The Little Girl on A Watercolour Wander

This is a story written around the pictures on display on LEA12, at A Watercolour Wander. If you like to check it out, here’s the url:

A Watercolour Wander

(Opened 18th August – closing December 2016)

A Watercolour Wander.png

1 A Starry Forest Night

The little girl was lying safely in her bed. She’d had her lullaby and her bedtime story and had been  gently tucked in and kissed on the forehead. Her mother and father had quietly left the room, leaving the door ajar just far enough for a tiny little stripe of light to seep into the room.

She was slowly falling asleep, events of the day remembered and ebbing away as she started to drift on the waves of dreams.

The little girl in bed.jpg

Suddenly something startled her and she woke, opening her eyes, sitting up. Feeling giddy from sleep she looked around and her eyes grew bigger.

There were no walls anymore! Her door had disappeared. Instead she saw trees and water and mountains, all in beautiful dreamy colours.

She sat on the edge of the bed and put her feet on the grass. Well, grass… it was green, but it felt a little wet. She looked down and saw that there was paint on the ground. Her feet were now coated with it. She blinked a few times, not sure what to make of all of this. She looked around again and saw a path that lead to a forest.

“Oh, an adventure!” she clapped her hands happily. “This is wonderful!”  She got out of bed and started to walk towards the forest. The paint on the ground was dry now, her feet slowly losing the shade of green.  She looked around with an open mouth, admiring the colourful landscape she had woken up in.  The pines looked like they were made from paper, the hills were green and midnight blue but bright and it gave her a fairytale feeling. She heard sounds from critters and other little creatures roaming the forest at night.  She liked that.

1 Starry Forest Night

The girl was fond of nature. Nothing would make her happier than wandering around in the woods near her home, exploring, watching the deer and rabbits, listening to the birds and the wind rustling the leaves of the trees. She never felt alone as long as nature surrounded her, enveloped her and made her feel so alive and happy. Her father smiled and ruffled her hair whenever she came back from an afternoon of exploring. Her mother sighed a lot, mumbling things about girl things and washing machines.

She walked up a hill and looked up at the stars. So many of them  there! She stared at them until her eyes started to water. With a big smile she continued down the hill, wandering through the trees, feeling the familiar thrill of exploring the unknown.

At one point she saw a tree with a broken branch and frowned a little. Hadn’t she seen that one just a while ago? After a few other trees with distinctive marks she knew it for sure. Somehow she was walking in circles. She kept coming round the same way.  She bit her lip, feeling a little nervous. She couldn’t be lost, she never got lost. She always found her way home again. She glanced behind her, but didn’t recognise which way she had come. Rubbing her face she closed her eyes for a moment, trying to remember the lessons her father had told her.  She couldn’t use the sun, cause it was night, but she might find her way by keeping an eye on the moon.

The little girl started walking again and then blinked once more. Did she just see something between the trees before her. She stopped and stared.  There! Something was there! A little animal perhaps? She slowly moved closer. She saw a glimpse of something that looked like a snail’s head, and a rush of pink and blue, crashing through the undergrowth. She decided to follow it. Moving quickly through the trees, jumping over branches, avoiding other ones so they couldn’t  hit her face. She saw a small glimpse of colours every now and then, but she mostly followed the noises the creature made. High pitched cries, that made her think of an Eagle flying over the tops of the trees. She didn’t pay attention to her environment as much and wasn’t aware that it was slightly changing. She was definitely not walking in circles anymore.

She only realized that herself when she noticed dawn had arrived. Through the trees she now saw daylight. Suddenly the cries stopped and the creature managed to get away without much noise at all. She looked and looked, but it was gone. A little sad that she hadn’t been able to find out what it was she walked on, slower now. The trees around her were a mix of pines and broadleaves. The colours changing from night to daytime.

