Short Story: The Spirit of the Forest

Photo-writing Challenge IV

I was sitting at the bank of the river and my toes were wedged into the wet sand. The sun was beginning to set behind the mountains and the sky turned into a pink storm. At first it was the cicadas that sang, but their tunes silenced and their shadows fluttered away as soon as a tune from a flute began. There are no words to explain the voice from the instrument, but that it left one in a daze. My heart quickened and I searched for the source, but to no avail, I found myself alone. I leapt from the banks and water flicked at my cotton pants. I slipped on my sandals and ran toward the sound: into the forest.  Ferns brushed against my legs and soon I found myself in darkness and in the darkness, a woman who seemed to be emanating a pinkish light sat on the roots of a magnolia kabushi tree. I was surprised to find a magnolia in the middle of the woods, but there it was, and like the woman, it emitted a glow and the pink petals flitted in a slant as a breeze brushed through. The woman looked up at me with her silver streaming eyes and her silver hair danced to her music with the wind. I thought perhaps she was a ghost, but I did not feel frightened. The cicadas I saw earlier had flown to her to listen to her song. Their wings gently moved with each note she played. She ended her song and the cicadas started up their chorus again and with the moment that I looked away from her to gather my bearings, she vanished. I ran back home to tell my parents and they just laughed. Before my mother sent me to sleep, she whispered to me that I had met the spirit of the forest and that I must tell no one that I was destined to follow the footsteps of the silver-haired spirit. The next evening, my mother packed me bread and cheese in a sack and her warm arms gathered me in a bundle against her breast. She kissed me on my forehead and bid her goodbye to me, and like the spirit, I vanished into the forest.

Link to challenge: Here


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