Friday, 21 March 2008

You open the box

You’re walking alongside the stream where you always walk but there’s something on your mind and you don’t know what it is. There’s a dam in the water and you wonder if it’s just a haphazard pile of branches or a dwelling carefully constructed by some creature. But this is a distraction; the stream meanders to the left, to the right, cuts a ravine and as you follow its path, you slide down the slope with the dried leaves. You are so caught up in the beauty of the water, the way it seems to giggle as it hops over the smoothes of stones and caresses the little green hairs of the plants that cling to their sides. Through the bare canopy of the trees, beams of sunshine drop spangles of light into the stream which fade and are renewed by the musical flow of the water. As you walk, you are aware of a rustling under the brambles, the scurrying of shy animals darting for cover from the trample of your boots; you don’t want to disturb them so you don’t follow their invisible trails or register your interest outwardly. Before long, you are lost and you look around for a familiar tree or telegraph pole. There is none, just thick forest; and is that a clearing ahead? Yes, let’s go there.

In the clearing is a small cottage with a red door and checked curtains and fresh roses at the windows. You walk up to the door and lightly rap the knocker twice. With the second knock, the weight of the cast iron pushes the door open and you find yourself in a small, square living room with an inglenook fireplace. The fire is lit but there is no one around as far as you can see. You kick off your boots and sink into the winged armchair wondering what to do next. You raise you feet onto the footstool, wiggle your toes inside your thick socks and lean your head back. You fall asleep.

When you wake up it is dark and your back is aching. You twist your spine to try and get comfortable and then realise that you can’t because there’s not enough room. Your feet cannot move sideways, you try to kick upwards and you can’t. You free your arms from your sides; they have pins and needles. You begin to panic. You take a deep breath and suddenly become aware of a strong smell of wood preserver. You start to feel hot. The feeling is coming back into your hands. Your fingers trace their way up the vertical sides encasing your body; it’s a box. A box with a lid. You open the box.

You sit up, your joints are stiff and your eyes unaccustomed to the sunlight, even though it’s fading. You’re in a clearing, surrounded by forest. You’re lost and you can’t remember a thing. You hear the trickle of a stream. You follow the sound; it’s like someone giggling. You will go and ask them the way home.


cheryl63 said...

Great description of the forest - I found this story a little strange and rather creepy!

Kathryn said...

It was rather strange and creepy writing it!