_Fairytale_

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
adjectives, creature, descriptive, dreams, epiphany, fairytale

Submitted: August 04, 2013

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Submitted: August 04, 2013

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The little girl, who was all of 8 years young, tread slowly thru the dense jungle. Making no sound on the soft bed of fallen leaves, decaying vines, and moss, she nonetheless paused with each step and nervously placed one foot in front of the other. Her eyes narrowed and darted back and forth and up and down, surveying her surroundings with the trepidation of a frightened child and the efficiency of a seasoned tracker. Errant strands of hair brushed wistfully across her face as a light warm breeze of air gushed past her. Random rays of sunlight broke thru the jungle’s canopy and highlighted the dust and pollen particles in the air, which seemed to hang, unmoving and frozen in time. The vegetation grew haphazardly and as a pattern simultaneously. A feat achieved only by natural occurrences. It was untouched, uncultivated, virgin soil. A silence had taken over the jungle as soon as the girl had entered this particular clearing. There were no animals or creatures lurking, no insects buzzing about, nor was there another living human being anywhere near this land. The little girl felt it. She couldn’t explain it but there was a feeling, a gnawing at her emotions and senses at the same time.

Her grandmother had spun many tales about magic and dragons and gods and devils, all thought to be bedtime stories or fables that, when told with the voracity that the elders used in recreating their myths, would teach children and adults alike the value of life and of death. Her people believed, once upon a time, that the jungles and forests and mountains of the earth were alive. They believed that the jungle and the life cycle it supported were all interconnected, united by unseen strings. These strings bent, curved, straightened, and went crooked, darted inside and around and thru each other, thru reality, and thru our world. The girl looked on, wide-eyed and full of a mixture of fear and curiosity.

Eventually she approached a tree older and larger than she thought could ever exist. Its trunk at the ground was as wide as the little girl’s home. Its branches were as thick as her small waist, journeying up the entire height of the tree. She peered down for the first time and saw a slightly worn path of dirt no more than three feet wide overgrown with vines, grass and moss vying to reclaim the barely used footpath. It forked at the center of the tree into two paths, each winding perfectly around the tree in opposite directions. She wondered to herself how long she had been following a path of any sort. What else had she failed to take notice of in this strange place? The vegetation that threatened to reclaim the path for the wood seemed to slowly retreat at the girl’s every step. Just then, a faint hint of laughter could be heard from high up in the tree. And immediately after, a booming voice that rattled the girl’s bones right down to the marrow.

“Welcome,” said the voice, “We haven’t had visitors in what seems like forever.”

The girl breathed a deep sigh and watched as her breath turned into fog and disappeared just as quickly. She mustered all the courage her small frame could manage and asked the voice, “Please, help me. I’m lost.”

 

“Why do you think you are lost young one?” asked the voice.

“I don’t how I got here. I’m afraid. What is happening?” she asked.

The voice replied, “That is not the most important question you need to ask child.”

“What is more important than that?” inquired the girl.

“It is more important that you realize WHERE you are, young one.” replied the disembodied voice.

Just then, a pair of eyes, huge and jagged instead of oval in shape, illuminated with a neon green light. The pupils were a black darker than the deepest oceans and the green lit up the surrounding tree in an iridescent glow. The neon glow was cast across branches, limbs, leaves and moss. The only detail of the creature that could be seen was the nose of what could only be described as a lion but with shimmery scales seen reflecting the light from underneath a thin layer of silky fur. A gasp came from the small child as the creature moved into the light of the sun. A giant reptilian body, on all fours, slowly crept down the massive trunk of the tree, narrowly missing branches and slithering thru effortlessly without disturbing the moss or leaves. Its body was a sickly gray color along the spine, down around to where its legs started. Scales moved in succession with each step as its massive paws, which resembled that of a lion, gripped the tree with claws sunk deep into the ancient wood. Its tail was wrapped around the tree, with its end disappearing behind the giant oak. The head moved towards the little girl, bringing the gnarled face that resembled an old tiger but with scales flexing underneath the barely-there fur that covered its head. The creature was missing one ear and had a mangled mess of flesh where it should’ve been.

“You are powerless here child. That is, unless you deduce where here is. One path leads to your home, out of this place and the other, an endless journey that will wear your very feet down to nubs.” said the creature.

“I don’t underst-st-s…” attempted the girl but her sentence was interrupted by her tears.

“There, there little girl. The sun yet shines. This means you have time. Choose a path.” It continued. “Find out where here is.”

“You said YOUR jungle. Why can’t you tell me if – ,” she asked.

