Snapshot 10/31/19 // Something Spooky This Way Came

Currently listening: “This Is Halloween” – The Nightmare Before Christmas
Currently (re) watching: Over The Garden Wall
Currently reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Boo. (Sorry I couldn’t resist!) Happy Halloween! Thank goodness for October. After the harshness of September, October never fails to cheer me up. Pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, orange leaves and sweater weather. Also, (*cough*) CANDY (*cough*).

Me, tonight.

My October goals were (*drumroll, please*):

  1. Rework my WIP, which is a check. I definitely changed things around a bit and now have an idea for how I’m going to handle NaNo!
  2. Post 1 Living Life vignette, HAHA CHECK! I posted two.
  3. Go pumpkin and apple picking, check check! This one was easy since I go every year.

Heading into (NANOWRIMO) November this is the plan:

  1. Write 25,000 words for my WIP. I’m a slow writer I’ve learned, so I set a more realistic goal for myself this NaNoWriMo.
  2. Post at least 1 Living Life vignette again this month. Honestly with NaNo I’ll be lucky if I have time for just one. But I’m going to try!
Me, this entire month. Probably.

What I Read:

Books Read:
The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I don’t think I can do this book justice. It just needs to be read to be understood. Wow. It’s dark… but the characters are alive. They breathe just like you and me. So many connections to the classics. CHARLES, OH BABY . And Henry, I don’t even. Honestly, (*beware, spoilers coming*) I expected more people to die at the end the way this story was going and Francis even comments on it somewhere at the end that Henry should have just killed them all. Enthralling story that no matter how dark it gets you just need to see it to the end. Very dark… can put you in a black cloud/ endless dark tunnel mood. SO WELL THOUGHT OUT AND WRITTEN. Julian, and the depiction of evil in him (as something that seems good on the surface). I need a mental break.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I was meaning to read this for a while and then someone mentioned it at work and I took it as a sign to just BUY IT. This book is a TRIP. Whoa baby. In the best possible way. An October book, true and true. I’m going to read this again next October and maybe the October after that. It’s a great book, not necessarily one of my all time favorites but it’s a GREAT book. It’s simple (the moral) but haunting and well played. Out there prose that paints a definite picture. The story will stay with you long after you finish it.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson- The story ends the same way it begins and I got chills after reading the last paragraph. I see where all the inspiration for the show came from. Good bones. Chilling and atmospheric. The show goes a lot more in depth, and that is what I knew first so my impression may be a little skewed. But I enjoyed reading the book. Nell, poor baby, and the house is quite the character itself. Madness. Loneliness. Theo was my favorite and Luke grew on me. But Nell, Nell, Nell still lingers in my mind. The foreshadowing all along makes it so clear from the beginning of the story to the end.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I’m only three chapters in but I can tell that this book is amazing. I’m sold. Next Snapshot! I’ll go into more detail but right now I’m LOVING it.

What I’ll Be Writing:

This month, no lie, my WIP and NaNoWriMo is my main priority so my posting will be sporadic at best. I’m going to try to post 1 Living Life vignette, and of course any poetry or tags that cross my way but not much more than that. I’m still debating on whether or not to post weekly NaNo updates… would you guys be interested in hearing about that?
And of course at the end of the month you can expect my ever consistent Snapshot! post.

Some posts I enjoyed this month! :

-Kal @ Reader Voracious “Bookish Banter I Have the Memory of a Goldfish, So I Annotate
– Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner “My Editing Process Part 2 (+ more templates!)

My Round Up of October Posts: (LOOK HOW PRODUCTIVE I WAS)

I watch Over The Garden Wall every Halloween, and right after I post this I’m going to go grab a Twix and head into the Unknown. October was fun and I’m hoping to have just as much fun in November. That pesky WIP of mine that has been haunting my mind for years is going to get written!

Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are your stories about? I’d love to hear about them!

Till next time,

The NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag!

NaNoWriMo is coming. (Oh, and winter too *wink,wink*)

It gives me legitimate chills (in anticipation… and in excitement!) to just even think about it. This will be my third year participating and thus far I have never succeeded in writing 50,000 words. Here’s to hoping this year will be different. For instance, I might be changing that word count to a more achievable number for me lol. In the long year since last year’s NaNo I have started to gain more understanding of myself as a writer and my process!

