“There was a time that I thought all was well in this world, that it wasn’t governed by the things I now am forced to see. However, these last few days have shown me just how Naïve I really was. I thought the things I heard were stories, blown out of proportion, told by the elders to keep us in check and ensure good behavior, and to keep what remained of their youth alive. It was because I didn’t listen to their warnings, their tales if you will, that I find myself in the situation I am now; my regret… is Immeasurable.
It all started when a few of my friends were daring each other to enter the woods, all in jest, but it was clear that none of them were willing to leave the clearing that our village sits in. Finding their unwarranted fear amusing I went up to them and said, “What too afraid of the shadows? Don’t tell me you actually believe the carp they tell us.”
Most of them were still smiling, though a few more the more proud ones seemed riled up. Keitaro, my friend of many years, spoke up, “If you are so unafraid, you go visit the puppeteer that lives in the forest and bring back proof?” His eyes had the usual spark in them.
I took a deep sigh and said with a lamenting voice, “I would, but I know not where her residence is; ‘Monsters’ or not a forest is dangerous when lost.”
My friend smiled, “Then you just so happen to be in luck, last time she was in town my mother go directions to her home.”
Shiratoga, who I don’t know very well, spoke with a confused face, “Why would she want directions to her home, especially when you have to go through the forest?”
Keitaro shrugged, “She has moods in which she tries out new things. Last time she tried to become the best card player, and the time before that it was carving,” he shrugs again, “Anyways that doesn’t matter what does matter is that I have directions.” He pauses to smile at me. “So you no longer have an excuse to get out of it, unless of course you are... as you put it ‘afraid of the shadows?”
I shrugged nonchalantly in response, “Well go get these directions that you claim to have so I can be off, perhaps once I come back you will see that there’s nothing out there to be afraid of.”
A short while and a few friendly taunts later I was on my way to the edge of town. The directions were written in incredibly simple and easy to understand notation, as if the puppeteer thought very little of Keitaro’s mother. I chuckled at the thought and walked out the gate hoping that they would let me just pass on through.
At first, I thought I wasn’t going to get stopped, but my luck was against me as I soon heard a guard shout, “Hey! Wait! Where do you think you are going!?”
I let out a sigh, a kneejerk response, “I am running some errands, I need to go pick something’s up from the puppeteer that came by last Festival.”
“Oh? That’s unusual, can’t say that I have heard anyone heading over that way before…Well aside from that one crazy old man, who consistently tri—“
“Sorry to interrupt,” I say as I cut him off, “but as much as I would love to hear this story, I would rather be back before dark. After all it is easy to get lost in the forest, or so I am told.”
The man shrugs, “Fair enough I would do the same where I in your shoes,” he pauses. “Take care, there a lot of dangerous things in the forest,” he finishes with a grim tone.
I wave a hand dismissingly at him, “Yeah, yeah, I have heard the tales, just as we all have.” Not that they mean anything, I thought to myself.
I hurry up to get on my way, and exited the town and entered the forest for the first time.”
“Wait, the first time you left the village? How did you manage that?” a young woman asks.
“Well, I have spent most of my time helping my father out. He fancies himself a scientist, though I have since learned he is a mere mockery of the craft,” I shrug and continue, “because of that I spent most of my time inside reading; I never had reason to leave.”
“I suppose that makes sense. Carry on.” She says with a small smile.
I nod and begin my tale anew, “As I was saying… I had just left town for the first time and began wandering through the forest with aid of the neatly written directions, really some of the nicest handwriting I have seen. I was feeling pretty confident about myself, an hour or so had passed and nothing seemed awry. However, I still had seen no sign of her home, and the directions were quickly running out of directions. It only took another forty-five minutes for the last of the directions to run out, which left me standing in an area far darker and far more over grown than from where I began.”
“It didn’t help that I was growing hungry; I hadn’t the forethought to pack and lunch, since I had assumed the trip would be short. After all, the puppeteer herself had to have made the walk. Still, I was committed to finding her home, since I figured I was a hell of a lot closer to that than I was to the village… annnd I wasn’t entirely certain I could find my way back directions or not. As if being lost wasn’t enough, I started hearing strange noises around me always moving closer, but never quite making it to me.”
“Before long I began to panic recalling the stories the elders had told many a time, and how almost all of them ended poorly. I began to start picking up my pace till I was nearly running through the forest. The change in pace only server as fuel to my fear, and I began to trip and stumble through the forest as I scrambled to get away from some unseen monster.” I rub the back if my head in embarrassment, “to be honest I’m not sure why you are so interested in hearing this tale; I imagine it must be rather boring to you.”
