I'm sitting around in my normal spot, on a large willow tree with many colorful bottles hanging from every sad branch. Next to it there is a wide stream running through the large room, also known as the 'Hidden Oak', where it's surrounded by bark, and the sun leaks through the leafy ceiling. Basically you're in a larger tree, but to enter you need to find a thick, fallen, log with a silvery crack cutting straight through it.
As I relax on a sturdy branch, I hear someone squeal and hit the stream. I poke my head through the droopy branches to find a young girl struggling to get out of the running water. She lifts her damp brown hair from view; then, as quickly as I could, I leaped off the willow and ran towards the girl, flipping her over my shoulder and knocking her down.
"Emess!" My friend, Genevieve, shouts after me. "What are you doing?" She asks, kneeling down to examine the girl. "You know what happened last time when we let an outsider in here! Everything was on fire! It took us centuries to regrow all the plant life and cover up the remains," I screech. "I cannot let that happen again… It scarred me." "It wasn't Every's fault! And anyway we have the dragons, they'll protect us from any further damage," She consoles. "Whatever, I still can't trust this one." I help carry the young, barely conscious girl inside the gigantic willow tree I was resting upon moments ago and laid her down on the splintery wood.
A crescent moon floats on the top of the sky as we wait, talking with glances. The new girl finally gains consciousness again and I hold my ground, prepared for danger to break out at any given moment. She confusedly looks around between Genevieve and me, no words escape from her throat. Genevieve squats down to comfort the damp teenager and introduces us. I mutter something towards the girl under my cold breath as Genevieve talks, "I'm Genevieve, and this is Emess," She waves her arm to face me as I scramble to cover my head with my hood. She shoots a disappointed look at me but I keep quiet and still.
"My name is Trinity," Her high voice shakes. "Where am I?" "You fell in the river, and Emess flipped you over. I'm sorry if she hurt you, it was out of self-defense," Genevieve explains. I speak up, rudely, "What are you doing here?" "I was just walking around in a forest, and I saw something glow. I wanted to know what it was so I went over to see, and I slipped in a log and landed in that pond," She points to the glimmering river I spend most of my nights at. "I'm sorry if I disturbed anything, it was a simple accident." I look at her through my hood, my dark expression invisible to Trinity. Genevieve shoots her head in my direction, lowers her eyebrows, and faces back at the girl.
"I'm sorry, Emess is being snotty. She's a bit grumpy out of what happened last time," she explains. "I'll just make you a place to sleep for the night and we'll figure something out between you two tomorrow." "It's okay, I hope in the future that I'd become more of a friend to her," Trinity exhales. I stare through the sad branches into the silky moon light, trying not to let her words into my ears, but they enter anyway so I ignore them.
I've always loved how night time feels on my skin, like it cuts into my body and turns me into a stronger being than day time. The night just feels like the perfect time to do anything while most people prefer the sun. The moon looks down at me, letting its colors blend into my face. I begin to doze off in my corner; the two tell stories of their past while I sit here thinking of everything that I had in my childhood.
The red-eye ghost: a creature that my neighbor and I made up so many years ago, and then I found to be real under here.
The wolves: racing after me in the winter as I try to escape, continuously slipping on the thick ice in my driveway.
Sledding on stairs: My neighbor and I always sled down her back yard steps in the winter, we always laughed too hard to control our breath any more.
In the memory of everything, I closed my eyes and dreamt with a smile on my face. The moon grins at me as I sleep in my memories, something I can't run back to no matter how hard I try.
Night time sinks and daytime rises, the sun beams leak through the willow tree and into my face. As quietly as I could, I grab my bow and arrow to hunt. "Good morning!" A squeaky voice shouts after me as I shuffle away from the giant willow. I don't want to look back; I just focus on other sounds and subtle movements in the woods.
I let out a low sigh and shut my eyes tight. A sharp pain enters my head where I then collapse onto my knees, squeezing the bridge of my nose with my forefingers. I see fire everywhere, the woods ablaze, the willow falls, and a dark figure jumps into the stream. Two figures jump into the stream. They never surface. My eyes open widely, shooting my pupils in every direction and hoping no one saw me fall. Lately, I've been having these kinds of visions that started out as dreams, then into nightmares. I can't make anything of it any more. Everything was green again, still alive and prancing. I smiled for that relief and continued on in the forest that sang a song of crickets and finches.
