Water rushes down the side of the cliff, splashing in the pool of crystal blue water below. Water droplets spray out of the pool and hit the surrounding rocks, making them slippery if anyone dared to walk across them. Tanya steps up close to the pool’s edge and stares down in the rippling water ignoring as some of the cold droplets land on her bare arms. She wipes them off with her shawl and turns to face Morlock, her face set as she is determined in telling him to leave her alone. But before she can get a word out, Morlock has embraced her in his arms, holding her tight.
“Oh, my sweet, Tanya, I have missed you so much all of these years,” Morlock breaths into her hair. “I have not forgotten you a single day that we were apart and now I am back. We can continue where we left off as kids.”
Tanya pushes Morlock away, “Yes, Morlock, we were kids. I tried to explain it to you in one of my letters but you wrote me off saying that I didn’t know what I was talking about and saying that once you returned the love for you will return as well. It hasn’t Morlock and I know in my heart that it won’t.”
“We just have to spend time together, you’ll see.” He waves his hands and chants a few words, making butterflies, her favorite animal, appear around them from nowhere. “And I have changed a lot. I am now a great wizard and I practice every day and night. I do suffer from insomnia but that is all right since nighttime is the best time to study and work on my magic.” He chuckles as he conjures up a few more butterflies. “But once you get to know me again, I know in my heart that you will fall back in love with me.” He takes in a deep breath, “I brought you here today to ask for your hand. I will, of course, discuss this with your parents and I wanted to ask them first but as they were not home just now, I will have to wait until later. But I couldn’t wait for your answer any longer, my Tanya. I have been planning this day for years and I have grown impatient with waiting. So please tell answer me, my darling, will you make me the happiest wizard and become my bride?”
Tanya is taken back when she sees Morlock bring butterflies forth from thin air and almost laughs in awe as they dance around her. But then she hears Morlock talking and she turns away from the butterflies and listens to him talking. She shudders at the thought of marrying him and waits until he is done speaking before she too takes in a shaky breath of her own. Her bravery has slipped since she saw her playmate use magic to conjure up her favorite insect. What if he grew angry and cursed her? She also knew that she can’t lie to him. She doesn’t want to spend time with him as his letters have frightened her of him and now she is thinking that it had been better if she and her family had moved away before Morlock’s arrival. But nothing can change that so she stands tall and stares into his hope-filled eyes, biting on her lower lip as she thinks of the best words to let him down easily.
Morlock watches as emotions run across her face as she stands silently in front of him. He saw fear, anxiety, doubt, thoughtfulness, and then determination all cross her face in just a few short moments. What is going on in her mind? Is she wondering how to say yes to him? Why not just say it? Unless she is thinking of how to say no instead. But she wouldn’t dare tell him no. They are meant to be together and they made that promise all those years ago that once he returned they would marry.
Tanya shakes her head and turns away from him, staring into the waterfall, wanting to jump into the pool and disappear, not liking confrontation. She places her hand in her pocket and feels the crystal which gives her some strength. She pulls it out of her pocket and looks down at it as it lays in the middle of her hand. “Morlock, when we made that promise all those years ago, I was only 5 years old and you were only 7 years old. We were too young to know what we were promising to one another that day. You left and I lost my best friend and my first crush. Yes, crush. That was all it was. I didn’t know any better and neither did you.” She looks back at him, some of her hair blowing across her face by the slight wind, forcing her to loosen her grip on her shawl and brush it out of her face. “I am sorry, Morlock, but I don’t love you. I guess I never did. I was too young to know what love was then and now…I have found love in another. True love where he feels the same and one day I wish to marry him, not you. I cannot in good faith marry you, Morlock.” She looks away as his face falls at her words. “I hope that we can be friends again. But as for lovers, that cannot and will not happen. I am sorry for hurting you but it is just the way it has to be. I hope you understand and that one day you will find a maiden worthy of your love and you can sweep her off of her feet, marry her, and take her to the kingdom where you wish to work alongside the King. But I am truly sorry that it won’t be me by your side, Morlock.”
Morlock stares at the back of her golden-haired head in shock. She has actually told him no and he can’t believe it. How can she tell him no? He shakes his head, wondering if maybe he had heard her wrong but she doesn’t turn around to face him nor does she say anything else to make him believe he had heard her wrong. And not only had she told him, no but she also told him that she has found a new lover. He shakes his head again, feeling anger bubbling up inside of him. He had waited so long to come back to her, a new man, a powerful man, one who can protect her and one who can give her a better life. He had plans; marry her, take her away from here, make her a mother to his children, and have her watch over their children while he works for the King who lives in the castle two towns over to the North of here. But now everything has changed and she has told him no, that she doesn’t love him any longer and that she will not marry him. And to make matters worse, she has fallen for another.
Tanya turns to face Morlock to apologize again and tells him that she hopes he will forgive her, her hand out to give him back the crystal but Morlock no longer stands behind her. She looks around, startled to find herself alone until she spies him marching quickly away from her and the waterfall, his body stiff and his head held high. His robes billow out behind him like a dark cloud, striking sudden fear inside of her. He hadn’t said a word, only left her alone at the waterfall. She crosses her arms over her chest, after slipping the crystal back into her pocket, and begins to walk back towards home, unsure of what will happen next or as to why Morlock left without saying a word to her. She goes over in her mind what has happened on the trip back, not sure if she should try to catch up with her old childhood friend and try to reason with him or just let him go. It frightens her to not know what the wizard may do since she has turned down his marriage proposal. But she still has her heart set on her new beau, Mark, and still wishes to tell him yes when he asks her hand in marriage.
She hears sounds around her as she enters the meadow, startled out of her thoughts about Mark and Morlock. She looks around but the meadow stands empty of all life except of course the flowers and grass. She tries to see if she can spy Morlock anywhere but she is all alone. She feels bad for hurting him but she could not marry the man who is obviously obsessed with her where she feels nothing for him. Shaking the feeling of being followed, Tanya hurries home so that she can tell her mother that Morlock is done courting her finally. She felt a surge of relief but there is also still that fear of the unknown since Morlock has shown her that he is indeed a wizard to some extent. She doesn’t know how powerful he is or if he will seek revenge since she turned him down. She hopes that he doesn’t try anything to harm her or her family and friends and just silently moves out of town at night one day. Pushing all negative thoughts out of her mind, she enters the town and walks around to get to the front of her house. She stops midstride when she sees Morlock again. He is standing in the middle of the street watching for her to return home. She smiles a small sad smile at her old friend and waves to him but doesn’t get a response back. She sighs heavily, knowing that Morlock will need some time to heal and walks over to her house. She pushes the door open and disappears inside.