I have decided to begin a journal for my findings in this strange world. The darkness and the insufferable agony have finally disappeared, and we—by we I mean myself and a number of others—have been greeted with the light. It was blinding at first, but now it is tolerable. It does something to you, the light; it gives one hope, but for what I do not know.
We are soon introduced to this clenching pain in the stomach. We must consume, but there is nothing but dirt so dry it is practically impenetrable, like stone. We try not to turn on each other, so I’d volunteered to explore the wood that surround us. What I found there was incredible—something so otherworldly, something none of us have seen before. Where we have only known death, I have found life.
I cannot…must not tell the others, so I write in the privacy of this journal. Upon entering the trees, I saw foliage so green and lush; I knew we have been blessed with paradise. I continued on in the forest, making my way through the plants with some difficulty for there was no path or indication that someone has passed through here before, until I came across a sort of small garden. It was bountiful grove, a row of green trees with bright bulbous objects hanging from them, of all different colors. When my mouth began watering, I knew this was what I’ve been looking for—food for my people, the food that will take away the pain which we can never seem to fill.
I reached but the treetop was too tall, past my height with an extended hand. I tried to jump, but lost my balance and fell upon the ground, but even so I was not tall enough. I could not climb the tree trunk, for I did not know how to attempt to do that. So I pounded at the tree, trying to shake it. I kicked at it, threw my body violently at it. I was in pain…we were all in pain. The hunger was so great I was desperate to get that food in any possible way, even if it brought more pain. Finally, as if the tree felt bad for me, it released one perfect gift.
I had to stare at the item on the ground for a moment: round with a pointed bottom, fat and plump like it was ready to burst, and hot pink, the color of the sky sometimes. I dropped to the ground and held it in my hands. But then, the worst happened.
Ever so slowly, it shriveled into a small, black, disgusting piece of goo.
And that’s when I knew the truth: we weren’t in paradise. We’ve been cursed, cursed to a new land of false hope.
I must have knelt there in disbelief for several minutes before bursting in tears. I couldn’t help myself. The forest, the perfect, bountiful forest decays at our touch. We’ve been born and created to do nothing but suffer. Nothing has ended, nothing has changed.
Soon, I was overwhelmed by the most breathtaking scent; it was fresh, natural, like the clean woods but accented by something sweet, but earthy, like food, but not quite like food. I couldn’t place it.
I looked up, expecting to see nothing but the wind that blew in this wonderful aroma. Instead, I was greeted by a stranger.
An exceedingly, inhumanly tall stranger. He wore a green cloak that covered his entire body, except his hands and face. His fingers were long and clean. His face was long as well, but it glowed, and had a pale tone with a green tint, like he was born from the trees and shared its chemistry.
He did not speak. Neither did I. He looked down upon me, this green man, looked down upon me with pity, then reached his arm up—it was long enough to reach through the treetop and come out the other side—and he plucked a fruit. It did not wither in his hand. Then he bent over me and held it out.
I shook my head. “I cannot take it, it will wither. I will only destroy it.” a weak plea came out. I did not want to destroy this perfect garden.
The green man said nothing in response, but pushed the fruit against my mouth. It did not wither when it touched my lip. I took a bite.
I ate it all, fed by the green man, and the pain went away…for now.
As soon as I realized what this meant, I ran back to our settlement, originally with the intention of telling the others. But then I thought about that fruit dying upon my touch. Had it truly been my skin that caused the fruit to decay, or had it simply expired seconds from falling from its life source? Who are these green folk that are tall enough to touch the treetops and who seem to have control of the forest?
If it was my touch that wasted the food, then it is likely that the others will slowly destroy every last bit of food in that forest. What if these green folk do not approve or allow all of us to eat in their forest? I must not let that happen. I will go into the forest myself, perhaps convince these folk to provide us food, teach me how to harvest their food so it remains delicious, teach me how to survive.
I will learn to survive this world no matter what it takes.
Even if that means I must use the people of the forest.
"My people found no harm in letting your people live in the forest, forming their little town. But after many years my ancestors began to see your people for who they really are. They would storm into the forest, hunting and killing all of us, and spoke of feeding their starving families the flesh of my people, for they could find no other source of meat. We were peaceful toward them at the very beginning, offered them the hospitality of our forest, but instead they chose to slaughter us without asking if we could help or provide them with food. It was soon apparent that your town was the essence of darkness."-Excerpt from Chapter 6
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