Why was I here again? My head spinning and seemingly filled with nothing but fog I stumbled through the thick, green forests I had finally reached. I remembered needing to get here under any circumstances. I knew me being here was important. Worryingly I just couldn’t remember the most vital part – why I was here in the first place.
These forests had gone by many names over the centuries. I had done my research before coming here, and most of its names had not been good. Currently, it depended on who you asked. Most people called this place A’Ba R’Zhan – The Slow Death. The people inhabiting this forest called it Rha’Shal. The Green Haven.
I let myself fall against one of the largest, most healthy trees I had ever seen, and took in my surroundings. The thick moss underneath me was soft and comfortable, the air was clean unlike where I had grown up, and there was an odd feeling in the seemingly green air, spiked with life. Birds were singing here and there, spread throughout the woods, but most of all the silence struck me. There was no other living soul around as far as I could see. Naturally, the nature of a forest such as this prevented me from seeing past the next four rows of trees without having to shift where I was looking from. There was no wildlife besides the few birds I could hear, and there certainly were not any dryads!
I scratched my head. If only I could remember… Maybe it had been pointless to come. There was nothing here, no dryads, no settlements, not even any squirrels, or rabbits. Even the birds I was only aware of by sound only. No matter how hard I tried, I could not see any in the many trees around me.
Slowly I got up. The thick woods seemed to be closing in around me, and I knew I should have run but I could not. My legs were heavy from the long journey, and I still could not think straight. Now that I was standing up again I could no longer tell which direction I had come from, never mind where the fastest way out would be.
Finally I decided on going what I thought was north, but stopped dead in my tracks when I saw her.
A living, breathing dryad. A spirit of the forest. And she was staring right at me, halting my own breath in my throat. Breathing no longer seemed all that important.
Too scared to react, I took her in as she slowly, majestically, glided towards me. Life seemed to be crackling all around her, and if I had not known any better I could have sworn that flowers were bursting into being just by her being close enough. The sun shone brighter where she stepped, the air around her seemed healthier merely by being in her presence. Her body was as slender as every book I had ever read on them described, her vine-laced skin a miracle of nature. She was mere inches away from me, and I still could not tell whether she was smiling, or grinning.
She reached out, possibly with curiosity, and gentle as a summer breeze her twig-like fingers caressed my skin.
That’s the last thing I remembered before I passed out, and she breathed my new life into me.
All of my 10-Minute stories are improvised, unplanned, and unedited apart from spelling and grammar mistakes. The idea is to kick-start the dreaded Monday with a short, creative exercise without thinking about it, and simply writing for the sake of writing.
For all other 10-Minute shorts, take a look here.