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A Place In The Woods

A PLACE IN THE WOODS

BY

DONALD HARRY ROBERTS

Published By:

Donald Harry Roberts on Shakespir

 

 

A Place In The Woods

Copyright 2016 by Donald Harry Roberts

 

 

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

 

Shakespir

 

1

I emerged from the forest into my own back yard. My home was abandoned and broken and my family was gone. My arbor and gardens were over grown and had been for years…yet I had not aged a day. In fact I had only been away for……..well…..

I suppose it will be necessary to tell the whole story if I expect you or anyone else to understand what happened to me over the 13 days….years…. since I went into the woods to collect an arm full of kindling.

My wife, Adeena, and my children Sollen my daughter and Pilgrim my son and of course I…being Lance Forla….were spending our 7th Christmas together at the Cottage which I had inherited from my uncle.

As point I should mention I was entering my 37th year on this grand old planet…born on boxing- day.

It looked like it was going to be a green…brownish Christmas since there had not been a major snow fall yet…but as I ventured out to get some kindling the clouds opened up and began depositing their beautiful white cargo. In minutes the green brown colours were transformed into the grand perspective of winter.

I passed through the arbor into the woods and followed the trail as it wound through the maples to the clearing in the birch stand….where there was always a cache of fallen…well dried branches ….perfect for kindling. I leaned down to collect a few small pieces and as I stood straight again I swooned and a blink of my eyes later my gaze was set upon a village….a village embraced in a time I can only describe as medieval…

I stood there for a very long time completely stymied by the site until I had the wherewithal to turn around and look back upon the way I came and final found the gumption to retrace my steps but after fifteen minutes I found myself at the end of the trail with a dense forest stretching out before me. Of course….confused I went back to the village hoping to find someone who could explain all this to me.

In the distance….nearly on the other side of the village I spied a sign that read…Birchwood Inn. There were other buildings with carved wooden signs all of which suggested the village name was Birchwood….a butcher…a baker and….you may laugh but it’s true….a candle stick maker…

I slowly made my way to the Inn being the only building that was lit and open at that hour of night….which was….something after seven when I I when from the cottage to collect kindling for the Christmas fire….As I shuffled through the building snow I became worried that my family must be wondering where I had got to……and…..as you will learn later….they did….wonder and worry….and…well…..wait and see.

I made the Inn door and went inside. If ever I had seen a picture of medieval living this was as graphic as I was ever going to come across as Pagan as one might imagine.

As I pushed the door open and stepped inside the patrons all stopped what they were about and cast a gaze on me. Needless to say I felt uncomfortable….I felt it necessary to explain who I was and what I was doing in the woods at that time of night….but I did not get the chance….They all stood and raised their tankards of ale and bid me welcome… “Lance Forla….We have been awaiting your arrival.” a robust and red cheeked man behind the bar counter greeted me cheerfully. “We need a hero to save us from……”

“Silence. Mention not the beasts by night for its name will surely invoke its appearance.” Another rumbling voice interjected. It belonged to a giant of a man with an enormous black beard and eyes that sparkled like sapphires.

The room fell silent.

2

I looked myself over. I was wearing the clothes I was only minutes ago in the woods behind the cottage. A flannel shirt, a black and red plaid jack shirt, blue jeans and felt lined green rubber boots.

“I don’t understand.” I responded to the staring.

The giant stepped aside revealing a man slighter in stature and of an age I could not even hazard a guess at save to suggest he was very….very old….verging I think on ancient. We he spoke his voice was quiet but did not need volume to assert itself.

“I will explain. Come with me.” It was an order…not a request. For reasons I could not say I followed the man clad in a blue/grey cowled robe and sported a wooden staff that came to his shoulders. He himself was shorter than my 5’ 8” yet his stride would have been that of a taller man.

I followed him out into the night turning right out of the Inn and walking quickly to the far edge of the village where we entered a one room cottage of stack wood and a thatched roof. A pleasant fire burned in a stone hearth and I could smell cider warming over the fire.

