Ovid’s Daphne Flash Fiction

It’s strange not blogging, or even scribbling away in my notebook. But with the new years has brought with it, illness. After around a week in bed with what I thought was the flu, I finally went to the Doctors to find out not only did I have the flu but also serve tonsillitis. Not fun, which is why I decided I’d post a piece of fiction which I wrote for my first year at University in response to Ovid’s story of Daphne. Hope you enjoy.

Once upon a time, I was free. Free to wander amongst the trees and the endless pathways which the forest had created just for me. The dirt was coarse but still soft against my feet, with each passing step I made within the world of various hues, greens and browns allowing a world entirely my own to engulf all my senses. Allowing the outside world to fade leaving just the forest and me, reducing time to become a foreign concept in which it became immeasurable, endless and yet nothing. While in the forest I was consumed by the life around me, each tree, each extended branch, leaf, flower, roots and the endless maze in which it appeared to be. But… it was mine.

Once, days used to drift into one another, an entanglement like the branches in the trees linking them to one another, my days melded and weeks would often pass without my notice. I was home, my friends would often whisper to me, allowing their stories to drift along the light breezes which would often dance lightly on my skin. The breeze felt like a protective force, like the warmth of my mother’s arms around me, guiding me throughout the forest introducing me to new hidden pathways in which I had not yet explored. I’d often speak to them, expressing my inner thoughts as I wandered but now… my own whispers have joined theirs, becoming faint and unanswered.

Once, when I was a free woman when he appeared with fear had filled me, boiling my blood, overcoming me. Before I knew it, I was fleeing. As I ran through the pathways in which my friends had once given me, I heard him call out for me to stop but I could not and would not, instead I continued on my path towards the river where father could save me.  My friends, they were good to me, their attempts to aid my escape failed despite their uplifting roots in hopes to block his path. He was strong and fast. His attack was vicious as he clawed his way towards me, chasing his prey – me… Knowing if caught – I’d become nothing but a prized trophy in which he could mount.

Once, I prayed to my father for salvation from a fate I neither desired or wanted, I prayed to be saved from the wild animal pursuing me. My prayer was answered. I was suddenly stopped, gasping, I remember reaching out in desperation, it wasn’t what I prayed for. It wasn’t what I had prayed for and yet it still appeared to be some form of escape from the monster whom had been hunting me.

Once, when my feet were smooth lumps of flesh I wandered the forest as I pleased, now, they unravelled before me – rooting themselves deep into the ground separating into roots.  I was about to scream for help, help from what I am still unsure if it was from my father or from my pursuer as the dark bark began to roughly push up against my skin, engulfing my body as I reach out desperately. The bark was rough as it encircled tightly against my stomach, I was being encased – to become like my friends… This darkened cage of wood was to be my salvation as finally my vision went black, to cry out was useless and my breathing halted just as my feet had done before while my arms stayed, extending out in hopes for freedom. Slowly I felt as if I had dissolved away, yet I was still there but merely now an embodiment of a tree. I was no longer the self whom I’d grown to be and rather being simply encaged I was transfigured and transformed into something more. Fear clouded my mind – time truly now becoming lost to me – my long arms extended out where now thin branches with leaves extending from what had once been my fingers.

Once, my senses had become nothing, there were a desert to me now – so dry and empty with nothing but bark and wood… I was desperate for some sort of oasis to quench my thirst and to live once more! To have something, but soon I began to see light throughout the darkness, the world around me began to manifest once more and rather than being a viewer as I once was, I’d become a part of it. No longer was fear the only thing which prayed on my mind – there was nothing to fear. I’d managed to escape the beast which had pursued me, and although my father had not granted me exactly what I had wanted, he given me what I had needed. I was free – free to be with my friends, the beings who understood who I was the most, whom I’d spend my days with regardless because they were there for me.

Once, I thought I was a free woman, who ran through the forest, to be with my friends and the people whom had understood me most.

Once, I thought that I had been entrapped, caged and punished in a prison of wood, branches and vines, roots all knotted around me as I was plowed solidly into the ground unable to move or run once more.

Once, I finally discovered that I’d still be free. Free to run, to thing, and to explore with the spirits of my friends – the trees. Although I had been transformed into a tear – truly I became part of the forest just as much as the forest over the years had become a part of me. I was still free – for I hadn’t been trapped but rather my father had gifted to me an eternal life, an eternal life of freedom.

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