Of the Forest
I’ve mentioned a few times along the way that I used to write. Most of the writing I did was purely recreational, but some was aimed towards developing the four universes stored in my brain into something productive. So I thought I would share some of my snippets from time to time as my writing is as much an arty part of me as anything else and it needs its share of the spotlight.
Tonight I thought I’d share a short character sketch from my ‘Of the Forest’ universe – set in a huge eucalypt forest in a reality offset from our own. The outline in my brain currently consists of three main characters – the female ‘spirit’ of the forest, Michael, a human who found himself in this world by accident, and The Other, a creation of the female spirit, a male companion and servant type. The initial concept of the universe was based upon the fact that the eucalypt forest needs to burn in order to survive. Burning the forest is one of the ‘spirit’s main duties, one she hates, but recognises the need for. It is still very much underdevelopment, but I have written a few shorts aimed at building the world into something I can work into a coherent story. (wArning: I tend to exercise my poetic muscles when writing in this universe).
The ‘of the Forest’ byline reads:
The Black Forest stretches out across the plains, climbing into the foothills and reaching for the beach. Gum trees, Eucalyptus, the trees are the forest and she the trees.
He found himself there by accident.
She kept him there against his will.
But neither knew what was coming and what that captivity would be worth.
This short character sketch was written to help me develop the character of The Other.
He’s of the forest.
When the wind blows through the trees, rustling dry leaves that reflect the sun with their grey-green gaze, you can hear him. He does not speak unless it is necessary. Does not manifest unless it is demanded. He exists only on the whim of the forest. A creature cast from the creativity of the ecosystem, bent to trust, designed for protection, hidden in silence.
He is strong. He cares. But the outside world is a different place, the forest his only reference, his knowledge confined to what made him, what supports him, the source of his sustenance.
He has no name. She had no need to give him one. He comes when she calls, does what she says and worships at her feet. Yet he is no slave. He can anger and strike out. He can argue and demand. He can hold her when she is distraught and the flame burns in her veins.
But he can’t do everything, can’t be everything she needs.
So she needs the other one.
Since the errant human stumbled into the forest, she has been distracted, her thoughts cornered by the interloper, and while he is caught between jealousy and relief, confusion reigns.
For the human is only human and time will take, it always does. And then there will only be him and her once again.
He is what he is, but he knows that at that moment, he won’t be enough.
And this is an example of the character in action (‘Shade’ is a working name for the female ‘spirit’, it will be changed).
Orange flame arced across a sky burnt by charcoal cinders, their brief glow tossed by angry wind. It shifted, a living thing, flickering, lapping, reaching out into blue. Smoke leapt up where it touched forest, gum leaves crumpling to ash, only to be caught by that same wind and tossed to join the building cloud.
It was anger. Pure anger. An expression sculpted in fire, burning everything in its path.
She stood in its centre.
Her eyes were closed, as if oblivious to the holocaust around her. Arms limp at her sides, head tilted back, the soft green of her dress, cast by flickering shadow to an orange grey, danced to a heated eddy.
The Other moved.
His presence reached out, attempted to touch her mind, desperate to call her back, pull her from the edge. But he was shoved away, his entire existence caught in the refusal, his thoughts singed by the rage in her mind.
The fire wrapped around her, swirling into a flurry, a twister wishing for a hurricane.
She was beyond reproval, so he returned to that which she wanted to protect.
Michael stood some distance away, his hair tossed by heated air, his shocked expression fixed on the fireball where she had been standing moments before.
The Other didn’t hesitate. He had no time for discussion or protest. He reached down, his presence weaving corporeal enough to grab the human, to lift him from his feet and free him from harm’s way.
Michael was well known for his protests.
He struggled, but the Other held firm, skirting across treetops, distance disappearing behind him. Mountains appeared, rock surfacing amongst the trees.
Michael screamed up at him.
The winds stole his words.
The human did not understand. The Other understood that much. Understood that his reality differed greatly from what the man was familiar with. What he did not understand was the man’s obstinacy.
“Put me down!”
The Other wove the winds enough to create sound. “She would want you to be kept safe.”
“I don’t give a damn what she wants! Put me down!”
“You bastard.” The man struggled in his grasp even more, though no less vainly. “Lemme go!” He twisted around attempting to look at the increasing fire behind them. “You have to save her!”
“She does not need saving.” The rocks below grew sharper and the trees faded from the landscape. The air grew cold. “You do.” Before you manage to damage yourself, you silly creature.
“Put me down!”
“Very well.” His destination appeared below. The rocky mountain ledge they used for summer storage and times of drought. “You will be safe here.” And he gently released the human.
Michael stumbled, his boots scrabbling on the rock. “What the-?”
The Other couldn’t help but smile to himself at the man’s expression. “Wishes are often answered in unusual ways, Michael.” He dissolved his corporeality, disappearing from the man’s sight.
Michael’s fury almost equalled that of the forest below, his anger no less volatile for the lack of flame. “Don’t you dare leave me here!” When the Other didn’t respond, the human’s gesticulations became nothing short of spectacular and for a moment, the entity felt a touch of the fascination he saw so inherent in Shade’s appraisal of the man.
But his theatrics were in vain, the Other sobering after the briefest of moments and turning back to the holocaust in the distance.
He hated speaking to the Winds, but this time…this time she might lose all before she regained reason, the forest falling before her wrath.
A glance in Michael’s direction. The human was safe and she was protected from irrevocably damaging that which could not be replaced.
Smoke wafted through the higher mountain air and he knew he could delay no longer.
Weaving corporeality, he drew air in, trapped it and forced it out across chords.
The forest screamed.
And pleaded with the Winds to save it from itself.
So there you have it, a little Nutty writing.
(My Creative Neighbourhood will appear later in the week)