She waves her small hand at me dismissingly, “None sense, I hardly ever get visitors here; So I don’t mind at all, besides was it not me who asked you to tell the tale?”
“I suppose that is true,” I take a deep breath and continue.
“So, I mentioned before that I helped out with my father’s studies, what that translates to is that I have absolutely no endurance in all things physical. Here I was though, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and never once did I take that into consideration. I quickly wore myself down to straight exhaustion; I was out of breath, hungry, and most certainly lost.
I collapsed against a nearby tree, no long able to keep it up and no longer caring either way. I laid against the tree for some time slowly regaining control over my ragged breathing. Eventually, I realized I no longer heard the sounds I once did, not my own breathing, not the wind blowing through the trees. It was completely dead silent.
To break this eerie silence I said something, I can’t quite recall what I had said, but I know I immediately tried again; this time a silent curse to whatever was causing this. I am slightly proud to say that I didn’t react beyond that, but I suspect that it had more to do with being too tired and too hungry to care.
So I sat there, I sat there for maybe five minutes before a young girl with wings on her back floated, rather quickly I might add, over to me with a cross look upon her face.
She broke the unnatural silence with, “You’re no fun!” while pouting, “Most people act all funny!” she stuck her tongue out at me and flew off into the woods.
I sat there dumbfounded for a few moments before deciding that I had been hallucinating from hunger; that even if there was a girl this deep into the woods there was no way she could have flown away. ‘The stories,’ I thought, ‘must be coloring my vision.’
Still not entirely convinced by my own [strike]lies[/strike] thoughts, I unsteadily rose to my feet and continued wandering the forest forgoing the directions all together, leaving them behind. Instead of wandering aimlessly, I decided it would be best to pick a direction and stick to it. I ended up following the setting sun, so I could always align myself easily, and just kept walking that way in hopes of find the edge of the forest. It must have been hours before I came across a clearing littered with junk piles, the array of stuff was incredible. Some of it looked incredibly advanced; there were a few piles of books, and other piles still contained weapons of all sorts.” I pause for yet another breath, and realize that my throat is quite dry from speaking for so long.
“Ah, excuse me, but is there any way I could have something to drink? I seem to have spoken more than my throat cares for.”
The young woman nods before snapping her fingers. “Sakuya, if you would?” she says in a tone that implies there was no refusing.
I look around in hopes of seeing who she was speaking to, only to be mildly surprised when a cup filled with tea(?) is sitting on the table before me. I pick up the cup, unsettled but no longer outright bothered by this. After all it has been happening throughout my stay here. I still have yet to meet this Sakuya, and it quickly becoming evident that I might never.
“As I was saying, I had come into a clearing filled with junk. Curious I was, so I worked my way through taking care to say on what seemed to be a path that wound its way through. Before long, an equally messy house came into sight, and immediately I lost all semblance of being careful. I rushed to the door and knocked three hard solid times, as soon as my last knock rang out I heard something that is hard to describe and be accurate, it was sort of a high pitch crackling sound.
I looked around in confusion only to find to my right, where once there was darkness there was light and suddenly aforementioned light was racing towards me with a dull roar keeping it company, as my father might say.
I started to run, as if that would have help, and ended up tripping over some of the junk, putting me flat on my face and knocking the around of me. It only took a few seconds for the intense light and sound to pass, but to me it seemed as though a lifetime had passed.
I laid there for a good minute or two making sure that another one wasn’t going to make itself know. During this time I distinctly recall smelling a strong burnt smell, it was almost as if the air itself had been seared.
When I finally managed to gather enough courage to stand once more, I saw that there was a hole burned through quite a few of the junk piles and onwards through the forest as far as the eye could see. It was at this point that I decided this house was a place I did not want to be.”
Here is as good of a place as any to stop for now.
This will probably be error filled, mostly because I usually write this during breaks at work or when I wish to look like I am working at work.
I am not really a writer; I just picked this up because it was something to do when I had too much free time.
This likely will only be updated on weekends, possibly every other weekend depending on how much gets done during the week.
I will probably not use proof readers just due to how limited my time on the internet is.
There may not be any voting options at all throughout this story, for the previously mentioned internet time constraints.
Get a proofreader; there are errors all over the place. There's a handy site called PasteBin where you can copy your update, paste it (and set the page to expire in an hour, day, or month), and give someone else the URL. If you head to the IRC channel, there's a fellow named Fyhlen who proofs just about anything.