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The Forests Paramour

by Luke Thomas Atkinson about a month ago in fiction · updated about a month ago
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Short Horror

“You told me…”

…It was impossible… But there she stood. Road had been taken by the mother of the forest months ago. She was dead and everyone knew it. Her body among with the the others had been dropped on the banks of the river outside of the city.

“You told me that she was cruel..”

It was when the painters went to pull water, had they noticed the river had gone red. The forest had been malicious in its crafting of this scene. Their bodies had been skewed about, sparking rumors that the forest attempted to curse the city. We learn of paramour curses as children. Paramour, as in a secret lover. A misleading name, nursing fantastical children stories deluding from the reality. The Incredibly insidious, war provoking love spell demanded bodies and blood, something that the children's rhymes and songs would leave out. The imagery witnessed at the river that day would be uncensored as it was painted onto the walls. Inevitably followed by a wave of hysteria when beholders of the painting cried out, as if the forest mother herself would tear herself from the earth and reach into the city for the hearts of children.

“You told everyone..”

The mother of the forest wasn’t a real person. She was a metaphor for the forests cruelty. The trees would harbor fiends in their roots and shade. If you were to stand close then look away, you would feel it reach out and pull you in. Like most personifications of death, the mother of the forest, would be portrayed in stories as a human. A woman completely covered in flowers, leaves, or some sort of foliage. Her soft, and beautiful smile would ordinarily be her only coherent feature. In histories older portrayals, when her whole face was shown it was only ever in the last moments of another. A recent version had been hauntingly portrayed by a painter who swore on her life that she saw her. Expected as it was, this claim had had been dismissed when the artist depicted a fully fleshed out body. Described as fear mongering, the vulgar painting carried grotesque, and disturbing imagery, where hundreds upon hundreds of strikingly vibrant colored eyes would be layered onto her body like scales.

“ You lied, and when she came.. She loved us..”

Road stood on the edge of the forest. Wrapped in a cloak of the same colors used in that haunting painting. She looked beautiful, yet so, so angry. She was weeping and crying out. I didn’t understand, and no matter how long I looked I still couldn’t understand. I had buried her. I buried her in her garden where she had planted every type of flower that the city had access too. She reinforced the belief in us all that graves are supposed to be as beautiful as the people they held. She loved all of us kids. All of us at the school had grown up listening to her stories and lessons on botany. She showed us which mushrooms you could eat and the flowers that made the best inks. She was hardly scared of the forest, and often tempted fate foraging for new flora or any berries of a bright color. When they told me how they found her, something inside me broke. My shaking sobs would water the ground as I passed the forest flowers Road loved so much. I would have brought fire and oil had I not thought Road would have a switch waiting for me on the other side. The first night I spent in the forest was so peaceful I thought that maybe the trees and all of their monsters had died with her. Or by some stroke of luck the forest had just felt bad for me, like it knew just how much it had taken from me and now it was going to leave me alone forever. The following nights I would make a habit of falling asleep under giant elms listening to the sounds of the forest grow more and more manic.

“And, she taught us how to hate you.”

Today the forest made no sounds again. Only Road, and when she cried the sound was so heartrending it felt like all the wind that was supposed to move through the forest was being expressed in one hysteric breath. Behind her the forest finally spoke. The crack of a step broke the grip Road had over me. The wind returned as Road held her breath. Behind her, was a mass of dancing colors like none I had ever seen before.

“No real monsters fit in the shapes you fear."

She was covered in butterflies…

And I finally understood.

They did, in fact, look just like eyes.


About the author

Luke Thomas Atkinson

28 year old amateur writer. Any feedback is greatly appreciated, whether it’s something critical or just a compliment.

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