The Punished Forest

April 18, 2010
There was a silence in the forest. A very eerie silence. Nothing was heard. As the morning came upon the forest, though, visitors would come and run in between the bushes, climb the trees, and eat the berries. But, the only visitors the lonely forest had now were two friends.

The forest could always tell the intentions of the humans that came to visit it and its animal children. Whether it be to propose, kill, kiss, hurt, play, feed, jump, or breed, the forest knew what the predictable humans were going to do before they revealed it in any form of action.

The visitors were one male and one female. The male was covered in some type of face paint the forest had seen often, but did not know what it meant. White covered the whole face, serving as a base, there was usually some type, be it red or black, covering their lips and always covering their eyes. They had intricate patterns, too. The humans called them ‘clowns’ when a horde, called ‘party’ came with one in tow. But others, called them Juggalo’s. There was nothing in his intention to hurt this girl. The forest knew well enough of that.

He loved this girl and didn’t want to harm her, but it looked as if she retched at the sight of him. Now. It was strange to the forest. Weeks before, the two had visited the forest-the male without the face paint-and the girl had been playful and happy.

They talked for a while, the female leering at the male, being uncomfortable, and the male just confused and love-stricken. The female spat the name ‘Chris’ at the male and he always lovingly sighed
her name, ‘Harper’. The chat ended with Harper excusing herself, leaving Chris all alone and confused under the Sakura tree.

Weeks passed by and they visited again. For the weeks they had not, happy, playful children, and excited, lust teens had filled their place. But, the eve of something terrible, they fought. Chris had confessed to be in love with her, but Harper was not listening. She did not like this new Chris, but he certainly seemed to love his old Harper.

The next evening, Harper was writing in her book. She had once told one of her friends on that
exact spot that she wanted to be an author. To publish her stories and poems would be her goal. Harper was too into her story to know there was someone sneaking up on her. It was about a noble-turned-peasant who proclaimed his love for the beautiful princess. The princess told the boy she wanted a knight in shining armor and not a wheat farmer, and the peasant gave up his dream to become a noble again. This, however, was not her story. It was going to play out differently, the forest realized. Chris and Harper were two people in love. Chris, a juggalo, and Harper, a ‘normal’ human, or so she said. In Harpers view they could not be together, but this did not sit well with Chris.

As the forest watched Chris sneak up onto Harper, it thought the gesture was out of love, but was frightened once it saw a ten-pound axe come out of his backpack.

That night, the forest watched the death of Harper Kingsley. It was a horrible thing to watch. He buried her under her favorite tree. The Sakura Tree.

For two years, the forest watched and watched as people searched for Harper, and tried to find her remains, but could never do so.

As the search was called off, Chris, who she noticed never visited anymore, came back regularly.

Throughout the years she watched milestones pass in his life. Girlfriends, Graduations, Parties,

Marriages, Children, and they all happened under the Sakura tree.

About ten years after he killed Harper, he came back to forest one last time. He was the last visitor the forest ever saw.

That day, he took the notebook he had pried from Harpers fingers ten years ago. He wrote a simple ‘I love you. Please forgive me.’ into it, and started throwing bottles of strange liquid around the Sakura
tree. Within one second, everything burst into flames.

Help arrived, but could not subdue the fire. The Sakura tree was the last to burn of me, and as I burned I adopted the name Harper. Everything came undone in that second. Chris died admitting he
killed her. In his last seconds, for someone who didn’t believe, he yelled for god to save his soul pretty loud.

I closed my eyes welcoming the darkness, for I knew what was to come. I opened my eyes into a
bedroom. I looked into the vanity placed across from the bed. I was a female, that notebook was min,and my name was Harper.

I may have adopted the name Harper, but I will forever be Chris. I killed my best friends at age 20, and committed suicide at age 30. Forever I carry that on my shoulders.

In the few seconds after my death, I saw Harper. She laughed and told me that I should have taken off the makeup years ago. She kissed me on the cheek saying, ‘even dead men shouldn’t cheat.’

I was forgiven by her, but now I have to spend the rest of eternity watching why I shouldn’t have been.

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