In Dreams of Trees : A Bitter Kind Of Mercy

Wordcount: 731
Rating/Warnings: PG
Summary: Fairy dust and happy thoughts are all that’s left at the end of the world.

NOTE: This is a very rough draft with no editing at all (per National Novel Wiriting Month rules) and is presented for amusement value only. Think of it as a periscope into my writing process rather than a coherent story!

There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing. These snippits are also posted out of order, so please refer to the Outline to figure out where it’s supposed to fit.


A Bitter Kind Of Mercy

Gray wants to leave the city and Tan wants to stay. Only Gray doesn’t know where to go or what she would do, she just wants to get away from the odd echo of herself that reminds her of what she did.

Tan feels useful, hunting down the lost and the injured and bringing the stragglers all into the main camp. White and Brian are working together now, in a rough truce that probably won’t last much past the rebuilding.

There are more people here than there have been in a long time and Gray is oddly unnerved by the crowds. Their own world was very carefully population controlled and this random mass of humanity goes against her cultural truths.

She wants to get out, go home, go somewhere that she can forget all of this. But she knows it’s futile, there’s no running away from this kind of nightmare.

She has real nightmares some times, memories of the city eating Blue and imagined confrontations with Red. She never meant to hurt anyone, never meant to cause such unforgivable sorrow– but she didn’t have a choice, she didn’t.

Except she did and she knows she did. She could have said no and let things play out as they would, only that would have been so much worse, even if they didn’t realize it. There’s the subtle knife of Neverland, that you don’t know what it’s like to grow up and yet you’re so happy in that false freedom.

And maybe she should have listened to Peter Pan.

Wendy finds her, after a while, sitting on the edge of a building and looking out across the wild world of the city.

Wendy sits next to her, companionably silent.

“I don’t want to remember this.” Said Gray, “I want to forget and be happy.”

“We can do that, you know.” Said Wendy, softly. “If it’s what you really want.”

“I’m not sure if I can go on with this,” said Gray. “Could you?”

Wendy looked out across the city and was silent for a moment.

“No.” she finally said. “and I’m sorry.”

“But you’d do it again if you had do.” Said Gray.


“Then make me forget.” Said Gray. “Take back this curse and let me be who I was before I was just a hammer for breaking the world.”

Wendy turned to her, shifting her weight and bringing one leg up onto the building. “Give me your hand.”

And Gray did.

“Now close your eyes and think of the happiest memory you have.” She said softly, “We’ll make you fly again little bird, but you have to believe.”

Gray closed her eyes and thought back to the moment she’d first met Tan, when he was all overgrown puppy, but of bounce and wiggles and unbridled joy in everything the world had to offer.

And as she smiled, caught up in the memory Wendy put her other hand against Gray’s cheek, wiping her forehead with her thumb. “Fly.”

Gray opened her eyes laughing, “Fly? What a silly thing to say Wendy, as if we were birds.” She blinked when she saw Wendy’s expression. “Are you okay? Why are you sad, you saved the city didn’t you? Singlehandedly, no less.”

“Singlehandedly,” agreed Wendy with a sad smile. “Just thinking of stories, is all, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Neverland was real?”

“Hah,” said Gray as she got up from the ledge with a stretch and a yawn. “I’d rather be old and happy than young and stupid. Come on, we’ve got a world to rebuild, no time to be grumpy!”

“No time at all.” Wendy said, “But you go down, I’ll come down in a minute, I’ve got a little more grumpy to get out first.”

“Suit yourself!” Said Gray and she hopped down to the next building and started working her way back to the group.

Wendy looked out over the city and after a moment said. “Would you do the same for me, if I asked?”

“No.” Said Blue, who was sitting beside her as if he’d always been there. “There are some things I won’t change.”

“Won’t, not can’t?” asked Wendy, tiredly.

“Won’t.” Said Blue. “You loved him too much for that, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, we did.” Said Maddy and with a sigh she leaned up against Blue and they looked out over the city they hadn’t wanted to save.

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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