Sunday, August 2, 2015

Into the Woods

I don’t know if it was days or weeks that passed since the power went out. At first, people thought it was a regular power outage. Everyone just lit candles and let out tiny sighs to express the inconvenience, but then they just went to bed, expecting everything to be back to normal the next morning.
It didn’t.
Still, that wasn’t enough for a panic. Everyone kept a stiff upper lip, chatting nonchalantly about the weather and how the lack of Internet made them go out more and appreciate the gorgeous pine woods. It was a beautiful summer then.
Things started going downhill later, however, as was to be expected. With no working fridge, the food was going bad really quickly, and the local shop wasn’t receiving any new stuff. We soon started running short of food. To top it all off, one of our kids got sick and we were out of medicine. With no drugstore in our village, I had to walk to the city, with the hopes that the drugstores hadn’t yet been plundered. I kissed my wife goodbye and she gave me a large knife. It was for my safety, she told me, as there are wolves and lynxes in the wood.
I could smell the change in the air as I left my house. The village was getting tense. I was worried the neighbors might try to pull something. I just hope she locked the house, I thought. And then I had this sinking feeling – the city might as well be in chaos. What if I don’t come back alive? I did my best to shrug the thought off and just go, but it still hanged around at the back of my head as I made my way into the woods.
I completely lost track of time. The forest was dark and I really couldn’t tell if it was still day or night already. How long had I been walking? It struck me as odd that I was the only person in the village taking a journey to the city – surely, the others were running out of food too. Nevertheless, when I heard a crack, I flinched. I turned around and saw nothing in the thicket. Only darkness. I wasn’t sure I was even going in the right direction. Then I heard what I thought was a growl, so I made a run for it. A stupid, stupid mistake.
Before I knew it, my leg was pulled up above my head and I was hanging upside down near a tree. I saw a lynx run by on the ground, but he paid me no mind. As I swung around like a pendulum, my consciousness drifted away. I was engulfed in darkness, convinced that was it. This is how I die.
But then I woke up. I felt wet. The gentle rays of the sun illuminated parts of the wood, revealing a distinctly human figure smiling at me with pity. It was my brother, battered and scarred, but he was there to free me. And he was carrying provisions. He’d come all the way from the city to save me. We were all saved.
For now.

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