TENSION is the prompt for this week's contest. Such a tempting, wide open theme. I spent a few of hours writing something new, trashed it, switched gears and decided to freshen up the first chapter of an unpublished manuscript I’ve been revising forever—one that inspired me to do a series of posts called Radical Revisions earlier this year.
The fantastic thing about this writing contest is it got me to open this story and start editing again after months of neglect. Yay for motivation! And tension? It's the necessary element in any writing. Getting this entry ready, I wove new words and extra tension into this piece.
I hope you enjoy the beginning of FALLING THROUGH THE WEAVING.
Working cover of my own design.
For the Love of Trees
FOR THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS my restlessness grew. Roots and branches twined through my veins, the taproot split between my legs. My feet throbbed. The call would not be ignored. I’d reached the point where chasing trouble was better than waiting for trouble to find me.
On the morning of the fourth day I found myself marching through the bush, uphill, feet keeping time with the music in my head, the straps of my backpack weighing on my shoulders. Ferns swatted at my thighs. Leaves cushioned my boots. The sky shone the super-saturated blue that marked the golden days of autumn, wind on the cold side of brisk.
Fresh air filled my lungs, but it lacked its usual effect of lulling me into a sense of peace. A current of anticipation snaked up my spine.
I was getting closer.
Ready to escape already, I plunged farther into the forest. What a mess, this world. A fresh start would do me good.
I caught myself hoping, dreaming that wherever the wormhole went this time, it would be an improvement. Stubborn, foolhardy optimism. I used to think humanity’s issues would get better as I moved into the future, but no. Didn’t happen. I’d hopped through seven decades in my thirty-odd years, and civilization was as messed up as ever.
And so I sought the sanctuary of the forest. Did the power of the tree call to me, or did my gypsy heart call to the tree?
It was always a tree, every time the unasked-for jump had come—except maybe when I was born. Mother-Number-One said I’d come from “the belly of the Goddess.” Whatever that meant.
I was long past mothering, now. Could’ve been a mother myself, many times over, but that would be a disaster. These days I didn’t stay anywhere for more than a couple of years, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t belong.
At least the forest muted my anxiety. Cedars grew all around, thick trunks and tapering heights reminding me of ancient sentries. Something in my core told me my way out was near, and for a moment I stopped worrying about the risk I was taking by changing the rules, seeking the tree myself rather than leaving it to chance.
Birdsong and the gurgle of a creek slowed my stride. Unable to keep the music confined to my head any longer, I opened my mouth and sang a wordless melody into the bluebird-sky and deep forest. The flow of notes came without thought, full of promise and mystery.
My feet seemed to float, each stride pulling me nearer. Closer. My chest warmed with energy that zinged through me in a full-body knowing. My trajectory became clear once I rounded a downed giant and saw a massive double cedar—each trunk in the pair easily four-feet wide—emitting a subtle multi-colored glow.
Found the tree.
I stopped in my tracks, throat too full of fear to sing. The light dimmed, but the pull in my gut did not lessen.
As planned, I envisioned my version of utopia, a peaceful green world where people respected each other and the earth. Twenty years into the future, maybe? However long it took for humanity to figure out that perpetuating war and destroying the planet were awful ideas, that’s when I wanted to land.
Preferably somewhere with a language I understood.
I would go somewhere with new instruments to play, new vistas to explore. Maybe with flying cars—how free would it feel to race through the sky?
Deliver me well, Goddess.
I drew a breath, made myself move forward, and reached both hands towards the tree. The second I touched it, everything went rainbow-black.
The wormhole sucked me in, and promptly spat me out again.
Where does she go? Not at all where she was expecting… but that is another chapter.
Thank you for reading! Kudos to everyone supporting fiction on the blockchain. I’d love to hear your thoughts. :)
Whatever happens, keep singing your song!
Photos mine unless otherwise credited.
Author bio: Katrina Ariel is an old-soul rebel, musician, tree-hugging yogini, and mama bear to twins. Author of Yoga for Dragon Riders (non-fiction) and Wild Horse Heart (romance), she's another free-spirit swimming in the ocean of Steem.
dragon art: Liiga Smilshkalne