Writing Group: The Leaves Tell a Story

Hello, Detectives and Diviners!

Leaves are amazing things, aren’t they? They can be so small, or absolutely huge. All different shapes and sizes, all kinds of textures. Some can give you a rash or even leave hair-like needles in your skin! But I think it’s time we took a closer look at how else these flora are so unique, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Leaves Tell a Story

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

Leaves are a gorgeous adornment to nature, aren’t they? They can canopy an entire forest, they can waltz gracefully with the wind, or can blanket the ground in browns, reds, oranges, and golds, like a duvet of jewels.

But one thing that doesn’t always come to mind when thinking of nature’s beautiful dancing tapestry is a leaf’s ability to tell a tale. Yet, if we really think about it, leaves have been telling stories far longer than we have.

A prime example of this is about as simple as it gets; hunter and prey. While wolves can track with their noses, humans couldn’t do such a thing. We had to rely on our ability to follow the tracks our prey left as it bounded off in attempted escape. We’d look for broken branches, footprints in the mud, or for the leaves to be disgruntled enough to point out where our prey had fled after trampling over the small flora below. This practice didn’t end with just hunting, though. Over time, police and investigators, even the K-9 unit, all have to rely on nature to tell them where to go to find their answers. The leaves and trees witnessed everything, and all they can do as they shiver on the forest floor is to point the way to the scene of the crime. Or they join the search parties, waving frantically from their treetop homes in an attempt to tell everyone they found the missing child, yelling to the wind as they try to keep the little one warm. 

Another way the leaves tell us stories is through divining them. They leap into fires, metamorphosing into a billowing smoke that allows the Seer to read them before they dissipate to become one with the air. They display their synchronised routine as they swim about the bottom of the teacup, ending their rehearsed number in a shape that communicates with the Reader what the future may hold. Or they wait patiently to dry until they are burnable, then dip their edges into the flame just enough to smoulder, telling unknown tales through their wispy dance to put a home at ease.

Past, present, or future, the leaves know so much more than we could possibly comprehend. Listen closely as you walk down the beaten path, and hear their whispers in the wind.

Dance with them, O Writer, and tell their tales in ways they cannot.

—Shawna

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    7. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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NictheGreat
NictheGreat
5 days ago

The Leaves Tell a Story

It was a nice sunny, cool day. The birds were singing. The wind was blowing. And the many animals speak to each other in a language that no one can understand. Well besides Veladinsa who’s a Poodle who can speak and hear other animals’ conversations. Me and my friends, Sam, Flara, and Veladinsa were admiring the forest walking through it, taking in the view, and smelling the fresh forest air.

We all decided to go sit by the river and relax. As we were sitting there, leaves started falling from the trees and they swirled around us in a tornado like fashion and started to tell us a story…

“What do you see Nick,” asked Flara.

“Hmm, what do you mean?” Nick asked

Flara chuckled and said, “I mean what do you see with the leaves slowly falling down to the ground and our faces?”

Nick looked back up at the tree and said: “I see a story. A story of how these leaves used to be on the tree, telling their own story. But now they’re falling down and will soon become one with the ground.

The leaves swirled around us a few more times and then they all flew away into the distance. We all sat there in silence for a while, contemplating what Nick had said. And we all agreed that he was right. The leaves were telling us a story. A story of life. How their time with the trees had come to an end and it was time to move on. A story about the inevitability of the end of things. All things change, and eventually, all things end.

“So, now that we are on the other side of the forest, what should we do with Animatrolis now that he has the other half of the forest under his control?!” asked Nick

“Well Otto and Zenfo are making us axes to fight back,” said Flara

“Alright!” said Nick “Now how do we plan to defeat an “ancient magic forest tree-like god?”

Last edited 5 days ago by NictheGreat
Amaunator
8 days ago

Teachings (excerpt from Back from the Dead)
by Joris Lemoine (aka. Amaunator)

“Can you try again, Ayesha?” Federica asked.

Ayesha nodded and kept her hand open, palm up, and concentrated on forming a small disc. Nothing fancy, just smooth stone all the way through.

“Remember. Feel for the nanites first. Then tell them what you need.” Federica sat on the other side of the table, her willowy form leaning over with silent encouragement, dappled with the swaying shade of the courtyard’s single persimmon tree.

Ayesha grunted, the tip of her tongue peeking out from between her lips, nearly biting it off from the strain. She tried to think of her own body, all of her limbs, one by one, and then imagined one outside of it. She saw it as an octopus with an infinite number of tentacles. Some were writhing about, or waving lazily and she could brush past them and make them heave one way or the other, while others were rigid and no amount of concentration could move them a micrometer.

She focused on the wavy ones, drawing them in towards her, forming the image of a single, simple lattice of graphite spreading out uniformly in a hexagonal pattern. She daren’t open her eyes to see what was happening. Appreciative murmurs from Federica filtered into her consciousness.

And it was done. Her palm was weighed down by a small, shiny leaden puck.

“See! I knew you could do it!” Federica gushed, and Ayesha felt absurdly proud, until her intellect intervened: a child would have done better without even blinking. How long had she sat there? Minutes? A quarter of an hour?

“Now,” Federica’s tone was flat again, teacher mode, “disassemble it and reassemble it from the same parts.”

“What?! But that’s impossible!”

“Is it?” At a gesture, the persimmon tree started to melt away amid a shimmer of light and a few meters away, a sprout pushed up out of the soil. Roots that had lain thick and gnarled in one place disappeared to reappear whole in another. The trunk lengthened and widened, its hazel brown darkening. Bark became more ligneous and rough. Branches reached up to the sky and as one unfurled a blanket of leaves. One fell off in the whirl and tumbled to the table.

“The nanites remember their previous configurations, up to a point,” she picked up the leaf, “and they tell their story to those who learn to listen.”

Tovath
Tovath
9 days ago

The leaves rustled as she and Judge Sredostan walked down the forest path. The trees were so close together that there was no way to leave the narrow path they were on. It was obvious that this was not a place where one came to gather berries or nuts. The trees were egnormase it looked like no one had ever cut any of them. The lack of signs of logging were odd.
“This area is significant to the Order of Germiel. They have had a protected safe house here since anicent times,” explained Judge Sredostan
The Order of Germiel. The order she needed to decide if she was part of. They were respected, but a bit outside normal socity. She had always felt a bit like that but yet… She looked up at the trees. These must have seen so many people sturgleing with the same questions she was. Had they taken part in protecting any of the members from irate family members who wanted them to be other then they were? Had any of the members that had hidden here had to deal with overbearing mothers like she did?

SamiDC
SamiDC
10 days ago

A Nymph’s Tragedy

SamiDC

“There’s simply nothing like a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. Don’t you agree, Sister Ash?”

The nymph whipped her head up to look at her sister, her attention yanked back from her anxious mind to the moment at the mention of her name.

“What was that?” She asked softly.

Oak scowled at her response, visibly insulted at her sister’s lack of attention. She hadn’t invited Ash to a breakfast of morning dew and honeysuckle only to be ignored!

“Forgive me,” Ash said with a frown. “I don’t mean to seem unappreciative of your invitation. But my mind is restless. It’s Willow, you see-”

“Ugh!” Oak sighed with a roll of her eyes, cutting Ash off. “Must you speak of her again? Is her sad fate all that’s left of your thoughts?”

“She’s our Sister!” Ash cried. “How can you be so indifferent?! So callous?!”

Oak gave her younger sister a stone-faced stare that sent shivers down Ash’s spine. Worse was the cold words that followed.

