Winds of Change
By Brittanny Davis
This has been a Silver Lining Production
Rockville, North Carolina
(Am I dead?)
Elise explored the damp leaves beneath her fingers and pondered a few possibilities. For a moment, Elise lay in exhausted acceptance, as if in a dream. She closed her eyes again to shut out the reality of the earthy scent of the forest and the cool soil against her face.
Eventually, a small part of Elise’s rational mind assumed control. She brushed leaves and dirt from her clothes as she surveyed her surroundings. With as much calm as she could muster, she reviewed the day’s events.
With the school day concluding as any number of others, Elise and Carol had met at Diane’s house under the pretense of studying for exams. Elise had stretched languorously on Diane’s feather bed and looked lazily around the room. A smile passed over Elise’s face as her gaze fell upon the framed photograph nestled beneath the lamp on the nightstand of Diane, her and Carol, their young childish faces adorned with cheerful ponytails and ribbons, laughing as they hugged each other for the camera.
Carol and Diane erupted into flirtatious giggles at the computer over something Diane’s latest crush had opined. Yawning, Elise guiltily eyed the calico cat asleep next to her on top of the pile of neglected school work. Tossing her friend's cat lightly aside, she located her book, and stood up -
And immediately experienced one of the most powerful head rushes she had ever had. Leaning on the bed, Elise screwed her eyes shut against the molecules of color that danced relentlessly before her field of vision.
Suddenly she felt weightless, as though a whirlwind had scooped her up and was propelling her onward with it. Diane and Carol’s laughter abruptly disappeared, as though a radio had been switched off, to be replaced with deafening but strangely gentle rushing.
And then her body had crashed into something painfully solid.
But when she had opened her eyes, she had found herself not in Diane’s delicate plush bedroom, but here, in this thick verdant forest instead.
Heaving a great sigh, Elise gazed about her in deliberation, stanching off the steady flow of fragmented questions that, thus far, remained unanswered. It seemed she had been in one place one moment, and another the next. Too, she realized, stood the sobering fact that the sun was now directly above her, rather than conducting a resplendent sunset as it had been outside Diane’s window. Stubbornly, Elise perused the idea that perhaps she had fallen asleep on Diane’s bed and so was dreaming this nonsense. It was a much more plausible possibility.
Elise, feeling self-conscious and more than a little silly, she brushed absently at dirt that had been ground into her knees, waiting, she supposed, for something to happen. She wondered with impatience, do people ever dream of nothing?
Deep down, she knew with a certainty that this was no dream.
Summoning what remnants of her courage hadn’t deserted her, Elise took a deep breath and strode vigorously through the woods, as if the speed alone of her pace would somehow direct the course of her fate.
After a while of stepping over copious, leafy bushes and ducking beneath the low-hanging branches that affably threatened to entangle themselves in her hair, Elise’s determined stride began to slow. She started to wonder if perhaps the forest went on forever, if the terrain never changed.
Was the light somehow becoming dimmer or was she just deeper into the forest? Elise shuddered at the idea of spending the night there; she jumped nervously as a twig snapped beneath her shoe. This thought led to ones of wild animals (what if there are snakes) and inclement weather (watch it rain - that’d be my luck) and other similar thoughts which yielded a general mood of apprehension and depression as she shuffled dejectedly through leaves.
And then she heard it! Whistling! Not just that of birds. There was someone out there! With a heavy sense of irony, Elise recognized the tune that the other person was whistling as “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” from “The Wizard of Oz.” There wasn’t a more fitting song, she decided bitterly.