The Foretold Summer

The child gazed into the forest. Trees were slowly losing their lovely healthy ways and beginning to look extremely sick. Their leaves had begun to turn from the beautiful emerald green to a dark brownish gray. Animals were slowly changing from their customary rambunctious nature. They were growing hungrier and hungrier and more and more lackadaisical. And it was the humans' fault. His fault. The child was growing weary. When the forest was strong, he was as well. But as the forest became weaker, he became weak. He moved languidly through the forest, wondering if there was any hope left. He was The Chosen One, it had been evident from birth, with his bright green eyes, dark black hair and bark colored skin. The one who was to lead his people out of this predicament. He was supposed to save his forest. But they didn't listen. No matter how much he begged. No matter how many times he told them to change their ways. Change our ways? they'd scoffed. Nothing will happen to your forest. Our science didn't tell us to change. We listen to science.


The Chosen One shook his head, his long black hair becoming gray with stress. The villagers did not see what they were doing to the forest people. They were killing the forest people, but they refused to understand. The villagers thought the forest dwellers were being superstitious. But alas, this was not so. Why couldn't they be open-minded? The Chosen One hurried through his forest, stopping every minute or so to watch a squirrel scurry across the beautiful forest floor, or to watch as a tree shook his branches allowing the dully colored leaves float gently through the tepid summer air.


This was going to be The Summer. The Chosen One could feel it in his bones. No matter how much he wished it was not so. It was. The Foretold Summer. He was The Chosen One. And it was known throughout the forest people, that he was destined to fail. Oh, but he would try. He would not give up.


The Chosen One entered Grandmother's kitchen with silentious footsteps. The old black tea kettle she held in her ancient leathery hands glistened brightly. She turned, knowing he was behind her. Her wise smile lit up the dim room. The child lifted his weary head. His forest green eyes had begun to change to a dreary gray. Grandmother handed him his tea as his weak knees trembled beneath him. The forest was growing weaker. Grandmother, wise as she was, couldn't help the burning anger that ripped through her chest. In a flash it was gone. The foretold summer was upon them.


Not only was the foretold summer upon them, it was wreaking havoc among the forest people. With each passing moment, the forest began to feel the wrath of the villagers. Their deadly pollutants and their cutting down the trees to make room for their ever-growing population. The villagers began to get sick from their own wrong doings, yet they failed to see that they were not just harming themselves, but the forest and the forest dwellers, and most of all The Chosen One.


The child's eyes became a smoky gray as he rode swiftly through the trees on his sleek onyx horse. It would be the last visit to the villagers. He was too weak to carry this heavy burden on his thin, delicate shoulders. As much as he would have liked to stay among his forest, enjoying the last bit of it that he could, he had to make this final quest. He had to ask the village people one more time. If they changed there would still be hope for his people, for his forest.


When he entered the large village, people began to point at him, and scoff. Look at that, the prophet is back, they mocked with hatred. He slowed his steed to a halt and stared at those who ridiculed him. He was absolutely baffled that they sneered at him in such a way. Why were they so ignorant? Their science wasn't going to save them or the forest people. It wasn't going to save his precious forest. The villagers were not only going to kill The Chosen One and his people. They were on a path of self destruction. He pleaded with them for hours, asking them to change their ways. They refused. Just as the prophecies had said they would. But there had always been that tiny chance. The chance that the villagers would listen. They didn't. We will surely die, The Chosen One spoke solemnly as he left.


When The Chosen One returned to his forest, his people and told them of his travels, they all grew solemn as well. They noticed his gray eyes and old face. He was becoming less and less child-like and more and more like an old man. His face had become the same sickly pale color as the trees that surrounded him. As he climbed down from his gentle horse, his thin bones, looked as if they would break at any moment.


But it was not The Chosen One that the forest people were most worried about. It was their own children and their own families. People began to get sick, looking much like The Chosen One, the only difference being, they died faster. They didn't suffer as long. The Foretold Summer was upon them.


Grandmother hurried to her youngster and reached out to stroke his colorless cheek. He gazed up at her with a grave face. He looked to be as old as the forest around him. He spoke firmly and bluntly when he said, people, The Foretold Summer is upon us. They did not respond. Instead, the crowd that had gathered dispersed. Mothers coddled their young, and lovers kissed gently. They had known what was coming all their lives. And they were ready. None of them were to survive. They did not know the ways. An illness none have seen before will descend upon the forest. And the forest will die. Its people will die. Those who cause this illness, have the power to reverse their ways. The Chosen One will go to them, seven times he will plead, and if they choose to refuse, they will not have enough time to save the forest. They will not have the time to save themselves. This illness will kill. The humans shall be diminished. The prophecy was right.


The Chosen One sat in the middle of his forest, in the middle of his people. He sat and he closed his eyes. He listened to the cries of the grieving. The wind blew harshly and the trees began to fade. Their cries were worse than those of his people. The squeaking and scurrying of the animals, trying to feed their young, that hurt him more than the sound of a wailing baby whose mother had passed. The Chosen One listened, for miles and miles around he heard the sounds of suffering. But the sound that was the loudest was that of the villagers.


They were the ones who'd shed the most tears and who pitied themselves. They cried because their science was just now beginning to tell them, what he had warned them of. We should have heeded his warning! they wailed. They would try everything to keep the inevitable from happening, but they too would taste the bitterness of failure. No one was safe. For the forest was lashing out at them in the only way it could. It was making them hungry. For without the forest their food was gone. The village people destroyed themselves. They destroyed everything.


The Chosen One dared not open his eyes, for he sat beneath his tree. His source of life. It died slowly as did he. The child leaned back and let the rest of his energy flow back into the tree. For if his tree lived, The Source of life for all, the forest may live on.


When spring came around a year later, the child's bones were nowhere to be found. For the tree had absorbed them. The Chosen One lived in his forest, a part of his tree. Emerald green leaves began to grow thickly among the dark wooden branches. It was the first sign of a new world: A world without humans.





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