The trees out side the forest where burning. I stood there. Outside. When the branched passed me, sparking and burning, they froze like ice. I was cold. Alone. Even though she was there. The wolf. Like Flow in every way. Sleek, silver grey. I could hear her voice. She was laughing. I looked but the wolf had gone. I turned around. She was standing there, by my side.
Flow smiled "Its coming."
My mind clouded me from the world.
I jumped and sat bolt upright in bed. The research facility bustled with the noise of late night workers.
Letting my hair down I pulled on a dress and boots. The old ones. From before... She went. I yanked the window wide open and jumped out. Leathery bats wings caught the air and let me fly down safely. The medicine for my 'disease' had worn off. I could finally see again.
There it was, the edge of the forest. She stood there. No. She couldn't, this wasn't a dream. I saw her go, with my eyes. She muttered in the trees. Complete gibberish. Launching at me she turned into a wolf. There is something and it stops her. I watch her disappear in to the woods.
"What are you doing?" its him, Professor Winston. He is calling "Listen to me Czarina. Did the medicine wear out?"
"Yes I'm un-drugged and free." I'm laughing and I know that won't go down well
He frowns and I know he's very angry with me. I explain everything the dream. Seeing Flow here. He doesn't understand of course. I don't think he's ever had a friend. Not a real friend. He made me take them he made me different I'm not how I'm supposed to be. I don't know why I did it but I did. He flew through the air. He was lucky he only broke his arm. I need to be calm. I can't be calm here. Never.
I ran too the woods. They never had been this un-welcoming before. Something was wrong. I have to find her. I had to run faster. My boots smacked down on the ground. The trees watched, still, and they saw me. Professor Winston would never be part of this. Although some how I felt I was no longer wanted here. She told me she'd fix it. The heart of the forest. She went there.
It was the next day that I came to the research facility. With its too clean smells that made me sick. They try to fix our kind, the vampires, were-wolves and the forests people. They broke them trying. They cut at the forest edges to make houses and towns. The huge power that was the forest was destroyed. Bit by bit. Why did they hurt the forest. It never hurt them... Until now. Whatever is coming I'm sure the forest is sending it. The forest is angry. Even at me. Although I know I was bad. I rejected the forest when I took the medicine. I. I wanted to be normal. It shouldn't be all about me though.
Red flashed through the air. My head automatically turned to the trees. The leaves are reds, golds and chocolate browns. Maybe Autumns coming but it could just be here. Its messed up. No. That's just because I used to notice things like this. The leaves changing. Which plants are good to eat. Now I see there are some mushrooms growing by the trees. Only eat the blue ones the red one are tasty but can be poisonous. There's also little white flowers. Just like tiny white buttons. Snow pearls the roots are good. Taking some I snack. It gets dark. Definitely autumn coming. Look up. That's how you sleep in the forest. Its dark with a wide full disk moon. The tiny stars twinkle in the sky. The moon is never alone. The forest is dark and haunting at night. Tell myself "I'm drifting to dream on a bed of leaves."
The forest is burning again. The now red leaves burn down at me. Flow isn't there. She can't protect me. I no longer freeze the leaves as they burn. I watch my much loved forest crumble. This time there are tears. They drip on the ground. The ground is wet. I don't dodge the branch in time I feel it melt my icy skin. I'm burned. Is it only a dream. Can it be more. More than a dream more than a world more than anything? I'm sure this one is the I'm burned here and I feel it. I cry here and I feel it. Thud Thud. The first trees crash down. I'm shuddering in fear. The forest speaks that I'm not welcome. My snow pearls are more like coal now. I'm black and charred here. Am I there?
My arms ache and I can see the burns on my arms. My face is damp with my tears. The trees are covered in frost. Have I slept to winter. This is obviously wrong. I can't have slept that long. The snow pears are still white. If it was winter they'd turn black. Then they are completely edible and animals can see them easily. If your here you can still eat. Why is there frost.
Now I'm running. The trees are a blur. They get thicker and prickled bushes and climbing vines claw at me. I can't see where I'm going. A bat flies past my face. A loud snarl erupts from my mouth. Now the sound of animals running fills my ears. Why can't I focus on what I want to. This is bad. Squelch. I've run in to some mud. My head screams. I haven't had a headache like this in months. I pull my feet out of my shoes. My wings slip out and carry me to the edge. I watch my boots sink into the mud. I know this place. The trees still met the mud's edge. Only then it was a lake. The trees used to meet silver soft sand. Its been destroyed. The mud stinks. It bubbles and oozes. I'm upset. I guess. This place held a good memory. Its now horrible.
