“Esmeralda Charlotte Gossling.” her mother yelled.

Emme sprang up from her bed breathing hard and fast. She slumped back and whispered, it was only a dream. After completing her morning routine, she ran down the steps and grabbed a granola bar.

“See you later.” She grabbed her backpack and started out the door.

“Esmeralda don’t get caught. I know what today is.”

“You’re the best, mom.”

The plan was to meet Ben at Walker’s Antique store in the back lot. They planned a picnic near the lake. Ben said he knew just the spot.

Emme jumped in as Ben took her backpack and put it in the bed of the truck.

“We should be there shortly. Wait until you see the place. You’ll love it.”

She couldn’t wait. Senior Skip Day. Fantastic weather. Time with Ben.

They pulled off the road and parked behind some trees in a wooded area. “Just a little bit farther,” Ben said. “The clearing is up ahead.”

It was stunning. Emme paused and stared. The sun beamed down through the trees. This was the perfect spot. So warm and inviting. While Emme took in the view, Ben spread the blanket and tossed their backpacks down. He took her hand and walked with her as they explored the small clearing.

“You picked a great spot. I don’t think anyone will find us here.”

A gentle breeze blew through the trees and the birds sang. Ben led her back to the blanket, and they sat down, talking for hours.

As Ben was taking lunch out of the basket, Emme heard, Esmeralda, it’s time. Embrace your destiny. Then she saw it. The same conical hat weather vane, floating in the trees above. She gasped. This couldn’t be happening. It isn’t possible. It’s just her imagination. It had to be.

Emme turned her head and closed her eyes. When she looked up, it was still there. Again, she heard, Esmeralda, it’s time. Embrace your destiny. The weather vane spun rapidly, making her dizzy. She fell to the ground.

Ben went to her and pulled her into his lap. Emme buried her head in his chest and pointed up. “Do you see that? Up there. In the tree.”

“Don’t worry, it’s just a raven. It won’t hurt us.” He rocked her gently. “We can leave if you want.”

She glanced up and only saw the raven.

This story is prompted by Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo Thursday photo prompt:  #writephoto.

To read the entire Emme’s Destiny series, click here.

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