Queen of The Forest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Phoenix is a teenage girl dealing with depression. Instead of dealing with it, she runs away to a forest that she claims her own. There she meets another runaway and the two slowly but surely become friends.

Submitted: April 23, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 23, 2014



Chapter 1

Every morning it was the same thing. I woke up miserable, angry and upset. I never knew how my life got like that. It sort of hit me like a brick, y’know? I was always smiling and giggling, then one day I woke up and it was never the same. My mom always told me it was the hormones of being a teenage girl and that this was just another phase but she wasn’t a doctor, she didn’t even finish school. No matter what I did, nothing would help. I tried secret therapy sessions, and even medication. Nothing helped. I was 14 when I realized how my behaviour was affecting my family.  No longer were we the close white picket fence family we used to be. We hardly ever ate dinner together anymore or had family game night and it was my entire fault. They never admitted to that though. I don’t think any family with decent morals would but I could see through their lies. Their eyes always gave it away. By 15 I was convinced this was how I was going to be my entire life. I couldn’t put this burden on my family anymore. I don’t even know when I came up with the plan to leave but somehow the idea had crept into my mind. Before I knew it, I was full out planning my escape. The first part was where I was going to go. That was easy. In my small town, we were covered in miles and miles of forests that aren't owned by anyone. Luckily growing up my brothers and dad taught me everything to know about hunting. I could survive on my own for years without having any human contact. At this point in my life, it’s what I desperately needed. I decided to run away on May 20th. Why that date? I don’t know. It felt right to me. Picking which forest was the hardest part. There was Greenhouse Forest. I knew every route and trail like the back of my hand, however if my family ever went looking for me, they would go there first. There was Cavern Forest but it was too small and a popular hunting ground. Then I remembered Mystique Waterfall forest. When I was younger, I used to beg to be brought there because how awesome does the name Mystique Waterfall forest sound? As a five year old that sounds better than pizza tastes. Even though I was forbidden to go there due to the cliffs and because of how enormous it was, I still managed to sneak a peek once. I didn’t get very far in before I was intimidated by the surroundings but what I saw was magnificent. It was like something straight from a fairy tale book. The trees were tall and colourful, there were so many types of flowers that not even a florist could name a quarter of them, the way the air somehow smelled fresher and lighter on the skin, and lastly there was the waterfall. I always assumed the famous waterfall was hidden far into the forest but no. It was right there in plain sight. It was beautiful. The water had to have been made out of pure rainbows and looked almost too clean to drink. As I thought about everything I could remember; I knew that’s where I had to go. It was practically calling my name. For the next two weeks, I slowly started packing. I don’t think anyone would’ve noticed bandages or tubes of toothpaste going missing. I packed other things too like important clothes, toothbrushes, soaps and shampoos. Just because I was going to be living in a forest doesn’t mean I can’t be hygienic. I also brought tons of hunting tools like my bow and arrows, knives, and matches. The night before I was about to leave finally came. Part of me was saying to stay back, that I’ll get over this phase soon. I knew it was just my mind trying to fool me. That night, I did something I hadn’t done since I was a little girl. I sat on the stool in front of my window and wished upon a star. I wished for many things that night. At 12 Am, I finally left.

