The stranger, an old man, looked at us with with a twinge of fear and nostalgia in his eye and informed us that those houses no longer existed, that they belonged to two adventuring nuts that dived into the forest maybe seventy years prior. We thanked the old man and went back to the trees and found ourselves at the line one last time - 18/19
We marched out of the woods hand in hand, not knowing quite what emotion to feel.
I was trembling when Kyra walked me to the forest's rim, and we were both struggling to walk through the street and up to the first person we could find. We'd forgotten the way home, and inquired about our old addresses - 17/19
As we continued heading straight, we finally got to a white streak of paint on the ground, delineating the end of the safe zone, after which no one would come for us. I felt Kyra grab my hand, and when I turned to face her, I realized tears were quietly making their way down her face. We'd made it. What now? "On three," she said, with more determination than I’d had for the whole trip, so we closed our eyes and counted. Upon reaching the number, our feet crossed the white line once more - 16/19
Some time passed, and one morning we opened our eyes to a different kind of light behind the trees, and as we walked through the bushes, frightening smaller animals, we arrived at a sight we never thought we would see: a tall mossy tree with a cloaked heart engraved in its bark, and sure enough, our names were right above that - 15/19
I knew I couldn't bear to be without her when she didn't wake me up one morning, instead bringing fruits, roots, and leaves back to our camp prepared a beautiful breakfast arrangement for the both of us, complete with sweet berry infusions and magnificent red flowers.
After that day, things were never the same. We'd grown closer, and with every step we took deeper into the forest, my love for her grew tenfold - 12/19
It was around that time, I think, that I noticed the Moon's reflection in Kyra's eyes, and how, like the lake, they were always full of new and exciting life. I'd grab her hand and kiss it every night before going to sleep, as a reminder that we were here together, and she would always reply by doing the same to my forehead - 11/19
As we held on tightly to its soft pelt and to each other, it took us days deeper into the forest, following a deep river to a lake in a clearing. The water in that lake was clear and filled with remarkable and mysterious fish, which came to swim around us when we inevitably stripped and dived into a fresh and welcoming bath.
We thanked the elk and elected to set up camp near this lake, to study the wildlife and how it grew around us - 10/19
The dawn of the day after that was humid and foggy, but it was also the day we were visited by what we dubbed the night elk. It was taller than the both of us combined, and strong, with a coat that resembled a universe of faintly glowing white stars floating in an expanse of deep violet space. Its crystalline antlers emitted a soft white glow, and its warm golden eyes invited us to follow it, and later climb on top of it - 9/19
Plants bore delicious and large fruits, animals would almost pose for us to draw them in our journals, and we would diligently catalog every new creature we could find. Kyra soon found her first memory card full, but wasn’t deterred in the slightest and kept taking pictures of every sight we saw. Seeing her so enthralled with the forest’s beauty only made me more determined to get to the center, just to see the look on her face - 8/19
I like to write, cook, and take pictures so look forward to that I guess (also memes and politics)
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