The front line of the library, the staff of the circulation desk are well-mannered and personable. They greet patrons. Pound for pound, they see more people than the rest of the library combined. Brenda, the circulation librarian, would have said it was a privilege to serve her hometown like this, but she also believed she was a silver dragon.
When Brenda was six, she saw snow for the first time. In the deep south, snow falls are rare. Snow that sticks and piles even rarer. Over thirty years before, the snow fell so thick Brenda could not see her sister Amy as Brenda screamed for help in the dark woods.
The two of them had been walking the area around their house. They often did, even on cold wet days that required thick jackets and rain boots. The two Berry girls wandered through the underbrush, cutting their way with the ease of youth and experience. They would tell their mother when they got home they had been exploring, but more often than not they had walked over familiar land, has rested in the same spots, had played around the same thick pine trees. The subtropical climate caused the bushes and vines to grow and twist and make the woods seem as if each time was the first.
The snow came and it was a first. The first time coated in cold. The snow fell with thick pats on Brenda's already broad shoulders. She watched Amy in front of her disappear behind the winter veil. The blond hair winked out like a light flipped to off. Just like that she lost her way.
The snow lasted a day. They found Brenda just off a timber trail. She had burrowed down during the night into the soft pine needles and huddled there. The man who found her, the pharmacist named Shepherd who let her and her sister decorate the Christmas tree, he said, "She was poking out of the snow like a little bird." Her mother cried and held her close.
Amy cried, too. Brenda laughed and told them about the moon.
After the snow fell a foot deep, she screamed for her sister. She knew she was lost. She had cried. Then the moon came.
"It said, 'don't worry, little bit,' and its voice was calm and deep, not like mom or Mr. Shepherd but kind just like them. It said to dig down in the snow and find the pine needles and hunker in. So I did," little Brenda had told everyone. "Then it told me I was a dragon born of the dark of the moon and that it loved me and wanted me to be safe and help people."
To anyone that would listen, Brenda told her story. Her momma would say, "What did the moon say, baby?" and Brenda would tell it just the same each time. After a while, people stopped asking. They started talking about hospitals and concerns for Brenda's mind. Teachers had her tested. Children teased. Amy began to ignore her sister and make a new path. Brenda learned not to talk to anyone about the moon, about what she was. Anyone but momma.
But she helped people. She dreamed of opening her wings and breathing fire. The fire would not burn but heal, cold and sharp as icicles. She dreamed of flying back to the moon after she helped everyone she could.
All her dreams and beliefs came true when she found a book in the library that told her story. The Director ordered it and a bunch more from new sources. He had changed, and she liked the change.
To Be Continued…