 

2     Mr Nut at the Forest Tunnel

The path she was on hollowed, the trees grew closer together here. It gave her the sensation of entering a tunnel. Trees grew over the path left and right, natural arches.  She noticed movement again and this time she saw what it was straight away. On the right side of the path was a squirrel and it was moving frantically up and around one of the trees. It was bigger than the ones she ran into in the woods at home. “Hello there, what are you looking for?” she asked softly, kneeling down to be smaller and less threatening, not wanting to scare it away.   “The missus! The missus!” it said in obvious panic. “The missus”?  she repeated. “Is that something you can eat?” The squirrel looked shocked. “NO, there’ll be no eating the missus! She’s my wife! Mrs Nut! I can’t find her, she is not here…” he rushed up and down the tree again, looking behind it. Then he looked at the little girl again. “Can you see her, can you find her? I can’t think, I don’t know..” Utterly lost and desperate he grabbed the little girl’s arm. “Please help me?”  The little girl smiled and nodded. Not a thought was given to the fact she was having a conversation with an animal. It was nothing strange or so it seemed. “Of course I’ll help you.” She picked up the squirrel and put it on her shoulder. “Let’s go.” She walked further down the path, while Mr Nut settled on her shoulder, making sure he wouldn’t fall off. “I’m Elle by the way” she told him.  Mr Nut mumbled something unintelligible and his eyes ricocheted through the forest.

2 Mr Nut

It took them a while, wandering between the trees, looking under branches, behind rocks, up any tree that they thought they saw something move, but at last they found her.  Mrs Nut was crying softly, a bump showing clearly on her head. Mr Nut jumped off the little girl’s shoulder and rushed towards her. Mrs Nut cried out in surprise and quickly rushed up a tree, then turned to look at them. “Who are you?!” she squeaked.

“Come on, Mrs Nut! It’s me! Your husband. I’ve been looking for you everywhere!  I’m so happy to have found you!” Mr Nut jumped against the tree, but didn’t rush after her.  Mrs Nut looked at him in confusion. “I don’t know you!” she squeaked. Mr Nut shuddered and looked back at the little girl. “I do not understand what is wrong…”  The little girl glanced from the upset Mr Nut to the scared Mrs Nut in the tree and scratched her head. “I think she hit her head and doesn’t remember who you are, Mr Nut..”  “But…that…that….oh how awful!” he exclaimed. “What to do, what to do?” Starting to move below the tree again in a frantic fashion.  The little girl tried to remember what she had been told by her mother, that time when she had fallen down from a tree and had a concussion . She remembered she had to stay in the dark and rest a lot.  “We need to get her down from the tree and take her home, Mr Nut.  She has to rest in a dark place, and we need to make her calm, she needs to be calm.” Mr Nut nodded and stopped running around.  It took them a long time to coax Mrs Nut out of the tree and finally managed her to come down, reassuring her nothing bad would happen. She let the little girl pick her up and carry her to the hollow tree that was their home. The girl told Mr Nut to put his wife in bed and sing a soothing song to her while she went to find some chamomile. She collected water from the river nearby in the flask she always brought with her on her wanders and which had miraculously appeared just when she needed it.  She got a little pan from Mr Nut and built a small fire, a safe distance from the trees, and made some tea. When it was ready she handed the pan back to Mr Nut and told him to give it to his wife so she’d sleep and rest. And have her drink some more in the coming days. She should not leave the hollow tree for at least three days. By then she should be fine again, or so the little girl hoped. Mr Nut hugged her and said “You are a good friend, Elle. If you ever need any help, you can call me anytime.” The little girl smiled and scratched behind his ears. “Thank you, Mr Nut. I will find you and ask how Mrs Nut is doing soon!”  She put her flask back on her belt, and looked along the path. “Time for me to walk on again.” She waved goodbye to the squirrel and moved along the path through the woods.

 

3 Meeting Pinkie Papillon amongst the Flowers and Butterflies

She walked through the trees and then at the end of the narrow path she saw bright sunlight shining through. She got out of the forest and found herself in a field. Lovely flowers and grass everywhere and big butterflies flying around.  A happy smile appeared on her face. “Such lovely little animals, and the sun feels so nice and warm!” She felt hungry and reached into the rucksack that she had on her back, (which I’m sure hadn’t been there a moment before!) for the packed sandwiches. She saw a rock and settled against it, unwrapping her breakfast. She was just chewing on a mouthful when one of the butterflies flew towards her and settled next to her on the rock.

