DANCING IN THE WIND
Danding in the Wind - Book 3 of the Escape Series released in December 2020 with Next Chapter Publishing.
The novel is published in a number of formats including audiobook.
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There were no curtains or blinds decorating the rectangular window in my room. A piece of duct tape secured the nylon string of a crystal suncatcher to the frame. It hung in the middle of the glass and refracted the afternoon sun. The double-paned, fixed-glass centered on the back wall allowed light and nothing more. Positioned below it was my single bed covered in a green, queen-size blanket which draped to the floor.
I kneeled on the end of the bed, leaned forward, and touched my cheek to the smooth glass. The action sparked the memory of gazing out another window. For weeks that window was the only link to the outside for my sister, Beth, and me. Behind it, we’d planned our escape and dreamed of freedom. But we also wondered about the condition of the world and what lay beyond the forest surrounding our prison. Fuzzy recollections of the last five years filled my head interspersed with the odd detailed memory, but it was different for my sister. Beth remembered little, and I feared she would not regain what she lost.
A wave of tiny bumps rose on my bare arms and travelled up to the top of my head. I shivered and replaced my cheek with my hand. The window from my memories faded as I returned to the present.
A single snowflake drifted toward the ground in a graceful dance against the blurred backdrop of dim reds, burnt oranges, and pale yellows of the distant trees. My gaze broke from the intricate ice crystal and concentrated on the outlying forest edge. Random flakes fell and melted the moment they touched the ground. If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change, my father’s voice repeated inside my head.
Within seconds, the grey sky morphed into blue. Treetops brightened as sunbeams stretched out from behind the fading clouds and kissed the leaves, turning the dim to vibrant, burnt to fiery, and pale to bright. The forest edge erupted into blazing colour as if someone set it on fire, reminding me of campfires from both years and only weeks ago. The snowflakes disappeared with the clouds. It was mid-October, and while the temperature had dropped, it would be another month before the snow fell and stayed.
A large raptor soared on chilled air currents, searching the ground below for its next meal. A V-shaped formation of southbound geese moved in perfect synchronicity across the ever-brightening sky. The corner of my mouth tugged into a half-smile as two stragglers hurried to catch up to the flock.
Oh, I wish I were a bird. As free as a bird, my father liked to say.
A flash of light caught my attention. I focused on the rows of photovoltaic power stations in the large clearing outside my window as sunlight reflected off the black panels. Months ago, someone had disconnected all but one from the grid. Marigold, one of the engineers who maintained them, explained the single station had its own meter and combiner boxes. This system provided localized power to the facility until the engineers reconnected the breakers and battery bank. Now the entire solar panel system worked to provide power to the entire building.
I closed my eyes. “This is real,” I whispered and swallowed the pain rising in my throat. This wasn’t the only world catastrophe I lived through, though it was the worst. Ten years ago, the first pandemic to attack the earth in a hundred years, brought about fear and change. I had just turned ten, and life twisted upside-down. There was no school, we quarantined, stayed away from others, wore masks, and did what we could to stay healthy. Despite the losses, the world survived and normality eventually returned. But from that moment, anxiety took up residence in my head.