AN OASIS - 2
Deep in the forest, where the heavy rain was turned into a fine drop, a small wooden dwelling stood tall, surrounded by the big trees and wild flowers. Inside, a little girl with baby blue eyes, who was none other than Finch, was sitting by an unglazed window, her eyes fixed on something or someone that came from between the big trees in front of her place.
Finch had been expecting the boys from the Village to visit her since morning. She got used to their company for the past few months, playing with them and listening to their story about living in the village. A place that she never came to visit.
Usually, Thomas and William would come to her place, bringing a loaf of bread before noon, as if she lacked food at her place. Those two boys were the first ones who found her in the forest few months ago, after they nearly got lost in the forest as they decided to go for a walk into the forest.
When Finch found the two boys walking around the forest by themselves, Finch got curious and decided to approach them. They were beyond surprised to find Finch in the middle of the forest, thinking that she might be a ghost. That thought itself made Finch giggled. She wished she was a ghost sometimes. She assured them that she was not one but she was the only one who could lead the way out of the forest to the end of it, right before the stream.
“How do you know the way back to the village?” Asked Thomas curious as to why a little girl like her wandered around the forest by herself. “Do you come to the forest often?”
“I live here.” She stated.
“Where? We didn’t see any houses in the forest?” William questioned her, looking at her suspiciously. His eyes narrowed, studying her small figure.
“I can take you to my oasis tomorrow.” Finch offered.
“We might not come back.” Responded William.
Finch looked at him, grinning. “We’ll see.”
Well, they did come back the next day and they were shown to where Finch lived. At first, they found the house that Finch referred as an oasis, to be no more than just a hut. The walls were made of woods that were cut in different sizes and connected in a random order. It had a roof made from planks, sheltering them from the rain. The only window that it had, which was tiny, was put next to the front door without a glass attached onto it. There was a cob oven which was lit with fire, to be the only source of heat inside the place. A small single bed was put at the corner of the room which has no bedroom or any other rooms like a normal house would.
“You live by yourself.” Even though Thomas was meant it to be a question, his certainty that gained from the evidence he saw around him, had made his sentence came out like a mere statement.
Hearing this, Finch did not give any responds, leaving the boys to their own speculations. But the boys took it as a yes.
Since then, they started visiting Finch everyday. First, they brought Brandon with them, as a new addition, who quickly became friends with Finch. Then the others started to come too. As they began bringing the rest of their friends to the forest, Thomas and Will often acted as if they were her older siblings, telling their friends to be good at her. That action alone warmed Finch heart. She was beyond happy to see and to talk to them everyday.
However, it was not Thomas nor William that she expected to see today.
For the past few days, Finch had been expecting to see the boy that came to the forest uninvited during hide and seek play. Edmond. Finch found him more interesting than the others. He did not talk much like Thomas or William. He would just smile at her and follow her like she was his only friends. She did not know much about the boy. That thought bothered her mind so much that she wished she could get to know him better.
Finch sighed. Her eyes darted from the window to the door that was opened.
“Mosley?” Called Finch to the person at the door who was yet to revealed herself.
“Did you expect someone else to come, seeing that you did not even lock the door?” Asked Mosley from the door.
Finch walked towards the opened door, to see the woman who stood outside, carrying a bag of vegetables. She put down the bag and took off the raincoat she was wearing, hanging it on the hook right next to the door frame outside. Even though her clothes looked dry, her white hair was drenched from the rain. Her white eyes stared at Finch who stood inside the house, watching her.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” The woman frowned at Finch.
“Come in, Mosley!” Exclaimed Finch as she realised that she had been staring at the middle aged woman who had been looking after her since she was born. She then helped Mosley to carry the bag inside and put it on the stall next to the cob oven they had. Mosley closed the door behind her and locked it.
“Did any of your friends come today?” Asked Mosley as she went to pull out a treasure box from under the bed. Her slender fingers opened the box and she put a bag of coins that she had been carrying into it. She closed the box and put it back to where she got it from.
“No, Mosley.” Finch said. Her voice sounded disappointed. “Not today, maybe. Was it raining heavy at the village?”
Mosley turned her head around and looked at the girl who was now sitting on the ground, looking back at her. She nodded slightly. “It was. I met one of your friends at the market.”
This got Finch’s face lit up for a bit. Although none of her friends from the village had ever met Mosley, the woman knew every single of them without Finch having to tell her about them. “Which one, Mosley?”
“The most impolite one.” She answered.
Finch frowned. She could not quite tell who Mosley referred to.
