The Underground: Part 1
The ForestI’m falling…again. I just jumped from an adjacent tree and just so happened to land on a branch that , apparently, didn’t like holding full grown people, so it broke. Luckily there happens to be a giant mushroom at the bottom of the fifty foot tree to break my fall. The mushroom glows a brighter blue as I hit it and fall to the ground much softer than I would have. I lie there and watch the branch as it swings from its broken bow and breaks. Its fall seems slow, silent and graceful right until
I sit up and take in the surroundings that my tree travelling has brought me to. To my right sits the mushroom, now faintly glowing a comfortable light blue. Small rays of light pierce through the thick trees and trunks and hit the thick grass as small, lighter spots that make the ground look textured. To my left sits a large boulder that has been half taken over by moss so that it looks like a man’s head with a bald spot in the middle. Around me, more mushrooms glow different colors and more rocks sit covered by moss. The ground is completely flat, not a single hill or mound. Small bushes grow around the trunks of the larger trees. Well this place is new. I stand up, look down at the branch, and rip it out of the ground.
“Best.Walking stick. Ever.” I say quietly to myself as I straighten my bag on my shoulder.
I begin walking around the rock and rip off some of the moss on the side. It’s soft. Really soft. Wow! I rip off a huge sheet and fold it up in my bag next to my pillow, tarp, and water bottle. I pull out the water bottle to take a quick drink when a drop falls on my hand. I pull the small piece of moss out of my pocket and wipe the drop experimentally. Not a drop is soaked in. Fine by me, this will make a good blanket, maybe a shelter cover. I continue to pull the stuff off of rocks as the rain continues to come harder. I gather enough sticks and moss to make myself a small shelter up against a rock that I begin to fill with my things. I set my brand new, top of the line moss blanket on the floor and cover it with my blanket. My pillow is placed on the end to my right. I propped two sticks up against a huge boulder with an outcropping on the side to put the moss over and hang my lantern on the end further from my pillow. I head under the small piece of rock that my sticks rest against and begin to flatten the grass that is under the outcropping of the top. I use what dry wood I have left to make a small fire and settle down into my makeshift bed for the night.
In the morning it isn’t raining anymore so I take down my shelter and pack my things to continue travelling. I’ll have to find a way to get back into the trees to keep travelling efficiently. I decide to walk towards the direction of the rising sun and try to find a shorter forest. Not that I don’t want to stay here, there just isn’t enough to do. I notice that many of the bushes around the trees have small berries on them. After a few hours, I have gathered enough of these to make a small meal and sit down on my blanket to eat.
Not a thing stirs in the forest as I watch the treetops for movement. It’s so quiet that I’m stunned into silence. The wind even seems to die down in the woods. Suddenly it seems ten times quieter and I hear silent and seeming distant voices all around me. Small voices fill the forest with inaudible singing and the grass quivers and dances with the sound. Then it’s silent, completely silent. The wind now seems to make a parade of sound as it sweeps through the forest and disturbs the trees. What was that? I stand up and look around for the source of the noise. Nothing…well that’s weird. I pick up and fold my blanket and continue to move to the east. The mushrooms seem to get bigger and brighter as I walk along and the trees seem to become taller, wider, and denser in the leaves, blocking even more light. This was the wrong direction to go for an escape through the trees. If I had gone west I might have found a shorter forest, but it’s too late now, I have to keep going.
I decide to find a new shelter for the night before it gets too dark and begin looking for a place to build it. I find a huge rock and begin looking around it for a good place to build my shelter. On one side I find a small opening that I could slip into and rest in comfortably. I crawl in and find that I can sit on my knees without crouching down at all. I prop a stick on the wall to put my lantern on and set up my moss and blankets just like last night with my pillow away from the opening. I lie down and stare at the ceiling until my eyes become heavy and I slowly drift off to sleep. I wake up and collect my things for another day of travelling. I hate traveling on the ground, I feel too vulnerable. As I walk the forest seems to become livelier. The breeze feels a bit stronger and there are birds chirping and flying in the tops of the trees. It seems weird to see anything move anymore, but it’s still comforting to know that I’m not alone. The berries from these bushes are not completely satisfying my hunger anymore as I watch the birds in the branches and I’m craving a meal of meat. Unfortunately I have no way to capture the birds and no creatures crawl across the ground for me to catch. I continue to pick and consume the berries on the bushes as I walk and am lucky enough to find a bush that actually grows apples. This somewhat aggravates me because apples are supposed to grow on trees, thus allowing me to climb out of this cursed forest. I pick some of the apples and glare at the bush for a few minutes before I continue walking.
Of course, you don’t want to hear me rant about the days of wandering through the woods. Instead I will tell you that I continue to walk around the forest for a total of about fourteen days and eventually find an area of forest filled with small squirrel/mole creatures that actually taste very good when roasted over a fire. I had just started roasting one of these sqoles before bed when I hear a tree trunk snapping. What!? I run out of my moss and stick tent and look around for the source of the sound. The birds fly to the east as I hear yet another tree fall. I quickly gather my things and run towards the sounds. I run and a shadow passes in front of the moon through the trees. I jump backwards just in time to avoid being crushed by a huge tree. I scramble back as the log slowly rolls towards me after the fall. I look up at the full moon through the new hole in the canopies. I stand up and squint through the darkness of the forest in search of whatever is launching the trees into the forest. I look and scan the darkness until I spot two floating bright red lights. The two lights shine on me and bathe me in red light. I hear a mechanical whirring sound and another tree covers the moon. I turn tail and run to the east with the tree landing behind my heels as I jump over the remnants of my fire. I look back and see the red lights getting smaller as the distance between me and them increases. I look forward again and my ears are pierced by a sudden high pitch sound. I fall on my side, cover my ears, and yell in pain until the sound stops. I look up, dazed, and see a small set of gentle, blurred blue lights coming towards me as I lose consciousness.