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Zev Balanson

Grade: 8

Birchwood School

Instructor: Jennifer Seward

A Walk Through the Forest

Flash Fiction

A Walk Through the Forest

Cold.

Very cold.

Light can't enter here, it's trapped by the trees which spread like a rose after bloom. Where am I, or rather, why am I here? Every bit of direction I thought I had was lost; I only knew what was directly in front of me, and that was even a bit of a mystery. What lay before me was a pathway, like one you'd see on a hiking trail leading its way through the hallway of trees. I had no choice but to step forward.

Darkness consumed my body, only being able to see what was within a foot of my face. Everything beyond that was completely unknown. Letting my consciousness drift like that provided an ease from the terrifying situation I found myself trapped within.

I continued walking, always bracing myself for the next step, where a tree root might be lurking for me to trip and I knew I'd lose myself to panic and fear. I couldn't let that happen. I had to keep going.

Step after step.

Lights on.

The world all around revealed itself, trees and bare ground, its brightness a pleasure to my eyes and a massive discomfort. It's really surprising when you're shrouded in darkness for so long and then suddenly exposed to the world around you, which is also completely foreign.

The backdrop was that of trees, some nearly a hundred feet tall by the looks. A seemingly endless amount of trees.

No escape, no way out.

Something white caught my eye. A white mask laying in the middle of this barren patch of light and supposed "freedom" from the endless spanning forest. I stepped towards the object, carefully watching my surroundings waiting for some tyrant that ruled my imagination to jump out at me. Then I saw what it truly was, a mask with the number 1 on the top, circled, and painted an odd pattern of green, red and white. I reached down and picked it up in an attempt to examine it a little closer.

Confused.

What kind of cryptic game was my mind playing on me? My mind?

Crash.

The trees suddenly appeared around me once again, shrouding me in complete and utter darkness, just like before. I felt around me; three sides were blocked by the tightly packed trees, but one, the path, was left completely open.

Step.

With the mask in hand I began walking again, step after step in cold darkness, wondering if that mask was merely just a sign of the beginning of the end.

Step.

Lights on.

The sky blinked down at me as the comfort and the plague of sunlight appeared once again, in the same patch of land I was before. Did I walk backwards?

I couldn't have.

What caught my eye this time was the same as before, a mask coated in a deep shade of brown, looking like it was just painted but somehow already dry. A number painted on the top, just like the last one.

2.

Black, Red, and Orange.

The bare ground seemed to have shrunk since the time I picked up the first mask. As if the trees were closing in on each other.

Lights on. Lights off. Lights on. Lights off. Each time I grew more and more tangled, my mind began to contort.

Lights on.

The grand finale.

The trees were mere meters from me now, the sky a dark gray, trembling with rage. My body was beginning to tremble, my mind barely moving a muscle.

It was scared too.

Trapped. Stuck. Locked within this forest of no name, no identity, no nothing.

Who am I?

Where am I?

"Pick and choose."

I finally gathered enough energy to reach down to the ground which was now wet from heavy rain. Hand scrounging around in the mud, a clean white mask is pulled out.

21.
No openings for eyes, nothing painted on it.

Blank.

Who am I?

What am I?

Lights off.

The masks which I barely managed to carry anymore left my arms, but I don't care. I was trapped, lost in a maze with only an entrance and no exit, the only way available is forward.

Step.

Lights on.

The trees were gone, the dirt was gone, the rain was gone, only a dim light emanated from the ground, and the shine of eight brilliant objects suspended in the air. Every mask I had gathered floated before me, circling me, waiting for me to touch one. To
pick one.

"Pick and choose."

The Blank one

I put my hand to it, leaving my mind and entering the world once again.

The city appeared before me, I, finally, emerged as myself. The true self, the one buried deep within the forest of trees.

Who am I really?

The one deepest buried.

I am Otto.