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Friend of the Forest

by Aimster du Clarkentine

Imaginative stories have always had their appeal for me.

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Aimster du Clarkentine on February 9, 2008

Friend of the Forest

The forest has strange, mesmerizing powers over me. Every time I approach it, it calls my name, drawing me in with the promise of some new discovery, some new adventure, and most of all, a chance to glimpse some creature in the woods. Not long ago, in the woods across the way from my home, I found myself wandering overgrown paths, following a melodious and delightful traveling tune that danced along in the breeze. Forest songs, though you cannot always hear the words clearly, are always being sung, unless danger is near. I do my best to traipse along lightly, trying not to crush the undergrowth and taking care to not damage the trees I climb for better vantage points over my surroundings. It seems the more softly I tread, the more silent a vagrant I am, the louder the song grows. It's as if the forest is pleased by my presence when I come to view her splendor and make myself as unobtrusive as possible.

This particular day, I ended up at the edge of the stream about mid-morning. Although I had never met it here before, my friend the stream bubbled happily to see me again. I sat on some lovely moss and lichen-covered rocks and removed my shoes to plunge my feet into the cold, clear water. The old stream, ancient but ever youthful, laughed at me when I yelped at the temperature of the water against my skin. Once my feet became somewhat numb to the chilly waters, the current called me out deeper into the middle of the stream's rushing revelry. I was especially enthralled by a beautiful whirlpool in the middle of an abrupt bend in the river. Slowly and tenderly stepping over slippery underwater terrain, I waded over and peered at its center a few feet from the swirl's white-crested edges. As I watched the water go round and round, something caught my eye.

--To be continued...

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Aimster du Clarkentine on June 10, 2008

Friend of the Forest, part II

The closer I got to it, the more interested I became in the object before me. Clear as the water and just as sparkling, a large round crystal-like shape stuck out of the water just high enough for the sun to take full advantage of its reflective powers. Perhaps someone threw a perfume bottle into the river? I mused. Yet I knew this idea was likely ridiculous, since I had rarely ever seen anything man-made in this part of the woods. Still, what could explain this?

Though the whirling waters wrapped around my legs so strongly they wobbled, I reached out toward the object. Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be an antique doorknob. What a marvelous find! I could barely contain my excitement as I tried to dislodge it from the center of the river. However, it was wedged firmly between the rocks, and as I twisted, I lost my balance and tumbled into the rushing current.

In the split seconds I was falling, thoughts raced through my mind of whether I would drown or not, of possible injury from the sharp rocks, and other unfortunate fates I might face. But my fears seemed suspended in time, because though I dreaded these possibilities, they never arrived. My only conscious sensations were of the sound of the water in my ears and the solid feel of the knob in my hand.

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Aimster du Clarkentine on June 10, 2008

Friend of the Forest, continued

I'm not sure how much time passed before I realized my situation had vastly changed. The next thing I was aware of was the coolness of damp earth beneath me. Darkness surrounded me, but my eyes adjusted slowly to discern glowing dots above me, in what appeared to be the ceiling of a cave. A cave that dripped water on my head. The roof of the cave was more than five feet above me, so I couldn't observe the glowing things more closely, but I guessed they were simply glow-worms.

While trying to analyze my predicament, still staring at the ceiling, I noticed what seemed like a trap door above me. Puzzled beyond words, I pondered this new discovery. Impossible! A trap door in the floor of a river! Preposterous! I've gone mad! Or maybe I'm dead, and heaven is rather...different than I'd imagined it? No, doubtful.

Not five minutes after I'd become conscious of everything, a larger light glowing in the deep darkness before me steadily became stronger. My lips tightened in anticipation and only a tiny bit of terror as I imagined what might be approaching. That must be an exit to the cave, I mused. Oh no...maybe extra terrestrials ARE real, I suddenly panicked.

But in front of me soon stood what resembled a human, only much ganglier and ghostly. This female apparition was beautiful, yet frightful, only for the fact that I had never seen anyone like her before. Her skin was almost translucent, and her hair was like fiery moss. She wore a gown of the most intricate designs made from what appeared to be natural materials. As I studied her, she smiled at me, and my dread melted away like an icicle in summer.

She spoke, and from her regal face resounded these words:
Child, at last you've come to see me personally! I am lovely to look at, aren't I?

Primping a bit, her skin became less eerily pallid, and she looked into my eyes, drawing my glance away from her apparel. I detected some vanity in this creature, as she obviously puffed up under my admiration.

Do you wonder why you're here, little forest wanderer? She laughed like a sprite.

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