October 22, 2009
By Anonymous

A cool breeze gathered up the crinkly crimson, ginger, and gold leaves off the grassy slope, and sprinkled them over the treetops of a swaying forest. One leaf, a vibrant ruby one, surfed the stirring breeze and traveled through the crack of an open window to rest on a pillow next to a nest of brunette hair covered in a sheen of red. As the sun hit its morning peak, the auburn nest began to rise and unfold itself until it was hanging off of the head of a girl with finely chiseled features. Chelsea Thorton opened her mouth, wide as a hippo, and greeted the morning with a massive yawn. She then turned her deep brown eyes down to her pillow and spotted the red leaf that was pulsing with color. Chelsea would never have guessed that from the moment the bright red leaf had flown in through her window, her destiny had been altered.

While Chelsea washed and dressed for the day in jeans and a t-shirt, she noticed that the red leaf had appeared on the bathroom counter next to her. Must have been another breeze, she thought to herself. As she stared at the leaf she became mesmerized by its swirls of color. Dark burgundy faded to crimson that melded with vivid scarlet to create many layers of color. That would compliment my hair, she thought. With that thought in mind she pulled her hair into a ponytail and pinned the leaf next to it.

Chelsea had decided that since it was a particularly pleasant day she would go for an amble though the valley. As she wandered through the springy, green pastures around her house she was oddly drawn to the Fragrant Forest. The forest was known not only for exotic flowers that were full of sweet-smelling pungent aromas, but also for its history. The forest may appear to be heaven with its beautiful collection of flora ubiquitously and sunlight streaming through in shafts to create a hazy, golden effect, but this heaven was said to take people in and never return them.

Sitting there, under the cool shade of an oak tree, Chelsea wondered why she was even this close to the forest when she knew the legends. She opened her eyes and glanced over at the forest. The trees and flowers didn’t appear menacing. Yes, it was a bit dark and you could only make out the dim outline of a few trees, but beautiful flowers peppered the ground to make up for it. The exquisite sun shining down made everything peaceful.

Chelsea closed her eyes again and tilted her head back. That cooling breeze was perfect. And the shade was so nice from the dazzling sun. Wait a minute. Where did the sun disappear to? The air around Chelsea suddenly lost its heat and was replaced by a damp chill. Moisture filled the air as though a storm were coming. Chelsea’s eyes flew open. The sky was covered in grey clouds. The tree branches swayed to the point of cracking. She scrambled to her feet. I must reach home, a voice in her head exclaimed. But as she glanced once again at the forest, a part of her didn’t want to leave. As the thunder prepared its growl Chelsea stood and stared at the dim trees. Then, as the thunder opened its mouth and released its first growl she began to stride toward the forest. This is crazy, the voice in her head protested. Over and over again the voice told her not to near the forest, to stop marching immediately.

The thunder roared and rumbled around Chelsea, but she heard nothing. The lightening flashed and crackled in the air next to her, and still she didn’t flinch. Tree branches and leaves were tossed and thrown in every direction, but she continued to stride forward. One foot in front of the other, fearful, yet deliberate steps.

The storm was directly overhead now. The leaves were starting to gather air and speed. The beginnings of a hurricane whirled in sight, but Chelsea continued moving forward. Through the darkness of the storm she could sense that a hidden object was emanating light from behind her. Reaching up she pulled the ruby leaf out of her hair. The edges were shining like the moon at night. As she entered the gloom of the forest a vortex of leaves enclosed her. Moments later the storm had vanished. The world was still again. No traces remained to show that another disappearance had occurred.

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