Chapter 2

My house was big enough that my parents wouldn’t be woken up by the sound of the front door closing. Even then, my family was used to me leaving at odd hours of the night to go for long walks. This time though, they had no idea that I had no intentions of going back. Luckily for me the walk to Mystique Waterfall Forest wasn’t too far. Only about two hours away; this was fine by me. Mother Nature had been on my side that night or early morning (whatever you wanna call it). The air was crisp but not enough to sharply bite at my exposed skin, the wind was calm and soothing, and it was a full moon, giving me enough light to find my way with ease. The walk was calming. Of course I had a million thoughts and worries going through my mind at this point. I was running away for God’s sake. Yet no matter what, I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling that this was the right thing to do. When I finally reached the entrance of my soon to be home, I was hesitant. I stood there for what felt like an eternity. Then finally my feet started working without my mind having to control them. I walked far past the delicious looking waterfall, way farther then I intended to go but hey, this was my home and that meant I could do whatever the hell I wanted. I found a perfect area that I could build a little hut in. At that moment I completely regretted not taking my father’s hammer and a few dozen nails. However, I knew there had to of been numerous substitutes I could find in this forest. I realized the sun was coming up soon so I rolled out my sleeping bag and slept. It was a lot comfier than I imagined. I definitely could get used to it. That was the first morning I woke up without being miserable, angry and upset. That feeling ended shortly after I realized by now my family would have discovered that I’m not there. I felt guilty. I knew that my family loved me and that what I did was completely selfish but my entire life I’ve been trying to make everyone else happy. If I needed to hurt my family in order to allow myself the slightest bit of happiness, then so be it. The guilt slowly melted away as I realized I had a lot to do. I walked around the forest, leaving visible markings in the trees to remind myself how to get back. I was satisfied with the place I had picked to call my new home. On my walk I gathered wood, fruits and vegetables, twine, and large leaves. I was going to have to find logs closer to my future hut. By the time I was finished taking inventory of everything, I realized the sky was a dark orange. (After weeks of living there, I noticed that at the same time of the day, the air almost smelled sweeter and the loud buzz of insects grew softer. It was like my own personal clock.) My second night there was much more difficult than the first. I don’t remember when I started to cry and when I stopped but I hardly slept that night. I was woken up by the sound of my stomach growling. I completely forgot I hadn’t eaten the day before. I quickly munched on a few berries then went straight to work. I found nice sturdy logs that would do well for walls. All I needed now was to assemble my hut. I would never call myself a great carpenter or architect but I was satisfied with my end results.

Chapter 3

It took me a few weeks to build it but it was worth the aches and pains at the end of the day. I wish now that I was smart enough to take a few of the million pain medications my mom kept in her pantry. Anyways, I was proud of my little home. I found a few dozen sturdy logs and actually managed to shape them into a decent size with one of the larger knives I brought. I made three decent size rooms.  The walls were made up logs and held together by thousands of layers of twine, the roof was covered by three layers of large leaves. So were the holes that were left between the logs now that I think of it. Luckily Havenden (my town) had relatively warm weather. For once in my life, I was happy with the direction things were going in. I had been here about a month and a half; I mean a few nights were rougher than the others. I sometimes missed waking up to the smell of pancakes every Thursday or how my dad sang Italian songs in the shower but those were things I decided I needed to go over. I hunted at least twice a week. The animal variety in this forest was outstanding. There were wild turkeys, boars and even on a few occasions deer. I didn’t like catching deer much. They took too long to skin and I ended up letting half the meat go to waste. I was slowly but surely adjusting to my new life. I always felt I was destined for adventure and here I was. I took to calling myself Simba even though it was a male’s name and this is a forest not a jungle but whatever, it was my forest. I can call myself whatever I want. I was happy to finally feel at peace. Nothing could ruin my life until one day of course. Now, before I go on do not think that this story is a love story because it’s not. It is merely something that happened along this journey. Okay, so let me continue, it was a typical day. I made my way down to my favourite stream too take a well-deserved bath. It was a long walk but the water was clean and never too cold. At first I felt awkward being nude, and then I remembered I’m the only human here. Of course that all changed. I was minding my own business, simply lathering my hair. That’s when I heard a sneeze. Not a cute little animal sneeze, I mean the sneeze of a human. A male human sneeze. I didn’t even turn around to see who was there, I booked it. I ran until my limbs felt like they were on fire. Once I was about an hour away, I calmed down. No way could someone react that fast and follow me here. I finally got back to my house. I quickly got dressed and soon forgot what happened. I slept well that night. Running had never been my thing so you can imagine how much that took out of me. The next few weeks, I stayed as close to my hut as I could. I didn’t want to risk bumping into anyone else. After about three weeks, I let myself wander farther and farther. I was finally at ease. Then it happened. I was sitting in a taller tree near my house, lounging around and reading my favourite book that I brought. I was about to close my eyes and enjoy a little nap when I heard a twig snap. I shot up and look to where the sound came from. It was a boy.

