The Taylan household was asleep. Crickets outside held the night in place. Slivers of moonlight shining through the trees were the only source of light. Footsteps creating the sound of drums echoed through the house. An occasional creak from the ancient floorboards sounded like a cry for help. The door to the house was opened and the helpless Alara stepped out. She was searching for an escape, fresh air to breathe. The trees and grass watched the desperate girl. The one they had watched grow up. Now she was sitting at the foot of her favorite tree. As a little girl she gave the tree a name, Charles. It sounded quite silly to her now, as everything else did. A wave of her hand would dismiss any thought or question of her happy childhood. Small children that adored her wished to hear about her adventures. A branch on the tree cried, longing for a break. Alara was jarred from the sudden noise. As she stood up, leaves let out a breath of exasperation. They wanted to feel alive again, just as Alara. Alara yearned for a sense of freedom, even if just for a day. The trees opened up to her, as did the rest of the woods. Unlike Alara, the woods were full of life. Above her, an owl cooed, deer picked up their heads as they were startled. As the animals recognized their beloved Alara they sung. They remembered the days Alara would spend hours with them. She would come out to the woods, she would be wearing her yellow sundress that flowed in the wind. When she wore this dress the wind blew a little harder, just to see Alaras face glow as she spun in circles. Her mother would ridicule her when she saw the dirt on Alaras dress, but Alara giggled when she cracked a smile on her mothers face. Alara was hesitant to walk into the woods now. The moonlight shining through the trees highlighted the gold strands of her hair and the blue in her eyes were like desperate waves of the ocean crashing into the shore. Only this time, those waves were her tears. A small, grey mouse hidden in the leaves was desperate to wipe her tears. The woods became still. They were waiting patiently for Alara to quietly step into their warmth. Every animal had been waiting for her to come back. They became elated when the door to Alaras house would open. Every thing would stop in its tracks. Alara would quickly step out, to avoid any thought of going back inside. She would sit on the swing on the front porch, eyes empty. Her hand would rest beside her, on the spot where the man with green eyes would sit. Although she was close, she was never close enough. The leaves wanted to feel her bare feet trod through as she would marvel at the colorful butterflies that flutter past her. They wanted her to need them. Now she did. In this very moment, Alara sat down at the base of another tree. One that she was a stranger to, one that she never took time to notice. The tree embraced her warmth. The warmth of a human, a human with many years, many wise years. The tree had never felt more loved. The others watched as Alara let herself be enveloped by the darkness of the night, the smell of the cedar and pine trees. She let the warmth in her chest expand. Her sadness slowly began to fade, she forgot about her lost loved ones, she remembered her childhood. She closed her eyes and let the floor of the woods become a blanket for her. The tears from her eyes had dried now. They had left small paths on her face, over the wrinkles, over her lips that murmured sweet songs, and down her neck that was dressed with two small necklaces. Another pair of footsteps sounded through the woods. A stranger. The leaves coiled back at the unidentifiable feet. Young eyes searched the woods. They explored the towering trees. They did not see the watching animals. An arm reached out and ran over one of the trees. The hand pulled back at the rough feeling of the bark. The bark was fragile and fell to the ground. The strangers feet crushed the leaves as they walked. All silence was broken when a small voice came from the stranger. The voice was still groggy from the night. The voice called for Alara. Alara did not hear the voice but she heard the birds, singing sweet songs. She copied the songs with a quiet hum. A melody floated through the woods into the strangers ears. The stranger heard and started running. The stranger did not know where she was. She ignored the smell of cedar and pine, the darkness scared her, she did not walk through the leaves gingerly as Alara would. She ignored the melody and the woods wanted her to go. What made them so sad was that she wanted to go too. She did not long for the feel of the woods and she would never marvel at the butterflies. She would stay on her porch and she would never hear the calls of the woods. She wouldn't hear the cries of the trees as they fell. She wouldn't see the desperate animals as she took away their home. So innocent yet so malicious. She would pull away from the small animals that patrolled the floor of the woods, unlike Alara. Alara would pick up the small animals with her frail hands while humming a tune. A tune that the forest would adopt as their own. The birds would always sing it, the wind would always whistle it. Alara was now what the woods always wanted. They always wanted her to be apart of them. Now she was. Her eyelids fluttered closed for the very last time. She curled into the smallest ball and let the winds tangle her hair. As the stranger found her, she would cry. But she would never shed as many tears as the woods did.