By the time the boy realised he had lost his friend again it was too late. His visits to the forest were no longer a secret. He had broken the rule. He was an outlaw. He was a rebel. The anger of his loss and the magical unreality of his ventures made him babble things that no one understood.
He grew aggressive. He became a stranger to everyone. Then he went silent. The handsome playful boy was lost again and this time for long.
The glow haunted him.
The memory took all his peace. Then came the war. The longest one ever known in that time. The king needed men. For the king and the country mothers sacrificed there sons. The boy was sent to war.
He was strong. The babbling strange boy got pupose in war and became a warrior. The General was proud of his skills. For several years they fought. The blood and gore, the sound of the rattling swords, the roar of the gunpowder absorbed his senses . Numbed him. But in the lonely hour something glowed in his heart and scalded it. He lost more friends in the war. He was getting used to it. Tears never occurred. He had learned to be a ‘man’. He was a heroic warrior.
The war ended. The boy was now a hero back home but he had almost lost track of his old life. All of it. Or so he thought till he dreamt of the forest again . Night after night he would search for his fire girl in his dreams. The glow haunted him and he did not know why. It made him sad . It made him restless.
He could not stay in the village anymore.
The boy from the village tried to convince himself that it was a dream. But he failed. He prayed for his dead friend. The pale face did not haunt him anymore. Yet he was not truly happy .
The memory of the laughter slowly faded out. He yearned to hear it again. The glow voice and its sweetness also haunted him. There is only one way to know if it was a dream. He had to return to the forbidden forest .
Finally on a random day when he could not handle the confusion anymore . He walked into the forest. He had no idea if he would find that place again. But he was a brave boy. He ventured. He wandered for hours within the forest almost reaching despair. Surprisngly he met no fabled ferocious creatures just miles and miles of dense forests. He realised he made a mistake. For a dream he brought himself to grave danger. Now he was truly lost. He was angry and tired and disappointed.
“Did you here him laugh again?”
“No.” The boy was looking at the glow with great relief and joy.
“I thought I had a dream. But you are real! Who are u?”
“Are you lost again boy?” the glow asked.
“Answer me!!” .He demanded impatiently.
“ I am lost too……….”
The first morning rays were touching the forest ground by now. The Glow voice asked the boy to go back to the village and come again in the night.
Night after night the boy kept coming back . He learned that the glow voice belonged to another world . A world of fires . She was a fire girl who got lost. As the days passed the boy grew happier and the glow slowly grew everyday to reveal to him a form similar to a girl’s. The boy grew fonder of the glow but as the happiness came back to him he returned back to his village life. He forgot to visit the forest sometimes. He slowly distanced. He had many friends but the glow creature just had him.
He forgot to tell her that she was his best friend. In his happiness he forgot to see that she grew sad. He forgot to say reassuring words to her when she missed her world .She was lost. He forgot that one day she would be found by her people and she would go forever like his dead friend.
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.