she turned around to him.
“Hello there, can I help you?” Only when she took a step forward did Milo realised she was talking to him.
“Yes. Hello. Gosh, you’re beautiful. Uhm, I mean, you’re Skye, right?” he was embarrassed about how he was acting. Hopefully, she wouldn’t notice.
“Yes, I am Skye. What can I do you for? Is your wife sick or do you need better-growing crops?”
She kept staring at him and it made him nervous.
“Wife? I don’t have a wife, I don’t want anything from you,” he grabbed one of his books out of his bags, “I saw you the other day, carrying a whole stack of books. I was hoping I finally found someone to share my passion with.”
Skye took another step forward. It was the first time someone didn’t want something from her. She was wary he was telling the truth, but she had to look in his eyes to be sure. Milo, in return, got scared that she came closer to him without saying a word. Was she going to hurt him? Now she stood before him and looked him in the eyes. To her surprise, he was telling the truth. He had nothing he wanted from her but companionship. He was lonely and had no goals in life. Meanwhile, Milo was frozen in his place, the book still extended in mid-air. Satisfied, Skye took a step back and grabbed the book he was holding.
“Have you read this book already? I loved it, it must be one of my favourite books at the moment.” Skye slowly leafed through the book, careful not to damage anything.
“I have read it many times. It is my favourite, I love getting lost in the world it creates.” Milo had gotten over his fear and was smiling. They both sat down and talked about the books for a while. Then Skye became silent and looked away.
“Why are you not afraid of me like the rest of your village?” Milo heard sadness in her voice but didn’t understand why.
“Is there a reason to be afraid of you? You are not like the other villagers but that is no reason to be afraid of you.” He had no idea what she meant.
“Have you never heard the stories they tell about me? The things they accuse me of?” She looked at him. His eyes told her he had no idea what she was talking about.
“They say I am powerful. They say I am the darkness. They say I instil fear in the hearts of many, it is even said the devil himself is afraid of me.”
He thought about her words for a second.
“You’re just different. You don’t live in the village and choose to live another life than they do. That makes you weird. That daft superstition of them does the rest. To cope with someone who is different, they make up stories about you. The last thing they want is more people choosing to live differently, it is a form of self-preservation.” Milo shrugged and took another bite of his sandwich.
He was wise for his age, but also oblivious to what was going on around him. Or he just refused to give into the stories and really wanted to see the person behind the façade. It brought a smile to Skye’s face, something she hadn’t done for a long time. She was happy to have a companion, she too, was lonely.
Milo came to see her every day. They had lunch together and talked about books, life and everything in between. Every day he stayed a bit longer and in the end, he took up residence in one of the caves. There was no real attraction between them, they just enjoyed each other’s company. Milo even helped her with her potions and slowly realised she was everything the folk tales had told him. But he didn’t care, she was sweet and a true friend. By now there must’ve been stories about him in the village, too. Neither of them cared. Both had never been happier and Milo finally had a goal in his life, being Skye’s assistant.
Milo once thought that her eyes changed to match the sky. It was only now that he realised the sky changed to match her eyes. She was the nature spirit he had always heard about. Seeing her in action made everything click in his head. He had even more reverence for her than he already did. He loved the way she worked with nature, and now he knew why. What a fitting name for such an amazing woman.
One night he stood on the mountain top while Skye was working her magic. He looked out over the valley below and realised all of those people were alive right now because of her. She made the rainfall to water the plants, to provide the water they drank. And what did they do in return? Be afraid of her and telling hateful stories about her, about them. She could destroy them with a blink of an eye and still she helped them. If they only knew.