After she left the forest, the shiny light that surrounded everything dazzled her for a moment. She hadn’t seen such a sight in a long time. She was wandering around aimlessly, when she glimpsed at a stranger with a huge backpack.
For a moment, they stared at each other surprised. The woman the stared at the man, and the man started at the frightened woman. Then, not saying anything, the stranger shrugged and continued his journey. As the monster followed him with her eyes, she noticed tons of people wandering to the same direction as the traveller.
The monster decided to see what was happening there. At first, she found herself in a little town. Its name card announced; Royal Town. Busy people were buzzing around everywhere she looked, and the enticing smell of cakes and other different dishes filled the air, throughout the square.
“Excuse me! Excuse me, Miss!” The voice came from behind and it took time for the monster to realise that that “Miss” was herself. She turned to the direction of the voice and she faced a kind young man.
“Excuse me for disturbing” he apologised. “But aren’t you by any a chance a Viridian? You know, one of those people who live in the forest” his eyes gleamed with excitement. The monster was puzzled. She lowered her head and stared in front of herself. “Viridian” mumbled as if she was in trance. The name she did not want to hear ever again. It is true, she was called by that name long ago. Like every people in the forest. However, nobody lived in that forest anymore. Then, the stranger interrupted the sudden flow of her thoughts. “Excuse me. Apparently I was wrong, it’s just you know your hair and everything” he was gesturing intensely as he spoke. The, he showed another gentle but a bit frustrated smile, apologised again and left the monster. The fragile creature just stood there, abandoned in the middle of the bustling city.
She glanced at a boy, at first she didn’t know why he grabbed her attention. His hair and eyes were the same as the monster’s. The boy was heading towards the port, he wore causal but elegant clothes and was carrying a sack in his hand. The monster, as if she was led by her feet instead of her will, took her way to the direction of the young boy. She did not go too close, as she was afraid to address him, instead she just observed him silently. She thought she should go with the vessel as well but at first, she needed appropriate clothing and probably the travel has expenses. So she dropped her tatty cloak underneath which a knee-length, long-sleeved, greenish-brown gently tailored dress was hiding. The dress itself was perfectly clean and undamaged, it enhanced her slender and delicate body.
The gentle rolling of the vessel filled her body with a warm feeling. When she was a little girl, she and her mother used travel a lot and always on a ship. As she was staring at the rolling waves, she noticed something under it. Wonderful trees with white blossom in a sunlit forest. And then, that word echoed in her head again; Viridian.
After a few years of travelling, as soon as they settled down in a blooming little village they found themselves in the middle of a yet to know festival. By that time, the monster was more like a young lady than a little girl. Around them, scents, music and sweet melodies circulated everywhere. A moment later, a group of peculiar people took the stage. Every, previously bustling people stopped whatever they were doing and watched them petrified with amazement. Their magical dance, their special clothes and their sweet songs. After they finished their performance, a more peculiar man stepped to the young lady, with a shining smile on his face. He grabbed her hand, twirled her around, and put a flower in her hair. The man kissed the girl on the cheek, twirled her again and moved on. The girl blushing, put her hand on her cheek right to the place of the kiss, and watched the beautiful man with an unknown feeling in her heart. He greeted everyone with a warm smile, but he never went as close to anybody, as to the girl.
After the festival, the girl went to the crossroads and the other villages frequently, to explore each and every spot of her new home. He met the beautiful man again, who greeted her with that shining smile. Later, the man kept her company every time she went to explore. They walked through the surrounding areas, hills, mountains and rivers and finally, he showed her The Forest of Eternity, as it was called back then.
His name was Arin, almost like mine; Amarine. He always held my hand and never let go of it. The warmth that came from his strong hand reached to my heart. We spent more and more time together, exploring new places. After a while people started to talk about us. They did not gossip, instead they smiled looking at us and our close relationship.
He told me a lot. About the Viridians, the forest, and that how long they had been living there, even when the other villages were nothing but uncultivated fields. Their amazing history mesmerised me. Due to the several travels that characterised my childhood I had never felt that I would belong to anywhere. But in the forest, I felt something that I never did before. Though, people usually were kind to me, the thing the Viridians gave me could not be compared to that. Acceptance, understanding, kindness and magic. That’s what they gave me. Before my realisation, the forest became my real home. I learnt the dances and songs and soaked up as much light as I could. I was happy, really happy. But on the inside I was afraid. I feared that once again we will set off and I cannot see my precious friends, my family, and especially Him ever again.
One day, when I got home, to the house where I lived with my mother, she greeted me smiling. I got frightened that my fears weren’t groundless. She used to smile that way whenever she announced that we are moving away. But this time she didn’t say anything. Her smile was kind and full of love. She didn’t tell me the reason no matter how many times I asked.
