A descriptive piece about an island in the middle of the ocean.
Listen, now, to the trees. Hear how they whisper as the wind blows? They tell tales of far-off lands and magnificent creatures. Places we can only dream of seeing.
Can you not hear them speak? Now they tell tales of a land lost to civilization, too primaeval and unspoilt for this world. One might think it is nought but a yarn spun by raconteurs.
Come now, gather together and listen. I shall tell you of this place if you but lend me your ear.
There is a forest that may look like any other. The trees are densely packed, reaching for the sky – their lush leaves grasping for every bit of light they can. Dense, nigh impenetrable, shrubbery springs up in any sunlight the trees missed, while vines and parasitic plants hang from branches, taking advantage of the trees themselves.
This forest sits on the slopes of mountains encircled by ocean. Turquoise waters of liquid glass lap gently against golden sands. Emerald vegetation surrounds and clings to grey peaks.
From afar, one might call it paradise, and to its inhabitants, it is. But this is not a place for you and me – here lives a being that fiercely defends its territory. A being the likes of which you have never laid eyes upon.
Inside one of the mountains, around which the jungle bulged then broke, there lay a cave. Something stirred inside said cave. From within came a rustling, something sliding against rock. The sound grew louder and louder, a vague shape approaching from the murky darkness.
The tip of a brown snout touched the sun, then halted. A forked tongue flicked out, scenting the moist morning air. Still cold from the night, the creature sluggishly emerged from the cave. Amethyst eyes gleamed in the light. A green and pink frill crowned the great serpent’s head, giving it a floral semblance. Beyond the head stretched a long, muscular, serpentine body decorated with curled, spotted heart designs down her spine. A third of the way down the creature’s body, two great wings – resembling those of a hummingbird – branched off, their feathers and membranes taking after the appearance of the creature’s frills. At the very tip of its tail sprouted a fan of feathers.
The great quetzalcoatl spread itself in the sun, unfurling its wings and fanning its neck frills so that the blood vessels within the membranes could catch the warmth of the sun and carry it to the rest of the body. It was a cloudless morning, a radiant yellow sun still climbing in the brilliant blue sky while its reflection glimmered in the ocean below.
Energized from the sunlight it had drunk in, the beast slithered out of the clearing by its cave and into the dense forest below. Leisurely, it weaved its way through the trees and bushes. It had no particular goal for now but wandered – relishing the surroundings.
This was no mere beast, but a queen. She knew this land. This was her home. She was part of the forest just as much as the forest was part of her. Her name: Kiwicha.
Birds serenaded one another in the trees above, each declaring to the world that they were the greatest vocalist. Each clothed in feathers as bright as their song, they danced, flew and whistled.
In the bushes below, insects buzzed lazily from bush to bush, looking for the next meal in their invariably short lives. Each individual insignificant, yet together they were essential to the forest.
The queen neared a stream, flowing with fresh water from the mountain peaks above. She dipped her snout into the water and drew in mouthfuls of the life-giving liquid.
Her thirst sated, she turned and followed the babbling water downstream, a course she knew would end at the estuary. There she would find seals on the beaches and, in the crystal ocean waters, a great variety of marine life.
Amidst her meandering, the serpent became aware of an unfamiliar scent. She was no stranger to other creatures entering her domain – she could hardly live alone on the island – but she was familiar with said creatures scents. She also knew of the existence of creatures such as her, those who ruled their domains just as she ruled the forest – but they kept to their domains, just as she kept to her island.
There was no debate as to whether she should investigate – the quetzalcoatl immediately begun seeking the source of the scent. As the scent grew stronger, it brought to mind a heavy thunderstorm. Fresh ozone was not natural on a clear-skied day.
The scent grew stronger and stronger until she found the source: two great beasts of the sky had fallen to the ground. Having no desire to get involved in the affairs of others, Kiwicha shrunk herself to the size of a mere vine snake, and settled herself at a safe distance to observe.
One creature had a pair of immense wings: tattered, burnt and bloody sails – a testament to the reason for its fall. Its scales were the same blue as the sky. It lacked legs – it did not belong in a forest, but it could not escape.
The other was barely injured. It had six pairs of wings, built like those of a bird that spends its life on the wing. Its body was covered in feathers the colour of stormclouds, the tips of its wings, tail and ruff all glowing with an electric yellow. Its legs seemed ill-suited for a creature of the heavens, yet they were still there.
It was clear who the winner of this battle was. There was no way the sail-winged-creature would ever fly again, and it would almost definitely die if left alone in the forest. But the bird-winged-creature was not leaving this to chance. It had even entered the thick foliage where it could not fly to ensure the first’s death.
Once its opponent’s death throes had finished, the victor marched off in the rough direction of the ocean – presumably looking for somewhere from which it could once again take flight. Kiwicha waited a bit, then grew to her normal size and approached the corpse of the sky creature. She briefly investigated it and memorised the location. She was intrigued by the strange being, but she had less time to observe the still living one. She thus departed to pursue the other one’s scent trail.
Being more suited to movement in the dense forest, she quickly caught sight of her mark. She slowed her pace and remained a distance behind, watching it curiously from cover. She would ensure it left her territory, but not attack it unless it caused problems.
Eventually, the grounded creature reached the beach and immediately leapt into the air, quickly soaring high into the sky from whence it came and vanishing from sight.
Her quarry gone, Kiwicha emerged from the forest and looked out onto the glittering waters. She flicked her tongue, tasting the ozone rapidly dissipating into the sharp salty air.
The island was her home, all she had known – yet she wondered what lay beyond her domain. What fights of life and death were fought in the skies and the oceans. Whether there may be more creatures that, like her, had their own islands that they watched over. Or if all that lay beyond the sands of her shores was unending waters until they met where the water touched the sky.
A spark of curiosity grew in the heart of the Forest Queen.