I remember it all as if it were a dreamlike daze. It was a bright and sunny that first day, yet it was quiet. Abnormally quiet, even for the densely forested area that I lived in. Nothing could be heard for miles around. Our neighbors, that lived about a quarter of a mile away and fought often, were out of town. And, my own parents were rarely home because of their jobs. But, they fought too. Which, left me alone. Alone. Day after day with no one around. No one, but the wind that would dance softly through the trees. That is where I heard it. I heard it first in the whisper of the leaves.
It was barely discernible. I thought I had just imagined it. But, it did catch my attention and I listened more attentively. It was a curious whisper. It came from everywhere around me, but still felt like it had a source. A form of intelligence behind it. And, the more I stayed still and listened. The clearer the voice became. It was alluring, friendly, and most of all comforting. It struck me as friendly, loving, so I stayed perfectly still. And, I began to hope and even pray that it wouldn’t stop speaking to me.
Looking back now, of course, I wish I would’ve ran. I wish I wouldn’t have released the monster that slept everywhere. And, nowhere. But, I didn’t. I waited and I coveted those softly spoken words. Words that meant everything and were still strangely empty. Words that only conveyed emotion at first. And, a voice that didn’t ask for anything but a listening ear.
I returned day after day to my secret forest, to hear my secret friend, until a week had passed. Then, it began to form real words and really talk directly to me. I didn’t mind, I just thought it was an imaginary friend. Like, the ones I used to make out of my stuffed animals.
It asked me, my name.
It told me, I was beautiful.
It told me, I had a pretty smile.
It asked me, how old I was.
It asked me, why I was alone.
I cried. I cried and cried more.
Then, it promised. It promised to keep the tears away from me, forever. It promised that I would never ever have to be alone, ever again. It promised that it would stay with me, for always. It just asked for one little thing in return. Just one little thing, for love, for a friend, for an escape from the loneliness. One small thing.
Then, the tears stopped. I nodded. And, for a brief moment, I thought I saw a smile in the air. A smile, like the Cheshire cat, hanging in the air.
It told me I was a good girl. And, that it would be back. That, I should wait for it. And, it would return.
And, I waited. I trusted it deeply. I am not sure why I did. It all just felt right. Even, after the sun went down, and I fell asleep, waiting. Even, after I woke up and the sun came up again. Even, after I noticed my clothes had turned red, sometime during the night. It just all felt so peaceful. So, calm. Then, I heard it whisper again.
It told me, good morning.
It told me, look around.
And, I did.
I had been sleeping on top of paper. It was shiny, almost like it had been laminated. But, it had all been spattered a dark red, almost a brown color. It took me a moment to notice that something was printed on each of the small papers. They were pretty. But, then I realized what they were. I panicked. And, stifled a scream. Each and everyone was a photo. A photo of me, sleeping last night.
It told me, no one would hurt me again.
I stared at the pictures.
It told me, no one would leave me again.
I was beautiful.
It told me, I wasn’t alone.
“We’ll be together forever.”
And, we smiled.