A Chance Meeting in the Wood
Yemo's eyes opened slowly . He was on his back looking up to a green canopy overhead. He laid there for a minute, eyes focused on the scenery. A light mist hung over his head and weaved its spell through the thickened branches. Where was he and how did he get here? He could not recall the day before, or many days before, but his mind tried to drift back to years gone by. He was old as the mountains, no doubt about it. He could not remember the day or the time, or when he was born. He saw some visions of something when he closed his eyes, a figure here, and battle there, but hard as he tried straining, he could not identify where he was now and what he had been doing.
He tried to groan, but no sound came out, his throat was bone dry. His mind urged him on, He suddenly had a spark of thinking, his eyes squinted in concentration. He remembered roaming through many forests such as this, with others like him, their legs pounding steadily and they tramped through the leaves, searching for food and water. Roaming free under the blue skies and flying to the clouds, puffing smoke and breathing fire as the whiteness rippled in their wake. Beings got in their way, and they plowed through them, sustaining their invincibility, their lives, their breed.
He sighed, and a meager stench of hot air bristled from his dulled teeth. There was not much left of him now, withered claws darkened and dry scales. His wings were weak , color faded. He turned over thudding and moaning as he wrestled with the vines covering him, how long had he been here? Out of the corner of his dark eyes, once gleaming with menace and strength, he noticed a movement between the trees. It was small and lithe shifting near the birch. His aged eyes must be playing tricks on him, as he could only make out the figure as a blur. He realized that he had made little effort to move, much less investigate. He was tied up in the brambles and vines and just did not have the strength to break free. The figure started darting closer, first beneath the trees, then around them. The pine blocked the view of it at times, but it was most assuredly getting closer.
Manu was behind a tree when he saw something move, it came up out of the earth thudding and trying to twist out of its stick led cage. It squirmed like the worms he dug up to eat, until he chopped them with a sharpened stick. He peered closer, his young eyes catching the animal's efforts in vain. He was curious as most young ones are, to see the creature up close. He had been in this wood his whole life, he remembered some faces, they seemed so distant now, but being alone was worse than being scared with something. He continued to move his way toward the bundle, not knowing what it may be, but remembering stories, stories his father told of beasts in the air and in the forest, preying and hunting.
Yemo searched for the thing he saw, maybe it was just a dream. He sputtered as fire rose up in his throat. He closed his large wrinkled eyes and then blinked. It had turned dark, he was still wound in his wood casket. But just then, along a thin sliver of last light the figure appeared, a young boy, right in front of him, dressed in tattered rags, looking at him with concentration. It was a curious look in the middle of this wood, the youth alone. It was almost comforting to see something else alive besides the trees. He opened his eyes fully and stared into the boy's brown eyes. Those eyes showed understanding, knowing what being left alone was. He was suddenly pulled back to his youthful age, where the world was in his control. Those days were long gone, for now his body and mind were deceiving him on all points. Could this child peer into his wisdom? They stared at each other for a long time , first perhaps as adversaries that they would have been in the past, but the longer they looked, the trust built.
Manu looked and could not turn away. He knew he should run or try to quench the animal before being hurt, but he could not . Those elders' eyes had sadness, lost hope, even he could see that. It felt like ages had passed between them, and Manu made the first move, using his sharp stick to slowly release a vine. The beast stayed where he was, didn't move at all. Manu unfurled another vine, then another, the beast just laid there, continuing to stay stationary. This was the first being he had seen in such a long time and they had an understanding. The brambles were almost off now and the beast gave him a signal that he would move.
Yemo first rolled slowly then with great effort stood shakily on his legs. his back legs were weak, and he promptly slipped and tripped through the remaining vines awkwardly planting his claws to steady himself. He was still large and a figure to behold, but wizened and unstable just the same , cracks of skin hardened between his scales. He laid back down on all four legs, ready to meet his end, he knew it would not be long. He felt a small hand touch the scales of his leg, and he reveled in the surprising warmth of it. He had never felt that prior and no doubt he would never again. He closed his eyes, and when they opened the child was still there, sleeping soundly wrapped in the coil of his tail. His breath was full and even. and he reveled at how peaceful it all was.
The day opened to a cool breeze, with a light shining through the thicket. the youth had gone. Was he really here? The brambles were no longer keeping him down, now his body was the one doing that. He ventured a step or two and stumbled and fell, the white birch trees collapsing under him as he landed. There he laid, mourning the loss of his body, his mind, his breed. Where was the boy , the one who understood him?
Suddenly he was there, but not just him, another, a larger version of the smaller. The boy called him Trito, and he was holding his hand, walking with his short legs over stumps and logs. Trito was tall and muscular and easily lifted the child up onto his broad shoulders. Yemo heard a tinkling of laughter, it sounded like joy to his ears. They stopped in front of him and urged him up, they called him by his name. Yemo 's head was pounding, and there was a swirl of wind. The two figures had gone and he was alone again
Yemo fought with his body to rise, and laid still. finally knew he could not rise. His eyes open half lidded and saw Manu and Trito standing there in front of him again. The humans carried a large leaf , and dipped their hands into the center of it. They started to coat Yemo's talons, his pale dry scales, and his tail with salve, first the youth , and then the elder Trito. Suddenly his limbs were stronger, he felt light, and youthful. His skin suddenly was vital and healed, his claws sharp and fresh. He let out a roar in the air, with smoke billowing from his great mouth. Was this real, could he have gained this strength in such a short period of time? He swooped up to the heavens and suddenly he became aware of Manu and Trito on his back, encouraging him higher. It was freedom.
Cool rain littered the leaves of the wood and one by one trickled down to drop the freshness on gnarled limbs , where Yemo lay motionless. The large vines still corded his body. His eyes were closed now, his last breath of air puffed from his mouth. As his heart took its last ragged beat, his mind was up in the clouds enjoying his ride through the heavens, his aged body laying crippled in the branches , a testament to a chance meeting in the wood..
About the Creator
Compassionate about people, processes and the human rights of others. I look for the good in people and my glass is half full, whether I fill it or someone else does. I hold a Doctoral degree in healthcare, and am a freelance writer
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.