All are welcome in Auntie Hima’s grove. Heavy-limbed fir and cedar trees line the quiet glade while a bubbling creek plays along one edge. The dense forest acts as a buffer against the outside world, giving comfort to those who need it most.Crestfallen and alone, Gamma sought Auntie Hima’s grove. Of all the rays, Gamma’s is the most maligned. Destruction follows Gamma everywhere, disintegrating the bonds of every life she touches. The other rays torment her, flaunting their closeness that does not harm. With little hope, Gamma blanketed the grove, emitting a heavy-hearted sigh.
Auntie Hima shuffled out of her cottage into the warm sunshine. She carried a large wooden tray, always prepared with a fresh plate of cookies and a pitcher of lemonade for each new arrival. Gamma’s stomach growled.An ancient woman, Auntie Hima slowly placed the tray on a flattened stump, her old bones creaking on the way down and all the way back up as she straightened. She smiled warmly at Gamma and found a space on the log next to her. Stiffened joints complained as Auntie Hima settled in to listen to her new guest.
Already Gamma felt better than she had at the beginning of the day. Carefully she nibbled at a cookie, then devoured it and half the plate before stopping to take the glass of lemonade Auntie Hima offered. Gamma smiled at the kindly figure. Today was not so bad after all.
Where to begin though... Gamma struggled to form words. This was all that she had wanted, somewhere quiet away from the horror. Away from the taunting of the other rays so that she could find peace and closeness. Here with Auntie Hima, she believed she could have a friend.
“It will not last forever, Gamma,” Auntie Hima’s voice broke in. “You are as volatile as you are fragile, and your place is not here.”
Gamma looked to the ground where Auntie Hima pointed. Death followed Gamma here too. The patch of grass that stood healthy and green moments before was dying because of Gamma. The other rays, silent with morbid curiosity now laughed and laughed. Gamma the destructive bumbling brute, too ignorant to know that she had to stay away, that she destroyed everything.
Auntie Hima smiled sadly as she lifted one hand in an arch over her head. An invisible barrier pushed Gamma out of the grove and away from all the delicate living beings. Gamma looked on from afar, heartbroken but not surprised. She let her fingers trail lightly across the protective atmosphere as she moved on to the next world, resigned to her fate of forever needing, yet never finding, companionship.