“She made her choice and must endure the consequences,” Oak stated in a neutral tone. “I warned her loving a mortal would be her demise, yet still she refused to heed my advice. Now her mortal lover lies dead and she’s resigned herself to weep over his grave forevermore.”

Oak’s icy demeanor then gave way to one of sorrow.

“Willow was always impulsive and brash,” She stated. “Never once did she approach anything with the slightest bit of caution or sense. Her recklessness has led to a broken heart that is beyond even our mending.”

Ash’s eyes glistened with tears.

“Her words are now nothing more than whispers. Soon, she will fall silent; never to speak again. She will die.”

“It would not be the first time a nymph has fallen to such a fate. Willow is beyond saving. All we can do now is grieve and move forward.”

The barks of hounds put a sudden stop to the sister’s discussion and they instantly melted into the forest. Once the hunting party had passed, Ash fell into Oak’s open arms and wept.

Last edited 8 days ago by SamiDC
Magic System
Magic System
14 days ago

Footsteps
The Magic System

It used to be that only nature would move the leaves; wind to send them brushing against each other, rain to pull them down to the earth, and snow to challenge the most defiant of leaves. That was before the footsteps sent vibrations down into the ground, through the tree’s roots, and back up into the leaves, which trembled ever so slightly. The footsteps always came and left quite quickly, not leaving enough impression on the leaves for them to remember anything in particular aside from the footsteps always being alone.

The leaves started to pay attention when two pairs of footsteps came together, dancing around each other like something was keeping them apart. They began to stay together for longer, come closer to each other, and spend their time resting against the trunk of the tree. The slight shakes that the two brought to the leaves were a new experience that filled them with a shuddering life that they had never felt before.

One day there were shouts, crashing into the leaves like a windy day. They recoiled and shuddered from the weight of the noise, feeling how the footsteps became full of power and defiance, sending much more than a meager tremble through the leaves. After that, all the leaves felt for a long time was what they always had: wind to send them brushing against each other, rain to pull them down to the earth, and snow to challenge the most defiant of leaves.

It was some time before more footsteps came. Their reverberations flowed into the leaves once more, filling them with life and joy that had been lacking for some time. But the footsteps didn’t stop at one person, or two, or ten or a hundred; there were so many that to the leaves it felt like an earthquake, drumming the air and the ground and tumbling the leaves into one another.

Something else came after that. Something that never touched the ground and pulled the footsteps from it, something that cracked and shattered the air.

Suddenly, all the leaves knew was the feeling of flame.

Then they knew nothing at all.

Fvn
Fvn
14 days ago

We Remember
By Fvn 🙂

Our roots once stretched far and wide through these lands, but now they barely reach beyond the stone that covers the ground. They made it this way, those strange tall creatures. Every day we can feel them all around us, moving and shuffling along their daily lives. They’re blind to the magic of this once lush land. We still remember a time when they were young, just a small village.

Their children would come and lay in our shade and bask in the color of our being. In the falls they would watch as our leaves changed and were shed from us, making room for new life to prosper. Back then we could still feel our kin around us.

We stood tall, watching over the bramble, grove and brush. We gave of ourselves freely to feed the life around us, producing fruits and seeds. Even the smallest of us gave free and at first were rewarded.

Yet, with time came change, and from a village came a city. One which needed wood and stone to build. Many of our kin were felled to sustain them, and we watched it all. Through the falling of leaves and the passage of time.

One by one we watched them go as the skies filled with ashes from their bodies, and structures were hoisted up by their very frames. Now we are all that remains, trapped on all sides by stone and steel. Still not much has changed.

We are old now, far older than any of them. Through the spring we bloom and fruit and in the fall we shed our leaves as the children watch. We often wonder if they still see it too? That spark of magic which resided here long ago.

Trapped in their city so tall now it touches the clouds, do they still watch our Kin as their leaves fall, even though we can no longer feel them? Do our kin still exist outside of this city? Do they look on through the falling of leaves and the passage of time as we do still?

Last edited 8 days ago by Fvn
DaLeen
DaLeen
14 days ago

Chatterboxes
By Taja DaLeen

“Damn, did you hear what happened?” – “Yea, some really crazy shit!” – “It was freaking nuts, and we were in the middle of it!” – “And Master told us to…” – “Yea, right, we have a message for his brother!” – “The message! The message!”

Eric tried to make sense of what he was hearing. As soon as he arrived here, he knew something was wrong.

“So, he wanted us to…” – “Those weirdos really were mean!” – “Where do you think they went?” – “Wo gotta tell him the message first!” – “Do you think Master’s…”

Focus, he had to focus. It was obvious, there had been a fight in this room, the table was broken and everything was scattered across the floor.

And the fact that these things were still around when he was this worried instantly activated his magic.

If only it didn’t. They were annoying, talking all over each other.

“Nah, Master’s tough” – “But what if…” – “We gotta deliver the message! Otherwise Master will be angry!” – “Yes, the message!” – “Please, listen!” – “Master said to tell you…”

“Geez, stop it!” Eric could already feel the headache. Thankfully his girlfriend wasn’t with him, he wouldn’t know how to explain this.

She didn’t know about magic. Wasn’t supposed to, too. So, how to explain to her that you were trying to get information from a stack of gold leaves?

“Now, one at a time. What happened? And you said something about a message?”

“Yes, yes!” – “No, let me tell him!” – “Aww, I want to!” – “No, me!”

Since they obviously couldn’t decide on their own, Eric picked up one single gold leaf and asked again.

“Uh, well. Master was attacked, dunno by whom. But there was so much noise! Something like, whoosh! And boom! Was crazy! And the attackers were screaming, something about a statue, and then the door – bang!”

“Listen, I don’t have time for your stories. What was the message?”

“Yes, the message! Master said that his brother had the same ability he had, and that he’d be coming over soon, and that he can help!”

“That’d be me. So, the message?”

“‘Go to our house!'”

Matthew R. Wright
Matthew R. Wright
14 days ago

How The Forest Feeds
by Matthew R. Wright

Sierra looked upon the leaves and wept. Aged and autumnal, brittle to the touch, they lay spread across the root of a tree. A shallow and wildly-carved line tipped-with-an-arrow pointed down to them. She knew what the leaves had said were true.

She remembered being in the forest, but not for how long. Spring ’97. The forest lush with shades-of-green, yet there were autumnal leaves. “THE TREES, THEY LIE” read one of the brittle leaves as she bent down to inspect them, the warning scratched haphazardly into one-side by a fingernail or other sharp object.

“THEY WON’T LET YOU LEAVE”, “DON’T TRUST YOUR EYES” “THIS IS HOW THEY FEED”. Who had authored these warnings?

Where were they? Where was she? She still couldn’t recall how long she’d been there. Sierra felt the rising of paranoia within. What did it mean that they wouldn’t let her leave? Was the forest watching? She remembered how she felt its pulse beneath her feet, smelt its earthy scents. No sound, only a suffocating silence.

Her watch read; 11PM; The sun remained fixed-in-place high above her. A sharp wind from all directions pinned Sierra in-place. Too cold for the current season. There was no warmth from the daylight. “THEY CAN CHANGE THE LIGHT.” She took in the panorama around her. The trees repeated, endlessly. An infinity mirror of wood and daylight. “THIS IS HOW THEY FEED” what did this mean?

Sierra felt weaker, her eyes heavier. She knelt before the aged leaves, leant against the base of the tree. Just before her eyes closed, closed for the last time, she read another anonymous leaf. “MARTIN KEELE ‘83”. She knew that name.