The river flowing, the tree branches singing, nothing makes me more at ease until I think about the past more often than I should. I spot a buck feeding on berries that were attacked by the wind. I hide behind a large rock and point my arrow. Snap! Straight through his neck, didn't feel a thing. I set an open fire in the middle of the room where I thoroughly cook the buck, keeping his antlers, just in case. Genevieve limps over with Trinity spotting her in case she falls. "What happened?" I ask, shooting a meaningless, dirty look at Trinity through my hood.
"Oh, I fell off the tree in my sleep." She giggles, grabbing a leg off the well-cooked deer I set on a large flat rock. Trinity leans over to get some meat, too, while I horribly want to slap her hand. I just cannot trust her. I swear under my breath. But I sit still; I have to try, for Genevieve. I promised, and I never break my promises. As we all feast on the buck, Genevieve asking questions to Trinity or telling stories, (I wasn't paying much attention), a blood-curdling screech shakes the whole ground. We each stare up into the air, trying to make sense of the sound. A strange blue light floats in the sky under the leafy ceiling, quickly vanishing and followed by large groups of black dragons flying out of their cove, blasting everything in sight. I reach for my bow and shoot one straight through its head.
"Run!" Genevieve screams over the roars of fire blasting everywhere. I pick her up and run to shelter in the willow tree. Trinity grabs my bow and shoots one dragon through its stomach and another through its wing. I guess she isn't so bad after all. I set Genevieve down on her bed, and quickly begin to sharpen the deer antlers to make a spear.
Genevieve confidently stands up. "I can help." While I set her back down in panic, "You won't make it." What is making them act like this? I wonder. "Genevieve you stay put and protect yourself. Trinity you come with me, we're going to find out what's up with these dragons." The girl trails behind me with the antler spear I crafted, while I shoot at the flocks of dragons going haywire. We enter their den, carefully and quietly making our way through the darkness. Boom! Something exploded. The willow exploded. I sprint back and begin to yell at the back dragons, shooting all of my arrows in each neck, watching them fall like rain. Trinity lunges the spear at one dragon, which was about to shoot us both. "I'm out of arrows!" I scream, running to collect them out of the dragon corpses. As I grab the last one, avoiding more of the dragons, I look around. Everything is red and yellow, the air is unusually hot.
The remaining dragons all land on the floor and march after Trinity and I. We're so hopeless, but we fight them off until the final group goes back into the den.
I stumble to where the willow tree was, but I can't find any sign of Genevieve. Few tears race down my cheeks as I think of her, and before that, Every. "Over here!" Trinity shouts a few feet from the dragon den. I stumble over, barely keeping my balance and I see Genevieve's body. She wasn't blasted by fire, one dragon had charged at her. She was trying to run away. I lean down to her lifeless body, pick it up, and carry it to the stream where I kiss her bloody forehead and toss her in the water. I turn to look at Trinity. "I'm sorry for everything." I begin. "This is the reason I couldn't trust you, even though it wasn't your fault."
She looks at her feet. "How am I going to get home?" Trinity suppresses. I rest my hand on her shoulder and lift her head up with my index finger. "I'm so sorry. There is no way home… Genevieve couldn't get home. Every couldn't get home. I'm all that's left of this world and I need to protect it. But I can't do it alone." Trinity shakes her head, closing her eyes tightly. When I close mine all I see is blood and fire, dead people and the willow tree that fell. "I can't…" Trinity sobs. I breathe slowly and silently. "I had to bury my best friend today," I whisper. It's something you never want to do, but at times, you have to. She scans my eyes along with my words. "No one should ever have to bury their best friend. It's better to be lost." She sends me a reassuring grin through her tear stained face. I slightly smirk back but all that comes are tears. "She didn't go fair," I muttered. "But she did go brave."
Trinity nods. We can barely talk for what felt like hours, standing in one spot on the burnt grass, feeling sorry for ourselves. This isn't what we should do.
She lets out a depressing sigh, and stares at the stream. More tears roll down my cheeks, I know what's going to happen. I agree with her expression and I grab her cold hand; we face the stream together. My brain swims in all my rapid thoughts; I still see the dead and the dragons firing at everything green.
"Are you ready?" She says, looking at me and smiling. I slowly nod, never taking my eyes off the water. I am ready. We edge near the border between water and land. The river is deep, nearly endless. But everything has an end to it, nothing can go forever.
Together, we jump down into the stream. My childhood strikes past my eyes; I can finally return to it. I look at the last few breaths floating up to the surface, closing my eyes and smiling. Everything is over. It's finished forever. No one will find me again. I'm hidden and I'll never be caught. It's done, good bye.