Chapter 4

He had brown wild hair and eyes almost grey. He looked just as shocked as I probably did. After five minutes of awkward staring, he looked to the side as if thinking of something to say. “Do…you…s-speak…English?” he said extremely slowly. The first thing that went through my mind was oh my god, the first human I see in months happens to be a goddamn retard. Not that I had anything against people like that but this was my sanctuary and no one was going to take that away. I replied back, “Uh, yea I definitely speak English. Been my first language my whole life.” He sighed with relief. “Good, I thought you might’ve been some fucking forest folk who hadn’t had contact with a human before. That’s all I need. To find an extremely pretty girl and find out she doesn’t speak a word of English. That would be my fucking luck though. My mom always told me to watch my ass because of how bad my luck was. I never believed her though because she was a fucking bitch and was always too plastered to make any sense. Now I can see what she means though.” I just stared at him until he finally shut up. I’d rather have a mentally challenged guy than one who never shut up. I finally decided to end his rambling by saying, “Y’know, you talk and swear an awful lot. I’m pretty sure I just heard your entire life story and not once did you even mention your name.” He looked a little shocked at my comment, and then confused and then an expression that I have no idea what it meant. He slowly sat down, crossed his legs and closed his eyes like he was about to meditate. I climbed down from my tree and headed towards my hut, wanting to give him some privacy. “Harley.” I stopped walking and turned around, totally confused. He peeked one eye open and said in a frustrated tone, “My name, it’s Harley. I’ve never been good at talking to people like you. Like girls, especially pretty ones. Y’all make me nervous and when I’m nervous I tend to swear a lot. It’s a habit I’ve always had. You would think after 17 fucking years I would’ve adapted and took control of this bloody habit but here I am, fucking rambling on to you.” I hid a giggle with a cough. “You’re doing it again. It’s fine though. I mean, I’ve been out here for four months, it’s kinda nice to hear a voice other than mine.” I started to walk away again when I heard him get up and follow me in my hut. He was tall, his head just missing the ceiling. I didn’t know how I felt about him being in here. I decided to accept it. “This is quite a place you got here.” He said, genuinely intrigued. I decided to not answer right away for a dramatic affect. “Thanks, I built it myself. I’m still doing renovations here and there.” He looked shocked. It didn’t really surprise me. His answer however did. “I always knew women were superior in the architect world. We just live on a planet with a bunch of sexist assholes.” I laughed at that. It felt nice to laugh. As much as I laughed at my own jokes, it was nice to laughing at someone else’s. “You have a cute laugh. You’re much cuter when you don’t have the scowl on your face.” I didn’t know how to react so instinctively I stuck my tongue out at him. After that it came down to awkward silence.

Chapter 5

Awkward silence was something I never liked but who in their right mind actually does. I started twiddling my thumbs until I felt his gaze on me. I looked up and he smiled. “What?” I said completely confused. “I dunno, I just think you’re really pretty.” I was used to being flirted with at school. It was not something that I ever got flustered at. “Are you really flirting with a girl whose name you don’t even know?” I said boldly. “I don’t need to know your name to know that I like you and appreciate your face.” He answered with a cheeky grin. I let my thoughts wander and my mouth took a mind of its own. “Were you who I heard sneezing a few weeks ago?” I said absent mindedly. The red that soon appeared on his cheeks gave it away. “I didn’t…I closed my eyes as soon as…I would’ve never…I’m really sorry about that. I was running through the forest and there you were. I turned away as soon as I realized y’know and then of course I had to sneeze. I turned around to see if you were still there but you were long gone. I’ve sorta been looking for you ever since…not to be weird or anything.” He snuck up on me was the only thing that registered in my mind. I’m supposed to be a hunter. Nothing is supposed to be able to sneak up on me. I guess I had an angry expression on my face because he bowed his head saying, “Please don’t be mad.” I softened my face and said as nicely as possible, “I’m not mad that you saw me, I’m just mad that you were able to sneak up on me. I’m supposed to be a hunter and that shouldn’t be happening.” For some reason talking to this guy was easy. Whenever people used to say to me, “It’s like I’ve known you my whole life.” I would just sort of nod, not having a clue what they meant but now I did. I guess it was just nice to have someone for once not question why I had that sad look on my face or constantly pestered me about telling them what was wrong. “I don’t usually intrude like this but can you please tell me your name or else I’ll start calling you Gertrude.” He randomly said. I thought for a few moments as to how I could reply without sounding too weird so I settled with, “For the past few months I’ve been calling myself Simba. Like the lion from the lion king. He was the king of the jungle. I’m the queen of the forest, it only fit.” He chewed on his lip, trying to hold back a question when he finally sighed and said, “What’s your real name?” “Phoenix.” I said, letting the words glide off my tongue. He gave me a slight smile before he replied with a smooth, “If it means anything, Simba suits you more.” I didn’t know if he was trying to impress me or genuinely meant it so I just gave him a quick smile before I got up. I hadn’t realized how long we had been sitting there until I walked outside and noticed the colour of dark orange in the sky. I heard a stomach grumble and turned around to see Harley standing right behind me. “Sorry, I haven’t really eaten much besides berries and an occasional vegetable in like a month.” He said quickly. I had some leftover turkey that I decided to cook up. We ate in comfortable silence. The skies had finally turned dark. I rolled out my sleeping bag and Harley rolled out his. We laid outside, staring at the stars until I worked up the courage to ask him a question. “If you don’t mind me asking, why are you out here?” He didn’t even hesitate to answer. “It’s a long story but since we practically have all the time in the world, I’m gunna just keep going okay?”

