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Still Here

A cool breeze brushes past me, caressing my cheek before it continues through the woods. Little creatures go about their business as they do every day I visit them. I pause to look into a mangled bush where a robin’s nest used to lay. I wished I could fix the branches and move them back to where they used to be, but in my heart, I know I can’t. The crisp leaves from the tall maples above flutter around me in a whirlwind of colors; red, gold, brown, and orange.

I always come into the forest when I need to think, especially about my past, and today my mind feels like it is about to explode. Even though it has been quite a few years, I still can’t figure out what I did wrong to deserve the treatment I got from my family. They never gave me enough food in the cold months and refused to give me blankets when the night was cool. My head throbs with my upset thoughts, so I take a break from thinking and sit down in the middle of a pile of leaves. I glance up at the gray sky, trying to remember the last time I had seen sunlight, if I had ever seen it. Where I live, the sun never shone, except maybe in the middle of summer. My eyes close as I remember the day I left my home, determined that I was able to survive on my own.

Oh, how stupid I was back then.

It had been the middle of fall when I wrapped up the few belongings I had in a sheet and marched out of the front door of our cabin and into the wilderness. The wind was harsh and the ground was cold, but I was still confident in myself. I trudged up to a clearing a few miles away from my old home and collapsed from exhaustion. My family never came to look for me, leaving me in the middle of the forest to fend for myself.

You know the saying, “If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” Well, here’s my question: “If a small girl screams her lungs out in the middle of a forest and no one is around to hear her, does her scream still make a sound?” My answer is yes. Her screams make a sound because that is the only thing she can hear when she’s in a seemingly empty forest by herself!

I snap myself out of my thoughts, knowing that if I let myself get too angry, I will go out of control. This time, though, I can’t hold myself back. I speed towards my old house, the place I should have been able to call a home. I fly through the wall and see my family sitting around the cabin as if nothing has happened in the ten years I have been gone. I feel my anger and fury bubble inside of me until it bursts, coming out into the living world as the fire from the fireplace shooting out onto my so-called family members and a howling wind crashing through the windows. I let all my emotions out after so long, cherishing the screams of the people who tortured me every day of my short life.

When their screams are silenced, I stop my emotions, slowly realizing what I have done. I fly away, back to the clearing where my body still lays under the ground and fall to my knees. I take deep gasping breaths and try to clear my mind of all the horrible emotions I had been feeling the last decade. I stand up and go to the house, flying as fast as I can to see if I can do anything to save these people I had no choice but to call my family. As I shot through the wall, I noticed the windows were all still intact and there were no burn marks on the walls.

My family was still alive.

My head bowed, I floated back to the bush where the nest had been destroyed.Sighing, I laid my white hand on the bark of a tree beside the bush, having it only pass through. In the Between Place, where unsettled spirits are destined to roam, I realize you can’t do anything, not even watch the world evolve. That’s because the Between Place is an exact replica of where the spirit’s had died. Although they had been cruel, my family had at least allowed me to see the sun’s rays. In this world, I never would see it again.



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