Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Forest of Zen

Tall trees surround me and a road cuts through and past me.  The road isn’t paved, it’s dirt.  It looks like it’s an old carriage-way. It disappears into the distance; into the fog of the chilly morning.  But I’m feeling as still as the forest trees around me.  They reach for the sky with their bare branches and trunks naked to the air around them; and the fern surrounds them hiding the moist, fertile soil.
All I can hear is the dripping of the dew from the night before coming off the leaves and onto the ground.  Its sound is almost deafening amongst the silence of the nakedly-clad forest.  The air is clean, wet and pure and I feel as though I don’t need to move from my spot.

I feel very peaceful.

I could stay here for a long time and not have to move.

This place is a sheer joy to be in as my mind doesn’t have to think about anything outside of here; and this is good.  There’s no computers to consider.  I can’t hear any highway traffic.  No sirens, nobody else shouting and no interference of any kind… it’s wonderful.  My mind can settle down, be quiet and let go of stress.

I like this.  It’s lovely.

I wish I could stay here longer.

Birds sing and echo off each other in the distance amongst the fog as the sun clears the surrounding mountains.  I look up at the sky and it’s changed from the apricot hue of the sunrise to a light baby blue of early morning.  Soon, the fog will lift and I’ll see the forest for what it really is.  I’ll stay here until it does.
And slowly, the low cloud – as that’s what fog really is – shifts slowly away, revealing the forest’s rich green colours.  The starkness of the trees as they appear like sentinels reaching high up to the sky from this one area, asking  and wanting help – praying for it  - and yet stuck that way until the Gods give it to them.  And it seems they didn’t get it; as they are like this now, kneeling in rows like humans in Nature’s church praying for all to be good with Gaia.
The fern of the undergrowth – looking like many plants, but really it’s one plant spread over a large distance acting like ground cover – gives off a gorgeous rich green hues mixed with reds, yellows and other lovely colours; looking like an impressionist’s painting but on Mother Nature’s canvas. 

I now wish I had brought a canvas, paints and easel with me.
There’s always something I wish for when I venture into these places, and never bring with me when I arrive.

On closer inspection, these trees are lined up in corridors so that they line up with each other, to curve away into the distance from me.  As the fog finally clears completely, I find this forest seems to go on forever.  I love how it all has a beautiful, ghostly feel to it. 
But I’m not spooked – why would I be? It’s such a pretty place in its own way.  And seeing I don’t wish to leave, I might just walk over to one of the trees with very little ground cover surrounding the bottom of it and sit for a while.

Taking in the loveliness of this place as the day wears on.

Breathe in the fresh alpine air while I listen to nothing.
Know in my heart that I can come back here whenever I want… but also know that I can’t stay because it’s not a place I can readily come to all the time. 
This is something I hate, something I despise about this place; not being able to come back here; well not physically. 
At least I know there’s a place where the air is fresh, there’s no horrible outside noise and I can listen to nature at its very best…


Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Right-Hand Man

Lightning slashed the skies as thunder shook the library.  Fear hung in the air; the very scent of it had caused a panic attack, sending him half-crazed into a corner when the power out went two hours before.

He was okay.

For now.

He searched through the darkened isles of books for what he was hoping to find.  He knew if he found a cube, he was done for… but an envelope was going to be directions to another place. 

Was he really this dumb to follow directions on a piece of paper?  It seemed so, as he approached the table and found a blank business-sized envelope; sealed as usual. It was smudged with dirt, as though the person who put it there couldn’t have been bothered to wash their hands. 

Paul picked it up.  As he moved it, he could smell the soil – the garden – on the paper.  It was getting all over his hands.  He hated this smell now… it disgusted him to the point he was trying not to gag each time he saw this on paper of any kind.  He opened the envelope – it didn’t tear, showing it had only been seal recently – and out fell a slip of paper.  He unfolded it and there was a single word scrawled on it:  Undertaker

‘What the hell?’ he thought as he read it again and slotted it back into the envelope.  Where the frigging hell was he supposed to go from here?  Paul walked to the front of the library, where the front desk was left silent and empty, went past it and around to his left, down the stairs and out to the back where , huge floor to ceiling windows had been fitted into the massive study to overlook the park and half the town.  The storm raged outside as he stood leaning on the back of one of the lounges not knowing what the hell to do.

The last clue in a long line of many had one word and it was ‘Undertaker’. He had to remember that he was the last one alive out of a group of twenty people and he was going to get the hell out of this town alive – and with his soul – if he could, if he didn’t come across a cube in the next day or so that sang to him that is.  Besides, he had run out of food a day or so ago and he needed to go scavenging after the storm broke and see what there was available that was still good enough to eat. 

Then he had it!  Undertaker = graveyard = cemetery!

“Oh crap!” he grunted as he pushed himself off the back of the lounge and knew there was only one cemetery he knew of that was inside the town and one outside it.  He needed to be ready – armed – so that he could take on whoever this Undertaker was.  But that would be tomorrow.  He sat in one of the lounge chairs and listened to the rain.

He opened his eyes in the morning to sunshine, and dread within his heart.  Before long, he was on his way to the cemetery.  But first, he thought to try the funeral home – the only one in town.  This place was a lot smaller than he thought; as it was a large house and it creeped him out immediately and he hadn’t even gone inside yet.  But there was no Undertaker there.

So, he walked to the cemetery nearby and found its gates were wide open with a sign taped to it: ‘I’ve been waiting Paul’

As he stepped inside, the day quickly turned to night, chilled down and the street lights turned on.  He hesitated, looked over his shoulder in the hope that the daylight would still be outside the gates; but he was wrong.  He turned, walked inside the gates and, as he cleared them, heard them close behind him; sealing him in.

He didn’t get far when he saw a large, metre square white cube.  His gut turned cool at the sheer sight of it; knowing that if he heard music, he was screwed! 

“So, a white box scares you more than me?” a voice whispered by his ear.

He spun to find a tall, pale, imposing man standing next to him, “You know what the cubes do, right?”

“Soul-takers.” He whispered, “Sing songs, shows you something from home and while you are hypnotised, you’re fried.” He smiled, “Not a pretty way to go.”

“So, why are you tracking me?” Paul glared at him.

A sickly grin of knowing pulled up the face of the man, “Because, Paul, you are the last one alive.  You are the one who I have been looking for and you have won.”

“Won what?”

The Undertaker put out a bony hand, “Well, the prize to be my right hand man for eternity.”

Paul started to laugh, “It’s the money, the box … or the door!”

“What door?” he asked.

“There’s always three choices in game shows; and this was one big, sick, horrible game of yours.” Paul said, “What is the third choice?”

“There is none.”


“Okay… you want to know!” the Undertaker shouted at him and when Paul didn’t answer, he shook his head, “Crap, you want to know.  You are stuck here and you die… there’s you’re lucky door prize choices!”

Paul was dumb-struck… he was screwed no matter what he chose.  But he didn’t want to be with this prick for eternity.  From his right, the cube began to sing to him.  He turned toward it.

“No!” the Undertaker grabbed his arm, snapped Paul’s head around, slicing his neck open and drank deeply.  He needed a new right hand man, and Paul was it! 


“Because, I was you at one point, human… and this is a far better choice than any other.  Besides, this way, you still have part of your soul.”