Short Stories

Crane’s Light – Chapter 5: The Bow

Lyra steadied herself and took her stance, back straight as she readied an arrow and raised the bow, her aunt Lita’s voice echoing through her mind and sending her back in time.

“Don’t slouch!” Lita half-barked at Lyra’s brother Galvin and their three cousins as she watched from afar, her hands clasped in front of her and jealousy softly surging through her mind. She wished she could join them and learn how to use a bow like her aunt and her grandmother, but she felt the twinge of pain in her body, the constant reminder of everything she couldn’t or shouldn’t do; what she must prioritize.

“She’d make a fine general, given how much she likes to boss everyone,” Bransen muttered in amusement as he came to stand next to his daughter. “Are you alright?” He asked, resting a gentle hand on Lyra’s shoulder. Her father was uncanny in his ability to know when something was wrong. The bond between herself and her mother was almost nonexistent; the bond between herself and her father was fierce.

“Yes, I’m fine.” Lyra murmured unconvincingly.

Bransen studied her closely for a moment. “You can join them and learn to use a bow as well,” he softly coaxed, emphasizing the word ‘can’ and giving her shoulder a small squeeze of reassurance.

Lyra shook her head as she watched the others begin to loose their arrows, Lita exclaiming happily at those who hit their targets but also being encouraging to those who didn’t. “I’m afraid I’m not meant for the bow,” Lyra stated quietly, and Bransen let out a small, resigned sigh.

“Just know that the bow will always be ready for you if you change your mind,” he answered just as quietly, squeezing her shoulder again. Lyra leaned against him and his arm wrapped around her shoulder as she continued to watch Lita ready the others for another round.

“Draw your elbow back until your hand brushes your cheek.”

Lyra drew back her elbow, fingers gripping the string and coming to touch her cheek as she heard Lita’s voice instruct.

“Release the string, but keep your arm in place.”

She felt the feathers move against her cheek as she released the string, the arrow being propelled away, and she watched as the arrow moved straight for the target in front of her, becoming lodged just outside of the center of the bullseye, her arm remaining in its position.

“Impressive, Lyra,” Hideaki complimented from behind her. “I didn’t know you could use a bow.”

She turned and smiled at Hideaki, “I watched my aunt teach my brother and cousins the skill of archery every time she would visit.”

“You would only watch?” He asked as he stepped closer. She nodded.

“Yes. I felt at the time that taking part would take away my focus on my priority to myself,” she stated, and he nodded slowly in understanding.

“Your body and the pain.” He suggested. “What made you change your mind?”

She glanced at the target and the arrow lodged within it for a moment before gazing back at him. “You.”

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