Chapter 6

I nodded, hoping he would hear the shuffling sound my head made against the material of my sleeping bag. “It started about five years ago. My mom lost her job. We weren’t in financial need or anything but it bothered my mom a lot. She started drinking and becoming abusive. First she just started hitting my dad. He was a good man who would never hit her back so he just took it. Then she started hitting me and my brother. My brother was lucky. He got a scholarship to a faraway school and took it. I haven’t heard from him in three years. After he left, mom kind of stopped for a bit. Then she found out dad was leaving. He tried to take me with him but the night he tried to leave; she said that she would kill herself if he took me. I knew she was serious. I stayed. I couldn’t let her die. She tried to stop drinking but it only got worse. That’s when she met my step dad. He was just as bad as she was. He was more mentally abusive to me though. Calling me worthless and shit like that. For two years I put up with their bullshit. One night though, my step dad brought a bunch of his drunken ass friends over. I tried to hide in my room but they found me. You’re probably not going to believe me but they dragged me from my room and started beating me. My mom just sat there. She didn’t even blink. She even joined. I managed to get away. I grabbed a few things and then I ran, I just kept running and I didn’t stop until I saw you. I can’t go back there. Please don’t make me go back.” I didn’t know what to say or even how to react. Hearing this made me feel selfish and guilty. I propped myself up on my elbows and looked at him. He covered his face. “You probably think I’m weak. How could a 17 year old guy let that happen to him without throwing one punch? What a fucking pussy.” He said, crying. “I don’t think anything less of you. If anything it makes you braver. Any coward can hit back but you stayed strong for so long.” I replied, fighting back tears. In all my life, I had never felt more connected to a human before. That sounds so cheesy but y’know what? It’s true. We laid there beside each other. I don’t know when he fell asleep, nor do I know when I did.

Chapter 7

The following morning was filled with silence. I didn’t mind. After last night, I had nothing to say. We were just sitting around when he said, “I don’t know how to hunt. Can you teach me?” It caught me off guard. “How have you survived a month without having an ounce of protein?” I spat. He looked me right in the eye and started laughing. “I brought a jar of peanut butter.” He managed to say in between fits of laughter. I had to give it to him that it was pretty creative. Here I thought he was some moron. “So what about it? Teaching me hunting? I see myself as an archer or maybe someone who throws a spear!” He said, interrupting my thoughts. I laughed. All I could imagine was him falling and managing to stab himself in some fatal way. “What?” he said confused. “I just can’t help but seeing you hurt yourself in some way. Why don’t we start off with tracking?” I replied. His smirk turned into a frown. “Tracking’s for losers though. Come on!” he whined. “Hey, I’m a tracker. You calling me a loser?” I said jokingly. “You’re a tracker who can also shoot through a deer’s eye with an arrow from a bajillion yards away.” He added quickly. He had a point. Not that I would ever say this out loud but I am pretty badass with a bow and arrow. After a few minutes of silence, I guess he realized I made my final decision and gave in. After that, the training began. He was surprisingly good at it. Over the weeks I even convinced him to let me show him which berries were edible and which to stay far away from. According to him, he liked that part the most. While I went hunting, he usually stayed back or searched for some fruits to make juices (that was his idea) or just for snacks to munch on. He was quite the chef. After a month and a half of him living with me, I got used to the fact that he would be staying and I was more than okay with that. He was growing on me. It never really occurred to me that I literally knew his life story and everything to him but when it came to me, he just knew my name. Not even my full name. I planned to never tell him unless he asked. You probably guessed by now that he did ask. It took some time though. I had just got back from hunting and he was fixing up our little shack. There was a strong wind the day before so there were a few holes that needed to be patched. I dropped the few rabbits I caught on a log and sat down, exhausted. He put down whatever he was holding and sat down beside me. He looked at me with a face that said he needed to get something off his chest. After him looking at me like that for what felt like years, I looked up and shouted, “There’s clearly something on your mind. Just spit it out already!” He looked relieved when I asked and let out a deep breath. “Okay, so I hate to pester you seeing as you’re clearly the type that hates to be pestered but y’know, since we’re going to be married one day…I mean we already practically are, I really should know a little bit more about you just to make sure you don’t come from a family of raging serial killers.” “We aren’t practically married.” I said as a fact. He looked at me annoyed, “Fine. We aren’t married yet, but I do need to know who you are.” I looked at him with a serious face. “Okay. Don’t get mad at me if you don’t like what I have to say.” He nodded his head in encouragement. “My name’s Phoenix Wright. I was born July 23rd, 1998. I have three brothers and two parents that are the definition of great and they aren’t divorced. You’re probably thinking what kind of home problems I had and to be quite honest, there weren’t any. Home life was great. I was just a selfish child who only made my family miserable. Even then it was probably only in my head. I’ve been here for seven months and to tell you the truth I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.” He looked at me with a shocked face. I hadn't meant to say it with such force but it came out of me like lava coming out of a volcano. I didn’t want to hear what he had to say so I took off running to the stream where he first found me.

