In a clearing in the forest I set up a temporary camp. The sky above is caught in the stormy grey of a fast-falling dusk. I dare to light a small fire, knowing that the princelings will sense it, for they are great fire-wielders, but I spell a protection of earth around me, to buy me some safe time.
I spill what I've gathered on the ground, turning pockets inside out.
Spools and cut pieces of red thread, needles whole and broken, a pair of scissors, blank music sheets, a keychain of a rabbit's foot that thumps to warn of danger, a pocket watch with thirteen hours, a handful of fallen sakura petals, an ice cream wrapper, a hairpin, an empty pupa, loose pages from a dictionary with words that keep on changing meanings...
The trees around me rustle in conversation, murmuring among themselves. Leaves flutter down on my head, on my shoulders, settle into my lap, as if to comfort.
...finger bones, an inkstone, a gingerbread key, a shard of a broken mirror that never shows what you expect to see (if I poke it with a finger, my finger goes through), burnt coffee beans, half of an oni mask, blue matchsticks, tangled guitar strings...
A blue moth circle my small fire. Its wings have eyes that stared.
A raven swoops to devour the moth, brushing a wing against my cheek.
The trees fall silent.
STORIES are what happen in the Impossible Garden & the Wildforest. They are the overheard conversations, the gossip of the flowers and the trees, the fragments written on bones and stones. They are the secrets whispered by the wind, the tales of the stars, the knowledge earned or traded with the forest dwellers. They are the fairy tales that had been forgotten or never told. They are the rules and the history and how they are repeatedly broken and rewritten. They are the murmurings of magic, the language of hidden love, the wildness beneath every order and the pattern beneath every chaos. They are truths and they are lies and in the end they are real to those who have the heart to see.
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