3 Meeting Pinkie Papillion

“Hello!”  A tiny little voice chirped at her. She looked at the butterfly and smiled. “Hello, beautiful butterfly, are you resting?”  The butterfly moved its head closer to the little girl. “I am yes, Pinkie needs to rest every now and then, flying is exhausting!” The little girl offered a small bit of her sandwich. “Would you like something to eat, Pinkie? Nice to meet you, I am Elle.”  The butterfly flapped her wings a few times. “No thank you, I’m fine. So, you’re wandering about again then?” settling on the stone, enjoying the warmth. The little girl nodded. “Yes, I love it here.  “This is a very good place, Elle”, the butterfly chirped. “If you keep away from parts of it, that is.”  A funny high pitched sound followed, as the butterfly seemed to laugh. “Do you like stories? Pinkie loves telling them, you see.” The little girl nodded eagerly. “I love stories! Please tell me one?” “I will, sweet Elle, I will. I will tell you the tale of the Forsighted Fish.”  The little girl pondered over that title, not entirely sure what foresighted meant. “Not to worry, Elle, you will see.” Pinkie promised. Then she began the story.

“In the Pastel Sea there once lived a fish. It wasn’t the only one, of course, but there was something about this fish. It was different from any other fish. It wasn’t because of its colours, lovely shades of red and orange as they were. There were more fish with beautiful colours around. It wasn’t because of its size. The fish was quite average in build.

No, it was because of its peculiar talent. The fish could see into the future.  Many creatures of the waters would come and visit the fish to hear of the things that lay ahead. However, the fish was quite particular to whom it spoke and of what. Many a creature returned home, none the wiser on how to become more important, strong, cunning or wealthy. But whenever a creature visited the fish who’s future foretold of danger, the fish would warn them and guide them to a safer direction.

Then, one day, a mermaid came to visit. She had swum a great distance and was pretty tired by the time she reached the home of the Foresighted Fish. Her red manes floated in the water, as she slowly swayed with the reeds. “Hello Fish.” She greeted with great respect and solemnity. “Could you spare me a little of your time?” The Fish swam closer to the mermaid and spoke with a calm and soothing voice. “Of course, my dear. For you I have all the time in the waters.” The mermaid smiled sadly. “I have a wish to know of things that will come upon my path. I have  had a terrible dream…”  The Fish swayed with her in the water, staring at her for a time before answering. “Your dream has a ring of truth in it, my dear. Your home is not safe anymore. It will collapse, the towers will crumble…” it shook its head sadly. “There is nothing to be done, the airbreathers cannot be stopped. “ The mermaid started to cry. The Fish nuzzled the mermaid’s arm. “But you can save your people. Return home immediately and bring them here. This is where they’ll be safe till the end of times.”  Not a moment to waste, the mermaid nodded, shouted a thank you and swam back as quickly as she possibly could. After a few days she returned, bringing with her all the surviving merfolk. The stream of creatures was endless as all the mers had heard of this safe haven and they all wished to be rid of the airbreathers. The Foresighted Fish was happy for them. It also realized there was no room left to have visitors anymore. And, because it wouldn’t just help anyone, it decided to leave home and roam around all the waters, helping where help was really needed.”  Pinkie stopped and moved to the cap of Elle’s flask, which she had been drinking from during the story.  Elle poured a little bit of water in it and Pinkie started sipping. “What a lovely story.” The little girl said. “If you look closely, you might find it. It is rumoured to swim around these waters of late.” Pinkie replied, feeling rested and refreshed. “I think it is time for me to move again. But I will keep an eye on you and maybe I’ll tell you another story later.” She fluttered her wings again.  “Once I need a rest again.”  The little girl smiled and nodded. “I would love that very much. Thank you for the story, Pinkie. I will move along as well.” She gathered her things, put them back in the rucksack and on her belt and started walking again, following the path, still pondering on the story.  What a lovely day she was having!

 

4 The River

Happily skipping she followed the path until she came to a bridge. She walked onto it and looked at the river below. Suddenly she heard a slurry voice. “And where is it you are going, little girl?” She giggled, it sounded like her mother spoke, but with a mouth full of cough syrup. “I don’t know, river.” She replied. It was the most common thing in the world, to have a river speak to you. “I am just following the path. Where are you going then?” she asked in return. “Oh, I’m wandering as well, but I don’t follow any path, I make my own” the river replied. “My task is to shape the land. To move the earth, to polish the stones, to sustain all living things.  What is yours?”

