A Tree in the Forest

This is a short story I randomly wrote for no real reason because I was bored. I was maybe thinking of using it as a backstory for one of the characters in another story I’m doing.

The forest had been looping around him in circles; the traveller became more confused and confused as he slouched in circle after circle, looking more worried and more worried at every turn of the dense forest path. The forest was a circle, an ellipsis. The darkness around him drove him to delirium and confusion. Fear and worry filled his mind.

Then something looked different from normal, obscure enough to avoid sight at a first glance yet not so vague to miss on the second or third time walking through. Was there always a tree like that? One hundred meters into the close-knit forest, off the barely maintained rubble path, was a tree so magnificent it drew every eye to it.

Perhaps magnificent didn’t do it justice, for it was not a typical representation of elaborate beauty, rather a relic that blossomed with time. With smooth casing the traveller could not help but walk towards it, pushing past brambles and foliage with his small rusty iron knife.

Instinctively a stretched hand touched and the tree’s front creaked open with the sound of a tiny click. If the traveller had a single thought about where the door handle to the tree might be, he would not have been able to open it. His subconscious mind guided him.

Then the trance was broken, and a conscious man stood on the outside looking in.

There was an odd mess scattered in the small area of the trunk, illuminated by shining white forest light: Small bottles, notes and papers; a single cloth portrait drawn with black ink and the half rubbed out remains of a cryptic white circle.

The traveller examined closely with a knowledgeable gaze. The portrait, it was drawn with a slathered black taint depicting a robed man with an eye patch. The name at the bottom revealed his identity: “WANTED”.

After a brief look he shovelled through the mess. He was hungry, and any hundred year old scraps would do to appease his appetite. There was nothing to be found. With a defeated sigh he tore the cloth portrait from the nail and made to leave, but the door had closed with an artificial light replacing the real one. It was so natural that it was difficult to notice.

The floor began to open and the traveller noticed a trap door, but he was fast. In the enclosed space of the tree trunk he forced his way into mid-air stability by putting his back on one end and his feet of the other, forcing himself to remain stable. He looked up to find a way out. There were no visible latches to hold on too beyond the light source of the room, he doubted that it would hold him for long.

The trapdoor had revealed a slide, not an open drop; it looked just small enough to check what it led too without falling down. So he checked, and fell down head first into blind darkness.  He turned and scrambled up the slide in a rush of tension. He used his body weight to climb up to the light source. He reached to grab it, extended his reach, lost his balance and dropped to the ground falling back down. This time the trapdoor did close and there was a slide that led to nothing.

The source of light had smashed on the ground and the luminous powder sprayed out. The room was a wizard’s secret hideout. It had books, materials and supplies. The traveler was safe to live there forever, he hadn’t much choice.

There you go, it’s weird but oh well, not the weirdest thing I’ve ever done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s