Thank you to the lovely Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner for creating this tag and tagging me to participate in it! I’m definitely going to have fun with this so, without further ado shall we begin? ;D

Rules:

  1. Thank the awesome blogger who tagged you!
  2. Link back to the creator of this tag, Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner. (I want to hear about your NaNo novels!!)
  3. Feel free to use the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag graphics!
  4. Answer the questions.
  5. Tag some friends who are also doing NaNo this year.
  6. And have fun!!!

Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!

(I’m still in the process of mapping out the plot but here is a general idea about the story!)
Alice doesn’t understand how summer came to end so fast and school is right around the corner again. On her one and only vacation to the Boardwalk at the end of August, oblivious and distracted in her mind, she gets lost and ends up trapped in a vicious game where the only way out is to win. The Boardwalk is not all as it had first seemed when Alice finds herself ducking through seedy alleys, facing ghost stories, and taking on the thirteen challenges she needs to win. It is not going to be easy, especially, when their only purpose is to stop her and keep her soul trapped in the game with them forever…

What’s the genre?

YA, most assuredly, with a touches of fantasy. Also, like a lot of magical realism thrown in there.

Describe your MC in three words.

Imaginative, self deprecating and competitive AF.

Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.

Reckless, lost and selfless.

What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)

In the two years past I participated I’ve never made it to 50K, despite my efforts, SO this year I’m going for hopefully a more realistic goal of 25K.

Is this your first draft? Second? Third?

I’ve written this story three times before and didn’t like how it turned out. This time after reworking it (again) this October (fourth time is the charm!) I like the direction it’s going in and hopefully I will bang that first draft out! I’m not giving up on the idea, I just needed the time to rework it into the best it can be and I’m getting there. Those other attempts weren’t a waste either because I found out what didn’t work, with some gems of really decent writing along the way that might make it into this draft.

Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?

I guess you could say sort of continuing an existing one.

What is your favourite time to write in the day?

Ideally, the morning. Although, my records show I do a lot of night writing lol. This year I’m going to try to wake up earlier to write before work.

Where are you going to write?

More than likely at home. I might be tempted though to try getting out and working at either the library or my local coffee shop just to mix it up!

Computer or paper?

All my notes will be on paper, but I’m going to type the story on the computer.

NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment!! How are you going to make time to write?

I AM GOING TO WAKE UP EARLY.
(As if making that all in caps will give me the strength to get up earlier lol. I promise to try really hard universe so be kind to me.)

Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)

At this point, I don’t think I’m going to but never say never!

Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?

My head ideally likes to work from beginning to end, especially when I’m writing a first draft, that way it clearly follows how to get from Point A to Point B. That being said, as of late, I’ve been skipping around so who knows how this November is going to go? 😀

Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)

Plantser, 100%. A healthy dose of outlining so I have an idea of the beginning, middle and end. Then, an unhealthy dose of let’s just get writing and see what the heck happens.

What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?

Chocolate in any way, shape or form. I’m looking at you mini Halloween candy variety bag.

Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)

CAFFEINE, YES. COFFEE AND TEA AND ANYTHING IN BETWEEN.

Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?

Infinite pride in myself till the year’s over for working hard and doing my best. Then, sleep.

Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!

You have to love the story you’re writing. Otherwise what’s the point? If you don’t love it, then probably no one else will either.
That’s why this story has taken me so long to get right. I wasn’t loving what I was writing but now I’m working it out so I do and want to get up early every day to write!

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous!? Terrified?!)

Terrified, 100%. (But doing it anyway!) Plus another 150% SUPER excited!! One step closer to getting my story out there in the world! 😀

Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!

(The photos above were found on Unsplash by Álvaro Serrano , Edgar Hernández , Daniel Monteiro , Thomas Dumortier , and Mishal Ibrahim . )

I tag anyone and everyone else who is doing NaNoWriMo and wants to participate in the tag!

Let’s get going writers! NaNoWriMo is nearly here! So have Needle at the ready (or like a pen or pencil or laptop… or sword because you never know) and let’s ACE this November. If you are participating I’d love to hear about the stories you’ll be writing in the comments below!!

Till next time,

“Ghost Story”

I saw two boys standing,
in the picture,
on the broken stair.
One with a frown,
and the other,
without a care.

The black haired one,
looking very serious
and quite proud,
held a book in his hand
his shoulders pitched forward
as if he had just bowed.