4 The RiverThe little girl blinked a few times and thought hard for a while. “I don’t really know.” Worry showing on her face. “Is that bad?” The river gurgled and laughed. “It will be an adventure to find out, won’t it? You can take your time, little girl. There is no rush for you yet. Just be wary of the silence. The silence is bad, very bad.”  The girl looked surprised and asked what the river meant, but it had stopped talking, too busy with all the things it had to do.  The little girl waved goodbye and skipped along again, over the bridge through the meadows towards  the trees.

 

5 The Birches

Soon enough she was surrounded by birch trees. Her heart was light with joy, feeling good amongst the trees.  Breathing in the fresh air, smelling the trees, the grass, the flowers. Hearing the buzzing of insects, little critters moving around, birds  singing their lovely songs. Their white and dark skin looking like drawings, like writing even.  She gently touched the trees she passed, her fingers tracing the cuts and lines in the bark of the trees.

She remembered a story her grandmother used to tell her, about Beith-Bey, a young girl who lived alone in the forest. Who had angered a wizard by trampling on his things by accident. The wizard had turned the girl into a birch tree.  Grandmother had told her that the markings on the birches were the warnings the girl tried to send to other people roaming the lands.  The little girl smiled. Her father had told grandmother to stop scaring his daughter and that the markings on the birches were stories. Good stories about the adventures people were having in the forests.

5 The Birches

She stopped and stared between the trees. For a moment she could have sworn she saw her grandmother, sitting on a chair, reading her book. She blinked and looked again, but there was nothing other than trees, grass and flowers. She wandered amongs the trees, enjoying the feeling of the grass under her bare feet for a while.  Then, with a big smile on her face, she continued onto the path once more.

 

6 The Silent Mountains

After a while she noticed the trees started to lose their colour. She frowned and looked behind her. There was no sign of the lovely birch forest now, it just got darker and darker everywhere.  Above her clouds were gathering, blocking out the sun. She bit her lip, slowing her pace, not sure what was going on.  Then she realized there were no sounds anymore. No birds chirping, no little critters running around, no insects wriggling in the grass. There were no flowers anywhere. Just… bits of grass that looked like they had been burnt. The little girl shivered, suddenly feeling cold and alone. The forest around her was gloomy and dark. Bare trees, staring down at her. She had never felt so small in her life! She wrapped her arms around herself and closed her eyes for a moment. But the silence surrounding her only got worse that way.  She sighed and felt tears starting to form in her eyes.  She tried to think of good things to shake off this horrible feeling of loneliness and then remembered Mr Nut and how he told her to call for him if she needed anything.  “Mr Nut! Mr Nut! I need your help! Come find me, please?!!”  she called out as loud as she could. There was an echo coming back from the mountains, which made her shudder. She swallowed hard and very very slowly moved down along the path, dreading each step.

6 The Silent Mountains

Each step was slower than the last one until she finally stopped walking altogether.  She couldn’t move her feet if she had wanted to. The silence overwhelming her, paralyzing her.  She wanted to be home, with her parents. In her bed, safely tucked in. Feeling warm and protected and loved. This place was cold and mean and scaring her. Then she saw movement from the corner of her eye. “Mr Nut? Is that you?” she called out, but there was no answer. Suddenly a high pitched cry was heard, piercing through the silence. Yet it didn’t scare her, she felt relief. She wasn’t alone after all! “Help me! Please, I can’t move!” she called out again.

“Oh, my. Oh my!” something muttered behind her.  Then she saw Mr Nut, shivering and looking even more nervous than when they had met. “Mr Nut, you came! Oh thank you, thank you!” she was so happy she reached out to pick him up and hug him, halfway through realizing she could move again! “You saved me!”  twirling around with the poor shivering squirell in her arms. “Yes, well, no, er…” it replied helplessly.  “We’re not out of the woods yet. We need to go, and now, please.  Put me down?”  The little girl nodded and put him on the ground. He ran left, then right, then left again. He stopped and scratched his head, seemingly being lost as well.  Then they heard another high cry and he called out to her. “This way!”  following something that was rustling under and between the dark grasses. This time she could make out a little more of the strange creature she had seen before. Its skin was light with purple and blue and pink shades. She also thought she had seen orange eyes staring at her. Eyes on sticks…. She ran after it and Mr Nut, going as fast as she could to get away from that dreadful place.