My host poured us a cup of the golden liquid then offered me a chair at the table in the middle of the room.

I sat.

He finally introduced himself. Said he… “ Lance Forla….I am Zedar…a wizard of Woodland.”

I felt my right eyebrow lift and… “Oh really.” Flittered through my brain like nervous humming bird. I was getting ready to run….as fast as I could straight for home. But The Wizard sensed my thoughts and with a smile requested, “At least allow me to explain what has happened to you before you bolt.”

Wisdom dictated I should….remembering that my last attempt to run home ended at a wall of very old and gnarled trees.

He began….”The last thing you remember before arriving here is bending over to pick up some wood….in your corporeal…mundane existence.”

I nodded.

“Then you swooned.”

I nodded.

“Your body is still back there.”

“I am dead?”

The wizard examined me then touched my hand lightly. “No…not yet or should I say not quite….but you will be soon. Your heart more or less froze in your chest. I doubt anyone will find you in time to save you.”

“Well that doesn’t make me feel real happy.” I replied. I have a wife and two beautiful kids waiting for me to return.”

“I think not. You have been here but a short time but days have passed out there.” The wizard gave a general wave for direction.

“But you said I was….am not quite dead yet. They didn’t just leave me there to die,..”

“Correct. I suspect not but…..ah….there it is…..your body is dead now…..you are completely here…” The Wizard said observantly.

“Well…Ain’t that just peachy. So I am dead and if so…where am I…..and….not so dead?”

“The wizard offered up a crooked smile with a glint of humour in his silvery eyes. “I told you but I guess it did not sink in. This is Woodland….a country in the woods and I am your guide…at least until you understand why you are here….and for the record your name is no Longer Lance Forla…any more than mine is Chance Forla…your uncle. You are now Frangar the Thief.”

“This is Bull….”

“Tut tut…mind your tongue” The wizard cut me off.

3

I sat there staring in awe…mixed with a generous helping of doubt….at this strange old man who claimed to be my uncle but looked nothing like Uncle Chance…at least at first….then I began to recognize the Forla look. Dad had it….Grampa had it I have….had it and apparently so did Chance…or Zedar the Wizard.

The look….that Forla look that was ever present and noticeable….Silver eyes….red…..red…..red…hair…..in life….and….slightly pointed ears.

Of course Uncle’s hair had gone white but the eyes and ears were still noticeable.

“Ok….let’s say this is all for real…why am I here…why did I have to die and leave my wife and kids…..and please make your answer something that sounds real and meaningful…Like …There was no other choice.”

“The Forla family…at least some of us….belong here….not there….our blood line began in Woodland. It was a bloody tragedy that we got banished to that corporeal hell. But we have been returning….secretly…with new names and with a magnificent purpose.”

“This just keeps getting better…..Go on….” I let a chuckle ripple past my lips.

I know what you are thinking….Oh…another reluctant hero story….well no…you are wrong…..as you will see.

“So you are telling me I was born here but……”

“No…No…not that at all….You were born there…and would have remained there except that things have changed here and it is time for….well….I am sorry to say…It is time for battle….a war actually…to rid Woodland of a King who is not supposed to be king….He took the throne by force and deceit…and Murdered the King and his heir. Recently we have learned there is hope that the Royal Bloodline can be restored though not by a king…but a bloodline Queen which is better than the dark thing now sitting in rule of our world.”

“And I suppose I have some task in the scheme of all things to accomplish.” I replied.

“Indeed you do….and a very important one at that.”

“Make me a believer Uncle.” I urged…for some reason beginning to grasp the reality of that unreal place.

“You must steal something….hence your name and title. It will not be easy and in the end you may die….or at least be hunted until the Fell King can be rousted.”

“What must I steal?”

“Three things….The Royal Crown, Sceptre and Sword which are the binding powers behind the throne. No one can rule Woodland without them…not even a rightful King….or Queen.”

