Tag: wilderness

The Forest at the End of the World

We stood at the entrance to the Forest at the End of the World. The trees were impossibly tall and thick, but there was a clear path trodden through it. Exotic plants covered the forest floor in an array of colours unlike anything I had ever seen. It smelt different to other forests too and nothing like the humid, earthy smell of a jungle. It was far sweeter, a mixture of all the fruit juices in the world. However, not all of the flowers produced a scent. The breeze which rippled through the undergrowth was created by the flowers themselves. They breathed soft music into the air. It was barely audible, a quietly beautiful melody which every time I came close to picking up on would shift and change. Different harmonies and tunes intertwined with one another into something so beautiful it almost made me cry.
“Nature’s Song,” said our guide, seeing my expression. “Always changing, always playing. Never repeats itself.”
“Never?”I repeated. He shook his head. “Do they ever stop?”
“Aye…they will…and it’ll be a sad day for us all when they do.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you hear how quiet they are?” he looked around sadly. “They never used to be that way. The more natural beauty we destroy, the quieter they get. The day these flowers stop singin’ will be judgement day for us all.”

via Daily Prompt: Harmony

An Experiment

The room is set up like always, just the Professor and I and a few empty chairs. He attaches electrodes to my head and we begin.

When we are done for the day The Professor shows me the readings that the various machines had been taking- graphs and charts that I pretend to understand. I’m too tired to listen to what he is saying, but nod as he shows what my brain had looked like during the whole ordeal. It looks a lot less frightening when it’s reduced to bright colours on a sheet of paper.

“Do you see that, right there?” he points to a spike in the data that I’d have to be blind to miss.

“Yes.”

“That’s where you almost did it, that’s where you almost made contact with the Other Side.” His eyes are glistening with excitement. The paper trembles in his hand. “Ah well,” he smiles at me. “There’s always tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” I nod. I don’t tell him that I didn’t almost get to the Other Side. I don’t tell him that the empty chairs are now occupied.

via Daily Prompt: Spike

Light on the Mountainside

wintry-2068298_960_720He’d been climbing for about four days when bad weather struck- a violent and sudden snowstorm that threatened to push him off the craggy mountain. The blizzard circled him, making it difficult to see more than a few feet ahead. Snow clung to his glasses, the cold bit at his neck and nibbled on his ears.

In less than an hour everything looked the same. It was too windy to pitch his tent or pull out a map. He couldn’t navigate without any landmarks. Several times he wandered dangerously close to the edge of a cliff before seeing the sheer drop and turning back in the nick of time. Night began to fall and he could feel the cold worming its way in to his damp gloves. The snow was relentless.

And then he saw a light so bright it pierced through the snowstorm. A small stone hut emerged from the mass of white surrounding him. None of the lights were on inside, but outside hung a small, powerful lantern.

He pushed hard on the door and it opened. He brought some snow in with him and slammed the door shut against the howling wind. Inside he found a modest, comfortably furnished room. A note on the table read:

‘Welcome lonesome traveller, please rest your weary head.’

At the heart of the room was a well-stocked fireplace and everything he needed to light it. Above it hung a large pan that was already filled with some kind of broth. His stomach grumbled. He sat in a comfortable chair as the fire warmed both him and the pot. The snow melted from his boots and he pulled out his map to work out where this bothy was. He hadn’t heard this one and all of the other mountain shelters were much further down. He couldn’t find it on anywhere, but he was determined to work it out and return in better weather to thank the owner for their kindness.

When the broth was ready he helped himself to a large bowlful and that warmed him even more. It was thick and packed with potatoes and vegetables and a meat more succulent than any he had tried before. He helped himself to seconds and fell asleep by the fire.

He slept so deeply that he did not hear the door open or feel the icy wind blow the fire out as something else came in from the cold.

He did not stir when something held his head still and slit his throat with its claw.

In the morning there was very little of him left- just a few bones and scraps of flesh that were stirred up in to a broth to await the next weary traveller.

via Daily Prompt: Climbing