Chapter 1 : The boy and the forest

Not too far away in time lived a boy in a village. A village near a forest. A dense dark forest filled with exotic creatures. There were strange stories about the forest and children were forbidden to go in there.

It was said ,far back in time  when the ancestors of the village had settled there, the wise leader of the clan performed  some ritual. It  made the creatures of the forest incapable of entering the village. There were stories about men who ventured into the forest and never came back.

The boy was young and full of life. He was strong and playful. He was happy. The year he was fifteen a dark spell fell on his best friend, his uncle’s son. He saw him die.

The boy went silent. And one day when he could not take the pain he ran towards the forest. His bare feet unknowingly ventured into the forbidden forest while the tears blurred his sight. As his limbs tired he began to realise he was in the forest. Fear crept into his heart that was already filled with pain. He experienced a silence he had never known in the boisterous village. Strangely he felt calm in days. The thought of his friend came to him again and he sat on a rock beneath a tree. The whole place was filled with trees and grasses and flowers. He realised he was lost. A numbness. His tired mind went blank. The darkness around mingled with the darkness in his heart.

As he thought of the pale face of his friend in death bed . An emptiness filled his mind . Then out of nowhere his mind flashed a happy memory when the two had sat under a tree like this and laughed.

Laughed! His friend’s  laughter echoed in his head. A smile appeared on his darkened face under the shadow of the forest. He was surprised. But before he could absorb the moment. Something startled him. He bounced back. Something glowed in front of his face. Something had lighted up his smile  and vanished. The smile vanished too. He was amazed and scared at the same time. Now the forest again started to occur to him. He was lost.

The glow came again. This time on his hand. “why are you sad boy?” . He heard. “who is this ?” he said with a hasseled voice. The sugar sweet voice could not scare him but he felt uneasy. Blinded.

“That was a pretty smile . I bet you smiled in several days!”.

The boy relaxed. “ I lost my friend. I lost my way. But I heard his laughter in this silent forest. All these days his pale lifeless face haunted me. But in this dark forbidden forest I heard his laughter again.” By this time the boy was so tired that he went into slumber just catching the last words of the glowing voice “Then you should come again to hear his laughter.”

As the morning sun teased his face. The boy woke up squinting his eyes. His head resonanting..’ then you should come again…..’ Suddenly in a flash the events of the night flooded him. The boy of fifteen found himself  in his house in the village.

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