“Which are highly guarded….” I put in.

“Highly and protected by the magic of a Warlock….a bad Warlock….Wizards and Warlocks are not all good….or all bad….and some swing back and forth…they will do good as quickly as they will do evil.”

“And you are?”

“A little Chaotic I am told…but essentially I work for the good of Woodland.”

“I guess…well…it seems I am…..”

“You are and have always been our hope if ever the time came which has.”

“Then I shall do all I must to.” What I was about to say seemed ridiculous…but my Uncle finished it for me.

“You are a hero thief of our time and the one most likely and capable of saving Woodland.”

“What must I do….how do I even begin?”

“You begin by learning Nephew.”

4

Learning…training…..I was never a thief and had, had no plans to being a thief while I was alive….well in the world I was born in…though I was an accountant and some are willing to associate one with the other.

Not only was I in training as a thief but I had to learn stealth….hand to hand combat and a mess of other things that my mortal body had never endured. I did enjoy it though….more than I ever thought I would….especially the sword play and dagger work…throwing in particular. I suppose it was like living out a childhood fantasy.

11 days, 14….16 hours a day with barely a break for food. There was no time to Dilly Dally around. My spirit only had 13 days in Woodland…then I would vanish…and my life would be done….for real….for ever and ever…

“I died to come here and save the country just so I can die anyway and share none of the benefits of my efforts. “

“That’s about it.” Uncle agreed.

“But what about you? You are still here.”

“And I always will be. I was actually born here and in my time I will die here but that time is a ways off yet..”

Dying no matter what I do does not inspire me to help you…or this country. In fact if I am going to die anyway why should I bother?

“Because if you don’t Woodland will be for-ever ruled by evil.”

I have to admit that at that moment I really didn’t give a damn. What did Woodland matter to me? I turned my back on the wizard and considered turning my back on the country….Then Uncle said….. “If you turn your back on Woodland you will be turning your back on your parents. They were born here and when they passed in the mundane world they were returned here.”

“Mom and Dad….here. Why didn’t you tell me? I want to see them.” I responded with a grave sense of twisted anxiety….which means I was elated and angry all at the same time.

“Sorry. No time. You must train….” Uncle replied.

“Then you and your stupid country are on your own. If I must die anyway….let it happen now….” I retaliated and turned to walk away.

“Wait. Very well. You continue training. I will bring them to you.”

“Have them here by nightfall old man or I am done here.” I warned then went to take a sword fighting lesson…..angry enough to beat the crap out of my teacher….which didn’t happen….She was still much better at it than I but I learned a lot in that session….don’t fight when you are angry….It doesn’t pay off.

I did some wall scaling and repelling….creeping and sneaking about like…..lol…..like a thief….learning to choose my steps like a ghost….quickly and silently.

And as the afternoon passed and I gained more skill and confidence my anger retreated. I could come up with no reason not to help the people of Woodland.

Then….as the sun set uncle returned with Mother and Father…..and it caused me no end of disappointment for…they had no idea who I was to them….something Uncle had not warned me about…..not that I gave him the opportunity to do so.

Nor were they anything like I remembered my parents. These two people were….strangers that only looked like Mom and Dad.

“Explain!” I demanded of the Wizard.

5

“I see.” I said when the wizard completed his explanation. “They have no memory of the years they spent in the mundane world…which mean no memory of having a son…or all the wonderful times we shared when I was a child. I remember when they were killed in the car crash…..and I wasn’t….I was old enough to look after myself and I inherited….well….I inherited my life…..the house….the money….everything….But none of this does my heart the slightest bit of good. I was orphaned and even as they stand before me I am still an orphan…yet…..you still want me to die for them….this lousy country and leave my own family…..Orphaned…….Send me back.”

“There is no going back…not to the life you had. You would be nothing more than a spirit….no body…no hope….no…..no…..nothing.”

