Prologe

"Run dearest!" Mother's arms were warm and you could almost tell that they were shaking but I was still confused whether it was from the cold or from fear. The air was chilly and blustery. I could feel it going right through my ragged sweater and my muddy sweatpants. My feet were numb from toe to heel and water had gotten past the shoe material with as much as ease as you might use to slice a loaf of bread. Around me the trees were being forced into motion by the fierce wind and their branches were coming out and jabbing or poking at anything in their way. I cringed as one branch poked the eye out of one of our sheep. My heart cried out for the now partially blind creature but then my eyes drifted away from the farm animals to my mother and father. Father was trying to fight off his fear by guiding us as far away from our home and from the trees as he could manage.

I saw in his face that he was bleeding inside. He was watching his animals cower and run wild. Pigs were snorting and I heard, with a stab of pain, my pony Brigs neighing over the wind's howl. I cried then and Mother saw my tears and began to wipe them with a shaky hand. I pushed her hand away and looked up into her bulging blue eyes and saw that there were tears falling into her dark black curls.

Father was yelling at Mother now to run with me and get out and that he would try to save some of the livestock. Mother screamed at him saying he was mad.

"We can get new livestock!" she shrieked and I covered my ears in my shock and worry. Mother never screamed, especially not at Father. "I won't be able to find another Daniel Cross!" I looked away from my parents and gasped as a tree fell a few feet away. Father couldn't go in this! It was insanity! He would die for sure.

"Don't let him go Mother!" I cried tugging at her arm frantically. "Don't let Daddy go!" I stopped tugging her arm then and Mother looked at me with an odd expression on her face despite the situation. It was the first time that I had ever called my Father, Daddy, and I knew and she knew that it would never happen again. But it had happened and apparently my voice had carried over the wind and now Father was coming back taking me from Mother and hugging me tightly.

Racing through the fields of our once unbuttered town I huddled close to Father while he carried me inside his warm jacket. I was surprised that he did not seem to mind the muddy sweatpants and the soaked through sneakers. I suppose he was too worried about getting us out of the storm alive.

Then a miracle took place in our small helpless town. I noticed that Father picked up his pace and I turned my face from the warm comfort of his body to see what the pace up was about. Mother was running to and waving madly while dodging a falling tree. Still holding onto me Father grabbed Mother and they ran carrying me towards what I now saw was a man on horseback.

"Aw damn ya'll," he said when we were close enough to see him. "You are probably the fiftieth persons that have stopped me for rescue and charity. You ain't getting none I promise you." He was about to gallop away when Father stopped him and pleaded. I had never heard Father plea. It was always the other way around now that I thought about it.

"Please Sir," he said a sparkle of hope and desperation in his keen grey eyes. "He brushed away black strands and looked the man in the face. "I have a little girl," he revealed me by slightly removing his jacket. "She could die out here in this storm. Its not safe for a child! We would give anything if y would just take our little girl and make sure she gets somewhere safe."

The man upon the horse considered. He looked me over surveying me like an owl when it catches sight of prey. I cringed away clutching at Father. They were not seriously going to give her away to this man! He was tall and had a slight bulk and was wearing a black suit with an overcoat covering it. It looked moth eaten and he apparently did not wear it often from the rest of its looks. Other then that there was nothing too appalling besides his beard that went down to his belly and ended in curly brown tangles.

He finally looked back at Father and nodded. I looked up at Father pleading.

"No Daddy!" I cried using the name a second time. "Daddy I won't do it! He's not nice! I don't like him!" I covered my mouth quickly disbelieving at what I had just said. The man on the horse chuckled a little and then looked at Mother. I did too and pleaded with my eyes not trusting my words anymore. She looked at Father and then down at me scared and small. Then she took me out of Father's arms.

"We'll come back for you my little firefly," she said and kissed my brow before handing me over to the man on the horse. The man on the horse took me and placed me in his lap and he galloped away and I clutched at his chubby belly in hopes of not falling off. I could feel his beard tickling my chin but did not care. I watched as Mother and Father faded away into the distance. I could feel the bounce of the horse underneath me and I could feel the tears begin to sting my eyes again.

We continued to ride hard through the storm and I saw many things that I would hope not to relive. The trees falling and some even catching fire. We nearly caught fire ourselves but the man on the horse saved us and we got out of the storm by a close shave. I have never seen Mother and Father again.