This story is inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.
She had determined to find the source before her resolve failed her. The journey had been long and wearisome, and her feet were a mass of sores. But she had found it, the bright, sparkling waters that flowed from the earth’s heart. Not blood, but crystalline, life-giving water. Smell and taste, and at the end, hearing had guided her steps, for she was blind. They had blinded her as soon as the visions started when she was a child, thinking she had no need of eyes since she saw with the eyes of her soul. Earthly sight would cloud the visions, they said, and they were more valuable to the chief than the beauty of any young girl. Her mother had tried to stop them, but her father had made her be still. It was for the good of the clan.
The visions grew more vivid, more real. She truly did have no need of earthly eyes and lived increasingly in a world of fairy people, soft winds and warm sunlight. Then, one day, she heard a voice, a lover’s voice, soft and low. She learnt the contours of his face, his smell, the taste of his breath. But what she wanted more than anything in the world was to see his face, and for him to look into her eyes.
She told no one, not even her lover, and taking nothing but her staff, set off on the road to the mountains. She heard the wind and the cry of eagles; she left behind the smell of salt from the sea and her senses filled with the scent of ling on the mountainside. When the sound of the source filled her ears, she smiled to herself and stopped where a shadow hung between her face and the sky. She reached out a hand and plucked seven rowan berries from the tree that overhung the pool, and dropped them into the magical water. With trembling heart, she bathed her ruined eyes in the stone basin.
Light exploded all about her. The red berries gleamed like rubies, the grass shone so bright in the sun she could scarce look upon it. When the ripples on the pool settled, and the silver glitter receded, she stared into the water—her face, eyes restored, big and wide and blue, and behind her, the reflection of a man. Had he guessed and followed her? Her heart pounded with joy. She swung around, a wild smile on her face, and saw, waiting at the foot of the hill, their feet bathed in the rill from the spring, the chief and his bodyguard. Bewildered, her gaze flitted to the man before her, his scent unknown, his eyes hard and pitiless. She barely had time to whisper her lover’s name before the knife forced its way between two ribs and found her love-swollen heart.