Slowly the forest changed again, colour seeping back into her surroundings, though it all seemed to be quite purplish. Soon as the last of the mountain was passed the strange creature disappeared and Mr Nut stopped running after it. “We’re safe! Now please, Elle. Don’t ever go to the Silent Mountains again. It is too dangerous!” The little girl looked behind her and shivered again. “Yes, Mr Nut, I won’t go back there, I promise. “ They started walking in a slower pace now. “Oh, I have to ask you, how is your wife?” the little girl suddenly remembered.  “Oh, she’s doing alright. She has started to remember a few things but still needs a lot of sleep.” Mr Nut replied, sounding cheerful.

 

Meanwhile…

In the room the little girl had been tossing and turning in her bed. A leg stuck out and there was sweat on her forehead. She had been murmuring and moaning in her sleep.  Her teddy bear had fallen out of the bed and was now lying on the ground. However, she had calmed down after a while and was sleeping more peacefully once again.

 

7 The Rock at  Lavender Forest

The little girl and Mr Nut walked onwards,  following the path again. They came across a rock that looked a lot like a huge head. Its top was green with moss, but it had spikes that looked like hair.  There were two little pools of water that looked like eyes.  The little girl thought she recognized a nose and a mouth as well. She watched it for a while as they moved towards it.  Still she was startled when the stony lips moved as it spoke.  “Travellers of the Woods, spare me some words?”  Mr Nut turned towards the rock, climbed on its face and settled on the mossy top. “What can we do for you, Spike?” he asked, while the little girl came closer and sat down in front of the rock. Spike looked at the little girl and smiled. “I just like to chat for a little bit. Not many visitors drop by this way, you know.”  The eyes moved to its right. “Too close to the Silence here.” The little girl followed its stare and shivered again. “Can you tell me what is going on over there?” she asked, pointing towards the Silent Mountains.  The rock shook a little as it laughed. “Yes, I can. Are you sure you want to know though?” The little girl glanced back once more, but, in the safe company of friends she felt confident enough and nodded. “Yes, I’m sure.”

7 The Rock at Lavender Forest

Spike smiled.  “Very well then. Something awful happened there.  It was many a year ago that another little girl visited these woods.  She was a very angry girl and she rushed through the forest, not seeing all the beauty around her. At one point she met one of the Forest’s spirits an started arguing with it about her dress having been spoilt.  The spirit was not the friendliest of creatures and it put a spell on the child. The next time she’d start a fight with someone, she’d turn into a tree…”  Mr Nut sighed softly, looking at the little girl. She was listening wide-eyed and worried.  “Not long after that the girl stepped into a puddle and started screaming angrily. A passing bird was caught in the middle and she took it out on the poor thing. She was screaming so loudly that she didn’t even notice how her feet got stuck into the ground and how branches and twigs started growing out of her arms.  Only when the bird started to stare in shock did she take a moment to look at herself and then started screaming again, this time in terror. Before the bird’s eyes she turned into a tree, a birch. Her body full of markings and cuts.  The bird was clearly upset and tried to move closer to see if it could help in any way. This angered the tree girl yet again. “Go away, leave me, this is your fault, you hear, your fault!” she snapped at it. Then she started to scream again, full of anger and resentment.  The air started to shimmer as it heated up. The girl tree started to glow as she ranted on and on about all the things that were wrong with everything and everyone except herself. “How dare you spoil my day, you are a rotten bird! This forest is so stupid, I hate it! I hate it!!” Anger built up and up until the bark and the roots just gave out and the heat enveloped them entirely. The bird started to fly and slowly moved further away from the tree girl as small flames appeared on her sides.  The tree girl was so angry it never noticed she started to burn.  The bird watched in horror as the tree girl and the trees around her started to catch fire and not before long the entire area was ablaze. All the little creatures living there fled, rushing away from the flames. The tree girl ranted on and on until she was consumed by the fire. And once the fire died down….there was only silence left…”

Spike stopped and looked at the little girl in front of him. Tears were running down her cheeks. “What a horrible thing to happen.” She sniffled.  Mr Nut nodded. “Indeed it was. And because such a thing should not ever happen again the Watchers came.”  The little girl looked up at him.  Wiping her tears away she asked : “The Watchers? Who are they?”  Spike looked to his left this time. “They are somewhere along the path. They guide our visitors. They’ll help you when you get lost. They protect you from harm.”