“Then that is what it will be….Better a ghost in the familiar than dead in the nowhere. You and your stupid country can go to hell for all I care.”

Uncle looked devastated. I do not think he was believing what he was hearing….but I meant it. I turned my back on him….the two creatures that looked like my parents and Woodland. I was soon after standing once again at the wall of trees at the end of the trail where I had first entered the country in the woods.

And as I said the trail ended…but I went forward anyway and found myself where I had fallen into a swoon…13 days….years…after I died.

And I shall begin again.

I emerged from the forest into my own back yard. My home was abandoned and broken and my family was gone. My arbor and gardens were over grown and had been for years…yet I had not aged a day. In fact I had only been away for…….as much as I could tell….13 days and I my memory of those days were fully in tact…..It took a few hours to understand that 13 years had gone by in the mundane world of corporeals.

I inspected the cottage closer trying to enter by normal means…but discovering I was unable to grab and/or turn the door knob…. My hand in fact went straight through the wooden door….so I pushed my body through which proved to a sensation I can only describe as interesting….maybe later something more will come to mind.

The place inside was in ruins…..a Christmas left unfinished….a turkey withered and critter gnawed was still in the stove….gifts under the tree half torn open by chipmunks, squirrels and mice….a fire that burnt out leaving large chunks of coal and other evidence of a Christmas dinner left dried and crumbling on the kitchen counter.

It was my first hint that much more time than 13 days had passed but at that moment I could not help wonder what had happened to my body….and my family.

I decided to make my way home….such as a ghostly apparition can do and discovered that just the thought of the suburban bungalow in the city had me standing…or rather floating in the drive way….starring in disbelief at the mature trees I had planted only the summer before.

I got the hint….Time had passed….and though it was still Christmas….time meant many years.

I went inside…..

6

My wife was older…greying…my kids were older….the calendar hanging in the kitchen read Dec.24th 2016…..”Thirteen years!” I gasped…but of course no one heard me. And then there was this 50 something man sitting beside my wife with his arm around her. There were smiles…sort of but now joy. My wife said….”I am sorry Stan…..I hope you understand. I still miss Lance and I always will.” She began to cry…Stan pulled away stood and left the room. My son and daughter went to comfort their mother. I wished at that moment I could have reached out and comforted her…”I am here my darling.” I would have said.

Instead I went into the kitchen and found Stan pouring himself a stiff drink…more than anyone should take all at once. He took the whole thing down in a swallow and poured another.

It pissed me off and anger weld up in my chest.

Suddenly the glass flew from Stan’s hand and smashed into the sink.

Seconds later my Son and daughter rushed in….”Stan get out…just get the hell out…My son ordered. Stan stood to resist but when my son moved in close and got in his face he left…taking his bottle of booze with him….”And don’t come back.!> My daughter yelled after him. Then both returned to the living room.

I followed.

Sollen and Pilgrim sat on either side of their Mother and started to sing…my favourite Christmas song by John Lennon….So this is Christmas……I damn near started to ball….but discovered ghosts can’t cry….of course not……ghosts don’t have bodies or hearts or tear ducts or any corporeal parts about then….but they are energy and I had discovered that I could project that energy……So I made the lights on the Christmas tree gleam brighter. The lights flashed then dimmed….flashed…and dimmed….flashed and….Suddenly I felt weak….using energy like that was not a good idea….and I accomplished nothing……Pilgrim said….”Power surges. I hope the power doesn’t go out….Not tonight…..

I crossed the room and tried to touch them. My hand went through them and they felt nothing. It was pointless….being here…..well maybe not quite pointless….At least I got rid of Stan and hopefully he would stay gone.

