by Annie Mai
Anyea remembers the first time she truly entered the Northern Forest as a young child...
|Anyea and Kyle were being forced by the other children of the village to enter the Northern Forest. Anyea and Kyle, like many of the children in Sacaria had heard the stories of the woods and the terrifying things that would happen to them should they dare head into the darkness of the trees. But today Anyea and Kyle had no choice, it was either to fear the darkness of a few trees or be attacked by the larger children. Both Anyea and Kyle knew that they would rather take their chances in nature than in the hands of the crewel children of Sacaria. Two of the older boys stood forward and that was all that would be needed for Anyea and Kyle to flee into the darkness of the woods. Anyea stopped a few trees in from the edge knowing that her small body could be hidden by some of the younger trees. Anyea's breath was harsh and uneven as she tried to capture more cold air in her mouth. Kyle had not stopped very far from her but was further in the woods than Anyea would dare to go. She watched as her friend hid behind a large oak tree that appeared to be able to cover three children from view. Anyea was tempted to run towards her friend and cower with him under the old oak tree but fear had settled in as she realised where she now stood.
She stood in the northern forest, a dark and mysterious place that had given many of the villagers nightmares just by the sight of its shaded ground. The stories that had come from the woods would not be something that you could forget over night, no. These stories were real life nightmares, ones that had grounded the soldiers of the village and had haunted the horses into a gallop in the other direction. Anyea's knees began to shake and her spine felt cold as snow. They should not be there, but they were. They had to leave now!
Anyea couldn't see Kyle and she dare not shout his name in fear that a spirit would find them and kill them before they could scream for help. A tear fell from Anyea's eye as she heard the laughter and chanting from the children outside of the woods. Anyea collapsed to the floor and cried as she felt the cold air blow harder against her skin. Anyea pulled her knees up into her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs to keep her safe from any harm that would come. The wind began to blow harder and harder against Anyea's skin causing it to turn pink with pain. Anyea silently cried and hid her face away from the wind. She was not alone in this place, it was not herself and Kyle left alone in these woods. There was something else. Something cold and harsh was drawing near to her and all she could to was clentch her fists tighter and prey to the Gods that she would live. The air became colder and the wind became stronger. The feeling of danger pressed further down on Anyea's heart causing her to cry harder than before. The pressure pushed and pushed and pushed until... It stopped. Silence surrounded Anyea, not even her little sobs made a sound to her ears, wind no longer whistled and the trees did not whisper. No sound was made at all and the cold chill that had once claimed Anyea's body had stopped.
"You shouldn't be scared," a voice called out. Anyea gasped as she heard the voice of a young boy close to her. It was not Kyle's voice she heard. No, Kyle's voice wasn't as high as this one. "I won't hurt you," the voice whispered softly.
Anyea slowly lifted her head up and noticed a young boy kneeling next to her. For the life of Anyea as she looked at the boy only one feature could be picked out from the boy. Just one... His hair... His hair was the colour of the sun. Anyea had never seen hair that colour before, no one in Sacaria had that colour. Anyea attempted to look at the boy and see what other features he had, but she could not do it. Even though she looked into his eyes and glanced at his skin she could not say what colour they were nor whether they were soft or not. Only the hair could be identfied to her sense.
"Who...." Anyea's voice caught in her throat as her arms lowered from her legs. She gulped to swallow the fear that had previously been lodged in the small space. "Who are... You?" The boy smiled at her. He smiled, Anyea knew that for sure.
Anyea's gaze had been caught be a glint behind the boy. Anyea looked away from the boy for a split second and there she saw it. The shine of a sword... The sword was being held by a tall figure in a black cape shadowing his face away from Anyea's view. Her heart skipped a beat and the fear that had been releaved from her body by this boy was now back. Anyea tried to scream as the figured walked closer to them. Anyea tried to communicate but she could not speak any words nor move a single limb.
The boy noticed that Anyea had not listened to what he had said. Her attention was drawn away from him and to something behind him. The boy turned and looked over his shoulder at the tall figure in black. The sword glinted in his hand and the boys eyes widened.
That was the last sound Anyea could remember from that day. The voice echoed in her ears as the world around her began to blacken. She could not move nor make a sound but she could hear. Hear the sound of that mysterious boys cry and see the shape of the figure. Her eyes close and that was it. No more sounds echoed in her ears, no moving figures attracted her attention, no feeling brushed against her skin. It was as if Anyea had fallen into a deep sleep. A deep sleep that she would not awake from any time soon...