Thought I'd post a short story even though no contest this month. If you have one of the same theme of getting lost in the woods, fairies, etc, post
it here too. You'll get nope points good for a no-prize of equal value.
I wrote this mainly for the last scene. If I could draw more than bent stick figures, I'd hang the last scene in my living room. Everything else was
a vehicle to get there.
The window was open just enough to let in the cool night air. The tempting tune of cicadas floated lightly into the darkened room. She stood near it,
indecisive. Her body wanted to escape into the dark and dance. Her feet tapped unconsciously.
Her mind told her to go back to bed.
From inside she watched the fireflies gradually illuminate the yard. A random series of flashes at first, yet as time went on, she realized the
insects were forming an archway.
They were showing her a path.
Her hands trembled. She clenched them tightly to halt the shakes.
Back to bed! Back to bed!
Sooner or later, she was going to move from this window, although where she would end up was not clear. Would she return to bed, or would she slip
Ignore it! It’s nothing! Go to sleep!
The sound of the cicadas seemed somewhat louder now. A chill breeze seeped through the gap in the window. It brought with it the earthy smell of moss
and leaves and dirt and, and, and the overwhelming need to run.
She pressed a hand to the cool glass pane. The warmth of her skin made it seem colder than it actually was. Her eyes scanned the dark yard, watching
the fireflies continue to glow patiently.
Her bare feet slipped through the damp fescue. It was tall enough to graze her hands, and the tender touch of its blades woke her from her daze. Her
heart began to race.
Turn around! Go back inside!
Her mind was screaming at her body to stop, turn around, go back. Her resolve was long gone. She had looked out into the night and allowed herself to
be drawn into it.
The overwhelming silence engulfed her. Her thoughts became muddled. She struggled to understand how the sounds of insects and tree frogs could sound
so empty, insubstantial. They were both close yet distant at the same time.
Her feet made no noise as they reached the tree-line. The pleasantly foul smell of moldering wood and damp flowers drifted to her from within the
depths of the woods.
No hesitation as she pressed forward.
The fireflies had followed her as she crossed the threshold of trees. Those little navigators lighted a clear path directly in front of her, never
straying to the sides.
Turn away! Turn away!
Twists and turns, she followed the lights. At first it seemed almost impossible, progress halted by stray branches and bushes laying in her way. Yet,
the further she endeavored, the easier the way became. Only now did she realize the moon had become hidden behind clouds, the vivid light cast by the
fireflies her only hope.
All resistance had melted away, her body moving independently of her mind. For better or worse, she would follow this through to its end.
One more turn left. She could feel it. One more bend, and she would reach the goal. Wherever she was going, here it lay before her.
And then the fireflies were gone, their light snuffed out without warning.
Complete darkness set in. She could feel her eyes grasping for even the faintest strand of light in the thick, oppressive nothingness ahead. She felt
her ears pop as everything went silent as well. All of her senses dimmed. Even the ground beneath her feet felt immaterial and intangible.
A sharp flash of red nearly blinded her.
A stream of red fireflies erupted from the ground, racing to the sky in a swirling pattern, followed by a purple stream. A green one. Orange. Pink.
The groups of lights behaved as if they were one, a series of glowing, colorful ribbons twisting throughout the pitch black night. Whirling,
illuminated tornadoes dancing around each other. The intensity caused her to shield her eyes.
Then came the laughter.
When her sight adjusted once more to the scene, she realized that these were not insects. The lights had the form of tiny glowing people. There were
hundreds of them, holding hands as they twirled up and down the streamers of colors they belonged to. As beautiful as the display was, her vision
drifted beyond the spectacle, seeking the source of the laughter.
Within the center of the glowing beings, an old man sat upon a large stone. In one hand, he held a jug and in the other he held a rifle. His face was
aged and covered in a chest length white beard. He wore tattered overalls, a dirty white shirt, and a wide brim hat that looked to reveal more than it
Their eyes met in the clearing.
There was no reflection.
There was no light.
There was a throaty chuckle.