The little girl realized that they were talking of the bright coloured creatures she had spotted twice when she was in trouble. “They make sounds like eagles, don’t they?” she asked. Mr Nut nodded. “They sent your message to me and then helped you escape the Silence.”  The little girl smiled and glanced forward. “I would love to meet them and say thank you.”  Spike closed his eyes. “Then I think you should be on your way again, dear girl. And thank you for your time and company. It has been a while since I got to tell a tale.” Mr Nut scrambled down on the ground again. “Time for me to check up on the Missus.” He said. “Be safe, dear Elle and if you meet the Watchers, say hi for me. But, they are very shy, you won’t stumble upon them easily.”  Elle nodded and waved as he rushed off to his hollow home.  She said her goodbyes to Spike as well and was on her way once more.

 

8 The Bird among the Blue Birches

The lavender coloured trees slowly gave way to other trees. Birches, again, but not as green and beautiful as earlier along the path. These birches were grey and blue, and they had no leaves at all. It made the little girl feel a bit sad.  Then she spotted a statue between the trees. Or was it? It stood on top of a cut tree. Curiously, she came closer to have a better view.  She saw at once that this was a bird, but it couldn’t be a statue, it had feathers, real feathers. She moved closer and put a foot on one of the branches to lift herself up a little higher. Then she noticed the tears. The bird was alive and it was crying! “Oh you poor thing! What is the matter?” she exclaimed, reaching out to stroke its head. “So sad, so sad…” the bird muttered, not moving in any way. “You are a child, you are not angry, are you? Please don’t be angry..” more tears fell to the ground as the bird stood still on the tree stump.

8 The Bird among the Blue Birches

“Oh, I think I know!” the little girl replied. “you are the bird that saw what happened to that other girl, aren’t you?” She smiled and patted the bird reassuringly. “I’m not angry at all. Nothing is going to happen, I’m safe.”  As she kept petting and stroking its feathers the tears started to slow down. “It must have been very awful to have seen it happening.” The little girl continued.” “I was already sad just listening to the story.” The bird seemed to incline its head a little to lean into her petting.  “Everybody tells me it wasn’t my fault and that I should not be sad anymore. It’s been so long ago.” It said with a tiny and very sad voice. “But you still feel sad, don’t you.” The little girl smiled softly. “It is ok to feel sad, you know. It was a very sad thing that happened. But if this sadness is numbing you and keeping you here like a statue, then it’s a problem.”  The bird moved its head quite noticeably now. “So I don’t have to be happy and cheerful, I can be sad if I want to, or need to?” The little girl nodded. “Of course you can. Just don’t let it hold you back.”  It was fascinating to see how her words send a ripple of relief through the bird. It ruffled its feathers, flapped its wings testingly and wriggled its claws. “Oh….it feels good to move again!” The years of stiffness slowly moving away like a shadow fleeing from the sun.  “Thank you, little girl. Thank you very much!”  The little girl smiled  and gave the bird a kiss on its head.  “That other girl was lost forever, but I believe the woods have made sure it will not happen again.” She climbed down and stepped on the ground. “Now, I should be going, I am looking for the Watchers.”  The bird watched her leave and the little girl heard it singing a lovely sad song as she walked on.

 

9 The Lady and her Lover

The woods turned into warm colours, golden, deep red, orange. It made her think of autumn.  The wind moved through the trees, making them sway back and forth.  One of the trees swayed a bit more than the others and then it moved a branch toward her. “Hello there, wanderer!” it said in a cheerful voice. “Nice to see you.”  The little girl smiled, not at all bewildered by yet another creature speaking to her. “Hello, tree. Nice to see you too.”

The tree bent down and whispered in her ear. “Do you see that lovely lady further down the path?” its branches pointing to one of the trees in the distance. There was one that really looked like a woman, ivy hung around her like a dress. “Yes, I see her!” She said excitedly.  “She’s the lady of my heart, little girl. I am deeply in love with her.” The little girl smiled. “I’m happy for you.”  The tree laughed. “Yes, I am too, but…she is so far away, I can never reach her!”  The little girl frowned. “Hm, I see, that is a shame.” She walked towards the Lady and waved at her. “Hello, lady, how are you?” she asked. The Lady smiled upon her and her dress rustled around her. “I am fine, only a little alone.”  The other trees around her chuckled and swayed back and forth.  “She’s in love, but they’re too far apart. They have to call out  just to express their love for one another.”  The leaves of the Lady turned a brighter red, as if she were blushing. “There’s no privacy here, none at all.” She sighed with the wind. The girl looked between the two trees and pondered over this problem for a while.  A butterfly was flying nearby and it fluttered towards them. “Hello!” It was Pinkie Papillon. “I hear you escaped the Silence, but only barely!” Shaking her head. “I warned you, didn’t I? Oh well, good thing you have friends here.”  It settled on the male lover tree’s branches. “Have you figured it out yet?” she asked.  The little girl shook her head. “No, I don’t know how to help them.” Pinkie fluttered her wings and flew over to the Lady. “Are you sure?” she asked.

