Arrow Branded

I first saw him when he tried to kill me.

Okay, he didn’t actively try to kill me, but he almost did.

“Sorry about that,” he said quietly, in a pleasant voice that that did not seem to fit his appearance. He was, may I add, quite beautiful. His large eyes sparkled and his lips were in an eternal pout. I wasn’t attracted to him at all. I just acknowledged that he was good-looking and the curves of his face complimented his features. The boy brushed his dark chocolate curls away from his eyes, which were of the same colour. He put his bow over his shoulder with his sheath of arrows and tried to pull an arrow from a wooden target. It had been nailed to the tree trunk right above my head where I was sitting with my book.

“No problem,” I panted. The arrow had hit the target in the edge of the yellow bullseye. Which just happened to be only inches above my head.

Freeing the arrow from the target had been more difficult than he had originally planned. I smiled at his unsuccessful attempts. When the weapon was finally dislodged from the makeshift mark the he stumbled backwards, dropping the arrow. His already flushed cheeks developed even more of a pink tinge. In that moment I realized: he may be fair in appearance but he was nowhere near graceful. I’d almost call him clumsy. He leaned down next to me to pick it up.

As he got closer I noticed he wasn’t as perfect as I had first thought. He had one slightly heavier eyelid and moderate acne and I even thought I saw a flake or two of dandruff on the shoulders of his black crewneck shirt. Still, it didn’t hinder the elegance of his appearance; or the grace of the way his jeans and long sleeve, athletic looking shirt fit close to his skin.

“Got it,” the boy whispered to himself. As he stood I caught a glimpse of the arrow. There were designs carved into the shaft. As he straightened his spine the bow slid down his arm and nearly hit me in the face before he caught it. He apologized again quietly. Out of the corner of my eye I observed that he probably had a habit of biting his nails, judging but the condition of them.

“It’s alright,” I replied with a shy smile.

He turned around and took a deep breath, taking another engraved arrow and notching it onto the bow string. For the first time, I noticed that same patterns were carved on the wood of the bow. At the time I hadn’t really thought about any possible meaning.

Then I saw the tattoo. Well, it looked like a tattoo. He had a mark on the back of his wrist and when I looked closer I saw that it was shaped as an arrow. Then I noticed something else; it wasn’t a regular tattoo. It was branded into his skin. As if someone had taken hot metal to his skin.

Before I could ask about it the boy walked a few metres away, looked back once more, then left. I have to admit, his eyes were mesmerizing. The first time I saw them I had thought they were brown. But they were more than that. They were, in fact, blown but his right eye had a large fleck of green that covered about a quarter of the iris.

I watched as he ran through the forest in the opposite direction from whence he came. I thought about what a mysterious encounter this had been, then headed back to the orphanage.