I stand here still. In the trees. Invisible. They come. With their new metal carts. They pour in the mud. It ruins everything. It smells like death and oil. Can't they share the beauty of the lake that was. Didn't they ever know anything pure. Un-tainted. I can see the trees shrink back at the new, bad, machines. Mesh-oil. I know all about it. They steal energy from the wise old oaks, that build the forest up, they are thieves . This is too much. Everything is far too much.
The trees shake and rumble. The workers stop. Something has gone wrong. A near by buck changes. Then a bear sharpening it claw steps down. All the animals change. They aren't running from the lake. They stalk towards it. Their eyes, burning red ember. Its evil. All the trees are going dark. The mud is dragging the people down, they are sinking, when they pull them selves up the animals push them down. Whatever they have done this isn't right. But know I know why they aren't screaming until now. You can't see until its too late. I'm completely stuck. I need to pull myself out. When I reached for the trees roots they shrank back. NO! you can't scream or they'll hear you. You can't die or its not fixed. Don't let this happen to you.... I need to get out now. But the more I struggle the faster I sink. I wiggle and squirm. I know my body is giving up. I give up.
Maybe if I go the problems do too. I'm the one who's caring so much. When you die your problems die too, right? Or am I just going to pass them on. That can not happen. I reach out again, just one more try, something grabs me back. I'm pulled up out of the mud. I'm lying on the floor gasping. Every time I fill my lungs the air feels trapped just like when I was stuck.
"Flow?" it was flow she hadn't changed her hair was still thick chocolaty curls. Her eyes were still a strange orangy green. Exactly the same
I'm confused. This isn't a dream she pulled me out of the mud. I clasped her hand and she was there. I wanted to ask a million questions, all of them would feel like a stab in the back though, can I use that? if I was stabbed I wouldn't die.
"sorry" it was Flow "mmgh n-n-need to passs out in a second..."
i didn't make out much of what she said. Before I could ask she fell flat on the floor. I knew she had visions sometimes, was this one? I don't know. I think I'm worried. Maybe I just don't care. I can't stay here its just... Queer. I see the lake through the trees. Its a lake again. Maybe is only mud when they are there. Maybe its Flow. Oh, now I'm thinking like a crazy person. But still I walk to the lake. I walk right into the lake. Where I go clouds of mud follow. The lake is good at cleansing all my cuts and bruises are faded even more now. The water is warm and the trees are swimming with birds and rabbits. Tiny silver fish are racing around in the water.
all this seems strange. Could I be ill? the water and trees almost fade back to a disgusting swamp. I'm burning up. A single infected cut. That could make you this ill. The was something in that cut a poison. It was causing chaos in side me. Everything is swimming, so dizzy. The water was hard to pull my legs through it felt like mud. It was mud, probably. I had to tell my self it wasn't water. There was nothing I could do to stop my eyes messing up. Screwing my eyes shut my legs got more and more stuck. Aghh the smell. Like rotting fish maybe it was there was defiantly a sent of rotted wood.
something grabbed my arm again. I open my eyes. None of it had happened I lying right where I was sat before flow collapsed. She's told me I collapsed, two days ago. It was me who said that slurred sentence. I had been out cold. I had a fever what had seem like minuets had taken almost two days I almost don't believe her. We walked while we caught up. I learnt that the forest was sick flow had tried to make it better but it didn't help. The people were polluting the forest with horrible machines. They wouldn't even be alive with out the forest. It makes me feel sick.
"Czarina we should go." said flow "i need to take you to the heart of the forest. Its very important."
Brrrrrrr. She being so cold. It hurts. What did I do??? I don't remember ever doing any thing to hurt her.
she grabbed my arm and practically dragged me to my feet. I stumbled over roots and fallen branches even tufts of grass. I don't know how I kept on my feet. I tried to shake her off but I couldn't. Flow was on my arm like a steel bear trap. I would never get her off. I wanted to scream at her. Tell her that I didn't like this.
maybe I can shake her off. I can see a chance. There is a big strong branch. If I can grab it I'll be able pull my self off. I don't know if I want too. There is something more to this. Could she really be set on hating me. Do I deserve to be hated. I know I went to the institute and she hated that place more than everything. They tried to make her 'better'. It was them that made her run away. It was there that they made the equipment to drain the energy from the trees.
the branch flew past. I missed my chance. Even though it wasn't wanted. I hated it the thought of her hating me. Why was she doing this. I might deserve it but surely it couldn't make her that mad. Out of the most horrible thing I could have done this doesn't even rank. I know she didn't like it but I didn't change that much... Or did i? why did I say yes but she shouldn't care. She ran off to the forest to save us. To fix the heart of the forest. When she came back to tell me... Things. I had been changed. It must have made her feel betrayed.