The lad with the smirk
and penny copper hair
all tousled about his face,
had his eyes far off
and looking away
as he stared into space.

It was taken
twenty three years ago
my mother told me.
When the world
was summer and
she and they played near the sea.


On Roan Island
where they lived,
there was a tale.
You see, the entrance
must be given one soul
to go beyond the veil.

My mother said
the boy made of copper,
brash and not coy,
had a timeless laugh
always heard at the wrong time
that sounded with no joy.

The dark haired one,
was forged of iron
and shadow smart.
His cracks were always witty
but they didn’t come
from his heart.

There was a game
they played
those nights by the sea.
“Something more
must be waiting
for our trio of three.”

One long summer,
when the ocean was storming
and the moon was bright,
one of them
disappeared
into the night.

He vanished,
like a light
in the dark.
The light of soul,
gone,
out like a spark.

“Never saw him again.”
My mother sighed,
her words slow.
“Other things I see now
ever since that night.”
and her voice was so low.

“What? What are you seeing
that I can’t?”
I asked shrewdly.
The picture crinkled
in my hand
the boys wrinkling crudely.

My mother stared straight
her eyes startled and wide
and looking right through me.
“I watch the dead now, sweetie,
for years they’ve come and go
creaking floors and spilling tea

they’ll never leave me alone.
By the sea we played
that stupid game.
Never the one soul
I wanted to see
but do I call his name. “

“Who?” I asked.
“Is it that you want to meet?”
She took the photo in hand
and looked down forlornly.
There was salt in her eyes,
and in her hair fell sand.

“One day the game
would catch up
I always knew.
The time to collect
the sin I owe,
proud and true.”

She pointed down
and I stared, then she said
only to me.
“Until now I never saw him
but now in this room
there are three.”

Living Life # 15 “Oblivion”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

It was just like a drum that was picking up the tempo. My heart, that was.

“Can you see him?”

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. A rising crescendo I couldn’t get a handle on. “I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.” The most I could make out was an outline. The slope of the stairs with the creaking last step, the lamp with the twisted metal where I had scraped my shoulder, and the barricade of wood nailed to the door. There were only traces of light trying to find a way in through the cracks in the boarded up windows. It had to be nearly dawn by now.

“Not for long.” Dmitri leaned back against the surface of the overturned dining room table, brushing his shoulder against my own. The contact pushed my already frayed nerves more on to the edge, making me wince. He didn’t seem to notice, as he continued “We have to hold out.”

That was the goal… but the longer the music played in the background, the harder it was to control my breathing. That drum in my chest and the phonograph were marching a perfect beat to the classical music that hadn’t stopped playing the entire time. In an empty mansion, with no one around for miles, I guess even monsters needed something to fill the silence that too much solitude brought on.

I almost felt bad, for a second. The smell of blood was too prevalent for the feeling to last any longer. It was dripping down my arm, faster than I could stop it and Dmitri was no better off. The monster had stabbed its nails into his side.

“He’s going to find us again.”

Dmitri grunted, guttural and low, and in hindsight it might even have been a laugh. “Beyond all doubt.” Between the smell of blood and the creaking last step it was a matter of moments.

The music was getting louder by the second and I knew that it was getting closer. It seemed to follow wherever it went. In the library it had been overwhelming, like trying to fight with an entire orchestra bowing in your ear. Not ideal circumstances for a hunt.

Behind the fallen table, I stood up. The hiding spot would not hold forever. Nothing could. Not even immortals were entirely safe. Dmitri looked up, but he didn’t say anything. I sidestepped carefully over his long legs but he caught me quick, with startling strength, and squeezed my ankle. Then just let me go… as quickly as the gesture had come. I nodded, but in the dark who knew if he saw.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. BANG.

Exposed and hesitant, I stepped into the center of the foyer. The strings were getting louder from upstairs so there was only so much time. Dodging any pointed furniture and watching for any debris on the tile floor I edged my way closer to the window. It was just planks of wood covering the light. All I had to do was rip one away. That would be enough.

Anchoring my fingers around the edge of the board, I pulled.

And it didn’t budge.

