Incandescent Rage

(this is the third part of Claire's story. The rest may be found under this tag)

That was a mistake.

What was she thinking?

She hasn't yet brought herself to drop the flower—could she even if she wanted to? Its broken stem oozes with something that's not honey, sticky and warm against her sweaty fingers, gripping tight—

Claire's heart pounds in her ears, beating in tune with her frantic footfalls, each step crushing insects and leaves alike beneath her filthy shoes; she's making noise, so much noise, enough to scare off all the forest's creatures and quiet their sounds—

Except for the buzzing.

It rises through the forest like a tide, sweeping down towards her no matter how quickly she runs; a golden haze, an incandescent wave, brilliant in the noontide sun! If not for the fury burning through it she'd love to take the time to watch it, to see the way it moves ...

But there's no way that that would end well.

She's seen what happens to dogs who disturb hives with their wandering paws and too-curious noses, and her own fate seems more dire—theft is worse than distraction, isn't it? Probably? Maybe?

They're both pretty bad, though ...

The part of her that's thinking is not entirely divorced from the part of her that's running, nor from the way her muscles ache and her knees complain and air seems set on fleeing her lungs; all of that exists as a dull background roar, nearly as loud as the bees, but muffled.

Dissociation's magic, though Claire hasn't yet learned to see it like that, hasn't yet discovered the words for the way she goes away from the world; it's her first and most precious spell, the one that will someday make way for more.

Not today, though. Not yet.

There's a moment in there where the world shivers around her, where she could almost slip away from her own story and into another, but a fallen branch tangles her ankle and sends her crashing down to the ground—a jarring fall, a painful impact; she skids, collects scrapes.

Blood oozes from her palms, from skinned knees and rock-torn shins; her head swims and aches. A newly untethered tooth makes a nuisance of itself until she spits it out, red spit soaking into the thirsty ground ...

Angry gold buzzes all around her.

"... well, fuck."