Its his fault he told me that I would be better and that I would be more human than ever. What he said made me feel like what I was is a monster. I don't think I ever wanted to be human. Maybe that why I'm the way I am. My first life, my human life, I can hardly remember like a humans bad dream in a way. Anyway I only got to fifteen
"this... This is all your own fault!!!" Flow shrieked "you don't know how much I cared that you changed."
she could hear my thoughts? now way. Am I dreaming? hm its not a dream. You never know your dreaming in a dream.
"you can hear my thoughts?" frown.. "when did you- ?"
"i knew you wouldn't understand so what you didn't know didn't hurt you!" she sniffed "why did the heart of the forest want you to save it!!!"
aw she is being so mean! you can't just keep secrets like that. Also what dose she mean the heart of the forest wants me and what for????
"you Czarina are selfish and nosey. I hate it. I hate it! I hate it!!!"
"well you are keeping things from me and its very, very, very annoying."
i kept my cool and we started walking again. Slower this time. Dose she really hate me.
"yes" Flow nodded
i guess got an answer to my question. Still it was a private question. She can butt out! I don't care!
oh god I'm acting like I'm only a five year old. I should act my age but if I acted one hundred and fifty three I'd probably drop dead. I bet Flow wouldn't like that!
"i would! don't forget I can hear you. Although if you did die think of the consequences."
i wish she'd stop answering my thoughts its its... . To evil to even think. Although I can think of things worse. Oh the consequences of me dying (i suppose you would like to hear me think) are that I'd be dead so I wouldn't have to care! people wouldn't have to care because even though I was gone they could just live there live destroying the forest and being generally stupid.
damn! that idiot she made me forget about why I came here!
"flow... Just want you to know I'm very sorry"
i grabbed her hand back and swung her face into a tree. I knew she would have read it in my mind it I thought about it for more than a few secs. I don't know where the heart of the forest is but its in my plan. I really really need to find it.
Uh-oh I think I broke her nose... There's a lot blood. Its funny that for a vampire I was sick when I saw all that blood. I should have be licking my licks and tacking a sip or something. Well at the moment I'm happy only eating human food. I like honey its so sweet and sticky. What am I a vegetarian vampire? still yuck! blood, it smells all metallic and yuck. Do I need to say any more.
i got to go now. No time to look at all to scenery. Trees, shrubs and flowers. Whats the point anyway. If I stop the forest people will probably attack me. At least I have got speed and endurance. I should be able to run like this flat out for a whole day, maybe... ?
hang on why am I running from the forest people. They know this place like the back of there hands. No. They won't talk to me I tried once. That's never going to work any way there all freaky. They have green faces and skin like tree bark.
damn. I should look where I'm going. Stupid tree root being in the way like that! wait a second. Something is wrong. Now I'm standing up I shall look around something IS very wrong.
But every thing is normal. Tall green trees with long brow trunks, shiny green grass, massive blue sky, fluffy white clouds, and two big orange su-- wait two suns? that's it whats with all these stupid dreams the wolf one the one with the burning trees. Why did I think that wolf looked like flow she wasn't a were-wolf or anything. Is it some kind of dream thing. Just making random judgements like at first thinking two suns was normal. Am I going mad. Wolves and suns some thing's wrong. Maybe I'm sick.
why dose everything seem so strange to me and why now. This is a problem a huge problem. This dream is going to drive me insane. Ugh. I hate thinking things over its so much easier to just drift by like a jellyfish. However I have never been able to do that. It would be useful. Flow used to be able drift thought life with out a care. Being with her used to make me feel calmer. Now I feel uneasy.
oh god. I completely forgot I need to find the heart of the forest. Will there be some kind of special tree like a huge oak. Oh shut up thoughts. I'm going to wake up now from this stupid dream.
thank goodness for that. I feel like maybe I can find it now.
