Anne spent the night in the wild cherry tree. She decided as dusk was falling that the Cuthberts of Green Gables must have been delayed and believed firmly that they would arrive for her in time for breakfast the following morning. Hoisting the carpet bag—just so—over her head, she hooked the fragile handle over a broken branch, then clambered up among the ash-grey limbs of the tree.
It was like a cloud of snow, although decidedly more perfumed—she found herself sneezing once or twice as night fell. On one occasion, the sound startled a boy who had been walking under the tree, hurrying along his way home. The boy had stopped and turned with such alarm on his face that Anne had been forced to cover her mouth and stifle her laughter as he ran in fear from the spot, perhaps imagining some ghost or ghoul was watching him from the dark branches.
The carpet bag made a serviceable pillow, as she had discovered on the train, but situating herself comfortably in the sloping boughs of the cherry tree was another matter. She had just begun to fall asleep, despite the discomfort—it had, after all, been a very long day full of excitement and longing— when she lost her balance and spent a dizzying moment clutching a thin branch, looking out at the darkness below. Fear sank into her stomach in that moment as her imagination filled the void below with hungry things, just waiting for a little girl like herself to fall into their open jaws. Although she felt she must cry, she worried her tears might only attract the beasts in greater numbers. In that moment, Anne allowed a worry she had been suppressing since she had arrived to make its voice heard; what if the Cuthberts did not come for her at all?
But as she regained her balance and these thoughts began to overwhelm her, the clouds suddenly shifted and a shaft of moonlight fell through the dome of white petals. Her fears were dispelled and her bed was just as she had thought it would be; peaceful, radiant—like sleeping in a fairy’s palace. Anne closed her eyes, breathing in the honey-scented air of the cherry blossoms and bracing herself against the trunk to avoid another tumble, she fell asleep and dreamed of Green Gables.
Lauren Harwyn received her BA in creative writing with honors from Mills College, Oakland, California and attended Scottish Universities’ International Summer School for creative writing. She has been published by Dear Damsels, Witty Bitches and Northern Light and won Soliloquies Anthology’s flash fiction contest. www.laurenharwyn.com