There were six of us in our little tribe, when we were young and ran free across the mountains like a pack of wild things, feet muddied, hair tousled, cheeks reddened by the wind as we planned our next great conquest. We ruled with the order of the innocent, strict but merciful. Then we turned thirteen, and our fate was stamped onto our skins.
Mitra, the bravest, always the first to plunge into dark caves or scamper across fallen logs, who planned the assaults of our imagined foes, was told she should be meek and her voice hidden away.
Ordin, the gentle one, who kept bugs in his pockets and nursed fallen baby birds, who tended bloodied knees, was told to pick up the spear and take his place as warrior.
Tiva, the fair beauty, with her gentle voice and dexterous fingers, who sang with the birds and wove crowns from tender vines, was taken to labor in the fields.
Nex, the strong one, who carried us when we were tired and knew the woods like a wild animal, was locked away with parchment and quill.
And Salin, keeper of my secrets, who fought back to back with me against our invisible foes, would stay while I was sent away to learn to mend and tend. We were told we would meet again, would spend our lives together, but when we did, I could not look him in the eye nor speak without invitation and all my secrets must be mine alone again.
So, we left the mountain, leaving behind only muddy footprints and the echoes of our laughter.
**Today’s short story was based on the prompt: Young. Wild. Free.**
~ R. E. Rule