Ch 1-7 ~ A New Friend
‘I happened find your shoe.’
So unexpected was the closeness of this voice that her lungs chilled as she jolted, drawing rapidly on icy air; she had been scared.
‘Oh, I’m sorry I did you fright, I just’n seen your shoe come clean off from when you fell the bank. I tried warn you but the trees be coming quick when you’re running near too fast for seeing’. The young boy held her broken shoe before him in a small, muddied hand, his bare arm in an exaggerated stretch as if to suggest it was an object he should not have in his possession and that, indeed, he did not wish it to be. From the distance of a fair few feet, almost hidden by the holly bush which had threatened to break her fall, he was making to return it to her.
Aurelia studied him silently. The boy’s expression did not change. It was plain, as were his features: skinny legs planted in worn, leather-strap shoes, darkened knees made hard and cracked with dirt, a steadfast body which of no doubt harboured a hare’s agility and fox’s sleuth, and a soft, yet strong-featured, face whose skin was likely pale if revealed from underneath the earthen tan of a day’s play. It was accompanied by an irregular twitch when he sniffed and rubbed his nose with the back of a forearm which dangled by his side, clutching a hand-carved sling-shot. She returned her gaze to the shoe and the face behind it.
‘You have a twig stuck in your hair.’ She let a warm giggle carry through the cold; it certainly reminded her of a bird’s nest, especially with those oak-coloured curls which dangled so freely in short, coarse lengths. For a moment the boy seemed confused, as if not expecting her to speak but simply grasp the broken shoe from him and hurry back down the slopes toward the Evergreens. She watched chestnut eyes flicker back and forth, seemingly searching for lost words.