Two. In the Forest

A knife of wind cut through the leaves above the girl’s head. Their shredded remnants bolted forward and so did she, running with her arms pulling at the air.

“Lyric Doherty!”

Had she truly heard her name being called? Or was it the same shriek of air taunting her in a voice disguised as soft and kind? Lyric brushed the thought aside, ignored the call and kept to the path. To stray meant more danger than to keep to the footway she now traveled by memory.



          This time the voice certainly came from the level of her hearing, whispered on the tongue of a tree branch. Lyric stopped, and only in stopping did she make out the slight glow of ground, just to the right of the pathway—a shimmer like water. The light from a single star illuminated that one spot ever so slightly.

          Lyric took a few more steps then slowly dropped to her knees. Her eyes fixed on the small pool of grass. She stared a long while, or what seemed a long while. The dry foliage above her head thrashed against itself, sounding a familiar warning.

          Something is here, she thought. Her fingers quivered as she threaded them through the blades. The task required care, or otherwise whatever called her might slip away, as it sometimes did if she were too eager. The object might sink into the ground or dissolve into the air or… What’s this?

          As if it had been there all along and she had simply been too foolish and impatient to find it, a tiny spiral appeared in the center of the pool of light. Lyric gently lifted it between index finger and thumb. She opened her hand, and once the spiral nestled in her palm, the grass returned to its forest-green hue. A churning cloud dimmed the light from the star above. A crash of wooden symbols, here, there, all around. A screech brought her to her feet again, and then caused her to run. Something followed.

          Something old. Something frigid as all of winter all at once. The creature she could not see nipped at her heels and ankles, grasped at her clothing as if it were plucking threads, pressing her on and toward the point of light at the end of the path. Her desperate destination. Her home.

          The pinpoint of light drew Lyric up the path and through a bone-chilling cold that surrounded her, shaking and rattling her from the inside to out. The only comfort came from the small find in her pocket, warming her fingers wrapped around it.

          The pinpoint grew larger, but so did the thick shadows that slunk through the trees following her sight in the corner of her eyes, outside of where she could get a clear view of them even when she turned her head. A limb dropped in front of her and she tripped, falling forward but catching herself before she reached the ground. Her hand did not let loose of the object.

          Inside of her ear, someone whispered her name in a silky tone, as if to urge her on. Hearing the voice caused her to press forward with even more determination.

          Then the light became the round window in a doorway as the trees parted to let her pass. She opened the gate, stepped through and closed it behind her. She briskly walked a few steps into the yard until she reached the door. Once there she clutched the handle as her breath raced in and out of her lungs.

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excerpts from the mists of na crainn

in the forest

A knife of wind cut through the leaves above the girl’s head. Their shredded remnants bolted forward and so did she, running with her arms pulling at the air.  More…

the planetarium in the attic

Configurations of stars-the hunter, the sleeper, the twins and the regal peacock-burnished the pallet of sky before her eyes.  More…