A lifetime ago and only yesterday

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Image :Pixabay

 

I take one step, another. The air’s thick with decay. The taste of leafmould coats my tongue, making it slippery against my teeth. I’d forgotten it, but now it’s as if there’s never been anything else.

How long has it been since I was here?

Stupid. I know exactly how long – to the day, to the hour. A lifetime ago and only yesterday.

I run the back of my hand against each tree trunk, savour the scrape against knuckles, the spring of moss.

Keep going.

The trees shut down the sun. Slow as mist, branches drift left and right until the way is clearer, with only a step to take over tangled roots. A groan, the snap of wooden sinew – a crack, loud as a gunshot. I look behind. The boughs have weaved together, a tight net of twigs, sewn with ivy, embroidered with holly berries. I could lean against it, let the tendrils lace us together, a wedding of flesh and greenwood.

But they’re waiting. I walk on.

Finally, the clearing and there – a ring of blood red caps. They are as I remember them – mottled grey bodies, some straight, some twisted as if reaching outwards, their feet sunk beneath the soil, ankles swallowed by a fall of gold and copper leaves.

One step forward. Another. My shoulder brushes a red cap and I’m showered in dust the colour of saffron and I never want to leave again.

Their warmth washes over me, filaments spread, creeping up my shins, gripping my skin, crawling under my nails, in through my ears and nose, filling me.

Home.

***

A little bit of flash, inspired by Rose McDonagh, fellow Mslexia blogger.

 

17 thoughts on “A lifetime ago and only yesterday

  1. This is really lovely – some of your turns of phrase are just so evocative: the trees shutting out the light, the saffron dust, the gunshot crack – you tap into all the senses and it really works. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you very much! Funny, I wrote it really quickly (quick for me, anyway!). I do love a woodland – who knows what could happen in the deep dark wood 🙂 Thanks for reading

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  2. I love the atmosphere. You pulled of comforting while creepy. How did you do it?

    I enjoy Rose’s monster posts, but my monster story is still not coming along…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sonya. Love a bit of creepy. Not sure what this is about, but the narrator is going home after a long time away, so that’s got to be good, right?
      Yes, I’m the same with my monster story – just taking a break from it now. Not sure it’ll be up to snuff, but will send it anyway and expect a ‘no’. 🙂 And Rose’s posts are interesting, aren’t they? Nice stuff.

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      1. Yes, they are. I haven’t read the first couple yet, I’m having high hopes they’ll trigger something for the monster theme… I love a bit of creepy, too 🙂

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    1. Thank you! I must admit I was quite happy with that. I love a bit of mystery and dark earth magic. A nice thought, being wedded to the trees. Thanks for reading 🙂

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  3. I enjoyed this too, and agree that it’s a great blend of comfort and creep. The word “caps” confused me, but I got through it. I love the way it started with an air of mystery as to the setting, and then with one simple line the whole setting sprang immediately to life: “I run the back of my hand against each tree trunk, savour the scrape against knuckles.” I went from anywhere to somewhere very specific instantaneously. Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thanks Walt! I can see how the ‘caps’ might confuse – it was a specific reference to the post by Rose McDonagh which inspired the story. I was wondering if there was enough description to convey the woods, but it’s surprising how little you need sometimes. A good lesson for me. Thanks again 🙂

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    1. Mmm. It does appeal to me. There’s a small (no doubt naive) part of me that would love to have been around when the forests of this country were vast, intimidating places, filled with wolves and boar and laden with tree and water spirits. There’s still a primeval part of us all that feels drawn to/fascinated by/ scared of forests. It’s hotwired into our DNA, etched in folklore. Now they’re diminished and I think that’s a real shame

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