Words

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story about a girl transported to a mysterious place that transforms her view of the world.

Evelyn hated writing. To her, she found the process dull, tedious, and mundane. When her teacher asked her to write about how she spent the holidays, she would silently groan. ‘Why spoil the memory of the holidays by making me write about it?’ She would mutter to herself. She didn’t know why she disliked it so much but thought it probably had something to do with being forced to sit still for long periods of time. Something sporty Evelyn was not fond of doing.

All was of this was to change on a cool spring afternoon. Evelyn was on her way home through the woods after a particularly aggressive football match on the playing fields at the park. The pitch had been dry as a bone and clouds of dust had enveloped the players making it difficult to see the ball. Evelyn – bruised, tired and dirty – picked her way through the sparse shrubs and dried earth, reliving her glorious penalty which had decided the match. Suddenly, she tripped over an exposed tree root. Falling forwards, she had no time to stop herself and fell head-first onto a large rock.

Head thumping, Evelyn tried opening her eyes. She could tell through her closed eyelids that it was still light. Her face fell wet. Was that dew from the grass she could smell or was it blood? She gingerly touched the side of her forehead which had hit the rock. It was sore but dry ‘Not blood,’ she thought. ‘Must be the grass…Hold on!’ A sudden thought occurred to her and her fuzzy mind suddenly became clear as day. ‘I was walking on dry earth. Not grass and definitely not wet grass.’ She forced her eyes open and let out a cry of surprise. The wood - with its parched ground – was gone. Instead, she was in the most beautiful meadow. One like she had never seen before. The sweet-smelling grass, rippling in the light breeze was a thousand shades of purple. Evelyn didn’t know where to look first; all around her was a cacophony of colours, sounds, and smells. The sky was a vivid, almost luminous green. Or was it yellow? Her eyes couldn’t focus and her mind struggled to describe the scene before her. There, in the distance, was it a forest? Evelyn had to blink and rub her eyes. It wasn’t one expanse of murky greens and browns. Why it wasn’t even one colour! There were hundreds of colours. Swirling and merging. Changing and transforming. Pinks turned to blues turned to gold turned to yellow to grey to orange to red and so on and so on. Creatures jumped from tree to tree. Just a speck to Evelyn from a distance but their shape recognisably altering at each new tree encountered. Were they birds? Monkeys? Flying tree frogs? Evelyn couldn’t tell.

So enraptured by this strange new place, she had quite forgotten the question of how she got there. Until, that is, she felt a tap on her shoulder. Swinging around in alarm, her jaw fell open. Standing in front of her, a tall hooded figure bowed reverently. It had semi-human features – one eye in the middle of its head; a small slit for a nose and a wide mouth – all thankfully in the right place. It wore a shimmering black cloak that looked not quite solid. It rippled on the figure like a dark lake in a slight breeze. It held its hands – or were they fins? – in front of it as if in prayer. It bowed again, not taking its single eye off her.

‘Who are you? What is this place?’ Evelyn gasped through her dry mouth.

‘It is the planet.’ The figure replied. ‘Where do you come from?’ It asked. Fearing her suspicions were about to be proved true but feeling rather foolish all the same, she replied, ‘Earth’.

‘A different planet,’ the creature acknowledged. So she wasn’t on Earth, Evelyn thought. A million questions filled her head alongside a dreadful feeling of absolute panic about how to get back home. However, the only words she could were, ‘This is beautiful.’

After a moment, the figure replied, ‘it is acceptable.’ Evelyn thought this an oddly plain response for such a vivid landscape.

‘What’s happening to the forest?’ She continued, ‘Why does it change colour like that?’

‘It is what it does.’ The figure said.

‘Oh,’ she replied, trying to keep the annoyance out of her voice. Was this creature deliberately avoiding giving her an explanation or was something more untoward going on? Maybe it didn’t want to appear friendly if it was going to lock her up in a dungeon beneath this beautiful rolling meadow.

‘You will return home.’ It said bluntly

‘But can you just explain what this place is?’ She blurted out quickly. ‘Why are the colours in the forest changing? Why is the grass purple and the sky green? What are those shape-changing animals?’ Out of breath and sounding slightly insane, she stopped and waited for an answer. The creature tilted its head, pausing as if it were pondering her – this strange two-eyed being in front of it.

‘It is the grass and sky and forest.’ It said plainly. ‘It is nothing more, nothing less. We do not call it anything other than what it is.’ It continued. ‘These words you speak of…colours…’ It said the word slowly, like a child saying its first word. ‘They do not exist. Things are things and nothing more. Now you must return home.’ With a sudden movement that she was not prepared for, the creature knocked her to the ground and the world went dark.

Evelyn felt herself hit the ground but it wasn’t the radiant purple grass she was expecting -dry soil and dust filled her nose and mouth as she landed with a hard thud. What had just happened? Her head hurt too much to think clearly so she lay there remembering the assault on her senses and that strange creature.

Eventually, she picked herself up and – slightly unsteady on her feet – continued on her journey home. She thought about the hooded figure and how it couldn’t describe its fascinating world. Of all the feelings Evelyn had experienced through this strange expedition, she suddenly felt tremendously sorry for the creature and others like it. Their language couldn’t convey the beauty of their environment. Imagine living like that?

When she got home, she raced up to her bedroom - the bumped head quite forgotten – and pulled out a rarely used notebook and pen set she had been given the previous Christmas and began to write down everything she had seen and heard and touched and smelt. All of it recorded in as much vivid detail as she could muster.


Submitted: June 01, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Aliawriter. All rights reserved.

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