“You are not strong enough for that, Love.” My heart stilled. At the top of the stair, his shape was clear. Skinny like a scarecrow and his silhouette edged like barbed wire, a shadow moved taking one leisurely step after another easing his descent down. Splinters hooked into my fingers the harder I struggled and the music, despite my rush, became deceptively slow. Mellow even. Nice, soothing…

His hand was at my shoulder in barely any time at all. With almost no effort, he turned me around. In that little glint of light his fangs seemed almost beautiful. But then again all vampires were beautiful. And humans couldn’t help but be entranced by pretty things. But the wound on my shoulder put me in no mood for pretty.

Just revenge.

At the opposite end of the room, Dmitri ripped off a board from a different window and the sun came streaming in. The music hitched as the vampire hissed and with sudden, brutal clarity the world slowed into focus again. I stabbed the monster through the heart.

Then the music finally stopped.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

There was sunlight streaming in. Groggily, I opened my eyes to the window.

Bang. Bang. Bang-

With a thump my alarm abruptly went silent. I placed my phone back on the end table and sat up slowly. It was morning… one day over and another beginning. I threw the covers off of me, and then cringed.

“My shoulder…” I massaged it, squeezing the muscle to relieve some of the tension but not even that made all the pain go away. Rolling my neck, I blinked still not quite awake. “Must have slept funny… what was I dreaming…?”

But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember any of it at all.

Snapshot 9/30/19 // Waking Up Because September Is Ending

Currently listening:Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day
Currently reading: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Currently watching: Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir S3

I am going to be real with you guys right now. I sort of… faded in September. Nothing bad happened really, the weather wasn’t terrible and my friends and family were all doing great which at the end of it all made everything worth it. I, unfortunately though, sort of lost the swing of writing. I had to cover a lot of shifts at work, felt very uninspired with anything I attempted to write, and descended into a morose mood at the heart of which had me missing summer terribly.

(Me, beating myself up all month )

My goals for September were simple:

  • Keep working on my WIP which I technically did do, in dribs and drabs. I got nowhere near as far as I wanted to because my head was just not into it. It was a chore to write and think about, and that is not how this is supposed work. The reason I wanted to write it in the first place was because it was supposed to be something that I wanted, needed to get out and do. It’s supposed to feel like if I don’t keep pounding away at that keyboard I will never feel settled. It’s supposed to make the world around me fade and make me fall into the story. And I had none of those feelings. So for October I’m doing a reset. Reworking the plot and replanning the characters, that way I’ll be geared up for NaNoWriMo in November.
  • Focus back on my Living Life vignettes. I wanted to at least post two this month and trust me I wrote two but neither were nowhere near posting material. So for October, while I’m getting my head back on straight, I am going to try and focus on getting out at least one.

Heading into October then this is the plan:

  1. Rework my WIP
  2. Post 1 Living Life vignette
  3. Go pumpkin and apple picking, because honestly this is fun and puts me and Autumn on better terms lol. (I don’t hate you Autumn, I don’t I promise. Summer is just like the peanut butter to my jelly, or like the Cat Noir to my Ladybug.)

What I Read:


Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I started this book last year and vowed to only read one chapter for every time I went to the beach. I finished it this summer, one year later. It was written in 1955 but even though that seems so far away, the lessons it teaches are still relevant today. The book has a magic to it in two ways, or at least it did for me. 1) It will keep you calm, I promise, the prose is very mellow and thoughtful. Then, 2) It demands to be read by the sea. I took away a great deal from it and its simple, but often overlooked in today’s world, lessons gave me clarity to reflect on my own life and give me the mental capability to relax. So if you need a major mental chill, or a 1950’s revamp to simplifying your hectic life I highly recommend.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. This is my second reread of the book. The first time I read it was a few years ago and this time around it was still a good read but I liked it less then second go round. Still glad I read it though! I really liked Peter’s message at the end, “all things end happy”, because it gave me hope, even if the ending overall was bittersweet. I also loved that it was narrated by Tink. On the other hand, I didn’t really connect with how the author handled some things so skip to the next bullet point if you want to avoid some spoilers. I really hated how the author handled Wendy and how everything went down with her. That plot point seemed weak and she was written with the intention for the reader (at least in my mind) to hate her. This portrayal of Peter I also didn’t want to grow up. It didn’t seem to fit his character for me so when he left to go to England with Wendy and grow up, IDK , it just really rubbed me the wrong way. He was depicted as wild and untamable in the book and it didn’t connect for me that Peter would want to leave Neverland. The bittersweet ending though made sense to me in that Tiger Lily and Peter shouldn’t have ended up together but they were still soulmates and each served their purpose in the other’s life to help them grow and change. Not all soulmates have a happily ever after but their impact on the other’s life still remains in how they both grew from the beginning to the end of the book.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt is what I am currently reading and let me tell you this book is good. It’s very dark academia aesthetic and I only have maybe a third left of the book to go. Next month I’ll talk more about it but damn. I highly recommend this book. It was the perfect pick to distract me through my September blues.

