Beware the Trees

There are rules to dark forests.

Rule number one: never take directions from an owl. Trust me, just… don’t.

Rule number two: never stoop to pick up anything shiny. If it’s not a trap, then the shiny thing is almost certainly cursed. Either way, it doesn’t end well for you.

And, rule number three:

Never turn your back to a dead tree.

Continue reading “Beware the Trees”

Oak Speaks

They say he died in the middle of that small, small pond. Defending a human child from some wild beasts. They say he died valiantly against a manticore—or maybe it was a drakken. They say that, when he died here, the pond grew. Ten feet longer, eons deeper. A small island sprouted in the midst of the pond, right in the center. Right where he took his last breath. A small island formed, and then, atop that small island, an oak tree grew. Tall and grizzled looking. Branches reaching outward, arms open, as if ready to embrace any who tread upon that small island.

Only…

That’s not true, is it?

That small island was not meant for just anyone.

No.

It was meant for only a special someone.

Only meant for one.

One who seeks. Continue reading “Oak Speaks”

Empty Worlds

When I was a kid, I used to think being an explorer would be great. That it’d be super cool.

Just me, running off into the sunset. Chasing down the unknown, making it real. Making it fact. Bouncing from place to place, doing my best to map out a clearer world for myself, and for others.

That was what I thought exploring was.

And I wasn’t wrong.

But I wasn’t right either. Continue reading “Empty Worlds”

Out of Abyss

I hear there’s a place out there that’s free of this. Of the smog, and the blistering wind, and the fire blasts. A place that isn’t on the edge of an abyss, constantly moving toward this slow, inevitable, devastation.

You can see why this place intrigued me, I’m sure.

When your home is built on the edge of destruction, it’d be kind of an obvious thing to want to get away from it. From that edge.

Setting out was hard, and terrifying. And the journey? Even harder. For years now, I’ve wandered around, looking for this oasis.

All I’ve met so far is more desolation. More magma and more fire. Blazes that reach the sky, that lick at my feet as I pass through their cinders. Smoke still clots my lungs and the sky, blocks the sun from doing what it does best.

It seems like this is all an abyss. Like there might not be a place out there, after all.

But if I give up, what will happen to me?

If I give up, this will be all I’ve ever known.

All I’ve ever known.

The thought echoes through a hollow in my chest. A clanging sound that means nothing and brings nothing back.

No, I refuse.

I will find more than this.

I press on, honestly expecting to come up empty handed.

But I don’t. Continue reading “Out of Abyss”

Fall Beast

Yesterday, the trees were red. Beautiful, vibrant red. Like a pastel painting.

But today?

Today, the trees are naked.

Completely and utterly naked.

Not a single red leaf is left.

Even if it is pretty inelegant of us to call this season fall, it makes sense. The most sense, actually. Because fall is the season where the leaves change. Where they wither. Where they die. It’s the place where the death of winter is blocked from touching the warmth of summer. Fall sets in and changes things, makes the transition, keeps the order. Where things fall in and out of place.

I’m no exception. Continue reading “Fall Beast”

When the Willow Calls

At the other end of the park, where the crows dare not go, up on the very top of the hill, it sits.

The dead willow tree.

When the sun begins setting on the eve of Halloween. When the sky is at its bloodiest peak. When the sun cowers before the night:

It happens.

If you should be unlucky enough to see it, you best stay put. Do not run. Do not hide. It only creates a worse fate for yourself than before, though that is hardly to be believed.

When the willow appears, it will certainly do one thing:

It will speak.

When it speaks, do something for yourself.

Do not listen. Continue reading “When the Willow Calls”

A Tale from The Wilderness

“Don’t step there.”

My foot stops midair and switches its landing point. “Okay. Can I ask why?”

“Because you’ll fall into the swamp.”

Something my guide said earlier comes to mind. “And… I’ll get eaten by leeches?”

Pleased that I guessed correctly, she smiles and says, “Exactly.”

As if traversing through a swamp to find my Lost One isn’t stressful enough, the swamp just happens to be full of poisonous creatures, ridiculous predators, and leeches.

And now?

Stepping in the wrong place can get me killed.

Awesome. Continue reading “A Tale from The Wilderness”

A Dream of Jungles

Going, and going, and going…

I know what I was made for.

Sitting still, dormant, living in the town you were born. That isn’t me. It never was, and it won’t ever be the person I’ll become.

Because I want more.

I hunger for more.

Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with this town. Or the people. In fact, I don’t mind it here.

But this place doesn’t have it.

Don’t ask me what “it” is. I just know it isn’t here.

From here, I’ll be going.

And I can’t stand the idea of anything stopping me. Continue reading “A Dream of Jungles”

Finding Sunshine

There’s a pocket. Just one. And it’s mine. Only I know where it is. Only I can access it. As long as I keep it a secret, it’ll only belong to me.

My own pocket of… I don’t know really. Happiness? Sunshine? Something like that I guess.

It’s a good place. A quiet place. I don’t go there as often as I used to, I don’t really need to. But I know where it is. And I go there just for the heck of it these days. Not necessarily to escape.

My pocket.

It’s mine, you know? It isn’t like I’m bad at sharing. I just… don’t want to if there isn’t a need to. And I do mean need.

Which is why today is such a bummer. Continue reading “Finding Sunshine”