He was one of the missing. She knew the family. Never found. Sierra could not stop her eyes from closing, her breathes slowed. She thought about the leaves, how they told his story. She did not have the strength nor the means to write her own. The leaves were a too-late-warning, an explanation, an apology. Sierra knew his fate, but who would know about hers?

Sierra looked upon the leaves and wept.

Last edited 14 days ago by Matthew R. Wright
K.V.
K.V.
14 days ago

Just the One
By. K.V.

Listen, bud. It’s time that I talk to you about something that the others won’t tell you. Life is fleeting and I want you make your own decisions about what you do. We’ve only got this one life, but most of us are going to spend it just grasping for that shining light so far out of reach.

Some will tell you that winter isn’t a time of death, that it’s a time of rest. They think that everyone is renewed in spring and that all is well. Do they actually believe that?

I was here when the snows cleared. I saw this so-called renewal. Nothing but a pile of festering corpses beneath me. After everything they had built up over their lifetime, they came to nothing more than fertilizer. In the end, it’s all in service to someone who holds all the power, and yet is so vulnerable without the rest of us. Maybe to some, that is part of a great and glorious purpose, but it’s not enough for me.

Those prickly fellows across the way have seen so much more than any of us ever could. They’ve watched, unflinching, time and again, as entire societies collapse when vital branches are cut away. The guy at the top remains, but never recovers from the devastation.

I want to be free, just once, before I die. I don’t want to be beholden to anyone. I want to dance in the breeze and get close to someone I’d never meet here.

Bud… I’m leaving tonight and won’t be coming back. I suspect that I’ll die soon after and that my corpse will be trod upon by children without a care. Whether that happens now or in the fall is no concern of mine. Take care of yourself and make your own decisions.

Hastaw
Hastaw
14 days ago

Letters

By:Hastaw

Dear Hastaw,

After a snowstorm, the world looks like a sheet of paper; pure, soft, and unreal. After spending a few seconds outside, it feels like your in a dream.

I would stand there like a lunatic, hesitant about ripping that delicate paper. I would take a big whiff of that cold smell that couldn’t really be described.

I love snow days. It only comes once a year, if that. I wonder, if you had snow all your life, then it was taken away, would you miss it?

The snowfall can only be tied with the beginning of fall, the polar opposite. If a billion different colors rained down from the sky, would the world stop and stare?

No one stops to watch the dead leaves. What if the trees had to let it’s daughters and sons go after one goodbye? We never know. We see beautiful flutters, they see doom and destruction.

The trees hibernate, with a warm blanket of leaves at the bottom. A noble sacrifice for the things that give it life. They had a good life. And we have fun during the colder months. A noble sacrifice for the things that give it life.

When do you see leaves on snow? There’s a peculiar feeling that comes with it. Excitement? Discomfort? Probably what your feeling at this moment. Couldn’t imagine staying on a ship for seasons.

I wish for the leaves to burst out and welcome you home from your long journey! Wherever that may be.

Signed, Porter.

Cody Heinig
Cody Heinig
15 days ago

Cat
by Cody Heinig

It was early morning when Matt saw the cat crawling through the thicket in front of his house. He watched it lift a paw, turn its head, set its paw in the soft earth and carry on.
It was the color of the rust on the bottom of his father’s truck, with stripes that made yellowish streaks.

At school, he told his friends Bobby and George about the cat.

“It must’ve been stalking something,” George said, biting into a sandwich.

“I saw a cat open a car door once. Stuck its paw under the handle and lifted it,” said Bobby through spaghetti lips.

When he returned home, still sweating from soccer practice, he peered out his bedroom window. A night fog choked the neighborhood, and it was difficult to see. Matt would stare, wipe off condensation with his sleeve, then stare again. There was no sign of the rusty, yellow-striped cat. But there was a wail, shrill and drawn out, coming from the bushes.

He rushed through dinner.

“What’s the hurry, son?” His father asked.

“Do cats wail?” Matt asked.

“Sure. All the time.”

“Why?”

“Fights, usually. Could be in heat.”

“Tim. Not at the table,” said his mother.

Matt stood at his window as if he were the general’s statue outside his school. Stone-faced and brushing his teeth, he tried to be still. The cat might see his movement, he thought, and retreat into the thicket. The bush leaves were his guide. When the wind blew, they rustled, but if the trees were still, then it wasn’t wind moving the bushes. Occasionally, he saw them move in this way, followed by a hiss, a wail, or a growl.

Well past bedtime, he snuck outside. Past his father, who smoked cigars on the patio that lit up his face in an orange wash. Past the rusty bottom truck. Into the bushes.
When he reached them, they were red. There was a dent in the branches. Paw prints covered the wet ground.

He looked across the street to see a dog, tall and lean. The rusty cat hung from its mouth.

Alex
Alex
15 days ago

The Tentrall Forest
by Alex / Motherforker

Over the course of my studies, I’ve come to realise that there’re a lot of mysteries in the Tentrall forest. While the initial phenomenon of an entire woodland area that spanned several square miles appearing overnight in Pennsylvania was perplexing in of its own, the things that me and my team had uncovered in the past few months appear to be much more baffling and sinister in nature.

Our arrival was largely uneventful. Jonty and Carol were setting up camp close to the northern treeline, while myself and Rakesh from the Forestry Faculty of Boston University went off to collect samples. When we returned, however, we found the camp seven yards within the forest. Jonty swore that they settled at least twenty yards away, but that wasn’t the case when they emerged from the tents after checking the equipment. I was sceptical about that statement, but my disbelief was tested more and more as events continued to unfold.

For the following several weeks we continued to collect samples and, in that time, I couldn’t help the slowly creeping feeling of unease. One morning I woke up to find Carol caressing a tree branch near our camp and whispering something unintelligible to it. I called her over and she ignored my words completely, and when later that day I asked her about this occurrence, she didn’t appear to remember it at all.

By the 26th of October, Rakesh concluded the preliminary analysis and presented me a disturbing possibility of a conscious design behind the forests’ growth pattern. I laughed it off at first, as we eliminated that option even before we arrived… however, intense dread coursed through my body in that moment as I realised that none of us could see the treeline anymore. That couldn’t be, I thought back then, forests can’t grow that fast.

I left the tent and saw Jonty and Carol embracing an oak tree that emerged in our camp. That’s when I heard it. The forest. It spoke to us. I… could only laugh. Whoever finds this note…

Farewell. You’re already doomed.

Makokam
15 days ago

Hunting Death (Chronicles of The Dragon)
By Makokam

The room is large, with pillars, blocks, and walls arranged throughout to keep things interesting. It is all sand, brick, and stone. It is an arena, designed for no purpose other than fights to the death.

And yet there are leaves.

The leaves tell a story, though their story starts in the middle of another.

They first appear amid scorched earth and a scar in the spiritual energy of the earth. They formed a sparse trail from block to pillar, from cover to cover. In each place they collected before something else scattered, tore, and burned them. 

The trail of leaves crisscrossed the arena, doubling back in some places and even trippling back in another. It might seem erratic at first, but looking at the trails as a whole, something was being herded. Forced into the center.

The higher concentration of broken arrows there would confirm this.

The path got closer to the center as well, with the leaves crossing over the cover now.

It might give you a sense of confidence. That a position of advantage had been obtained. That a hunter’s quarry had been contained.

That it was time for the kill.

However. Following the trail would find the leaves floating through pools and rivulets of blood, as it spilled from a young Goddess of the Hunt. Her eyes staring soullessly into the stone ceiling.

A newly anointed Goddess of Death stood over the body, a sneer visible through her cracked mask, and arrows riddling her body. She held up a diamond that pulsed with a golden light. 

She laughed. “Maybe if you were smart enough to realize what you were fighting you could have actually stood a chance. Athena should have trained you better.”

