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Her Name is Juniper

By Featherynscale

Her name is Juniper. For a moment, just a half a second, I was going to love her for the rest of my life.

Her name is Juniper, and she is all serious black eyes and long, loose hair; she is all tiny, graceful movements and poetry. When she said she was seventeen, I knew she was lying, but I didn't understand, and I didn't care. In those days, I liked young girls. 

Juniper, Juniper, fresh, clean, and evergreen, when I held her close and said she'd never grow old, she only laughed. Her laugh was a silvery chime, the ringing of a bell in the clear winter sky. I had never heard her laugh before.

Winter came quickly with Juniper in my house, and she loved the snow. She danced in it, precise pirouettes, barefoot but uncaring, scarves flying. She was so cold, then, and came to me for warmth. 

The last time I saw Juniper, it was almost Christmas. We walked in the park under a chilly gray sky. She led me by the hand, off the path and into a copse of trees. She looked back at me, all serious black eyes and long, loose hair, and nodded with considerable gravity. I didn't understand, and I didn't care. 

Juniper, Juniper, fresh, clean, and evergreen, was standing before me. The air carried the scent of pine and spruce. She reached out one hand, tiny and elegant, and touched ridged bark below waxy green needles. The world shifted, then, or I did, and on the day I saw Juniper for the last time, I saw her for the first time. 

Her name is Juniper, and she is other things, beyond the tiny, graceful movements, and the poetry. She is eyes that gleam with the green of frosted branches, and rapid flitting wings. She is cold white skin and thousands of sharp teeth. She is a thing of forest and blood, a thing that laughs but rarely, and from time to time must feed. 

I turned and ran, harder and harder, faster and farther, through the trees and away, never stopping until I collapsed. I reached out my hand and found not bark, but the cold metal of a signpost. The bus stopped there a minute later, and I took it to wherever it would go. The money in my pocket got me to the next town. I sold my watch and bought a ticket south, away from snow and evergreens. 

Her name is Juniper, and I almost loved her for the rest of my life. And still, I might. No other eyes charm me, no other woman moves with such poetry and grace. I know that park, and those trees. I wonder if, some midwinter's day, I will have grown tired of being alone, and find her there.