The Forest of Secrets; Forever a Secret

© Hollie Huntfield
Oak trees loom over head as I delve deeper into the forest of secrets. The seemingly tanned ferns rustle in protest as I push them from my path. My breath makes a white, warm fog as it is drawn from my mouth. My blue eyes are pierced by fear as I hear a rustling amongst the undergrowth. I turn my head only to see a scrawny brown mouse scuffling amongst the leaves, its long whiskers vibrate and it becomes almost frozen as it meets my inquisitive gaze.
I reach out my hand to try and touch it, but it pelts into the undergrowth before I am even close. I stand straight again, comparing this forest to my own home. It is dead quite, no birds fly over head, filling the air with their normally persistent and beautiful calls. There are no deer diving in and out of the trees trying to escape a pack of grey wolves, not even any crickets chirping as the night time fills the once bright and airy forest with complete darkness. I shine my candle ahead only to see more trees and ferns. I have a long way to go before my journey comes to an end, many miles to walk before I can stop again and breathe.
I hear some more rustling amongst the undergrowth, and expecting to see another mouse I turn my head quickly and reach out my hand. But, alas, a mouse is not what I see. It is a dark figure who also reaches out a hand to me, grabbing my wrist and pulling me into the trees. I drop my candle and the world is again nothing but a black mass.
7 Days Later
She comes and she goes. She appears and she disappears. This new girl in the forest is very mysterious. She is much different to the one the day before. I, like the many before me, want her to be my first catch. 7 days as a starving mouse have done nothing for me. I know I cannot escape my fate in the forest of secrets, but I will try my best to become as close as I can get to freedom. A catcher, one who takes who the mouse does deceive. The new girl reaches her hand out, and I do as I have done before. Escape from her gaze so a catcher has a chance to relive her from the real world. They come to this forest for answers, most of them, and some, like me before I became this creature, come through as a short-cut. Nobody knows of our world before they enter it, so people just seem to disappear. Really, they do just disappear. It’s not like anybody can actually tell who they are when they do come looking.
She is caught the next night and becomes my first catch. I, as the others, then become a catcher. But, a catcher is not who I really want to be. I want to be who I was before, not a black spirit whose only goal is to collect and deposit. What is the point of filling the forest with the forgotten? Why not just let them come home. Maybe if I warn them, they won’t come back.
The next night I pick out twin sisters and come up to them. They shy away but I trap them between two oaks. ’Don’t come back,’ I try to mutter, but no sound comes out. I have no voice. No words to speak, I can’t even groan or scream. I chase them away instead.
They are never to return. But, then again, neither am I.

The Forest of Secrets; Forever a Secret

Jindia

Joined December 2011

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Artist's Description

What happens when a lost traveller wanders into the Forest of Secrets, alone and defensless?

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