Chapter 8

I know it’s a cliché, but I secretly hoped he would come after me. I’ve always been a sap for that kind of stuff. I got there a lot sooner than I thought. It didn’t surprise me when he showed up about an hour later. I was expecting him to be mad. He wasn’t. He looked at me with such kindness in his eyes that it sent butterflies to my stomach. I had been denying it for months but I always knew it was inevitable that I would develop feelings for him. I hate to get all technical but it is a proven fact that if a male and female are put together in a secluded area, chances are they will develop some sort of feelings. He didn’t speak for a while which was fine by me. I needed to collect my thoughts because apparently the few hours I had been there wasn’t enough time. Finally he broke the silence by sighing. I turned to look at him and was about to speak when he cut me off. “You’re a lot less complicated than I originally thought.” He said quietly. I was taken aback. He must have seen the shock in my face. He continued to talk, “I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just that…I assumed you came from a horrible life full of abuse and everything terrible. I prayed every night that that wasn’t the case because you are literally such an amazing person. The only thing that bothers me is that you thought I would get mad for you having what I would call a perfect life. I fucking adore you more than I’ve ever adored anyone. It’s about to get a whole new level of cheesy right now but dude, you are such an incredible human being. If you say you didn’t enjoy your home life then so fucking be it. You have your reasons and I have mine. I wouldn’t have stayed with you in this scary ass forest if it weren’t for the fact that I feel safe around you. When I’m around you, I don’t have a care in the world. When I look into the massive hazel eyes of yours, I finally feel like I’ve found home.” The tears pooled down my eyes. I couldn’t even think. “I don’t want you to cry because it rips my heart in a thousand pieces. I’m not saying I love you but I care a heck of a lot about you. You’re beautiful and so smart that it makes me mad and if you don’t kiss me right now, I will write a god damn novel about everything I love about you in the mud.” He said. I grabbed his face and kissed him. It wasn’t anything overly great but it felt wonderful. Have you ever wanted two people to kiss so badly and when they finally do, you’re like wow! I wonder what that’s like. It’s fantastic. After we broke the kiss, we sat there in silence. He was right about one thing, I finally felt at home. When we left, life just went on. I finally agreed to teach him how to properly hunt and it turned out he didn’t like it much. Who would’ve thought he had a soft spot for cute animals? It was basically the same as it was before except now our relationship involved cuddling, kissing and calling each other pet names. I know I was just a stupid teenager and according to everyone, knew nothing about love. That’s fine. Over the next few months, things went grand.