I was about to say goodbye and leave when my wife seemed to look at me and then she said….”Be well my love where ever you are.” Then she walked to the hearth mantle and touch an urn lightly……

To them I was dead….dead and gone and even if I could have touched them with my spirit nothing would change…..I decided being in the mundane world was a lonely place for ghosts….definitely way too lonely for me……I decide to return to Woodland and be the hero they needed….at least my life…or rather my death would come to some good…..My Uncle knew what he was doing when he let me go without an argument. I thought myself back to the cottage and down the trail and into Woodland. The wizard was there waiting for me. He said, “You have arrived just in time,” and asked… “Are you ready to be a thief and save our country?”

“Sure. Why not? I don’t have anywhere else to go”

7

The Royal Palace…once a thing of beauty I could determine but the King of rule had let it diminish into a broken relic of what it once was. I stood studying its walls planning my entry and saw that my training in scaling would pay off well. There were plenty of chinks and crannies in the mortar to gain excellent finger and toe holds. The treasures of Woodland were kept in the central tower in the upper room….heavily guarded.

“I will wait til dark.” I told Zedar.

He nodded.

“You and the rebel army will attack when the first stars shine. Remember….you are not trying to win…just keep the attention of the guard and the king away from me…..I will get the Crown Sceptre and sword then I shall vanquish the King.”

The Wizard nodded and warned…. “The Warlock will be close at hand.”

“No…he will be bust dealing with my wizardly uncle.”

Zedar grinned….”Of course.” He said and I should have seen it then…the glint in his eyes…but I missed it and realized my folly only when it was almost too late but also just in time because I realized then I would not have to die and there was a very rude subterfuge in the works. I am glad by all glad moments that I recognized the ploy when I did…in the nick of time.

I left my uncle and made for the base of the tower wall creeping through crack in the fortress wall. Darkness was falling on Woodland…. A full moon was rising…the stars were as bright as I have ever seen them. I heard the roar of a charging army….

I began my climb scaling the tower wall with the agility of a spider….and as quick as I could ever have imagined being able to. I was near the highest window in but a few minutes. I was through the window seconds later and was realizing my folly a second after that as my eyes met the silver glow of the Warlock…My uncle.

He smiled viciously…..

I saw that foul glint in his eyes again…..he wanted the Crown the sceptre and the sword for himself….There was no Queen in waiting….but why go to all this trouble. I was sure he could get into the treasury without my help….but such was not the case.

“Come nephew. Go inside the treasury and get the treasures. Bring them to me.”

I cast my eyes to the treasury door. Was it so easy…? Just open it and go through. But as I studied the door I spied a glimmer…electrical in nature…or a form of magically generated electricity…..a barrier.

I move toward the door and touched it. Nothing happened. I shoved my hand through the wood. Nothing happened. I went inside and arrived into a torch lighted room filled with treasures that would have made Alibaba’s loot seem poor and of course the Crown, the sceptre and the sword.

I picked up the crown and placed it on my head then took up the sceptre in my left hand and the sword in my right…..Then I made my way back to the door and with a cast of energy from the Sceptre I rammed the heavy treasury door open….with a mighty crash.

8

My uncle glared at me with such hatred that I could actually feel it in my heart and it made me sad….

I was about to approach when another man entered the ante-room….He was a man of majesty…but bound in chains and with him came his Queen.

Uncle raised a sword and cried out viciously… “Give me the treasures or I shall slay them>….he meant the King and Queen. But he had not the chance because I rushed him…..jammed my fists into his chest and pushed him with all force out the window… He screamed for a second then I heard the bones crushing as he hit the ground.

My heart broke. I had killed my kin but that lasted for a brief moment….ending when my mother and father entered the room. This time they greeted me like a Mother and Father would have met their son…with joy and smiles and welcoming hugs.

Then I turned to the King and relinquished the Crown and The Sword and The Queen took her Sceptre.

Outside no battle had ensued. That was all part of Uncles ploy. And…BTW….the man was never really my Uncle…not here or back in the mundane world…..so I was advised by my Father. Who he really was had no bearing on this story….save that he was the fell King who wanted the treasures of Woodland and could not rules without them.

