“An ancient presence stirs. Listen to the wind
And hear something more than leaves rustling.
I’ve been here for years just listening. I’m lost.
Souls embedded into the soil and the trees know.”
Words written on a tree. I trace each word
Feeling the turmoil in the carver’s heart.
“How long ago did you use a thin sword
On this tree?” A path we both chose to depart.
Hundreds of yards deep in these woods. I reach
My hands out for higher branches. Among peach
Trees this old oak stuck out like a bar in a church.
I scrape my knee. A drop of blood reaches the ground.
The scent and sound creating a downward spiral.
My heart stops as a beast howls in the distance. Fear
Takes over even high up on this tree. Legends untold.
Animals race for a feast, they hunger much more,
Survival means everything. I hear wings in the distance.
“Damn. I guess I’m not safe up here am I?” Talons
Rip at my back. Gluttony. My hold on the branches loosens
And I start slipping. The ground rests so far below.
A beak digs into my back. Every scream I utter deepens
The hunger. Blood seeps from my back. “A show
Of great defilement. Hunger beyond natural reasons.”
I slam the bird against the oak. Lost in unknown regions.
Three wolves circle the base of the tree. I see
Their eyes glow with blood lust as they watch me.
I found myself without escape. My fate
Laying out before me like a knife on the floor,
A foreboding scene of horror and relief.
Caught in the dark I must carry on.
Carry on no matter the cost and face life. . .
Although I’m weak and so afraid in reality.
Do my eyes turn red if I do the same as them?
Survival? This is a bloody brawl until the end.
All the wounds made will never be able to mend
And the victor stands to lose. A fate so cruel for some.
Tears fall as I hug the tree. “Someone come
Save me!” A rustle in the forest scatters the pack.
Fire ignites the other trees and men far from home
Stand behind the atrocity. Corpses they stack.
“What is this?! I said I’d find the root of the curse
So that no one would be hurt.” “You took too long.
We must eradicate every corrupted beast that lives.”
“The forest isn’t accursed. Accursed is the hearts
Willing to hurt others for their own benefits.
Dragacia is accursed!” “So you admit to treason?”
“If it is the only way to reach your cold heart.”
A soldier raises his gun at me. Time froze long
Enough for me to listen to the forest’s song.
The bullets pound into my chest. “Let the war start.”