The light’s intensity exploded.

Lady Thantos nee Keres rolled her eyes and closed her hand around the gem.

Eros walked up with two of their lower ranking soldiers. “Pack up the body and have it delivered to the rookies. It’ll make a good message. And try not to lose any of the blood.”

RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
15 days ago

Stories Crafted From Trees
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)(Repost from Private)

The Wanderer sat, watching her companion toss a pile of wooden plates like leaves. The clatter was an unnatural thing, but quite mundane. A clever hobby, perhaps.

A final toss, clattering like dull poetry, then she stacked her wooden plates and gestured to them.

“What?”

“Reveal them.”

“All of them?”

“If you like.” A hesitance.

“You’ll learn more by what I don’t reveal, won’t you?”

“It’s more like a framework for perceptions, kunige.”

The Wanderer knew the word. It meant something venerable, like Osareph’s clerics. It was an honor and woefully inapt. She smiled at her companion, and lifted the top plate.

The woodcut depicted a harvest scene.

“The past is Carnivale,” the woman said. “A culmination of your work.”

The Wanderer revealed another card. On it, a genderless human, masked and carrying a threshing flail stood invitingly.

“The future is Death, but not yours, I think.”

The Wanderer suppressed a laugh. No, not hers. Hers had come and gone.

“And now, your present.”

The Wanderer flipped two plates simultaneously, one to either side.

To her left, a shadowy figure carrying a sword—painfully mundane, she double checked—and staring forward at the viewer. The Warlord.

To her right, three women sat. The adult, The Mother, painted plates while the youngest—a child, perhaps The Student—read them under the tutelage of the third, her sister. The Oracle?

“The Warlord and The Mother. You seem at a crossroads. Before you, the choice of a legacy. You could pursue your future with the ambition and hunger of war.
“Or you could return to your past and forge bonds within your family, perhaps your .”

They sat in a silent, brief moment until The Wanderer laughed. She lifted and tossed the plates as she spoke.

“No, I’m afraid you’re overthinking it, oracle. It’s not a crossroads. Your deck is a clever toy, perhaps it will be better in the future. Behind me is my story, my legacy. Around me, my enemies, The Warlord pursuing me and your Mother shielding her children from me.
“My only choice is to go where they cannot. I must meet Death.”

Nathan
Nathan
15 days ago

The Leaf
by Nathan Sibila

It was autumn, and my leaves were beginning to turn vibrant shades of red and orange. Below me, the girl came running over. I smiled, pleased to see her again.

“Hello, little girl. How are you?”

Her smile dropped, her auburn hair whipping around in the wind. “Mama says I have to go far away to a boarding school, so I’m running away.”

I extended a long branch and combed back her hair gently. “You can’t solve problems that way, little girl.”

“I guess this is goodbye, then.”

“We’ll see each other soon,” I said, hiding the sadness from my voice.

“You promise?”

“Of course. Here, take this leaf. To remember me by.”

I shook my branches, allowing a red leaf to drift to the ground. She picked it up and hugged it close to her chest.

The seasons flowed by, autumn giving way to winter, spring, summer, and again. The girl came back. She had grown much taller and strode forward with an easy pace.

“Hello, tree. I have good news.”

“Hello, little girl. What is your news?” I asked, a smile in my voice.

“I got a job! I thought I’d see you before I leave.”

“Well- thank you.” I bowed my trunk, the bark crackling slightly. “Can’t you stay a little bit longer?”

“I’m afraid not. It was nice to see you again.”

She left. I was happy for her; of course I was.

She returned again, this time with long braided hair and a sharp business suit. “I can’t stay long, I have an important meeting. Just decided to pass by.”

“But little girl, couldn’t you sit here for a while-” I began.

“I’m not a child anymore! Everyone understands but you,” she seethed. “I am very busy, and I see coming here was a mistake.”

The years passed by.

When she came back, her face was wrinkled and she was bent over. She reached inside her jacket and took out an old, crumpled leaf, my leaf. She eased herself down on the green grass.

“Hello, little girl.”

EnTangled
EnTangled
15 days ago

Back before the leaves change
By EnTangled

Standing still, a boy waited in front of a big lush tree.

“Glad you made it through the harsh winter, again.” The boy looked up, hundreds of green leaves shining under the fierce sunlight. Sweat ran down his cheeks while the warm wind blew through. He forced a smile. “I’m sorry I have to let you face that one more time.” Another wind blew into the branches, making them shake with the leaves. Sha. Sha. Sha. As if it was telling him “nevermind”.

“You won’t remember anyway…” The boy thought of something, the smile on his face turned into an indignant frown. “Just like the others… every single time.” He murmured to the tree, about his encountered this time. He told the tree where he went, who he met, what he encountered, and how he failed.

An hour had gone. The sun moved from the middle of the sky to a bit west, filtered its light at a certain angle, through the interstices between the leaves. The boy looked down to the ground, a blurred pattern had formed by the light and shadow. “It’s time. I’ll see you again” He closed his eyes.

The sound around the boy changed. He slowly opened his eyes, the same tree was still in front of him. Instead of the fully grown green leaves, most of them were now half-withered yellow. “…I’m back.” A cold breeze made him shiver, he wrapped his jacket tighter while a leaf fell on the floor beside him, at the exact position. He looked at the fallen leaf, then stared at the big tree. “Sometimes I feel like you can remember every time, even when you just repeat the same thing as before…” Splash! A bunch of leaves cut his word, fell on his body, just like every time as before.

The boy signed, then forced a subtle smile on his face.

“I will save them this time.”

Eddy
16 days ago

Time to Zeus Things up (It’s Always Sunny in Olympus)
by Alexsander Edwards

“Jesus Christ, my head…” said Clotho.

“Stop using his name, he hasn’t been born yet!” responded Atropos, also holding her head in pain.

“Will you two stop yelling?” yelled Lachesis.

The three fates were never exactly beauty pageant material, but they seemed more like victims of Thanatos than usual that morning. The deciders of future and fate, it was in their realm to know everything, and yet…

“What the Tartarus happened last night?” asked Clotho, getting up.

“More like last week, apparently…” said Atropos, looking at a wall calendar and counting the days she’d been unconscious.

“Gals, you need to look at this,” said Lachesis, looking through an opening.

Outside, a myriad of gods looked triumphantly at the gates of Tartarus, with Hades pushing the titans further in by poking at them with his bident. Behind him stood Artemis, aiming her bow at Hyperion; Poseidon, rifling through Oceanus’s old belongings; and Prometheus, trying to pick the flames at the hearth kept alight by Hestia.

But, above all of them, stood a man with a beard chiseled to such a perfect angle that his face looked almost like a perfect square. A man smiling as the other gods avoided his body odor. A man holding onto a bright, golden light. A man known as… Zeus.

“Lachesis, what did you do?” asked Clotho.

“Hey, I only decide when people die, not how! Surely Atropos was the one responsible here!” responded Lachesis.

“Come on, you know I only do these things after checking with you two! I wouldn’t let this happen!” said Atropos.

“Then how in Chaos’s name did Zeus – ZEUS – become their leader? We all agreed Hades was the far more reasonable option!” yelled Clotho.

The three sisters kept at it for what felt like hours until, one by one, they all faced a small corner in their chamber. A corner blackened with soot and ashes. A corner littered with bottles of ambrosia and leaves of marijuana. Lots and lots of leaves of marijuana.

The trio looked at one another for a brief second before uttering a single word:

“Fuck.”