What I’ll Be Writing (hopefully, fingers crossed):

If the fates and my will power allow be on the lookout for at least one Living Life vignette this month, maybe a poem (I was dabbling with two this past September but neither is finished yet…), any book tags that hit me like a car crash, and then at the end of the month my strong and steady Snapshot! update post. At least I can do these on time lol. Small victories!

Here are some links to posts I enjoyed this month:

– Siobhan @ Novelties “Beyond the Blurb | Bloggers, Embrace Hiatuses, Don’t Run From Them
– C.G. @ Paper Fury “Pantser Vs Plotter | Which Is The Best Way To Write Your Book?!
– Caro @ bookcheshirecat “Getting Back To Writing #2: Into The Editing Cave
– Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner “My Editing Process Part 1 (template included!)

Wow, it felt really good to actually sit down and write this. It has been a long blah month. Watching Miraculous (it is so CUTE and I am both equally in love with Cat Noir and Luka ❤ ) got me through the doldrums but moving forward October is going to be a lot better. I’ll make it better, and get back into the swing of things (or the spook of things because it’s almost HALLOWEEN!). Now it’s time to turn off the repeat of Wake Me Up When September Ends.

How did yall’s September’s go? Hopefully a lot better than mine. What sort of things do you do to get through the blah days when all you want to do is sleep?

Till next time,

Snapshot 8/31/19 // Praying For Summer to Never End

Currently listening: “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince“- Taylor Swift
Currently reading: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Currently watching: The Office S2
Currently playing: Pokemon Masters

If I could live in perpetual summer, I would. Don’t get me wrong fall is wonderful because everything is pumpkin, winter is nice because of cozy fires and hot chocolate, and spring brings with it all. the. flowers. but it also brings the impending arrival of summer once again. Some people can’t stand the heat but as someone who is endlessly cold I live for it. Not to mention the long hours of daylight, the trips to the beach, and the sweet thirst quenching lick of mint chocolate chip ice cream as it runs down a waffle cone…. dang now I need some ice cream.

My goals for this summer were to go swimming whenever the opportunity arose, get to the beach, finish the first draft of my WIP, and get out of my comfort zone and have some fun. So let’s recap:

  • Unfortunately I only got to go swimming twice this summer. Omg that is so pathetic. The weather wasn’t always on my side though when the opportunity arose so I’m not going to beat myself up too much on this one. And honestly, September is still warm so…. all hope is not lost for one more swim.
  • I DID GET TO THE BEACH, YES, THANK YOU, CHECK.
  • My first draft is coming along. It is nowhere near finished but it is moving in the right direction. The world and the characters are becoming clearer whereas before they were just quietly humming in the background and now they are starTING TO YELL. That’s when I start to get excited and when I get excited that means the story is getting ready to spill out *crossing my fingers*
  • August was fun, a lot of fun. I met a lot of new people and actually held a lot of nice conversations with said new people. That is way out of my comfort zone since I’m usually shy and quiet. So this last goal is a major check.

Going into September these are my new goals:

  • Keep working on my WIP, however long it takes, I’m just going to keep swimming. Hopefully, but no promises, I’ll have some snippets or info to share by the end of September.
  • Focus back on my Living Life vignettes. I got very distracted in August, and not going to lie, I might have been a little lazy. In my defense though it was my birthday month so I’m going to cut myself a break. Heading into September, I’m going to try to get at least two out. They are certainly not going to be weekly anymore though because I’m trying to aim for quality over quantity.

I’m keeping it nice and simple this month. That way I don’t overwork or stress myself out. And I still have some time left to lament over my precious summer…

Because before too long, I’ll be all…

And I’m not ready for that yet, lol.

