Entry 0095: Silverfrost Forest, part two

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LP: Blues for the Red Sun by Kyuss

2014 Rhino Records R1 61340, Dali Records

Favorite Track: Green Machine

 

“The thing about Silverfrost Forest is that it changes shapes. The trees are sneaky: they stand tall and proud while you view them, but as soon as you walk past, they slouch and tip-toe around, their branches dragging through the snow and wiping away your footsteps. One should never travel about alone in Silverfrost Forest, but I was seven, impulsive and cocky, probably believing I was creating the world around me and in complete control.”

Stan paused and looked at the stranger. His somber face gave him strength to continue. It had just dawned on him how long it had been since he told this tale. How long he had bottled it up.

“The trees move because the witches command them. I even have reason to believe that the witches planted the first ancient trees eons ago so as to hide their foul treachery and to be guardians. But I will get to that later. At this point, I was merely lost. I was bundled up good with heavy boots and jacket. I didn’t wear a hat, but my wool scarf was tied around my head and ears. I knew there was a river somewhere west of the house and if I could follow it, I could come to a bridge that I knew to be not far from the back of our cabin. But everywhere I looked I just found more trees, taller trees as if they had giant hands with goliath fingers that blocked out the sky despite having no foliage.

I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to build a fire and had started to gather up some stray sticks when I saw something move. It was a blurry, squat shape, hairy but not fur. Long, unwashed hair. For her…if it was a her, I never realized that witch was a gendered term that might not necessarily apply so easily to these things I met called witches…for her stubby legs, she moved in a sleek manner as if she were skiing. I don’t think she saw me, but that made me more afraid for she came from behind me and walked past with great indifference. Now the idea of a fire seemed terrible, but was still a necessity. The temperature was dropping.

My father raised me to be an outdoorsman. I knew how to make a snow cave and to slope it upwards so cold air stays lower. My father was fond of building benches into the side walls to sleep on, laying on his pack and staring up through the ventilation hole and whispering stories about the forest being alive. I guess maybe that was why the appearance of the witch didn’t completely shock me. In all ways, my father taught me how to survive.

The light was bad and getting worst. I know it was the trees fault. But I dug up snow and started packing it, swiftly but methodical. Panic is your worst enemy. I was just about to finish the cave when I felt strange and dizzy for a moment. I put some snow in my mouth and sucked on it while I looked around. My heart began to beat faster and inside my mind I recited a mantra in an effort to calm myself. There was nothing out there but the white snow made gray in the falling darkness. And the trees which seemed to form a solid wall around me. And an owl hooting but not visible. And the cracking of branches as the weight of snow became too much. Some ice flashed like lightning in the far distance.

The river!

And then came the witches…”

The stranger interrupted, his hand lifting his piece and exchanging its place where Stan’s knight sat. “You are lying to me.”

Stan frowned. He knew this story…it was his story…he knew the truth, had witness the brutal events, how dealt with those…things…yes, they couldn’t be women or men or human or even of this world…what did this stranger know about any of this.

“I have to beg to differ, but I was there and I…”

“You were hexed. The story you think to be true is false. A cursed memory. Not yours. But go ahead and tell me it if you wish,” he said in a flat voice and dismissing hand, “then I will tell you the true story, if you can stand to bear it.”

to be continued…

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