The Forest, flash fiction by J.M. Elam at
J.M. Elam

The Forest

The Forest

written by: J.M. Elam



I decided to go on an impulse. I couldn’t tell you why. I walked through the forest, bundled tightly. My hands gripped my belongings, deep in my pockets. It was as though I were afraid to let them go.

I could hear the rustling leaves and whistling wind. Lanterns glowed as I waited with everyone else. We stood in long lines that stretched for hundreds of yards.

There was something in the air, another sound, it drifted over to me and heightened the excitement.
I was all alone, but that was okay. I wanted to experience it by myself. I wanted something for myself.

Scents of sugar, cinnamon, and apples drifted toward me. I breathed it in, and it coated my tongue. I could taste it, swallow it.

We shuffled deeper into the woods.

The moon was bright but playing hide and seek with the clouds. It felt as much like Halloween as I could imagine.

A cold breeze blew past and chilled my face, but only a little. I wasn’t sure if I had ever enjoyed a better evening. Only the glimpses of the moon enhanced the chill.

There was something about the moon that could do that. Its glow made things colder in autumn, as snow made things quiet in winter.

As we got closer, lilting music drifted toward me. The rhythm didn’t fill the air but seeped into it.
Twigs crunch and clothes swish.

When I reached the entrance, chills ran through my body. As I walked through the gate, I became wholly immersed in this experience of Halloween.

I was in a pumpkin world. Brightly lit Jack ‘O Lanterns numbered in the thousands. They covered the ground and climbed the trees.

Lights from nowhere filtered through the branches, and the music poured through me. I was soaked with it, lulled by it, hypnotized by it.

Lanterns, of every size and mood, swept the hills. The twists and turns of the path pulled us farther into the dream.

Then I saw it.

There were signs warning everyone to keep a safe distance from the Jack ‘O Lanterns. But there was one pumpkin, larger than the others, that called to me.

That lone pumpkin was large enough to climb inside. I knew that I shouldn’t, but I did.

And now, I know.

I am not in the forest anymore. I am the forest, and I am looking out at myself.

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