The next day, I woke up to a sunlit morning. Mother was smiling even more happily. I asked her again but she didn’t answer, only kissed the top of my head. Arin was already waiting for me to go to the forest again. There, the ladies took me to a beautifully decorated, and seemingly uninhabited house and they changed my clothes to a long silk-like white dress and they put a wreath on my head made of white cherry blossom. That was the happiest day of my life. We danced in the shiny forest. In the warm light my dark hair seemed to be chestnut, just like everyone else’s. When, as part of the ceremony, we washed our faces in the little spring, my ocean blue eyes looked a bit greener. I arrived home, at last.
We lived like that each and every day. One day, our extended to three members. Everyone in the forest was as happy as we were. They put the little newcomer in their arms, they blessed him and played with him. When he arrived, a new and yet to know type of little tree grew out of the soil. Right next to the one that grew when I first entered the forest.
Arin made a swing for the little boy, with which we spent several wonderful hours. But one day we woke to a cold, icy morning. The leaves of the trees were frosted and a thick, smoke-like fog wreathed the whole forest. The Viridians had never experienced anything like that before. And then, we heard it. The shouts of tons of people from every direction. The smell of lit torches filled the air, hurting my eyes and throat. Around me, every eye was gleaming with terror. The faces were distorted, at first with fright and pain, and later resignation. I had no idea what was happening and then Arin turned to me.
Take the child! Take him to your mother and stay there with him!” He shouted throughout the loud noise.
“But..” But he kept speaking.
“Go! Use the hidden path! Hurry! We don’t have much time left!” He hugged me hurriedly and pushed me away.
I ran as fast as I could. My little son held my hand strongly, I carried him so we could go faster. We could hear the noise as people invaded the forest while they were shouting.
“You want to get a hold of our lands!”
“You liars! You don’t want to do any good to us!”
“We don’t believe you anymore!”
“You use your magic to deceive us! You even lured that innocent girl into your trap! Where is she? Where is she now? You have killed her already, haven’t you?!”
“You want to rule over us! You want us to be your slaves, don’t you?!”
And they said such outrageous things. As I was running, the screams behind me grew louder. I glanced back and I saw the Viridians not doing anything. Though, the youngsters screamed, nobody ran away. They didn’t even try to save their lives. All the accusations were false, yet they acted like captured criminals waiting for their punishment silently.
The sight brought a tear to my eyes. Running away was a bad idea. I have to go back. I’ll ensconce my son, then I go back and prove their innocence. I have to save them, my family.
As I was approaching the end of the hidden path I saw my mother’s terrified face. She was clever to take this road.
“What happened? What is this horror?” She asked hurriedly. I didn’t answer, only put my son’s hand in hers.
“Take him with you! And don’t let him leave until I come!” I kissed mother’s cheek and then my son’s, which was wet with tears. He didn’t want to let go of my hand. I patted his head and promised that I would come back soon. And I started running again. I could hear him crying my name out loud. I ran, faster than ever but it was already too late.
Most of the houses have been demolished, tons of trees fell and smoke filled the air. People, my precious friends were lying on the ground throughout the forest. I couldn’t believe what I saw there. My eyes, teary from smoke and sadness impatiently swept around the area when I saw him. He was lying before our house his chest was covered with blood. He was still conscious. I fell onto my knees and carefully put his head in my lap.
“You came back!” He sighed with a dim smile on his face. I was crying and shivering. I thought if I had stayed here this would have never happened. Maybe I could have talked to the people, maybe they would have understood me.
“Don’t cry!” He said and stretched out his hand and caressed my face. That made me cry even more. I knew this was the end. Of everything. He was still smiling. “We all knew very well that this would happen once. We were ready. It was the people who weren’t ready for us. They don’t understand us. This is the way they are; afraid of the unknown. Don’t cry! It’s fine.”
“Nothing is fine! I should have stayed here with you!” I shrieked.
“You are different from us” his words hurt me. Although he was right this was the place I belonged.
“I love you” he said, now whispering. I bent and kissed him. My tears fell on his face. These were his last words to me. After that, he shattered, only a pile of colourful leaves remained in my hands. Something broke inside of me. As I looked around, only leaves, colourful rocks and decayed trees were everywhere. Only two smaller trees bloomed happily, as if nothing had happened. The pain was unbearable. My silent sob turned into an ear-splitting scream. The wind rose, dark clouds gathered above me, and the trees that surrounded the forest, bent and grew together, locking me up.
Nothing was left. Just me. All alone. In the dark forest.