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As soon as Emily killed the rumbling of the diesel engine of her van. She perceived clear as the tolling of a bell that the girl sitting alone by the river was singing a pretty tune to herself. Her voice so sweet and so very beautiful as she sang as though in harmony with the song of the whippoorwills.

And Emily waited a while and listened to that gorgeous song before she disturbed the stranger. Not wishing to break the wondrous magic of the moment.

And she found herself drifting away with the eerie beauty of the girl’s voice, accompanied as it was by the gentle sound of the flowing river. And the sweet sound of the whippoorwills singing along so gaily.

 

My hand in yours

Till the end of our days

Your hand in mine

Until we part ways

 

The tune was haunting in character, but also strangely mesmerizing. And the girl’s voice was overwhelmingly gorgeous, simultaneously sweet and profoundly melancholic. As though she was singing a beautiful love song of happiness and hope. And a sorrowful lament of loss and deepest sadness all at the same time.

And Emily closed her eyes and sat quietly, listening to the girl’s wonderful voice. Compelled to rapt stillness by the sheer unearthly magic of that beguiling song. Strangely moved by the bewitching eerie quality of the stranger’s voice in combination with the music of nature.

The tune seemed somehow to ease her burdens and carry her away. To transport her to a peaceful place within herself. And Emily was more than happy to allow her spirits to be raised up by the enchanting tones of that wondrous voice.

 

Lonely I’ll wait

By the wild river’s run

Until you return

Until you come home

 

It was an impossibly beautiful moment. The kind of unique experience that stays with a soul for the rest of their lives. But it was over all too soon. And as Emily snapped out of her reverie she noticed that the girl was looking at her with a bright smile adorning her face. No longer singing her siren song.

“Hey there” the girl called out.

“Hey” Emily replied in kind.

And with that the girl jumped down from her perch and landed sure footed on the stony river bank. The whippoorwill which had dwelt beside her fluttering from its perch to alight upon her shoulder. Confirming that it was no wild thing but that it was a tame creature or perhaps even a pet.

Emily took in the girl’s appearance as she approached the van. She sported a pair of well-worn cowboy boots and a slightly frayed denim jacket over a pretty floral summer dress. She hitched up her skirts to prevent them snagging on the undergrowth as she ascended the bank, revealing distractingly shapely legs.

The way the girl moved was so graceful and deliberate, rather like a classical dancer in motion. And the flowing agility of her nimble and dexterous gait was oddly captivating.

There was the most curious fluidity to her movements, as though she somehow walked within the world rather than upon the earth. As though she were in some sense more real than reality, or perhaps reality somehow less corporeal than her. It was a queer impression to say the least.

Her skin was a pale ghostly white save for the blush of her cheeks and the abundant freckles which dusted her face. Her hair was extraordinarily long and slightly curly. And cast in the most vibrant and lustrous natural bright copper.

Her eyes which seemed locked onto Emily’s every step of the way, were the most remarkable and vibrant bright green. So big and bright and so very mesmerizing.

And the closer the girl came the more profoundly beautiful Emily realized she was. There was a beguiling quality to the girl’s features. Something out of the ordinary which Emily could not quite define.

She struggled to find the right word, perhaps ethereal or maybe spectral? The way the strange girl’s skin glowed so vibrantly and her hair shone with such brilliance, it had to be a trick of the late afternoon sunlight.

Eventually the girl arrived at the van, her striking bright green eyes still gazing directly into Emily’s. So penetrating and mesmerizing that they seemed to look right into Emily’s soul.

“Shoe now.” The girl commanded as she idly waved at her shoulder. And the whippoorwill fluttered from its perch and flew away into the evergreen woods.

And the girl rested her arms on the open window of the van door and leaned in to face Emily. Pausing for a moment or two examining Emily with a strangely curious look.

And again Emily struggled to define the sensation, but it was almost as though the girl was in some fashion surprised that Emily could see her.

“What’s your name?” The queer girl eventually asked in her sweet bewitching voice.