Chapter 9

Of course though, every story has to have a tragic scenario. I was out at a river, taking a well-deserved bath when I heard a scream. Harley was extremely clumsy so when he screamed, I didn’t think anything of it at first. I took my time getting out. When I returned I saw him on the ground. The idiot had managed to fall out of a tree. I told him a thousand times to not climb that tree because he was so clumsy. However, he’s male. I ran over to him and inspected his body. He was unconscious. I checked his head for any gashes or bumps. To my relief, he had none. At first I thought he was fine until I saw his arm bent in an unnatural way. I had to remain calm. I didn’t have enough medical supplies to take care of him. I came to one conclusion and that was to return to the city. Before waking him up, I made a crappy sling. I flicked his nose and he shot up. At first he didn’t realize the pain but then he started screaming. I told him he definitely broke his arm and that we needed to go back. “We don’t have a medical insurance though! Or I.D for that matter.” He said, in pain. To be quite honest that never occurred to me. I chewed on my bottom lip before realizing I needed to go to my parents. “My family has insurance.” I said quietly. He had a shocked face. Before he could protest, I shot him a look that said shut up and he immediately snapped his mouth closed. I helped him up. “The walk is about a day’s walk. Fortunately there is a free phone at the entrance just in case anything like this happens.” He nodded his head, understanding. I packed a bag with minimal food and one blanket. We started our very long journey. When I said a day’s walk, I hadn’t realized how much the pain would set us back. We had to constantly take breaks. The first night was the definition of hell. I know a broken arm must kill but come on. He didn’t let me sleep at all. I almost wanted to squeeze it knowing he would pass out because of the pain. The second day of walking was much worse. I was in a horrible mood because of the no sleep I had and he was in a bad mood because well, he had a broken arm and no sleep. We ended up having to sleep in the forest one more night. I regretted not bringing a second blanket because out of all nights, it had to rain. Luckily though, I managed to find a little tree hut a child must have made. It wasn’t much but it was better than nothing. He actually slept, which was nice. The third day we finally got to the entrance of the forest. First I called 911, not wanting to talk to my parents this way. When we got to the hospital, they asked me a bunch of questions. When they asked what my parents’ phone number was, I hesitated. “Is everything alright Miss?” The female nurse asked. I blinked a few times, bringing myself back down to earth. “Yes, sorry. Haven’t slept in a few days.” I said quickly. I gave her their number and sat in the waiting room. Every time the door opened, my heart skipped a beat. Just as I was about to go see Harley in his room, they came crashing through the door. When they saw it was really me, they came running in my direction. They stopped in hesitation before my mother grabbed my shoulders and gave me a hug. It wasn’t long after before my dad joined in. We hugged for an eternity until a nurse came over and explained the situation. When I was about to tell my parents everything my mom grabbed my face and said, “Sweetie, I know you ran away for a good reason and you don’t need to tell me right now. If you decide to go back to wherever it was you were, we can talk about this after we’ve left.” I nodded with tears in my eyes.

Chapter 10

There were a million good things about my parents, but the best was how understanding they were. I brought them to Harley’s room. As I was about to walk in my mom grabbed my hand and said, “Wait a sec out here with me, okay? Your father would like to talk to him.” I nodded slowly. My mother smiled gently and pulled me aside. “Honey, you don’t have to explain everything to me but please tell me that that extremely cute boy over there is your boyfriend. If not, we’re going to have a problem.” She said, giggling. I laughed through my tears. “He is.” I said weakly. I cleared my throat. My mom pulled me in for another hug. When I pulled back, I heard laughing coming from the room. I took a step back, looked in and saw my dad and Harley laughing their heads off as if they were best friends. My mom walked in with me and I sat on the chair. My parents walked out, clearly giving us some alone time. “Your dad is way too freaking cool, holy shit. I have never met a dad who is so chill with me dating their daughter.” I laughed at him. “Any chances of me not marrying you have disappeared.” After that, I guess I passed out. I woke up a few hours later in my bed. To be honest, it was nice to be in a bed. Of course I grew accustomed to the hard ground of the forest but it was simply nice to finally have a bed with fluffy pillows and an even fluffier blanket. I crawled out of my bed, only to realize how freaking thirsty I was. Being in my house felt so strange. I knew it was my home but it felt like I was invading someone else’s territory. When I walked down the familiar stairs, I turned the corner to see my oldest brother. He dropped the water bottle he was holding and ran towards me. He scooped me up effortlessly into his arms and squeezed me until his arms ached. He cried into my shoulder and I hugged him just as tightly. After a while, he slowly knelt down onto his knees without letting go. Finally he pulled away slightly, grabbing my face. “Please don’t ever do that to me again!” he sobbed. Seth and I were always really close. Even though he was four years older than me, it never stopped him from making me always feel included. Whenever I cried, he was always the first one to cradle me in his arms and tell me to focus on his heartbeat. You might be thinking, how I could run away when so many people were there to comfort me. When you go to them almost every night, sobbing, you feel like a burden. That’s one of the worst feelings in the world.