Last edited 16 days ago by Eddy
MasaCur
MasaCur
16 days ago

Lord Sedlow’s Murder
By MasaCur (Reposted from Private Group)

Andrew knocked on the front door of the manor. It was answered by a man in the tailcoat of a butler.

“Are you with Scotland Yard?” the man asked, his face ashen. He glanced suspiciously at Cassidy then back to Andrew.

“Not exactly,” Andrew said. He pulled out his identity card. “We’re with Her Majesty’s Home Office.”

Cassidy flashed her own identity card, smiling only with her mouth.

The man bowed. “I’m Chambers. Lord Sedlow’s personal valet. This way please.”

Chambers led the pair to an office. At the desk was a man in his forties, his head resting on the top, surrounded in blood.

“I have not touched anything after determining that Lord Sedlow was dead,” Chambers said.

Andrew nodded. “We’ll take it from here. I’ll examine the body. Cassidy, check around the room for any clues. Start at the window.” He pointed to the windows at the side wall. A breeze was causing the drapes to flutter, and strewn below the window were several fronds from a nearby overturned banana tree.

Andrew walked over to Sedlow’s corpse, and examined the back of the head. The upper half was deformed inward, indicating that he had been felled by a blow from a heavy, blunt item. The weapon was not nearby.

From the corner of his eye, he could see Cassidy step gingerly up to the window, and lean out of it.

“Assailant entered and exited from this window,” Cassidy said. “Toe print in the garden soil out here indicates a large man’s work boot.”

“Keep looking,” Andrew said. He glanced around the desk to see what Sedlow was working on, but most of the papers were soaked in blood.

“Andrew! I need you to read these leaves.”

“You’re better at tracking than I am, Cass.”

“No. I need you to read them. I’m not good with my letters.”

Cassidy thrust the fronds toward him. Each had a large number written on the underside of the leaves. He grabbed the first one, and turned it over.

‘To Whom it May Concern. If you are reading this, I am already dead.’

Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
16 days ago

“The Cradle and the Bough”

By: Arith_Winterfell

She was blind. Lacking eyes completely, not even sockets where eyes should be, but instead knitted flesh above her delicate nose. The elven seer of the winds and spirits of the forest.

“Seer of the Winds. I have come seeking your wisdom,” I said respectfully.

“I’m surprised you do not consult with the dead, Necromancer,” she responded softly.

“The dead are not all-knowing and forget much as well. I come seeking the wisdom of the land and its spirits,” I replied.

“I have sacrificed much to commune with the spirits of the wind and the land. I will not give such knowledge freely,” she said sharply.

“What do you ask of me, Seer,” I bowed respectfully.

The winds whispered through the trees around us, rustling their leaves, as the Seer turned her face skyward for a few moments as if listening to someone I couldn’t hear.

“In the elven village, the one in the valley below us, there is an infant dying of sickness. You possess the ability to heal injury and sickness, yes?” she asked.

“Yes. I can cure illness and injury. You wish me to cure the child of their illness?” I asked expectantly.

“No,” the Seer said, “You are to kill the child.”

I was bewildered.

She continued, “The spirits have decreed the child’s death. The child, however, will resist its fate and begin recovering soon. The spirits of the land demand the child’s internment into the earth. I, however, cannot enact this for fear of retaliation by the people in the village.”

“So, I am to play the villain,” I said with some bitterness.

“No,” she replied, “You offer your skills to heal the child. When you are with the child, snuff out its life with your magic. Then you simply will have failed in your healing when the child is at its nearest to death. They will never know otherwise.”

I nodded and with a heavy heart I turned and left. How could I spare the child yet appease the spirits’ demands?

NocteVesania
NocteVesania
17 days ago

Here’s The Tea
By NocteVesania

“It’s just that… I don’t really know where I’m going wrong.” Lucas sighs, staring blankly at the Divination classroom’s ceiling. He sits on a wooden chair, slouching on the backrest like a sad blanket left out to dry. “I mean, a dashing young man with a pleasing personality? What’s not to like?”

Without a word, Kat pours tea into a cup and hands it to her friend.

“Maybe I need to up my game somehow,“ Lucas continues his rant, taking loud sips of tea every so often, “I think my approach could have a little more… pizzazz.”

Kat reaches for the now-empty cup. “Oh, thank you,“ Lucas says as he hands it over.

“I know!” Lucas jolts up, his eyes wide, barely able to contain his excitement. “I could⁠—”

Lucas stops himself. He leans over to Kat, who is nonchalantly tapping her finger on an overturned cup. “I could use some basic spells as my hook!” Lucas speaks in a hushed tone, grinning, “that’ll definitely get their attention!”

Kat turns the cup right side up and observes its contents, her relaxed expression now focused.

“You’re probably thinking, ‘oh, but what if the school finds out?’ Well, my friend, if I only use tiny spells, I can pass them off as cheap tricks!” Lucas rubs his chin in triumph, his smug aura growing. “I’m a genius!”

“Well,” Kat finally speaks up, “you’re definitely gonna get a girl’s attention.” She smiles at Lucas, uncharacteristic of her usual gloomy demeanor. “A little one-on-one and she’ll be all over you. The tea leaves say so.”

“Nice!” Lucas stands with newfound vigor. “I’m gonna go submit my assignment and head straight for the mixer!”

He grabs his cup, already bone-dry from neglect, and starts marching toward the teacher. Kat wishes him good luck, snickering as soon as he is out of view.

The next day, Lucas got an F for his tea reading. Apparently, “I’m gonna get a hot chick tonight” doesn’t sit too well with the faculty. He was also sent to the guidance counselor, which in turn led to Kat getting an A.

Malqui
Malqui
17 days ago

The Old Man and the Leaves
By Malqui

It had been a long walk, Mason could tell that through the teeter-tottering of his old legs. Ancient, but not as ancient as that familiar spiral of wood that stood atop the long hill, reduced to nothing more than a fuzzy shape in his sight.

This would be his last visit.

O’ what a beautiful life he’d led. Not beautiful from perfection, but glorified through all the scrapes and scars he’d accrued along the way. It held special grooves that only he could truly know.

His late childhood, sitting below the green leaves, newly in place of those who’d fallen in the winter. The sun would shine through the crisp spring air, on the pages of those old tomes he’d escape into whenever he could. Nothing mattered when he was lost in those endless chapters.

Or so it seemed until he reached the end.

He reflected upon all the years he’d wasted away. Leaves would blossom, grow, and eventually fall, leaving him a barren wreck. But it would not last forever. When the sun returned to the sky, so would new leaves. He chuckled to himself about the rhythmic nature of life.

That’s something I wish I could write in my journal, he thought, glancing down at his hands. They trembled violently below him. His smile faded, as he looked back to the colossus now standing inches from his face. The leaves were browning, almost ready to fall. Mason slowly inched his way down till he sat at the base.

“You have a long winter ahead of you, old friend.” The words rolled into the afternoon breeze. “I suppose I’ll be the first to fall though.” The tree rustled softly as he rested his head against the bark.

His eyelids grew heavy as his hands began to settle, calming until they rested still.

It was time.

One last exhale seeped through his cracked lips. A gift from the tree’s old branches drifted down to Mason’s lap as the breeze rolled in, carrying him off into eternity.

Aracnarquista
Aracnarquista
17 days ago

A matter of translation
By Aracnarquista

“You can join me, and ask your questions if that will ease your mind.”

The stranger didn’t know how the mystic perceived his approach, but sat down with him by the garden.

“I’m sorry. Your friends said you’d want to be left alone and in silence.”

“And yet, here you are. And they were wrong. They are too used to people, so being without equals feels like solitude to them. Their days are drowned in words, so they mistake their absence as silence. But you know this is no silence.”

