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The Tale of Dasm and Liheg
She didn’t turn. So Dasm had noticed her? Well, too bad, she was a little late for Liheg.
“Liheg!” Dasm called again.
Liheg continued walking, but her insufferable curiosity got the better of her. She turned to look at the girl she had known so well, for so long. She whipped back around. What on earth had possessed her to look at Dasm? Liheg broke into a run. She couldn’t tell if Dasm was coming after her, but didn’t, look back again.
Eventually, she slowed to walk, staring resolutely forward. Dasm caught up to her. Liheg clenched her teeth and turned. She did not want to talk to the other girl now. “I assumed you would be with Fdwio, Das. I never expected to find you here.” Her tone was devoid of all emotion.
“Fdwio?” Dasm laughed. “I would much prefer to do something a little more interesting.”
Liheg rolled her eyes. As if Dasm didn't find Fdwio interesting. Fascinating. She was obviously madly in love with him. Why did she pretend otherwise?
“I thought,” Dasm continued, “we could go into the woods today, maybe find a tree to climb.”
“Not today, Das.” Go away, she thought, go back to your beloved Fdwio. We both know that’s where you want to be. Maybe she should be a bit more forceful, “Perhaps you could ask Fdwio to do with you.” She layered on the sarcasm.
Dasm missed the edge and laughed again. “I doubt Fdwio would be seen dead climbing a tree….”
Oh, how dense could she be? There was a silence, which Liheg prolonged. What did she want to say to Dasm? She laughed at that thought as soon as she had it, though her face betrayed no emotion. There were so many things she wanted to say to Dasm, but the other girl had changed so much.
“is something wrong?” Dasm asked.
No, really? Liheg thought sarcastically, muttering, “Nothing.”
She turned to run away again. Dasm caught her wrist. Gods, could this girl not leave her alone?
“Talk to me, hun,” Dasm scrutinized Liheg’s face intently.
She struggled for words, wanting to say something final, cutting, something that would tell Dasm all she needed to know in few words. “You wouldn’t understand,” She said finally.
Dasm recoiled slightly, but did not loosen her grip on Liheg’s wrist. Instead she started talking again. “Family understands one another. Don’t I count any more?”
It was just like Dasm to play the guilt trip, but she had given Liheg the perfect idea. She managed a thin smile, and delivered her the line.
“Something makes me think you have a new family. That means more to you.”
Dasm hold on Liheg slackened, and Liheg bolted. She ran until her eyes were watering, her chest screamed in need of oxygen and her legs felt like pasta. She collapsed on the ground, by the side of the road. How long she lay there panting, she did not know. Finally she stood, and wandered into the forest. She walked with no particular destination, but soon found herself in a spot she knew too well. Here before her was Dasm’s favourite tree, the tallest one in this part of the forest.
Liheg started to climb, up, up until she could see the sky clearly. Dasm could never climb that high; she was the more cautious of the two. The night was coming, the stars beginning to reveal themselves. There was Vega, Deneb, Arcturus. Liheg found all her favourites, and then she started tracing constellations. A nebula here, a galaxy there.
She had her eyes fixed on Andromeda when she heard footsteps coming towards her below. The gait sounded familiar. Liheg climbed out of the tree, and then up another one nearby one that offered enough protection from searching eyes. A figure came into view; one that Liheg would recognise anywhere. Dasm.
The other girl went to her favourite tree and started to climb, but instead of stopping where she usually did, she climbed right up to the branch Liheg herself had perched upon earlier. She started to talk, her voice drifting down to the tree Liheg sat in.
“Liheg was always the brave one when it came to tree climbing. I was always too scared to climb as high as her.”
Liheg waited to feel the customary annoyance, but instead felt an aching emptiness. She and Dasm had been like sisters. What had happened?
Fdwio, a voice whispered to her, and the rest of them. Dasm abandoned you to them.
No, she told the voice, Dasm never abandoned me. She was always there. I just never saw it. And now she thinks I hate her.
Liheg almost ran to Dasm’s tree, almost clambered up to her best friend, to apologise, to talk like they used to. For surely Dasm and saw now, and she must be tearing herself apart with guilt.
She climbed down and walked to the bottom of the tall tree. But she stopped before she climbed up. Dasm was talking again, too quietly to hear. Then she started to come down. Liheg stood indecisively. Then she turned and walked back to the road.
Coward, she called herself as she walked back in the darkness. Tomorrow, she promised¸ tomorrow I’ll talk to her.
“Oh Dasm,” she whispered to the stars, “I’m sorry, I love you, I’m so sorry.”
What have I done?