“Emily…”

“Hey, Emily” She smiled “I like your name, it’s pretty.”

“….thank you…” Emily uttered distractedly.

“My name’s Laurel, Laurel Lee.”

“Hey, Laurel….”

Emily felt light as a feather and her heart began to flutter as she lost herself in those bright green eyes. And it struck her that being in the presence of this girl was the most singular experience. Paradoxically exciting and fascinating but strangely stultifying and distracting as well. And she was just so damn gorgeous that Emily felt a thrill of fascination that fairly set her heart racing.

“You’re pretty Emily.” Laurel Lee suddenly announced brightly.

“Thank you….” Emily replied in a dreamy faraway tone.

“Do you think I’m pretty?” The girl continued.

And with this Laurel Lee stepped a few paces back, held the skirts of her dress in her hands and turned round several times for Emily’s consideration.

“Yes…” Emily eventually replied, again in a distracted fashion.

“Thank you Emily” Laurel beamed brightly at the reply, before leaning in close to Emily once again.

“And did you like my song, Emily?”

“It was…”

“…it was….”

Laurel Lee was outright entrancing and her voice eerily hypnotic. Quite literally so. The world seemed somehow to fade out of focus around her until the only thing that seemed real was Laurel Lee. And Emily never did finish answering the girl’s question.

“So you’re moving into the house by the river yonder?” Laurel Lee queeried.

“….um….yes….” Emily replied at length, recovering her wits somewhat.

“Uh….do you live around here, Laurel…?”

“Mmm….hereabouts….”

“….the river.” The queer girl obliquely replied.

“Um….okay. Well….maybe I’ll see you around sometime, Laurel….” Emily found herself uttering hopefully.

“For sure, Emily.” Laurel happily replied. “I could come visit with you sometime, I could come sing for you if you like.”

And the curious girl leaned in closer still, her bewitching green eyes mere inches from Emily’s. And Emily became acutely aware that Laurel Lee’s full lips were now so very close to hers. And further Emily discovered that her heart raced a little at this fact.

“Would you like me to come sing for you, Emily?” The queer girl prompted.

“….yes….yes please.” Emily eventually replied.

“Okay then Emily, I’ll come visit when I can.” Laurel Lee smiled.

And the girl began singing again as she stepped back from the van, her eyes still locked on Emily’s. The whippoorwill returning to its perch on her shoulder as she turned and began walking away.

 

My hand in yours

Till the end of our days

Your hand in mine

Until we part ways

 

And then the queer beguiling girl was gone again as though she had never been there at all. And it was strange but Emily didn’t see her leave exactly. She just wasn’t there anymore.

And neither was the haunting jaunty lament of the whippoorwills.

Eventually Emily pulled herself together like she was waking from a daydream. Speaking aloud to herself as she took stock of the curious encounter.

“Was that real…?”

“….did that just happen…?”

Emily’s mind felt oddly confounded and her thoughts profoundly discombobulated. She remembered stopping the van and she remembered crying. And then. She remembered singing? And then there was someone?

A girl maybe?

Perhaps?

Emily shook her head and rubbed her eyes distractedly. It had been a very long day and she reflected that perhaps she was somewhat more overtired than was good for her. And she stepped out of the van to stretch her legs and wake herself a little.

And she searched about for a moment or two but all she saw was trees and the river below. And all she heard was the sound of the dark waters of the Little Deer river musically babbling their way through the eerie Burnham valley.

‘Imagining things now….’ Emily eventually concluded, before climbing back into the van.

‘I really need to get some rest.’

And with this she turned the key in the ignition and brought her van rumbling to life again. And set out to complete her days long and arduous journey.

The slightly unsettling noise produced by the vans tested suspension, abruptly jolted Emily back to the botheration’s of reality. Prompting her to turn the radio on again so she might happily ignore them.

And with the day dream apparition of Laurel Lee now vanished from her mind, just as abruptly as she had vanished from her sight. Emily continued along the bumpy road homeward bound at long last.

 

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