The Forest Unknown

Submitted into Contest #138 in response to: Write about a character who doesn’t want to go to sleep.... view prompt


Bedtime Contemporary

The Forest Unknown

I walk through the forest, I'm supposed to be asleep. There’s a scent in the air, and its covering me like a heavy moist blanket (the nice kind) and the biting brisk wind is awakening. I walk on the forest floor, hues of green and brown surrounding me in layers.

The twigs snap under my boots and my candle lights the way, for heaven forbid I use a torch and modernise myself on this walk I am taking.

But I cannot remember what made me get up, or why I even started this journey impromptu. But I do know that the least I cant to is enjoy it, and for once in my life, quietly observe for the while, finally watching as a bystander and not the centre of the rapt attention that I used to demand.

With a deep breath in, I inhale the petrichor in the air. I have strayed far away from the path I was in, If I had one in the first place, for I have not looked back in a what seems like centuries. Time has never been fluid for me, it has always been planned, to the T. I wonder, if this is what peace feels like.

“Am I allowed to selfish? Just for a little while? In this place, a safe haven of sorts, where no one can hear, see or judge me for my choices and what I do.” I have never felt this free before, this light…. It doesn’t feel… humane…

I walk on, beginning to remember who I am.

A person, just like the rest, a jack of all trades, who never found her chest,

of gold and wonder for she swum shallow,

 but her chained chest forever remained hollow,

without a voice or the strength to holler;

It’s true, I do feel empty still, but the more I move forward, the less the emptiness aches. And within me my soul glows, with the colour that it shone so many years ago, I feel refreshed, reborn again cleaned under the pouring rain.

Something is missing, I’m sure of it, is it perhaps success, the one that my household craved? The only reason for my existence? But it doesn’t matter to me anymore, I may have lacked much, but never compassion, never love, never the understanding of the heavens above.

I do remember my skin colour, although it’s dark tonight, a rich creamy brown that shone so bright, my complexion matched my home and the texture it wore, but yet I was never the one that could be adored. My insecurities rush to me with open arms, and will not shun them, I will just render them calm.

To be disgraced and shunned, for petty things that never mattered, are no longer my concern, it is now a forgetful chapter. And if I am, to remember it, I will pride in how I dealt with it.

After all, past wounds are not meant to be reopened, but sometimes they leave a mark, some a painful scar. But that is the beautiful thing about being humane, you can feel all these emotions, and yet, hold yourself back and never go insane. Or perhaps it didn’t work, and you’re not who you used to be, then grow more and flourish, like a changeling seed.

Are there faeries in this forest, perhaps a winged one or two? Is it right to give in to my imagination, just for the muse? My walk has been long and I am growing tired, and my candle is flickering out, as if reflecting the mood that I have acquired. I am a bit scared, it is growing darker, I scoff, at the irony of the representation of my path.

But I trudge on, with no other way to go but forward, I feel my body growing old, my bones weaker, but I trudge on, hoping that my impaired eyesight will not drag me down, will I get a bit of light, at least now?

I start seeing this forest that is filled with obstacles in a different way… I can view it a bit differently now, I think of how I would overcome it, what would be the outcome, and yet it is my gut feeling I follow hoping to trust my weak body in ways I could never touch my mind.

I feel even older now, but I still think clearly, my sagging skin will not stop me, I feel a little wiser as I hear the owls hoot, wondering if their conversation is one I can indulge in too. They are calling me out on my outdated ways, and although time wanders on, the criticism of incoherent voices will never change.

Although I have slowed down my pace, the growth of the forest is not as kind, although I can still smell fresh earth in spots here and there, it isn’t enough. And is that not the sad truth of mankind? “It is never enough”.

I amble on, starting to deter from my undefined path, I need to rest, and so does my heart. But it’s then that I see them, tiny sparkles shimmering in the air, like the twinkling stars that I could once see, but I am now hidden under an urban canopy.

They are gorgeous and detailed, bright and happy, careless and free with grace and dignity. Like little angels that know they matter, aware that quality wins over quantity in a fair play. Their glimmering light beckons me, away the hills and mountains so steep, back in to a part of the forest that I once knew, a little bumpy and unstable, but one that always sees you through.

The dusted wonders are slowing down for me, letting me catch my breath as if it is now alright for me, as if it is understandable to want to take a breather every now and then. Their patience flows through me like warm, real sunlight.

And I can see, a few metres in front of me, a rift, rimmed in hues and colours that I have never seen. It holds on waiting patiently, wide open and embracing me, ever so softly. For the door knows what I now am aware of, the reason that I never wanted to fall asleep, that I might never awake, or have a soul, to keep.

March 25, 2022 17:37

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Heaven Phillips
02:28 Jul 12, 2022

I love this, the rhythm is perfect for a bed time story. Very calming.


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Mustang Rifleman
03:47 Apr 29, 2022

When I first started reading this, I became frustrated by what seemed like spelling errors. As I fell into your stories rythym however it quickly became much more profound then I had expected. The rhymes sometimes seemed forced but but more oft they were well placed and unexpected. The topics seemed to play out these exciting ideas of, what I interpret as a person walking through the forest as an analogy to their life. The last part really struck me as it is reminiscent of a common prayer I've said every night before bed my whole life, but f...


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