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The Forest and The Young Boy

The unknown is perhaps what saves us

By Joshua MaggsPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 9 min read

Years had passed with exceeding hurry. The forest had become dark and gloomy, with its once vibrant colourful life, hushed out like a flickering flame of a candle. The forest extended for as far as the eye could see. Its edges shrouded with hedges that protected itself from anything from the outside world. The track once walked by many, now barely visible as weed vines overtook it. The forest was once a place of joy and delight – now a skeleton of its former glory.

A few miles south lived a small family in a tiny cottage. The young boy sat up in his bed. He turned his head and looked out through the glass window mesmerized by the forest but, it always scared him. The forest looked black, with hardly any light penetrating its thick canopy. The tall hedges surrounding it allowed for no one to peer inside – not even the young boy. It looked sad, alone and forgotten about. The young boy felt a sense of sorrow for the forest, yet the fear of what was lurking inside behind those hedges was enough to deter him from ever wandering close.

A few days had passed. The sun was shining with a full blue sky as the young boy left the cottage and met his friend along the dirt road. “Aye, how are you?” the friend asked as the young boy held onto his red ball. “I’m good”, he replied as he looked towards the forest. His friend noticed him looking. “Why do you keep looking at the forest? You know no one has been in there for a very long time. It’s dangerous!” The young boy turned toward his friend, “Why would it be dangerous?” he asked, genuinely concerned about what his friend had just said. “I’ve heard the forest can speak. The old man that lives on the corner in the village, said his friend got snatched by roots from the tree in the middle of the forest – and he was never seen again…” The young boy just stared at his friend. He turned and looked at the forest and felt pain within his heart, just as if the forest was speaking to him. “I don’t think so, what a stupid thing to say!” he replied, as his friend pushed him on his shoulder. “What? Maybe you should walk into the forest and find out if you don’t believe me!” The young boy was tempted by his friend’s suggestion, yet the forest did still look quite uninviting.

“Go on! Don’t be scared!”

“I’m not! I’m… I’m…”

“You’re not what? Just do it.”

“Fine. I’ll go in. I’m not scared…” the young boy replied as the fear of the unknown of walking into the forest suddenly overtook him.

The forest became closer and closer the more he walked toward it. He could feel his heart beat faster as he came to the edge. His friend, standing a good several metres behind him, yelled back at the young boy. “I’ll wait here for you…” He looked at his friend and then turned and looked at the ground before his feet. A line in the dirt separated the world he knew and the world that lay before him. The darkness of the forest was eerily unnerving. The sunlight didn’t enter above the trees in forest. The weed vines strewn over the branches of the dozens of trees that lined the old dirt track, gave him a sense of abandonment, as he took a step forward.

The ground was soft underneath his shoes, the dirt felt like a fine powder – silky smooth yet firm to the touch. The young boy knelt and picked up a small amount of dirt and placed it in his other hand. The large tree on his left moved its branches slightly, with the rustling of its leaves startling the young boy. There wasn’t any wind inside the forest. It was still. The boy quickly looked up just as the leaves settled again. He stood up and walked over towards the tree. He looked it up and down. He noticed a weed wrapped around the bottom of the trunk at the ground. It looked as if the weed vines were growing tighter around the trunk, and it looked like the tree could be in pain. The young boy placed his hands on the long intertwining vine of the weed and pulled. It wouldn’t budge. He tried again, yet couldn’t move it. He was determined to help this tree and continued to pull at the weed.

Quietly, yet noticeably, a slithering sound began somewhere deep in the forest. The young boy heard it and stopped pulling the weed. He could feel something happening as he held onto the vine. It was moving within. He could feel some sort of rhythm – like a heartbeat inside of the weed, as if they were coming alive. He quickly let go out of fear and unknowingly took too many steps backward. He stumbled over a rock on the other side of the track and fell backward into a small hedge. He lay there and felt the scratches on his arm. He was bleeding. Then he noticed it – the vine had begun wrapping itself around his feet.

The young boy jumped up and began running down the dirt track, with the vine coming loose as it squirmed itself along the dirt track behind him. The forest became alive. The trees throughout the forest began rustling their leaves in some sort of support for the young boy. The forest was beginning to beat again. The weed vines became move active – some wrapping themselves more around the trunks of the enormous trees, as others splintered off and began moving along the ground behind the boy.

