Setting: fantasy world, in the middle ages
Note: Caelum is an odd girl. She's either simple or something, but no one knows really what's up with her.
Leix found Caelum in the royal garden. The breeze was picking up, and the evening air was crisp and chilly. Caelum was huddled against the stone wall, rocking back and forth, face buried in her knees. Worried that he may send her scuttling off if he were to call to her, he strode toward her silently. As he stood before her, looking down, he could just make out softs sobs emanating from her quaking form.
“I killed it,” she whispered.
“What did you kill, Caelum?” Leix asked, dropping to a squatting position. He reached out a hand to stroke her hair and to prompt her to look up.
“The bird,” she replied, sniffling. The breeze picked up her hair, sending wisps across the front of her face, making her look even more sorrowful. “It was singing, and I killed it.”
Leix furrowed his brow. “It was accidental, I'm sure.”
“No...” Caelum groaned, turning her face away. Once again she pressed her head into her arms and knees, resuming her rocking.
“Caelum...” Leix started.
“Ow, ow, ow,” she whined.
Leix turned slightly, trying to catch sight of her bird. He didn't find it. Best try to distract her, he though. “Listen, Caelum, come inside from the cold and perhaps we can swipe some hot cider from the cook, yes?”
This bought no response. Sighing, he gently pried one of her arms out of its curled position. And he froze. Her hand and her sleeve were covered in blood. Far too much blood for a bird. Frowning, he gently pried her other arm away. More blood. And now he could see the blood stains on the front of her dress, as well. She continued sobbing.
His words came a little faster than they should have come from a calm and collected knight. “Are you injured, Caelum? Whose blood is this? What happened?”
He could see it wasn't hers. “Whose blood? Whose blood is this?” He could already feel the bile rising in his throat while his heart sank into his intestines. Where was his brother?
The girl shook her head and broke into louder sobs, attempting to avoid Leix's eyes by burying her face in her own shoulder.
Leix released her arms and stood up. Although he was growing more distressed by the moment, he willed himself to think rationally. Where to go first? Did he leave her while he went to tell Commander Caleb? Or did he scoop her up and carry her with him? He stood indecisively for only a moment before picking her up. She came willingly, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“Caelum,” he said once more as he started back for the castle interior, “Caelum, this is important! Please tell me. Whose blood is this?”
She rubbed her face against the fabric on his shoulder. “The bird,” she repeated. “Bird, bird, no bird. And no more singing.”
Quote: "Duck, duck, noooo duck." - My sister at two years old, after witnessing our vehicle tragically run over a family of ducklings. My sister, however, said this matter-of-factly. Caelum was weeping and inconsolable.