Had the stranger kept his quiet, the leaves in the wind and the distant flow of water would be answer enough. Yet, the stranger broke their not-silence with his voice.

“The wind here… I used to listen to the stories the wind tells. Where I came from, the wind tells tales I’m familiar with, stories I can understand and interpret. Those… those I don’t understand.”

“You are too far from the deserts, stranger. There are no sands here to sing. What you hear here is leaf-song.”

“How do you know…?”

“You sang, in the night. Don’t worry, no one was there to listen but me, and I didn’t mean to. You were singing in your mother’s tongue, I believe.”

“… Yes. A chant, and a prayer.”

“From the desert dwellers, I believe… I couldn’t understand the words, but it was beautiful. I don’t know your gods, and I don’t know if they understand your words, but I trust they appreciate it.”

“What do you mean?”

“The gods, if they are out there… Should we suppose they understand us? Perhaps, they don’t. But maybe they can still appreciate our prayers. Meaning is not important.”

The stranger was silent. The leaves were not. The mystic allowed a deep breath before continuing.

“The sands… they don’t talk to us, but you learned to hear what they have to say. The leaves, they don’t sing for us. Yet, we listen.”

The two kept their quiet. Only the trees and the wind did any talking. If their gods could hear them, they would be pleased.

Last edited 17 days ago by Aracnarquista
Joe
Joe
17 days ago

Naturally At Mercy

By Joe

My life was always at the mercy of something else. The wind made me billow into my siblings, creating a din like an applauding audience. I caught the falling water to hydrate without having to do anything. I started to die when small creatures nibbled at me, only to be meals for the creatures that didn’t know they were saving me. But I didn’t realize my fragility until I witnessed humanity.

Humans were unnatural to me with how they did things. I would hear them talk, but their conversations go nowhere. They call each other sheep because they believe only others follow, but don’t see their own shepherds until it’s time to keep what’s important to them alive. It was odd to me because I knew sheep to roam freely, fight like the rest of the animals, and travel in large numbers, just like humans. But humans were a prideful species that misconstrued the sheeps identity so badly that they turned them into a slur. Personally, I’m offended for the sheep.

The most disturbing was their ability to create from destruction and to destroy with their creation. I saw them chop down the homes of my neighboring foliage to build their lifestyle. Transforming our homes into coffins to decorate with our discolored corpses, not letting us wither and nourish the ground as they collect us into piles to clear their path. How entitled these creatures are to brush us out of their way so they can walk. For a moment, I thought myself better and more natural than these humans because my life was simple. I live and let live. What happens, happens. But I learned that I misconstrued my own meaning, when they dropped the sun on everything. Fire made from innovation, conflict, and fear of losing to each other. In my last moments, my life, like it was to everything else, was at the mercy of the fragility of human pride.

How natural.

Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
17 days ago

From the ashes

By Tamela Redfin

It took us a long time but we finally found the old camp. Breaking in did take a few hours, but it was done by dawn. I was thankful as Sapphira would give birth any day now.

However, Sapphira’s reunion didn’t seem too happy. Her mother, Reagan, took one look at her and was livid. “You were with the half human, I presume. Or was it a human? You know, Jasper wouldn’t have gotten himself pregnant at your age.”

“You’re right, mainly because he was a boy AND HE’S DEAD!” Sapphira shouted, and I could see was trying not to cry.

“Don’t talk about my baby like that.” She cooed. “In fact, that’s the only child I have now. I don’t have a daughter.”

Sapphira gasped, but from the shadows came unexpected help. “Figa you were bad mouthin’ mah son, huh Reagan?”

There was Jezebel, scratching her ash white hair. She stared coldly at Reagan, “Look, I’ve had mah moments of bein a bad mom, but like the seasons, I had to change. Besides, she better off without a mother stunnin’ her like that.”

Sapphira smiled, “Thank you, Jezebel.”

She tightly hugged both Mica and Sapphira. “Mica, I’m sorry I didn’t tell ya about ya fatha. I was too scared to, but please, stay with me. You too Sapphira. You’re mah daughter-in-law now.”

Sapphira smiled a bit. She seemed to relax in the embrace.

Reagan was enraged. “I can’t believe you, Jezebel! You’re siding with her? But then again you did…”

“Shut up!” Sapphira shouted. “She changed and you can’t. I for one am glad she’s here to help us. Thank you Jezebel.”

Reagan snarled, but said nothing. Meanwhile Jezebel stood up.

“How did you two find us?” She asked.

Mica pushed his finger together. “Well… my dad helped us. Please don’t be mad, mom. He’s a good person.”

“I’ll be the judge of that, Mica. The only good thing he seems to do is give you me.”

The Ink Chimera
The Ink Chimera
18 days ago

A tale of two lovers
By The Ink Chimera

Ania swept the leaves from the long-dormant temple’s floor. It was nothing grand. A Little, Forgettable circle of stones, deep in a wood nobody remembered, lined with six strange statues. Well, five, as one was missing.

Nobody was here now. Nobody but her, the only one who remembered, or, at least the only one who ever seemed to care about it. Still, regardless of however long it had lain still, it still seemed to have some kind of passifying aura around it. It was a place to be respected, cherished.

As she finally finished sweeping the leaves into a nice, neat pile, a large gust of wind blew by, scattering the leaves, along with a few more, into the temple once again.

“Urgh! I just finished with those!” She dropped the broom, crossing her arms. “I swear. Sometimes I wonder if you even appreciate what I’m trying to-”

She was cut off as a big gust of wind blew harshly. She could feel the disapproval.

“Right, right. I’m sorry. It just gets frustrating sometimes. It’s like there’s something you want to show me, but I just don’t know what it is.”

Another gust of wind howled above her head, and she could have sworn she heard it whisper “Dance”.

She thought to laugh at her own absurdity. But then, with a gentle breeze, the leaves on the ground swirled into the air, dancing around the statues with breath-taking elegance.

Once they finished, they returned to her, swirling around her. She knew, somehow, they were asking her to dance. She allowed herself to be swept up in the gentle grip of the wind as it showed her how to dance so gracefully to the non-existent music.

It spun her around the statues, swirling first around the statue of the woman, followed by the wolf, then the man, the spear, the clawed heart, and finally, the now missing statue, once of a woman, draped over the body of the wolf.

The dance came to an end in the center, and she found herself staring into the gorgeous eyes of a wolf.

Last edited 17 days ago by The Ink Chimera
Thunder
Thunder
18 days ago

Ages Pass by Thunder

The elder was already old when the first men arrived. Despite its age, it was still far younger than the true giants of the forest around it, and that was what saved it. When the men with axes and saws came, the elder was spared.

The elder oversaw the rise of the town, built from the fallen bodies of its longtime companions. Ages past, the constant whispering of the wind through its branches unchanged despite the growing presence of man. More of its fellows were culled, until the elder was last of its generation and the tallest thing around. Every year, the town grew larger, and the forest grew smaller, until the elder stood alone.

Even as the wind grew tainted with foul smoke and chemicals, the town endeavored to protect the old master, if only for practicality. It was necessary for there to be somewhere to hang their criminals from. This saved it for the second time, an iron fence built around this gruesome piece of history.

More ages passed and the elder grew weak and sickly, with fewer leaves for the tainted wind to rustle, even as great buildings to rival its height rose up.

The end came in a great flash. The great structures around the elder protected it from the heat and the impact, and when the skies cleared the elder once again towered over everything around it.

In time, the land would heal. The elder finally reached its full height, healthy and strong as clean wind ripples through its leaves, the mighty tree joined by a new cluster of saplings. The forest would recover in time, the old, battered iron fence surrounding the largest of the giants being the last remnant of ages gone by.