What I Read:

Steadily, just like in July, I finished three books in August. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman was the first. I loved this book. Tragic and beautiful and real and raw and so many feelings all in one. A beautiful book with the beautiful setting of Hawaii and Mr. Watanabe and Kai and a beautiful sister relationship woven throughout in flashbacks and mother daughter struggles and asexuality and learning its okay if you don’t know. ITS OKAY NOT TO KNOW. It’s okay if you don’t know where you’re headed in life. IT IS ALL OKAY. Some relationships are forever till the end of time and sometimes people come into your life to teach you something or help you work through something and you know you might not ever see them again but you will always remember them. All of that… in one beautiful book. How many times did I say beautiful?

Then it was To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I adored this book too. Omg I love Elian and his piracy and his connection to the ocean and his goodness and his loyalty to his crew with Madrid and Kye and Torik. And Lira and her strength and confidence and her sense of duty and then when everything comes together at the end and the whole little mermaid retelling!!! It was great. I loved it and I loved it and I loved it. Descriptions are fantastic but I would love to see more of the world there seems like so much more to explore here with these 101 kingdoms.

My last was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and omg this book was too real. It was fantastically written and very understandably a classic. The depiction of mental illness that Esther, the main character experiences, is eye opening and the story really gets you inside her head. You really understand why she makes the choices she does and even though it is a bit slow at times as a whole the pacing works for the novel.

I just picked up Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson to reread for the second time. It’s been a few years since the first read and since I’m a mood reader I’m gonna read it again because I feel like it, ya know?

What I’ll Be Writing:

Be on the lookout for at least two Living Life vignettes this month, any poetry that hits me like a bolt of lightning randomly, any book tags that I’m tagged to do or that strike my fancy and of course my ever steady monthly Snapshot post.

Here are some (like two) links to my (minimal) posts from this month (because I was lazy and having fun with my friends omg lol, focus Jai):

Then here are some fantastic reads from other bloggers (who have their life together, unlike me) I enjoyed this month:

How were all of your summers? Did you meet your goals? I’d love to talk in the comments!

Till next time,

Living Life #14 “Cicada”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

The forest was alive.

I could tell from the ground. Solid and unyielding, it was the only thing keeping me standing. Like two lead pencils, I felt like my legs were inching instead of walking. Each heavy step I took seemed to echo and reverberate back to the core of the Earth. The dirt was marking my path, I only hoped they weren’t paying too much attention.

I could tell from the roots. Thick and strong, worn with time but all the more wise for it. Nearly tripping over one, I braced myself against the tree and took a breath. Keeping my head down, my eyes drank in the sight. Wrinkles, like memories, etched into their bark as deep as trenches, hiding secrets that were waiting for someone to come and figure them out. They looked like hands reaching down to grab that which I didn’t know. But something worth while. I wanted to stay here, I wanted to figure out their truth. They were the reason I had come at all.

But I had been rash, and overlooked something. Something important.

I could tell from the air. It was breathing. The wind inhaling with slow, gentle breezes letting the leaves, as green and vibrant as life, take the exhale. I was alone. That was the lie they were telling me. And the worst part was I wanted to believe them. But that would make us both liars.

And it would make only me the naive one. It was a word my mother had called me too many times. In hindsight, I guessed she was right. About that, and something else.

Don’t go into the forest.

I smiled, but there was no happiness in it. Everything was quiet. And then all of a sudden, everything went loud. They found me.

Three shadows had come up behind me. In all of my struggle to get away from them I didn’t have much energy left. I had been running for five hours straight. Any normal human being, especially a girl who looked more like a flower than a tree, shouldn’t stand a chance against the watchers of the forest. The hulking ones I had thought only existed in legend.

In the hard way I guessed I had learned of one of the forests secrets. But the revelation was more bitter than sweet.

At least now there were only three human sized ones left. The first of the five had drowned when I ran behind the waterfall. The second had gotten impaled on that sharp, low lying branch a mile back. Black carapaces that upon closer inspection looked like armor instead flesh, spread knife tipped wings blocking the way I had come, and beady black eyes that never changed focus. My mother was right the deeper you travel, the scarier the forest becomes. These insects looked like they had come straight from the Jurassic period. No wonder she had kept me inside for all those years.

On the other side of these bugs there was me and, locked into my grip, my small hunting knife.

“Fine. If that’s how you want to do it.”

The forest was alive. And right now, so was I.

That was the way it was going to stay.