The Forest of Wings and Tails

I walk down the center of the path. The fence lies on both sides of me, stretching on endlessly. There’s room for only one person to trudge this trail. A solitairy journey. And a dangerous one.

A faerie wing jammed between the links brushes against my arm. I give it a slight tap and continue on my way. I keep my eyes focused on the gate.

A girl juggling a soccer ball kicks it over the fence, but I head it back. Nope. Not the right one. I ignore the alligator snout snapping at me. I keep my eyes focused on the gate.

Maybe I should head back. This could be just another dead end. I’ve seen too many creatures scraping at the fence, trying to get at me. They only want one thing. I jump to the left as a dragon tail sweeps across the path. A baseball whizzes past my face. I keep my eyes on the gate, ignoring the smell of popcorn.

The clashing of swords, the laughter of girls, the howls of nightmares press against the fence, against me. A clawed hand shoots out and grabs at my ankles, leaving a black scrape on my skin. Blood, like ink, drips to the ground. If the infection gets into my blood and reaches my heart, I’ll be sucked in. No chance to back out. I scurry down the path, my eyes on the gate.

But I stop. A moan drifts from the forest. A moan that holds the color of a hundred emotions. A tale to be told. Hearbreak. Of what kind I’m not sure. I press my cheek against the cold metal fence and search the darkness. But all I see are shifting shadows. I cry out. Tears prick my eyes and I don’t even know why.

I keep on the path but more slowly. My senses ready. A puff and swirl of cigar smoke make me cough. It is followed by an evil chuckle. I wave the smoke away with my hand. Not for me.

Finally, I arrive at the gate. My feet ache. My throat burns. I press the latch and walk through. A cool breeze dries the sweat on my face. I smell the salt air and hear the rush and roar of the ocean. I run. I don’t look back.

And there, washed up on the beach, it lies in the sand. Waiting.

11 Responses to The Forest of Wings and Tails

  1. anne gallagher April 16, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    That was beautiful. What happens next?

  2. Kris April 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    This is really lovely, Laura.

  3. Laura April 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    This was a play off of the book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I’d just finished reading it, so I turned it into a metaphor. I guess to me, it’s obvious.

    So, you tell me, what am I really talking about here?

  4. Creepy Query Girl April 16, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    For me, this invoked an author trying to fight their way towards the story they are truly meant to write. Fantastical creatures and overdone plotlines try to grab their attention from all directions.

    The only thing that does manage to get her to stop is a cry of true emotion from somewhere in the distance. And it’s in a place of calm and serenity where her true story lies in waiting.

  5. Jody Hedlund April 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Oh I really like this metaphor! And I love the description that Creepy Query Girl gave. Is she right?

  6. Kelly Polark April 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Love it!
    I think Creepy Query Girl (which is an awesome name by the way) is right!
    Awesome imagery, Laura!
    You are going to give Carrie Ryan a run for the money!

  7. Laura April 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    Yes, creepy query girl is right on. 🙂 Sometimes it’s just fun to write. One reason I love blogging – I don’t have to submit anything to a critique partner. I can just write and not worry too much about it being perfect!

  8. Karen Lange April 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    I agree with your gang. I think as writers we face that, whether we think of it in those terms or not. Have a good weekend, all:)

  9. Kristen Torres-Toro April 17, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    I’m with query girl. This was great, Laura! Have a great weekend!

  10. Jackee April 17, 2010 at 5:01 am #

    Lovely, Laura!

    I still have yet to read Forest of Hands and Teeth. I’m stalling–I don’t do well with scary.

    Have a great weekend!

  11. Laura April 17, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    Karen and Kristen – Have great weekends with lots of writing!

    Jackee – Forest of Hands and Teeth wasn’t so scary as just a little gory. The zombies are your usual zombies that crave flesh. So the main character is constantly on the run. It’s a heavy introspective novel, lots of thinking and telling but very engrossing.

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