The girl watched the almost imperceptible fade from black to grey as the outline of naked branches became crisp against the sky they reached for. Beautiful. She imagined the sounds taking place around her as the forest emerged from slumber, but her ears remained shrouded in silence.
It had been a cold night. Hands of ice curled limply in her lap as her heart rose with anticipation. Could this be the morning? Her trained eyes remained vigilantly on the horizon even as her thoughts bubbled and whorled. Her last hunt.
Movement caught her peripheral vision. A rabbit? She did not risk the glance. She recalled that roast rabbit had once been a favorite of hers. Immediately she chastised herself for the brief indulgence in self-pity. Taste was not all that important. It had been the first to go.
The cloud patterns were perfect. Her pulse quickened as she realized that all was in place for the perfect shade. The hue that so few could capture was a rare commodity. It would carry a high price.
Dawn dusted the sky pink. If it was to come, it was close.
And then she saw it. With hands outstretched the girl shouted her treaty to the sky, which responded with a shattered blast. She fell to the ground.
Praises poured from her lips as she gathered the earthen jug that now housed the precious color. With tentative steps the girl groped and tripped through the forest, gingerly carrying salvation to her village.