Mosley did not bother to tell Finch about who the boy was. She did not really like that the little girl started to mingle with the boys from the village. She thought that the first two boys that the girl helped to walk them out of the forest, would not come back. But the little girl’s innocent and kind heart led them back here in next very day, bringing their races more to come to the forest. She was not worried that the girl would leave the forest after being influenced by the boys. The girl was fully aware of what could happen if she was to leave the forest. She did not need to remind her of it.
However, it was the present of the boys that started to worry her. They started to get attached to Finch. Especially, the boys called Thomas and William who visited her regularly to their oasis, bringing her food and trying to be the shields that protect her from the others. As if it was necessary.
As Finch was still just a child who had not turned into an adult yet, Mosley decided to be lenient towards her and her so-called friends. When Finch got older, she would have to make sure that they were away from Finch’s life and the forest. Right now, Mosley would let Finch enjoy her time.
“Who is it, Mosley?” Finch demanded. Her eyebrows furrowed with confusion.
Mosley sighed loudly as she took a sit on the rocking chair next to the bed. She leaned back her head, resting it on the chair as her white eyes stared at the ceiling.
Instead of answering Finch’s question, Mosley said, “Don’t bring any of them to our oasis. I don’t like it.” Her voice sounded stern to Finch.
“Why, Mosley?” Asked Finch, her eyes glancing at the woman.
“Because it’s better to keep them away from our place, Finch.”
“They are good.” Finch argued. She did not like it that Mosley suddenly announced her distaste towards her friends. Was it because of the impolite one that she mentioned earlier. Finch moved closer to where Mosley sat. She put her hands on top of Mosley’s left arm. “Who did treat you bad, Mosley?”
“Hush now, kid! I’m tired.” She yelled, silencing Finch in one go. Mosley’s white eyes glared at Finch. A flash of red colour was surfacing to her eyes, clouding her vision.
Noticing the change in Mosley’s eyes, the girl cringed away from her. Her eyes were wide opened with shock and fear. She had witnessed an angry version of Mosley which scared her to death and she knew better not to mess up with the woman when she was blinded by red vision.
Finch quickly got up and raced towards the door, opening it roughly and running away from her oasis, leaving an angry Mosley behind.
Finch did not care about the rain that would get her wet or the wet muddy ground beneath her feet, she kept running without wearing any shoes or a raincoat. She had been used to wearing nothing but her brown simple dress that reached right below her knees. Her blonde hair was open. Her baby blue eyes started to fill with tears. She was so scared that she did not realise she was running towards the end of the forest which would lead her to the stream next to the village.
Until a boy came into her view, then she halted herself from running further immediately. Realisation came into her mind as she was out of breath from running. If she did not see the boy that she recognised, walking towards her, she would have left the forest. She shuddered at the thought. As much as she was scared of angry Mosley, she was more scared of the consequence that she had to face if she left the forest.
The boy who came was none other than Thomas. He just entered the forest. The stream was not far behind, but he was surprised to see Finch there. He thought that he would have walked deeper to the forest as her oasis was located in the deepest part of the forest. He looked at the girl who stood still a few meters away from him. He waved his hand at her, resuming his step to reach to her.
Finch wiped the tears on her face and rubbed her eyes to make sure Thomas did not notice her crying. She could have told him that her eyes were wet from the rain. But she did not like to lie. She hoped Thomas would not notice and would not ask anything. She smiled at him, happy to see him come. She almost thought that he would not come today. He was wearing raincoat similar to what Mosley wore. His black hair was covered by the hood, protecting them from the rain. Her eyes landed upon Thomas’s empty hands. She was so used to Thomas bringing her something from the village. So, when she found Thomas come with empty hand, she was a little bit disappointed. Plus she was hungry as she had not eaten anything since morning.
“Don’t you have an umbrella?” Asked Thomas. His voice sounded concerned as he found the girl was drenched in the rain. It was not unusual for him to find her like this.
Finch shook her head.
“Okay. I’ll bring one for you tomorrow.” Said Thomas. He grabbed Finch’s hand and tugged her to walk back to the forest, towards her house. “Let’s get you dried. You must have dry clothes inside your house.”
“No!” Finch protested quickly. She pulled her hand off of Thomas and took a deep breath. Her eyes met his black eyes that narrowed at her.
“Why not? I don’t want you to get sick.”
“I don’t want to go back yet.” She exhaled deeply. Her hands clutched onto her wet dress. “I want to play outside.”
“We’ll get wet.” Thomas said boldly, as if they were not wet already.
“We’d be fine.” She remarked as bold as he sounded. “Come!”
As much as Thomas wanted the girl to be back to her dwelling, Thomas did not push the matter but to go as she wished. Finch led Thomas to walk towards another side of the forest, that was far from her oasis, far from Mosley’s sight.
Little did she know that the woman was hovering above her and her friend, following every step they took without Finch noticing her present in the air.