The creature interrupted, “It is mine, and it is not. Go now, little girl. Choose a path. Understand this place and find your home. This jungle is the key to itself.”

 

The little girl glanced down, contemplating in the silence of the jungle. The only sound she could discern was her own breathing. The only movement; that of her breath hanging on the impossibly cold air. She looked at the base of the tree for what seemed like an eternity. When she looked up, the creature had vanished with no sound she could recall. She stared intently at the tree. The wood grain began to move. It swirled and slithered in its own pattern, around knots, up branches, into holes and back out, around the other side of the tree. Following itself in its own infinite loop, it danced and swirled. The girl could not find rhyme nor reason in her mind for picking either path. There was no choice. There was no right or wrong answer. Her fate was sealed as a game of chance with 50/50 odds of her surviving by picking the correct path. She had no information or knowledge about either choice.

Soon, in a far off distance from the tree, the jungle’s very ground seemed to surge and flex as trees and bushes swayed back and forth. A ripple of movement snaked across the jungle’s floor. Prehistoric birds and extremely large insects along with what can only be described as immensely large squirrels, and various monkey-like creatures leapt from the topmost branches of the trees. Flying and leaping overhead, thru the only opening in the canopy, the creatures fled with the same ferocity they would previously use in hunting their own prey. The girl stared up thru the opening as rays of sun beat down on her face while her breath froze into a vapor in mid air. This place was impossible, she thought. Even with the realization that her current location defied all laws of her own, she still felt the dread of some unknown entity bearing down upon her. She was sure she was dreaming, yet all the while fearful of a gruesome fate at the hands of whatever was now pursuing her.

She reached out yet again with her tiny hand, outstreatching her fingers towards the tree. The upheaval behind her had reached epic proportions as trees, bushes, and entire pieces of the jungle floor were uprooted and tossed into the air. The girl lowered her head. Even while looking at her small feet, she could feel the sun setting. She felt the rays slowly arc towards her feet and the ground as day turned into night. A voice echoed inside her head, repeating over and over that this was not her grandmother’s fairytale. There were no dancing fairies or singing woodland creatures at her beck and call, ready and eager to do her bidding. Tiny blue birds were not landing on her fingertip, eager to whistle in her ear. A handsome prince on a white steed would most definitely not bend the curve in the path, riding gallantly to whisk her away, back to her home. The child looked up from her own trembling feet which were now as steady as the large tree she studied. The wood grain had stopped snaking its course and the jungle had calmed. The only movement she could see was the particles hanging in the errant rays of sunlight. Just then, she realized where she was.

 

Her vantage point had changed now. Her eyes seemed to meet the tree about three feet higher than previously viewed. The jungle seemed smaller now; less overpowering. The tree somehow felt shorter and the branches were less imposing upon second glance. The creature’s words rang in her head; ‘it is the key to itself’.

She placed her hand, which miraculously seemed larger, flat against the tree, causing ripples to rush outwards, thru the tree, the jungle, thru time and space like that of a rock dropping in a pond. She retracted her hand and the ripples stopped, collapsing in on the center point where her hand had been. A tall tree in the distance looked as if it was changing shape. It morphed into a rectangular shape as did others all around it. Soon, the bushes and smaller saplings behind the giant old oak began to take the shape of other people. Then the ancient tree began to shrink in size vertically. The dead leaves and moss fell to the ground and evaporated as it too turned into gray concrete. The large tree had shrunk in size so dramatically that it now barely stood more than a few feet over the girl. She glanced over her shoulder, towards the path she had walked down to reach the tree. It had turned into a paved walkway lined with flowers. The girl turned back and saw the skyline of a metropolitan cityscape thru a large window, high up in a skyscraper. She gasped as a loud voice spoke behind her.

“Time to go! Break’s over!” said the voice.

The girl turned away from the window and saw a massive room full of cubicles, all laid out and lined up identically down the entire length of the room. There were aisles between each row of cubicles and people buzzing about, carrying papers and files and pushing racks of computer equipment.

“Impossible,” she muttered under her breath.

She turned once more, back to the windows which were now dark and covered in the foliage of the jungle. Leaves, moss, trees, and brush pressed up against the glass as night crept into the jungle. Two disembodied green eyes with pupils as black as the deepest ocean appeared in the background amongst the foliage. The creature’s voice chimed in her head.

“You’ve chosen two paths at once dear child. Impressive but you still managed to miss the third.” it said.

She closed her eyes and the world went as black as the creature’s pupils.

“Your own.” echoed the creature’s voice in her mind.


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