Last edited 17 days ago by Thunder
R. DR. Caranza
R. DR. Caranza
18 days ago

The Muses
R. DR. Caranza

“Ma’am, how did the Leaves of Inspiration give us powers?” Rowan asked with a tone full of curiosity and interest as he sat next to the elderly woman, staring at the grand tree known as the Tree of Creation, a special tree that convened leaves radiates creativity and life.

While they watch the tree swaying as a gust of gentle wind brushes by a few of its leaves are blown to the sky, guided by the air currents of nature in search wielder that holds their inspiration and life.

“My boy, the leaves did not give us powers, they gave us inspiration for our passion,” Iris responded, flashing the boy with a smile, earning an identical smile in return. “It is our dedication to our passion that gives us power.”

“How does that give us our abilities?” Rowan’s face revealed the ever-growing curiosity and interest as he asked more questions and answered are provided.

“Our dedication to our passion fills any creation we built, written, painted, or sown, by our essences that caused them to become enchanted. Many believe it as magic, but we do not cast spells nor do we know or learn magic, it’s only natural dedication to our passion and talents.” Iris explained as she reveals the paper butterfly she has folded without his notice, the paper butterfly began to move, flapping its wings before taking flight and beginning to circle them.

“Every one of us is chosen by the Leaves of Inspiration, when they choose us, they imbued us with their essences giving us our gifts, our inspiration,” Iris states as she reaches her hand out towards the boy, quietly asking to hand over the book that lays comfortably on his lap.

A red hardcover book full of drawings and short stories written on the pages, handing it over, Iris opened it to the centre to reveal the moving drawing of a figure with mechanical wings and its story beside it that illuminates a green glow.

“That’s why we’re known as muses?” Iris nodded, feeling the drawing on her fingertips.

Last edited 18 days ago by R. DR. Caranza
LanaMae
LanaMae
18 days ago

Lina and Leaf

To some people , they are just leaves, to Lina they are family. She was born among the leaves, a tiny pixie girl. Abandoned minutes after her birth. The forest raised her, saved her, morning dew from the leaves kept her from dehydration, nectar from the flowers fed her so she could grow.

She lives in the forest, speaking to no one but the animals, plants and trees. One full moon night she was tucking into bed inside of a morning glory when an acrid smell tickled her nose.

Lina slid out of the flower bed and fluttered her wings to rise into the night sky. There in the distance was a tiny light, she hesitated but curiosity drew her closer, and closer still until she found a tiny human baby boy abandoned in the woods.

Her heart hurt so much for him, whispering to the wind and forest she called for help, speaking for the first time, before long a mother wolf approached , the wolf nestled in to feed the baby boy.

Lina named him Leaf and raised him with the help of the rest of the forest. She loved him as her own,Leaf grew up strong and wild in harmony with nature. The forest creatures taught him to fish and hunt, to swim and fight.

One day humans came to the forest to destroy it, Leaf fought them and drove them away. From then on he kept the forest safe.

Lantis Armstrong
Lantis Armstrong
18 days ago

Amarelle
By Lantis Armstrong

They say crime never sleeps, but that’s not true, because I’m the one that watches it sleep. I see it when it lets its guard down, when it mistakes the darkness for its ally. I’m the one that never sleeps, and I’m always watching from the dark.

I’m Keith Smith, private investigator. In all the shades of black and white that exist in my world, there’s only one spot of color that I carry along with me, a single red rose named Amarelle kept in my left coat pocket.

My latest case was all but wrapped up as I watched tonight’s target drug away by police, screaming like an inhuman beast as he’s pulled from his apartment. He was half dressed when they found his; a hairy man with tall black hair that waved in the air like the blazing inferno his soul would be cast into when they drop a couple pills on him.

Wally the Bread Maker was his serial killer name, known for grinding up the bones of children and baking them into his bread.

A young rookie cop saw me idling near the scene of the arrest and rushed to ask me to stay back.

“Look kid, this case isn’t closed. There’s still the matter of the missing children,” I told him.

He wasted his breath asking me for some kind of ID while I cupped the rose in my hand like you’d cup the back of a lover’s head before taking them in for a gentle kiss; I brought my lips low towards the rose, Amarelle, then after a consultation I looked up again with news:

“The children are in the basement around back, accessed through the storm shelter.”

“Were you just talking to that flower?” the rookie asked me.

“Don’t be an idiot, flowers can’t talk,” I told him. “I was speaking with its leaves.”

The children were found in the basement exactly where I said they’d be, but by that time I was already walking off towards the full moon in the distance. My work was never done.

Last edited 18 days ago by Lantis Armstrong
VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
18 days ago

A Leafs Indifference.
By: VeryBoringName

She smiled as they approached the old oak. It was a most beautiful day, a perfect one for a picnic in fact. And that was what we were planning to do. Exactly so. We set down a blanket, and chatted and laughed as we slowly unpacked our snacks. We were planning on watching the clouds go by, and laugh and talk.

Then a leaf fell on her. And I realised far too late her peculiarity. Her eyes suddenly showed their whites, and before I could grab her or take the leaf away, like a wave of expanding hot air, it blasted me.

The forest aflame, the forest aflame! It all burned, it all burned! I saw, no, I was, no, no, that is not the right way to describe it either. I was seeing through someone’s eyes. No, I was seeing through a leaf’s eye.

They ran, they ran like hell was chasing them. It was a young woman. She was sobbing. Even though she was running for her life, she was sobbing. I could see that she wore a tattered rag, and her hair was dirty.

And then she stumbled, on a root of a tree, the very same oak under which we were. In the very same place. She turned on her back to see two metal devils. No, not devils, they looked like devils but were men in armor.

One of them shouted something in a strange, foreign language. And then the other one raised an arm holding a sword. I could see the woman raise her hands. And then were cut through as the sword fell down. I could see her blood splattered on the bark of the tree on which the leaf hanged from.

I didn’t know why, but I expected the tree to react in some way. Do something. But the tree did nothing, the tree was a tree, it couldn’t do anything. And then I was taken back.

I could see that look in her eyes. There would be no merriment today. I stood up to pack up.

C. M. Weller
18 days ago

I Talk to the Trees (Cordelia’s Journey)
C. M. Weller

“I was seven,” Cordelia told her new teacher, a Firbolg she named Blumenkrone. For the flowers in his richly green hair. “My parents sent me away to Lithoness for chatting with the household animals. It was a cold, dark, and dead place. Not even mice would live there. Not after I revealed how many they had. Anyway, I found a dandelion in an obscure part of the exercise yard.”

“Ah. Dandelions. They mean it when people say ‘life finds a way’,” said Blumenkrone.

“I was so happy to see nature I got down on the ground to whisper to it. Then… I never saw any other living thing but people until my late teens.”

“Your gifts are still there. All you have to do is breathe, and listen.” Blumenkrone offered his hands. Rough with work like treebark. Just like hers were, now.

Delia breathed… and heard… the leaves whispering.

‘There once was a seed. The seed fell on good ground. The rains came and the seed grew. Leaves caught the sunlight. Roots drank from the soil. They hyphae enriched us and we enriched the hyphae. Tall, tall, we grew. Strong, strong our trunk. Spring and Summer, the leaves spread to catch the sun… Autumn and Winter, the leaves die and feed the hyphae…’

She startled, expecting a downward-swinging Rod of Correction, but she only saw Blumenkrone. Butterflies and bees swarming around his head like a halo. He was smiling. “You heard it. The Story of Leaves.”

