Home » Stories » She came out of the forest. (very short story)

She came out of the forest. (very short story)

she came out 3

She came out of the forest, laughing, singing. She was unafraid of the crowd that was waiting, unafraid now of their jeers and taunts. She’d gone in alone, afraid, untried. She emerged a month later, at the next new moon.

If you survived a month with no supplies, alone in that unmapped place, you were never taunted again. The people who called you scaredy-cat to your face or behind your back had a new name for you if you emerged, whole and intact a month later. Wisdom-woman perhaps, or keeper of the flame. Seer. Prophet. There were many names to be had then.

Women and men both ventured into these woods to prove themselves. It wasn’t required, and it wasn’t expected. About half returned. About half of them that did were never able to speak again, never able to even feed themselves. They’d returned, but in body only.

The others who never walked out of the woods? Forgotten. Their names never mentioned. Did they die? Run away to another village? Start a camp? The only ones who might know were those who returned, and they never said.

(Written 3/27/15)

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8 thoughts on “She came out of the forest. (very short story)

    • I did it as a self-imposed exercise. I was inspired by a picture from a magazine – a bit of ephemera. I glued it to a page in a mixed-media journal and started writing, with the idea that I had to fill up the rest of the page. I could have spilled over and written more, but this was all that came. There is something about not running the story into the ground I like – of letting things finish themselves in the reader’s head.

      But there is also something in there about fear – that I’m afraid of writing too much in a story, for fear that I’ll get the “facts” of the story mixed up and it will start to fall apart. I’ve written most of my life – but stories are new to me. Also, if I were to finish all the started ones, I’d have to quit my job. I have a lot of writing projects going on. I enjoy them all, and they all speak to each other. It is like working on a jigsaw puzzle – they all link up even though it doesn’t seem like it at the start.

      You are welcome to complete this story on your own. If you do, please share it here so I can read it. I’m about to scan the artwork that inspired this and add it to this post. Maybe that will inspire you too!

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  1. But you know, sometimes you feel that there should be more, its not that there is less but you want more, when I read this I want to continue reading it and never want it to stop but that is ridiculous! I like your point of view, readers should also think and imagine, they often leave all the hard work to the author.
    I too am working on several projects at once and I get the feeling, ideas flow from one piece to another and from that to the next, its, like you said, a big jigsaw puzzle.
    I think, this was a very good write, it flowed very well and had not one extra word and I’d be grateful for a chance to complete this, of course if I can spare some of my time and yes, if you add the artwork, that can help in triggering my imagination and thinking ahead on what to do next.

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful piece and you are welcome to read one of mine too 🙂

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    • I totally understand never wanting to stop reading a story. I think that I fell in love with adventure stories when I read “The Hobbit” as a child, and that every other story I’ve read since then was an attempt to get back into that story. It is also why I like reading series – I know the characters and the setting, so now let’s just get on with the fun.

      I wrote this in March so there are longer and better pieces I’ve posted recently. I find that it is easier for me to write if I have a bit of something to start with – a picture, a found item. Something that makes me wonder “who, where, why, what”.

      I just added in the artwork. I got it in a pack off of Etsy. (Her shop is called RutabagaStuff if you are interested.) This lady has sets of them – bits that she’d saved for artwork, and then finally admitted she had a hoarding problem and had to let them go. I was doing mixed-media art at the time and thought I’d use them for that, but turns out they make great seeds for stories. I’ve written several nice things from that pack, and it isn’t through yet.

      Right now I have a pretty intense project I’m working on that will be for my third book, so I’m trying not to get distracted by too many side projects (such as adding to short stories or reading other ones) but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen anyway. Sometimes the “distraction” ends up providing the inspiration/explanation to help me finish the “real” project.

      Meanwhile, I still have to go to work and do the adult thing.

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      • I wish you good luck and that you see it to the end! And yes sometimes a distractions turns into a better story and I, too sometimes need something to start with but its not a must for me, I think our own mind, is more vast than a picture, I believe in imagining, if I see a leaf falling, I want it to be more than that but sometimes I don’t need that leaf to fall, I just think it is falling and my story starts to flow.

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      • I’ve realized that I need a frame around things in order to focus – otherwise I try to put too much in. The bits of ephemera give me that frame. I didn’t write fiction at all until I discovered this trick. Non-fiction – I write that all the time. But fiction is a nice diversion.

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    • Thanks! I’m writing other things right now, so I’m not sure I’ll add any more to this. You are very welcome to take the baton and run with it – just be sure to share it with me so I can be impressed! I want to know more about this character too.

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