"I will walk in this direction." I shouted pointing north or at least I think it was north.
still I was right saying what way I was going did make me want to go there. That's why I'm running now isn't it. I don't want to use my eyes what I'm seeing feels unnatural. On the other hand if I ran with my eyes closed I would just fall over or run of a cliff or something really dumb like that. Even though I don't want to I will find my way. I still haven't woken up yet. Maybe this isn't a dream just another part of the forest. I've heard that in the forest some places are like a whole other world... or even a whole other world.
Could i have stumbled through some kind of wormhole. Its not exactly impossible. Is it? This is very bad. I've gone completely course. Maybe that's how you find something by not looking. It does work that's how I always find thing lets them find you. Well its easier than running around in a crazed panic. People need to relax life is easy then.
Now I'm determined to find it because I'm not trying. Funny that isn't it. Basically I'm giving up to not give up. That's why I can be happy with where I'm walking. Step by step I'm getting closer and closer to what I want. How selfish am I. This world is crumbling and I'm going to save it. Not because I think its wrong or that its the right thing to do. I'm going to save the world because I don't want to have anymore nightmares. Thinking about it it's quite funny. But in a terrible way definitely. Although now i can't stop laughing.
Damn it. I don't want to be selfish which makes me selfish in a way. I'm like a baby. I only know how to cry and scream like I'm on fire. This is how I made me. I can't be any other way. Even if I want to be. Maybe I could change.
Only a little more effort. Right? Take it one step at a time. This shouldn't be happening. When you think about it its all stupid.
Hang on there's something back there. A picture scratched on to a tree.
"A picture is worth more than a thousand words." It sounded like a child calling out.
Even though... if there was a child calling out wouldn't I have heard it before now. I'm likely to be hearing things. Like a mad person. Just loopy. Now i have to be unpredictable. That will give me the edge... or something. Can I make it in time to save the forest. Oh. The picture.
Huh??? Its just a heart. The heart of the forest maybe? It would be weird for someone to come all this way and just draw a heart. Does it change at night of something or have to be proven worthy. No more quests please?! I'm getting sick from this one now. Now I am just crazy. Is there even such thing as the heart of the forest. I can only ever find what I'm not looking for!!! I'm so lonely here.
Great now I'm crying. Everything for miles around is silent but if you come close enough you'll find me. Crying. There are no animals in this part of the woods. They've all been scared away. Everything I knew has been killed off hunted. Life just isn't worth living any more. I wish.
"I wish I could become stone. Not living and unchanging... forever"
Why did I shout you never shout stupid wishes out.
Feedback for Contraband Blue
Contraband Blue tells us an interesting and original eco-story about a vampire who is trying to save the world by travelling to the heart of the forest. Her protagonist is a Russian princess who has been changed in some way or experimented upon by Professor Winston at the research facility.
The story is told in the first person so we learn all about the protagonist’s confusion through her thoughts and feelings. She is not clear whether she is awake or dreaming because of her strange experiences where trees and animals and the land itself try to take revenge upon humans for spoiling the planet. We wonder whether this nightmarish experience is caused by the actions or experiments of Professor Winston who seems to be drugging her.
Sometimes this dreamlike narrative is rather poetic. At all times we are aware that the Czarina seems to be living a nightmare in that she is never very sure about what is happening around her. This is a difficult story to tell in the first person because for the reader there is no escape from the confusion in the Czarina’s mind. Readers don’t mind reading about confusion but don’t like to be confused themselves – so it would have been a better choice for Contraband Blue to tell this excellent and original story in the third person (he/she, it, they) and to explain some of the gaps in the plot. For instance how does she know Flow? Why is the Professor drugging her?
I imagine Contraband Blue was writing this at top speed with pictures flashing through her mind. And what she needed to do was to describe these in more detail while linking events together for her reader. We need to know what is happening outside of the Czarina even if she herself does not know.
Other hints: editing would help with errors in spelling, punctuation, capitals and sentences.
At times there is some excellent description to build tension:
‘Now I'm running. The trees are a blur. They get thicker and prickled bushes and climbing vines claw at me. I can't see where I'm going. A bat flies past my face. A loud snarl erupts from my mouth. Now the sound of animals running fills my ears.’
We feel the protagonist’s terror because the short sentences make the action more dramatic. ‘The trees are a blur’ causes us to ‘see’ through the vampire’s eyes and makes us aware of her speed. The fact that the vines ‘claw’ at her suggests she feels under attack. This is fine writing from Contraband Blue.
Contraband Blue is an ambitious writer. She will serve her excellent and original imagination well in future writing projects by editing her work and thinking more about her audience.