Reading the Strands was all about connections: connections between people and events, people and places, people and other people. It was all about feeling and understanding those connections.
Autumn walked quietly away from her faire booth. There was a feeling in her heart like lead and an ache in the place where she kept her own connections. She knew better than to check her e-mail while she was in persona, while she needed her smile and her best fake medieval accent. She’d kept the smile on, even after checking her phone. She might feel empty – but she also felt free.
She climbed up into a tree and pulled out her pens. The lines from this morning were already beginning to fade – it had been a sweaty day, a mid-July scorcher, and the rain that was promising hadn’t broken yet. She found a blank space on her leg, around her calf, and began drawing. Every line had a significance. Every Strand had a meaning. Every word had power.
“…if you’re just going to be crazy…” She drew, link by careful link, a broken chain, wrapped around her leg, the chain pieces ricocheting as they cracked.
You did not sever Strands. Connections made to other people didn’t go away. They faded, sometimes, they stretched and changed and twisted.
She set the pen down on a flat piece of branch and picked up her phone.
Delete, she clicked. Delete message. Delete contact. Block all messages.
The Strand would always be there, although it would fade to a memory in time. Autumn ran her fingers over the broken chain and smiled, feeling the loss like a missing weight on her chest. Having connections didn’t mean she had to drag them like Marley’s ghost.