My Forest

By Matt Harrison

Someone sent me a photograph and told me to write the story of what I saw. I guess this is what I saw.

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Photo by Katelyn Sass

I warned this man. Few see the signs I leave, let alone heed them as warnings. Two ravens perched on a branch that can’t keep from bowing under their weight act as the sole warning. In all this time only one man saw them, the same two ravens that sat there today, and thought better of stepping into my forest. One wise man among countless fools.

I don’t know what brought this man to my forest today. He stepped off the highway as the sun peaked. Now, as the sun hangs lower by the moment and the air grows cold and tired, this man still remains.

The nerve of him and his kind. Look at him, trudging around without a clue of what he’s committed himself to. Men have worked up their courage and taken their last steps on this planet in my forest for hundreds of years. An endless string of guttersnipe bastards, the lot of them.

The most foolish among them are those who thought they could conquer my forest with brute force. Untouched it still remains after these many cowards have fired bullets that struck nothing and swung at trees no axe can cut. These endless miles are mine, under my protection. I am the claws of the lion standing on the mountain and the adrenaline that flows when she strikes. I am the trees that tower for sightless miles and I am the torrents of flame that turn these forests to fields. I am the fear in your heart when my mountain tops come crumbling down and I am the wind that will carry your screams.

Pathetic human, luck and ignorant curiosity is all that brought you out of the cave in the first place. You have walked forests, I’m sure, but none of them were mine. I’ve helped many like you lose their sanity with the coming of the stars and I will help you find your path there tonight. Countless men have reached the darkest points of these many acres. They watched each shadow grow to an abyss before dissolving into infinity. What happens next, only the stars know with absolute certainty. The man who has entered will never leave this place.

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