Chapter 11

This is what I missed though. Some nights in the forest were worse than others. Sometimes I wish I was back here and had Seth telling me to focus on his heartbeat. When he finally fully let go, he helped me up. I could tell by his face that he had a billion questions. He was a super smart guy though and probably figured out that this wasn’t the time and or place. He squeezed my hand and picked up his water bottle before walking away. He turned around to give me one more glance before his disappeared into the living room. While walking to the kitchen, I saw my mum and dad discussing something at the table which didn’t surprise me. Their daughter just came back after over a year of missing. If they weren’t bloody discussing something then I’d be scared. When they finally saw me, they looked up and smiled. Not as if they were trying to hide what they were saying but in a way that meant they were glad I was finally here. My mum pulled out a chair for me then got up. She placed a tall glass of orange juice in front of me and I happily chugged it. Before I could finish my dad said, “Now sweetie, we don’t expect you to fully tell us what happen or even why you did what you did. We just want you to know that we love you. If we made you feel any other way, I need you to tell us right now, okay? You are our daughter and when I say we would die for you, I mean it.” I grabbed both of their hands and grinned. “This might sound like a really bad break up line but it wasn’t you, it was me. You guys are seriously the best parents anyone could have and I mean that in the highest respect. Y’all are always positive and smiling and always trying to make everything better. Then you have me. I am completely the opposite. From my perspective, it was as if I was making you miserable. You guys did nothing at all, this was all me.” I said through my watery eyes. My mum sniffled and wiped away a tear. “Babe, you could never be a burden, you hear me?” my mum said in her best motherly voice. Just as I was about to say something, I looked out my window and saw Harley and my second oldest brother, James, happily chatting away. My parents realized what I was looking at and they both laughed. “They’ve been attached at the hip since we came home yesterday.” My dad said loudly. I couldn’t help but laugh too.

Chapter 12

. My mother gave my father the look that meant “get the hell out, I need to talk to our daughter” but only in the kindest manner, of course. He couldn’t help but chuckle at her ridiculous face and left to go play soccer outside with Harley and James. My mum moved to the seat across from me and gave me a mischievous smile that could only mean she wanted to know more about Harley. “I came across him about two months after being there. He sorta snuck up on me, scaring the death out of me so I took off before we could have the whole introduction thing. Turns out though, he looked for me for a month. At first, he talked way too much for my liking but he kinda grew on me, y’know? After like two months of living with me, I figured he was here to stay so I taught him to look for berries and stuff. We only started dating a few months ago. He’s cool though, I knew James would like him.” My mom smiled at me, as if she already knew the story but enjoyed hearing it again. “He actually told me the story before but in much greater detail, I must add. He really does adore you, sweetie.” My mom said brightly. I smiled at her, not really knowing what to say. I looked outside to see the three of them having a good time. Then I felt a queasy feeling in my stomach. He had nowhere to go. I definitely would not be letting him go back to his mom’s and he has no idea where his dad is. He’s too old for foster care and he doesn’t have a job to even have a house. I guess my mom saw the horror on my face and immediately knew what I was thinking, “He’s gunna stay here, babe. James’ room is big enough for the both of them. He told me everything. Besides, if we sent him anywhere, it would break your father and James’ heart more than yours.” My mom explained. After that, all our lives went on. I always wondered what happened to teenagers in books or movies after they finished their big adventure. Did they continue their lives like nothing happened? Did they go back to school? Did they start families and get normal jobs? To tell you the truth, I still haven’t figured it out. I never went back to school; it was never really my thing. Harley did though. During breaks and the summer, we would go back to our home. After a few years of dating, we got married. It’s all over stereotypical to be quite honest and I seriously don’t want to bore you with all the sappy details. Sometimes I look back on the time I was away. It makes me sad to think I got at such a low point in my life but it also reminds me that every time there’s a bad thing, more good things are soon to come.

The End



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