In the farthest corner of her mind, there grew a tree on a tiny island in the middle of an endless sea. There was no end to its branches or its roots as it seemed to stretch infinitely. It was here that Hope prayed that she would find what she was seeking out, for the sake of the mind to which she belonged.

Her wooden canoe beached on the island, and Hope stepped out gingerly on to the fresh earth. It had been a while since she had come to find herself in this precarious situation. She pleaded with all the gods in existence that this time would go better than the last as she began to climb.

Love’s pale skin and rosy red cheeks were easily spotted as soon as Hope got past the first level of the tree. She sat in the crevice of a branch, swinging her legs in the empty air. Hope swallowed hard as her brown eyes met Love’s blood-red ones. There was something unnatural about the incarnate of the most powerful emotion that their mind was capable of. All of the others knew that Love had not been quite herself in some time. She ran away three years ago, leaving the rest of them to clean up the mess she left behind.

“Ah, Hope, I was wondering when you’d be out to see me again,” Love cooed as she cocked her head to the side. Hope smiled grimly as she swung her legs over to straddle the same branch that her companion was sitting on.

“How have you been, Love?” she asked carefully.

“Just peachy,” the red-eyed beauty gleaned. She was the prettiest most deadly of all the emotions. The best and the worst of their mind.

“I’m happy to hear it,” Hope replied. Love tilted her head again in a bird-like fashion.

“Please, Hope, we both know why you are here. Let’s not play the silly small talk game,” she said plainly. Hope sighed heavily. Love was in a similar mood each time that one of the emotions came to try to convince her to come back.

“Well, you know what we want. It’s time for you to come back, Love,” she explained. The other emotions, along with Hope, could muster familial and platonic love just fine on their own. It came as naturally to their mind as breathing. However, it was romantic love that they had neither the strength nor the skill to create. Only Love could do that.

“Hmmm,” Love muttered. “What’s he like?”

“He’s great. All the things we’ve ever wanted. All the things that He wasn’t. I didn’t even know that they made them like this anymore,” Hope answered. Love rested her hand on her face and blinked her red eyes.

“And he has feelings for us too?” she asked. Hope’s lips tightened into a straight line.

“We don’t know,” she replied. “But that’s not the point. Even if he’s not the one, it’s time for you to come back.”

“Yeah, says who? You? Logic? Joy? Rage? What do you guys know about love? Were you the ones that were destroyed when we broke up with Him? No!” Love seethed. Her eyes flared wildly as the wind that rustled the trees gently began to pick up pace. “You guys betrayed me. You went behind my back and ended things with Him.”

“I’m sorry, but it had to be done. We know that you were hurt. We’ve been doing our best to compensate for you because we knew you needed time to heal,” Hope told her. Her fingers gripped the bark of the tree branch.

“Heal? That’s not how this works. You don’t get to go back to being the same. Just ask Grief. She’ll tell you. You just learn to live with it,” Love retorted. The venom in her voice was unmistakable.

“Since when are you and Grief close?”

“Please, we are basically the same emotion. Just two sides of the same coin.”

“Love,” Hope started, “it’s time. You need to face the fact that we are going to get hurt sometimes. It’s part of life. We just need to accept it and move on. This new guy isn’t even that important to us. What’s important is that we have you back on our side instead of against us.”

“And what makes you think that I want to help any of the other emotions? I’m better off on my own anyway. We’ve always been better off on our own,” Love argued. She crossed her arms over her chest.

“Please,” Hope begged.

“No way in hell. Not again. Not ever.”

“Can you even hear how irrational you sound? Do you want us to be alone forever?” Hope countered. Love grimaced and broke her stare.

“Maybe…” she whispered. Hope groaned. This was the worst case scenario.

“You don’t really leave me a choice,” Hope breathed. “I’m taking you with me, whether you like it or not.”

Love’s eyes widened with horror, only to relax as she burst out with laughter.

“You think that you can just take me? I’m the strongest emotion. And you are what exactly?” Love cackled. Hope struck her quickly, sending the red-eyed emotion tumbling out of the tree to the ground below. She landed with a soft thud and remained motionless as Hope climbed down from the tree. Love did not move as Hope checked her unconscious comrade for a pulse. Love was alive, just knocked out. Hope picked her body up and placed it gently into the canoe.

“I’m Hope,” she said to herself as much as anyone else. “And you may be the strongest emotion, but I don’t give up.”




Leah HarterLeah Harter, nineteen years old, cannot remember a time when she was not writing since it has been her favorite pastime for most of her life. She grew up next to a library and spends most of her free time reading anything she can get her hands on. She is currently in college studying Government and hopes to continue to write in the future.

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