Well that’s about all the story I have to tell you except that Woodland….its King and Queen and the beauty of the palace was all restored as soon as the King and Queen reclaimed their thrones and their rule over the Country In the Woods.

As for me….well….all things considered I did not fair out too badly. I wish I could tell you I woke up from a dream and everything went back to normal…a story ending you might have been anticipating, but nope….it did not happen that way. I was dead and there was no going back….a coronary is a coronary and the explosion that went on in my chest was never going to be fixed.

Nor did I remain in Woodland though I did have some time with my parents until it was time for me to leave….almost a year in fact. Not many Son’s would get that kind of opportunity….I think…..then again…maybe I am not so unique.

I told them all about my family….my own death….and how I wished none of this had happened. I wanted to live on and be a grandad….a senior citizen and grow old and grey with Adeena…but it wasn’t going to happen…..so I bound myself to accepting my fate.

Then I found myself walking….I was in a park….a very large park which after a moment I recognized. I was home again…..getting a last look at the life I had left behind. In the park was a playground and there I saw my children with their children not much older than they were when I passed….and sitting on a bench at the edge of the playground was my Adeena. Her hair was white now and she had a walker at her side….but she looked happy and content.

I went and sat beside her and placed my hand on hers. Much to my surprize she felt it and smiled. She said……”It won’t be long now husband. I will be joining you soon.” Her voice though gay was tired.

“Can you see your grandchildren and your great grandchildren and here come Sollen and Pilgrim and Matty and Randy. I hope you can. All is well and I have missed you so….”

More time than I thought had passed…..

********

Your time will come sooner….or ….later….and you may too find yourself in a place like Woodland….A Place In The Woods…..for whatever reason…..Sometimes there is no particular reason….Sometimes things happen….I know my journey had a meaning and someday I will understand it…..

Next I found myself stand on the edge of a cliff looking out over the sea and watching the white caps curl and the tide crash into the rocky shore below. Far off in the sky at the edge of the west I saw shades of red and gold…blue and orange and purple and the brightest glimmer of white I had ever seen…painted by nature in a way that no human hand could manage.

And here I must leave you for I do not think I can reach you beyond this point….so I leave you with some thoughts.

Whatever you believe in embrace it with all your heart. Listen to the songs in your mind….the wisdom of the elders and the spirits…..the voice of time and the wind…..for in the end all these things will come to you as you ready to go beyond anything you think is real for reality exists only in the waking mind of the mundane….corporeal world in which our physical bodies exist.

Stop now….this very moment and take back every ounce of hate you have ever felt and replace it with love and understanding. Put your voice loud in defence of those unable to defend themselves and most of all…..Believe…..

Farewell……


A Place In The Woods

I emerged from the forest into my own back yard. My home was abandoned and broken and my family was gone. My arbor and gardens were over grown and had been for years…yet I had not aged a day. In fact I had only been away for……..well….. I suppose it will be necessary to tell the whole story if I expect you or anyone else to understand what happened to me over the 13 days….years…. since I went into the woods to collect an arm full of kindling. My wife, Adeena, and my children Sollen my daughter and Pilgrim my son and of course I…being Lance Forla….were spending our 7th Christmas together at the Cottage which I had inherited from my uncle. As point I should mention I was entering my 37th year on this grand old planet…born on boxing- day. It looked like it was going to be a green…brownish Christmas since there had not been a major snow fall yet…but as I ventured out to get some kindling the clouds opened up and began depositing their beautiful white cargo. In minutes the green brown colours were transformed into the grand perspective of winter. I passed through the arbor into the woods and followed the trail as it wound through the maples to the clearing in the birch stand….where there was always a cache of fallen…well dried branches ….perfect for kindling. I leaned down to collect a few small pieces and as I stood straight again I swooned and a blink of my eyes later my gaze was set upon a village….

  • ISBN: 9781370386550
  • Author: Donald Harry Roberts
  • Published: 2016-12-21 21:35:30
  • Words: 4912
A Place In The Woods A Place In The Woods