Sun Kissed Yellow. Honey dipped Orange.
Plum purple. Vivacious green.
They crunch and crackle as my sandals dance across them.
Scenic; slowly dying, photosynthetic leaves.
The ground hums beneath my feet, silently urging me forward.
I sing, following the soft melody of the forest, the harmonic whisper of the wind, fingers catching air between them, only to let it go.
The sun dances through tree tops, tickling my skin and leaving it a soft golden. The birds chirp, tweeting merrily as the day comes to an end.
I loose myself in time.
Somehow I twirl off my normal path, the loud boom of crashing water awakening me from my dazed slumber.
My heart stops. . .
. . . and with a pang, begins again.
It’s waters are a crystal blue so clear I can see the eroded rocks beneath them. Colorful fish swirl through its clear waters, white foam curling around its bottom like clouds.
What would it would be like to land in those clouds? I wonder. To feel the wind urging me downward, to crash into those soft white waves, to pummel towards the waters icy embrace?
The forest quiets, cacophony sounds thundering to a quiet crescendo. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
I am no longer alone.
I turn slowly, trepidation crawling up my spine as it dawns on me just how far from home I am.
There’s a bear staring down at me.
It’s brown coat glimmering in the dwindling gaze of the sun. Its brown eyes watch me, shimmering with interest. The five-year-old me turns, fear flashing across my face, the waterfall just a back drop to the rapid pounding of my heart.
The bear roars, a loud, feral sound, digging its claws into the earth as it yells to the heavens.
My bones rattle. My legs quiver. Fear–bright and honest, bubbles in my chest and burns through my mind.
“Don’t run,” a voice commands, whispering through the deafening quiet. “Stay still.”
Something darts in front of me—a flash of black—there and gone before my brain can process its arrival. A roar, louder, deeper, full of power and raw strength rattles the earth, until even the waterfall pauses in its magnificence.
There is a breath of silence between me and the bear. The waterfall and the flash of black.
My soft grey eyes met his heartless brown ones and my vision blurs, heat sliding down my cheeks…tickling my lips…my chin.
“Don’t move,” the voice whispers again.
Something flickered across the bear’s features. Its lack luster brown eyes became hesitant then fearful. The roar sounds again, like the wail of a siren; a warning, like an alpha stating its authority, claiming its territory.
I feel the world tilt out of focus, my mind struggling to keep my body upright, failing, and trying again…
…and then the ground is not the ground and the sky is not the sky. The bear is gone, and so am I.
– Short Story written by Jae Lei Nyght
© 2012 Jae Lei Nyght