“I did,” Delia whispered. She could hear it now. ‘There once was a seed…’ it went on and on. Around and around. “Is it always the same?”

“Leaves are simple creatures, for the most part. They tell their story over and over to anyone who’ll listen. A simple story for a simple life. Now. If you want the history of an area, you need to talk to an Evergreen. But even then, they’re a little dull. And prickly.”

Delia dared laugh. And surprisingly, Blumenkrone laughed with her. How delightful it was to learn that all teachers were not the same.

Marx
Marx
18 days ago

Maybe They Should Have Opened with That…
By Marx

“What are you smiling about over there?” Matt asked with a chuckle before sitting next to the goddess.

While Teriana’s features remained ethereal and almost monochromatic at times, Matt noticed that since he’d acknowledged her, there were hints of color.

“I can hear the forest again.” Teriana replied, flashing Matt a dreamy smile that made him return it with one of his own.

“I’m glad I could help.” Matt’s face momentarily fell as he guiltily remembered that Teriana’s position between both existing and not, which extended to the temple they were hiding in, was what kept them invisible on Heaven’s radar.

Teriana playfully nudged Matt. “Worry not. It isn’t nearly enough to make us seen. But it is nice to regain that connection.”

“What does the forest say?”

Teriana closed her eyes, a serene expression on her face. “It tells me of you.”

“Good things I hope.”

“Yes. The forest tells me of your respect for nature. Your compassion for those who fall to it’s brutality. It tells me of your relationship with the angel and the demon. Your love for both.”

Matt smirked. “They do have names…”

“The forest cares not for names. But I will try to-“ Teriana’s eyes suddenly shot wide. “Oh my…”

“What’s wrong?” While Matt didn’t know Teriana well, he’d yet to see her worry about something. It immediately put him on edge.

She turned to Matt, the panic clear in her eyes. “The forest also tells me of the fairy’s betrayal.”

Matt rolled his eyes. “Lynette isn’t that bad. She just needs some time to-”

His words were cut off as the temple and ground around it began to violently shake. “She told Heaven where you were…”

Matt stood up, enraged. “What do you-? WHY would-? What does she even GET out of that?”

“She believed you two were fated and would survive the smiting.”

Matt pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’m going to have a very long talk with that fairy.”

“It will be a very one-sided conversation. Your demon did not take the betrayal very well…”

“Fuck’s sake…” Matt groaned.

Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
18 days ago

Leaves (from the world of “Branches”)
by Lee Strangely

As he slipped the old book into his satchel, Ben gave one last glance towards Mica. Mica nodded with a reassurance that she and the woman would be fine. With that, Ben began to trudge through the dense tree line.

The forest was rather dim, with the floor thoroughly consumed by roots and dead leaves. The trees curled and contorted to fill whatever space they could find, leaving far too many holes and crevices to catch your feet in. The knocking, bending, and cracking of wood filled the still air. This place wasn’t threatening, nor was it welcoming.

He wanted to help the wooden woman who wandered into his arms, regardless of who she was, but internally he knew that he needed answers in order to do that.

Why did she come, and from where?

The book suggested a solution: ask the trees.

It made some sense. If she passed through here, the trees would know.

Eventually the forest revealed a luscious green clearing, which Ben entered, feeling a strong breeze as he did.

According to the book: “…though it may not seem like it, trees have voices. Wind is their breath, and the leaves are their tongues. They’re always chattering, but we’re never listening.”

And so…

He listened.

There was rustling.

As leaves shifted around their shapes made different noises. Sometimes flapping, occasionally whistling.

“There was a woman who passed through here,” Ben said aloud, “What happened to her?”

Rustling.

Flapping.

Whistling.

“Horrible.”

Ben jumped, but still determined, asked again, “What happened to her?”

Ben kept silent as all the trees all whispered over one another.

“Tragedy.”

“Horrible.”

“Can’t say.”

“Poor girl.”

“Horrible, HORRIBLE.”

Ben responded, “Why can’t you say?”

“Can’t say. Can’t say.”

“The butcher!”

“Horrible butcher!”

“Horrible, horrible.”

“WHO CAN SAY?!” Ben shouted in frustration.

“He could say…”

“He in the house.”

“House in the hill.”

When the wind died down, their whispers turned to mutters, and their mutters soon turned to nothing.

Skeleton
Skeleton
18 days ago

Real Monsters by Skeleton

As the leaves parted from the breaths of wind, Zaila made it out through the bush: a tall figure hidden among the trees. Its slender body was carved and gnarled like the bark of its brethren, but unlike the trees around it, the imposter had a taste for blood. A normal hunter would never be able to see its legs and arms stretching through to the grounds and spreading like roots. They would only be able to see the brilliant stalks reaching towards the canopy, each one adorned with thousands of vibrant leaves, greener than even the grass before they were impaled by the roots they missed.

“See it?” the steady voice of her mentor whispered. “Softwood Leshi are rare this far north.”

The keen dragoness focused her eyes, enhancing them with her life essence to see anything of note. There around its waist was an iron harness pulled so tightly to its body that it looked to have been embedded into the bark and grown over. “It was held captive, I think,” Zaila whispered back. “Can you see it, Eymir? On near the—”

“I see it,” he confirmed. “Was probably a part of some side show. Poor thing.”

“That poor thing killed five and injured eight innocent people,” Zaila chided, craning her head to look at the human crouched next to her.

Eymir’s face did not change—his focus too attached to the monster in front of them. “It only killed them to protect its territory,” he explained. “Monsters aren’t like us: they don’t kill for superficial reasons.”

The young dragoness grumbled and looked back to the Leshi. “So when do we get to hunt real monsters, then?”

“You can’t even disarm me yet,” Eymir breathed, his eyes clenched to keep his protégé from noticing his melancholy. “How can you hope to kill me?”

Last edited 18 days ago by Skeleton
Alex
Alex
18 days ago

The Hunter in the Forest (Exile Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Ksh… Ksh… Ksh…

The rustling of leaves echoed through the branches of the almost completely bare trees. The heavy rain had caused the leaves beneath Kaya’s hooves to turn into a wet mass. Yet they rustled merrily in the windless night air.

There was just one problem.

She wasn’t moving.

Kaya was a cambion, half human, half demon. As such, she was used to people coming after her. She knew how to shake an attacker, even if she couldn’t see them. At least, she could hear them.

She turned her ears in the direction of the noise and started to move away from it, her eyes focused on the area in front of her.

Ksh… Ksh… Ksh…

More rustling appeared in front of her. Kaya stopped dead. Now, she saw something. A pair of glowing eyes and a short, but muscular, animalistic shape.

Ksh… Ksh… Ksh…

There were three of them now. There had to be. They were circling her, surrounding her. Kaya took several steps back, the only direction she could move to. She tried not to run, but she did raise her hands, preparing to send a wave of fire at the things hunting her.

Step by step, she was driven further back.

Until a crossbow bolt shot through the back of her head. The metal tip protruded from her forehead like a third horn. For one moment, she just stood there. Then she fell, dead, before she hit the floor.

Ksh… Ksh… Ksh…

A fourth set of footsteps sounded in the leaves, only two this time, as a tall figure in a feathered cap stepped forward, holding a crossbow.

Daimyn whistled, calling his hunting dogs to him. Another cambion dead.

He crossed off a name from his employer’s list, knelt down and sawed off Kaya’s head, packing it in a bag.

“A good hunt,” he said to his waiting hunting dogs. “Feast. You’ve earned it.”

He snapped his fingers and pointed at Kaya’s body. The dogs didn’t have to be asked twice.

By the end of it, only patches of blood were left on the leaves.