The boy was starting to lose his breath as he became tired. He had been running for a few miles heading deeper and deeper into the forest. The dirt track seemed to continue forever as it weaved in and out of the large trees. The weed vines continuing to follow him with speed from behind. He couldn’t keep running. Up ahead, a large tree stood in the middle of where the dirt track split off into two sections. One leading to the left and the other to the right. Neither track seemed to look any different from the other. He ran up towards the tree and placed his right hand onto it. As he placed his hand upon the rough bark of the enormous tree, he noticed a glistening light begin from behind his handprint. The tree creaked and groaned as this light travelled up into the leaves and the thousands of branches above him. The weed was still slithering at a fast speed along the track behind him. He turned his head and placed his other hand on the tree. He was full of fear. He had no idea what would happen to him if the vine reached him. The trees surrounding were wrapped tight with the same vines, as if imprisoned. He knew that would be him if he didn’t keep moving – but which way to go?

The glistening light faded into the canopy as the young boy tried to decide on which way to go. He looked to his left and then to his right. He didn’t know. The vine now metres behind him. Two tracks in front of him. He closed his eyes. Suddenly, he felt something on the back of his neck. It startled him! He opened his eyes and turned quickly to see what had touched him. As he turned, he noticed one of the trees had moved closer with one if its branches outstretched like an arm. He was in shock and confused as to how the tree could do such a thing. He looked at the trunk and then the branch. The branch signalled with its thousands of leaves down the track to his right.

The vine was now reaching his foot as he looked down towards the track. He knew which way to go. He shook the vine off his foot as it lurched up, trying to wrap itself around the boy’s knee. A sudden gush of wind blew through the leaves as if the leaves were shouting “Go!” He began to run faster than ever before. He looked back for just a second as the vine had attached itself to the tree that he had just ran from. The tree visibly struggling as the vine began to overtake the branches and its trunk.

The boy kept running until he came to a clearing. In the middle stood the largest tree he had ever seen, significantly bigger than any of the others in the forest. He remembered that his friend had mentioned this tree. Its roots and what the old man had said. He stopped to get his breath back for a moment.

He could hear the forest coming alive with slithering weed vines closing in on him from all directions. He turned with his back facing the tree as he stepped backward trying to observe where the vines would appear from next. The boy stopped with his back leaning against the trunk of the tree. The vines appeared from his left side and moved hastily towards his feet. He turned quickly and hugged the tree, placing both his hands up against the rough bark and his chest against the trunk of the mammoth tree.

“Hush!”

The boy heard an audible word from the forest. It was communicating with him, but how? The glistening light he saw earlier suddenly appeared from the canopy and made its way down the trunk of the tree. The boy watched as the lights made their way to where his hands were placed on the tree. The vines moving in closer by the second, as the canopy began to come alive. Branches began moving with millions upon millions of leaves starting to flutter. The forest was speaking. The young boy could feel it. He could suddenly feel something through his hands – like a pulsating heartbeat.

“Thank you!”

The forest spoke to him. The young boy looked up in amazement and awe, as pulsating lights moved up along the trunk of the large tree - straight into the canopy again. The ground beneath the boy began to suddenly grow green as new life sprung out from beneath, like a blanket being stretched. The vines started struggling to move as this new growth overcame it, spreading further and further. The trees surrounding the clearing began to shake as the vines lost their power over them. The young boy could hear the vines fall across the whole forest, like sticks hitting fallen leaves on the ground.

“We were waiting for you…”

“Me? Why me?” he replied, not exactly expecting a response.

A whooshing sound could be heard throughout the trees above.

“You knew the truth and showed us love again.”

The boy stood back, removing his hands from the tree. He could feel the earth rumble and the trees shake.

“We were forgotten about. The weed vines taking over, becoming a fortress we could not escape. Yet, you did not forget about us. Watching us every day from your cottage. You felt sorrow and came to us when you didn’t know why. You saved us…”

The boy looked around at the clearing he was standing in. Small flowers of all different shades of colours filled the ground. The sunlight from outside the forest began to seep through the canopy. The weed vines no longer holding any power over the forest allowed it to breathe new life again. The boy turned around and faced the track he ran in from. He could clearly see the way out as the trees cleared to make it easy to follow. He looked up and smiled. For a second, he noticed the large tree smile too.

“Goodbye, and thank you..!”

With that, the young boy found himself standing at the edge of the forest. He could see the green new life all around, with the line in the dirt now gone. Then he realised. Not only was he there to save the forest, but it was also there protecting him.

Short StoryFantasy

About the Creator

Joshua Maggs

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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Comments (1)

  • Flamance @ lit.2 months ago

    Congratulations 🥳 top story

Joshua MaggsWritten by Joshua Maggs

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