Forest Dwellers - Flash Fiction
Copyright © 2016 Ben Kesp
The darkened grey rain clouds hang like a veil over the forest canopy. The illuminated path cuts through the oak and ash, created from the intruding grey light from the silver hue overhead. His silhouette appears, striking a figure into the visible light. His is not of this world. Oblivious to the barrage of rain drops falling hard and heavy, striking every patch of ground, he moves forward, determined and focused. His mission, no one is sure.
Through the darkness of the thick trees, eyes monitor his every movement. They watch this new stranger in their land. They fear the unknown, but curiosity drives them to watch, inquisitive of his purpose. He strides the forest path before them, eyes focused ahead. Upon reaching the end of his destination, he disappears as he appeared on the other side. This is his third appearance in the cycle of the sun.
The wisest of the forest dwellers, a powerful sorceress, believes he is not a threat, but is showing himself to make first contact. It fears the group to think he is as much aware of them as they are of him. Powerful he may be, but the sorceress orders caution. To break the barrier of invisibility is to open their world to something new. An outspoken sorcerer challenges his mistress. To greet now could prevent a different approach later.
The forest returns to their presence, silent of the stranger, but not of the rain, dancing off the leaves overhead. The chorus of birds echoes throughout the forest. Once more, their senses relax, soaking up the odours of the earthen forest floor which has been reawakened in the deluge of rain.
On the fourth cycle of the sun, they gather, waiting once more for the stranger to appear. The grey hue continues to linger, crouching over the canopy of green. The path is silent. The stranger of another world does not appear, nor for the many cycles of the sun following until eventually the forest dwellers no longer wait. Less and less appear each day to observe the stranger in their land. Curiosity urged them to discover, but fear surrounds them like an invisible barrier. The world for now would remain theirs, but the wisest among them fears the moment of more arrivals. A horrific vision befalls her, burying her hands into the rich soil of the grassy outcrop at the edge of the large forest. A cry escapes her lips. Her eyes burn with a vision set before her. Fire cascades through their beloved forest. Dark strangers pollute their very essence, purging their way of life.
Awakening from the darkened thoughts, a warning has been passed to her from the tree spirits. It’s her charge to protect the people of the forest and direct them from their impending doom and, in doing so, divert it. For now she rests, silent in her home of trees. That day has not yet come.
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