There was a flower, just one. It grew in a small patch of sun on the forest floor, a tiny splash of pink in last year’s dead leaves, quietly soaking up the spring morning and radiating it back.
“This is how it all begins,” Chloe said. “Once upon a time starts like this.”
Her face was clean and clear.
She raised a hand and swept it out slowly, tossing light and color into the sky. As it spread, the dirt and woods were warmed, and the wintertime graves melted. Leaves and grass showed new green, and the sky caught fire and bled blue into the lake below. The water burst into sparkles and obliterated the far shore. When the glow faded, it left dark sky behind. It was night time, just like that.
“Can you hear it?” she asked. “Listen.”
I heard the sound of a train, far off but coming closer. Air caressed my face, and soft wind carried the voices of everyone I had ever lost. They were brought back to me on music, and I knew that nothing is ever really gone.
She leaned in close. I smelled the promise on her skin and hair. The flower behind her made a small colored puddle of light.
“Heartbeats are only where it begins,” she whispered. “It’s all just starting. Do you understand?”