9 The Lady and her Lover

“Maybe…. “ the little girl looked between the trees. “Have you ever tried to grow your branches to one another?” she asked. “So you can touch?” All the trees started to react at those words. Chattering and swaying and all excited. It might just work!  Slowly, and out of season, both trees started to extend their branches, little twigs growing, getting bigger, dividing, more twigs growing until at last their ends met. Gently wrapping around each other the branches intertwined, like a lovers’ embrace. No more need for shouted professions of love. Both trees seemed to glow with warmth, so happy to finally be connected.  Leaving them to their newfound happiness the little girl waved at the other trees and moved on. Pinkie was coming with her. “How are you enjoying yourself?” she asked. “Oh, the path is taking me to most interesting places, Pinkie. It is quite an adventure. And I have made many new friends!”  she answered happily, starting to skip again. “Soon it will be morning though.” Pinkie spoke solemnly.  The little girl looked surprised. “What do you mean…isn’t it in the middle of the day now?” she had not uttered those words or she noticed that the sky was darkening again, twilight falling upon the woods. Pinkie fluttered away without another word and she was left to herself.

 

10 The Watchers

A familiar mix of purple and pink started to take over the environment. Trees became sparse until they were gone altogether, hills and strange looking plants appearing instead.  In the distance she could make out buildings, towers or something like that.  She was admiring the colour of a bush when she noticed a movement.  “oh! Are you a watcher? Please, don’t run away I won’t harm you at all. I just want to thank you” she spoke softly, for fear of scaring it away.

10 The Watchers

The creature stood still staring at her. It was indeed one of the creatures she had seen before Funny little creature, standing on two legs, skin blue and pink.  Its’eyes bright orange and on sticks, like snail eyes.  Then the eyes moved and it slowly walked towards her. “You the girl of courage, the girl of smart.”  It said somewhat cryptically. “Safe you are, safe we keep.”  The little girl smiled, not entirely understanding what it said, but happy nonetheless. “Thank you for keeping me safe, and for watching over this magical place…” she wanted to say more, but she suddenly felt quite tired. “Almost morning” the creature nodded as she yawned.  “What do you mean? She asked. But the creature didn’t reply to that. Instead it pointed at the tower closest by. “In you go, out you come.”  The little girl blinked at yet another cryptic sentence, but was too tired to think it over. She just went where it had pointed and entered the tower. She had taken no more than two steps inside, where it was pitch black, and then she found herself outside again.

 

11 The Fish

She looked behind her but everything was gone. Just a blur of pastel colours was all that was left behind. She sighed, but knew she had to move on. She came to a bridge and noticed something in the water. It was a fish. It seemed to have been waiting for her, for as soon as she walked onto the bridge it swam closer by. “There you are” it said in greeting.  “Thank you for your help in keeping things safe.” The little girl smiled. “It was a great adventure.” The fish bobbed under water and above again. “I’m glad you enjoyed it, I knew you would. But now, little girl, it is time for you to go home. It is almost time to wake up.” The little girl was feeling a little sad. “Does it have to end already, I don’t want to go home.” The foresighted fish, for that was who it was, chuckled and replied. “Not to worry, little girl. You will drop by plenty of times again. Your friends will be waiting and adventures will be had. Now, off you go, back to bed!”

11 The Fish

The little girl wanted to protest some more but her eyes grew very heavy and she closed them, just for a brief moment. But when she opened them again, she was back in her bed, safely tucked under the blankets and the walls were all around her, her room intact and familiar.

She sighed and smiled. She was home. She had woken up. She stretched and quickly got out of bed. Not feeling sad for waking up. She knew she’d be back to that magical place soon enough.

“Dad, mum! I have to tell you something!” she rushed out of the room, looking for her parents. it had all been a dream, but what an adventure!