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Anya felt like she belonged in these woodlands. Everything felt right to her, from the aged willows surrounding her to the soft, green moss underfoot. There seemed to be a sort of magic in the air that she couldn’t describe. It could be the way that the light hit everything, casting it in an unnatural glow, or the serene feeling she felt as soon as she entered the forest. Her feet were bare and she walked along a path that only she knew. Her summer dress was simple but a perfect shade of green so that she could blend in with her surroundings. Anya’s hair was a deep brown, long and wild, like she had just gotten up from a long nap. Her bright hazel eyes looked ahead and scanned the woods.
She heard the small, slow moving stream before she saw it. To her it sounded like the drowned out laughter of many people from long ago. She entered the little meadow that surrounded the stream, sat down beside it and gazed down at the multicolored pebbles that glistened at the bottom. Little fish could be seen through the clear water, struggling against the current to get somewhere unknown to anyone. Anya slowly dipped her toes in the shallow water and leaned back to look up at the afternoon sky. She watched the clouds through the willow branches drift along the sky and she closed her eyes to imagine what it would feel like to be up there, gliding among them like a bird.
“Well, look what we have here,” Anya’s eyes snapped open. She scrambled to her feet and noticed a peculiar looking woman standing across the stream from her. She was tall and slim with dark orange hair and her stare was so intense that Anya couldn’t look away. She was in a dress that looked like it was made of a thick cloth, and when Anya looked closer she realized it was moss.
“I didn’t mean to scare you darling. I thought you had heard me. No matter. What are you, a beautiful, young lady, doing out here?” The women inquired.
“Wh-who are you?” Anya stuttered. She had never seen anyone else in these woods besides the usual squirrel or other small creature.
“Well, wasn’t that rude of me. I do apologize, dear, for not introducing myself. I am Scarlet.” She gave a kind smile, “And you’re Anya, so I’ve heard from the whisperings around the wood. What a beautiful name.” Scarlet laughed a shrill laugh, at the confused look on Anya’s face.
“Who did you hear about me from?” Anya asked. She was slowly backing up, inch by inch, closer to the edge of the woods. Even the littlest of head starts would help if she had to get away.
“Like I implied, everyone around the woods won’t stop talking about you. They go on and on about the stunning girl that seems to glide as she walks, the remarkable girl that has a talent for finding her way through these woods. I just wanted to see for myself, though I, unlike the others, have enough courage to reveal myself to you.” Anya was puzzled by her words.
“Others? What others are there?”
“Well I shouldn’t be surprised that you asked. When I say others I mean the other beings that inhabit these woods.” Anya looked around at the woods that surrounded her. The thought of people living here and watching her without her detecting them was kind of unsettling.
“You live in these woods? With other people?”
“They aren’t mortal, if that’s what you think. Some our goblins, sneaky little rascals, others are fairies and then there are the elves, like me.”
Anya’s mouth gaped open; the things she had read about in fairytales when she was younger were real? It didn’t make any sense to her. She couldn’t think of what to do so her feet took over and she ran towards home as fast as she could.
“If you want to know more about us, I will be here tomorrow. We are very interested in you.” Scarlet called after her. Anya couldn’t get those last words out of her head. They were very interested in her. Why would they care about a normal, teenage girl? Maybe she wasn’t normal, she started thinking. Maybe she was a freak. She had never felt like
she fit in. This must be why. Even people who didn’t know her could see she was different.
These thoughts raced through her mind as she ran all the way home. When she got there she tore through the door and slammed it behind her. Her mother looked up from making dinner, startled.
“You look like you just saw a ghost. What in the world happened sweetie?” Anya stared at her for a second as if she didn’t understand then composed herself.
“Oh nothing, I was just seeing how fast I could make it back from the creek.” She laughed and brushed herself off, “I guess I better go get cleaned up before dinner.” Her mother gave her a strange look then shrugged and went back to cooking as Anya slinked off to her room. When she got in her room she sank down on her bed and sighed. Was she going to go back to the woods tomorrow? She had no clue. All she knew was that she was kind of tired so she curled up and fell fast asleep before she knew it.