It was Twilight

It was twilight, when the sun slowly rose to melt the rich darkness of the night sky into a rich symphony of color and depth. The majesty of the haunting purples and golden yellows made even the birds cease with their morning routines and gasp at the sky in awe. The morning light slowly filtered through the darkness, the haunting light tenderly tracing the outlines of the grass and the sterling sparkle of the fresh dew as it rose to caress the trees and the creatures that inhabited them. The marvelous morning made the animals gaze in wonder and the trees vibrate with warmth.1

The animals and creatures with their short attention spans and small minds quickly turned their attention back to the business at hand - preparing for winter. Though the bitter months had just strayed to an end, they had faced a cruel winter and learned from their mistakes. The squirrels scurried along with hasty abandon to their stores and treasures with the certainty of never losing them again, the rabbits crawled out of their earthy dens to start afresh in the crisp, clean air. The birds hummed their joy at the winter's close, and began to build nests for their new young to reside in. The deer slowly paced and hesitantly nibbled at the fresh green shoots that rose bravely up out of the ground, and the beautiful flowers began to blossom and bloom under the splendid light of the breathtaking sun. The bees slowly shook off their weariness and freed themselves from the hive, lazily buzzing as they stretched their wings and began to work on their normal tasked jobs. The bears roared in jubilation at the new air and were energetic after such a long winter of being trapped away under the suffocating cover of snow. Raccoons, possums, and other rodent species slowly came out of hiding to enjoy the spectacular morning of the first day of spring. They had no inkling of any other life, of any other race that may have resided outside of their small sanctuary. They had no sense of danger concerning hunting, humans, or disease. They just had their small lifetimes, in which many others were born and raised, and in which many others were found and buried. No one had ever touched their sanctuary before, and they never would. The forest seemed enchanted, and guileless. It would never let any of its creatures take harm from anyone. The forest would save and protect them for as long as they both should live.2

There was something amiss in the first morning of the new spring. A new creature haunted their woods. A tall, frightening stranger that could possibly cause harm. It was female, human. Golden hair, emerald eyes. The humans hair was filled with thorns and thistles, and her arms were covered in bleeding scratches; her clothes were ripped and torn as she fought her way through the forest, terrified eyes looking behind her with renewed fear as her trembling legs carried her on.3

She fell at the bank of a river, weeping with exhaustion. She had tripped over a tree branch that hadn't been there before she had taken that last step. Her body succumbed to the exhaustion, her mind a haze of forgotten thoughts as she slowly gave herself away to the pain of her exhaustion. The animals took a council, each in their own turn scrutinizing the pale figure that was stretched out before the river. The forest gave its thoughts as well, perhaps feeling a bit guilty about its refusal to help such a creature in need. Slightly defensive, though, because it didn't judge, it just protected itself and its charges. The forest had seen the mutilation of its brothers and sisters, the horrifying devastation of the whole ecosystems that had been crushed under the human foot. Their machines had bore down on his kind, ignoring their screams of terror and cries for help as they tore them down selfishly for the human race to take its place at the top of the food chain of the modern world. The pitiful creature lying at its heart was something to be wary of, as the forest had no idea of its intentions.4

The rough scrubbing of an animal tongue woke up the girl from her exhausted slumber, and she opened her eyes to see all of the animals surrounding her. Bears sitting next to rabbits who were sitting next to foxes who were sitting next to wolves, supposedly all natural enemies, yet there they were sitting side by side as if they had always been cordial with one another. The animals were waiting for a sign that she would not harm them or the forest, but the smallest of the deer, a yearling fawn, had decided to trust before anything else. The girl blinked groggily, expecting the creatures to soon disappear like all the rest of her visions had. There was no way a baby deer had licked her face, no way that all the animals in the forest were encircling her, intelligent beady eyes studying her. She hazily remembered the unfriendly forest of the night before and hastily whipped her head around her looking for the angry spirit that had haunted her the night before. It seemed to have vanished into thin air, and the only thing she felt now was the beating of her heart and the welcome feeling she had from the forest morning. She slowly stirred, not wanting to frighten the deer that had settled down just behind her, snuggling close to the warmth of her body, its head resting on her shoulder. It was a comfortable feeling, and one she enjoyed, but she was getting pretty sore from lying on the uncomfortable ground of the river bank. The young buck, not in the least frightened by her move, stood up and nudged her gently, urging her to also rise from the packed soil she rested on. After a hard push that nearly sent her sprawling, she gained her balance and slowly stood up on her own, the worn muscles in her legs creaking audibly as she attempted to walk a step or two before falling once more on her face. She was winded, and the stars that ignited and flamed behind her eyes threatened to overtake her and make her black out again, but she fought it. When she opened her eyes again, the animals were not gone, in fact they were even closer than they had been. She mewled pitifully as something bumped the cuts on her arm. She was surprised to see the fox cubs licking her wounds clean like she was one of them. The animals seemed accepting, and the forest didn't seem to mind her presence, so she guessed she was free to move about somewhat. She crawled army-style to the water, not trusting her legs to keep under her if she tried to stand once more. She cupped her hands respectfully and filled them with water, taking care not to accidentally catch one of the abundant creatures fearlessly swarming just beneath the still waters. It was like she had found heaven, and even she could be at peace with the world. She sipped carefully on the water, which was hard because she was so dehydrated and the water tasted so wonderful, but she didn't care to get sick from drinking too much too fast. After all that she had survived, she wasn't about to let herself down once more. She gently pried the thorns from her flesh and washed her wounds out. Then she tried to get the burrs and leaves out of her hair. Her overly long nails nimbly picked out the plants and deftly untangled the knots that had formed from the wind whipping it around and the long night on the ground. 5





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