The Golden Leaf: Part V

The Golden Leaf: Part V

A thick gust of snow began to fill the forest.  The frigid air blew and howled.  The visibility was almost zero.  With that, winter was officially underway.

One day in January, a cry was heard in the forest.  It was Autumn’s mother, bundled up, looking for her daughter.

“Autumn!” The mother cried.  “Where are you, honey!”  The mother dared not say the name “Jill” after what Jaime told her.  “Autumn dear!  Jaime told me that you lived out here now.  Where are you?!  Helloooo!!!!”

The mother’s voice echoed into the dark, cold forest.  Her voice was lost in the wind.  Lost to the blasts of cold air and snow.

As the mother was leaving, a warm gust blew over her face.  She knew that this was Autumn, since the air was not cold.

Meanwhile, Autumn slept on.  In one of her dreams, she saw her mother entering the snow covered forest.  When she saw her, she smiled.  “I’m still here, mom.  Don’t worry….”

The mother exited the forest.  During that whole winter, this was the only time that she ever entered the forest.

Several months passed and autumn finally arrived again.  During the spring, Autumn awakened.  With life in the forest beginning anew, she began guarding the golden leaf.  In her new form, Autumn never ate.  Sunlight was her nourishment.  She drank it in like water until she had her fill.  She especially did this during the summertime, where she continued guarding the golden leaf.   It just wasn’t her time yet.  For nine months out of the year, it never was.

With it being autumn again, the time has finally come again.  Autumn used her gale force breath to reveal the golden leaf.  She then picked it up and held it in her hand.

“Welcome back, my golden tomb….” She said, with a smile of delight.

Autumn placed the golden leaf inside the top of her dress, matching it into the golden outline of the leaf imprinted on her body.  After placing it there, the leaf grafted to her body again, forming a network of barely visible roots branching out in every direction.  A strong gale of wind blew around her and a golden aura emanated from her.

Suddenly, Autumn heard a gasp.

“Autumn?”

Autumn then saw her mother come out from behind the tree.

“There you are,” Autumn said.  “Did you feel the wind? That was me.  When it blew on you, I felt your presence.”

The mother looked at Autumn, who was short with long orange and golden hair.  She wore an autumn colored dress with leafy sandals.  “Autumn?” she gasped.

Autumn looked at her body, which was still brightly flashing.  “You saw me with the golden leaf.  Isn’t it wonderful?”  She then looked at her mother.  She saw the longing in her eyes.  “I’ll be out shortly, but not for long.  I belong in the forest.”

The mother gasped.  “But what about….”

“Don’t worry,” Autumn assured her.  “I will require a mate when I become an adult.  Bring him here at the appointed time.  Don’t worry about him not loving me.  I have placed a spell on him so that he will.”

With that, Autumn spent a short time with her mother outside the forest.  It was a brief conversation, and very few words were said. After the conversation, they hugged.

“Farewell mother,” Autumn told her.  “I must return to the forest.  You may visit me there whenever you like.

Autumn returned to the forest, causing various trees to drop their leaves simultaneously.

Looking at the panoramic view of various colors of leaves in the distance, Autumn smiled.  “My days in the forest will be until this body expires,” Autumn said, with a pleasant sigh.  “After that, I will return to my golden vessel, which will dissolve into the forest.  I will then be with the next golden leaf.  From now, only 99 more years until the next golden leaf is born…..”

Meanwhile, a faint sound could be heard deep inside of Autumn.  Well, it wasn’t really a faint sound.  It was actually a sound of someone screaming and crying.  But the screams and cries were happening so deep inside her that it would only be heard as a faint sound.

Somewhere, very deep inside of Autumn, Jill was crying.  She was literally a prisoner in her own mind.  Autumn was in complete control, and was unwilling to release her.

“Let me go!” Jill screamed for what seemed like the one millionth time.  Her screaming, however, was in vain.  There was no one to hear her.  No wardens, no guards.  Not a single person.   Autumn did a good job in cleaning out Jill’s mind.

The scariest part about this was that Jill didn’t even know what was going on.  She couldn’t even see with her own eyes or hear with her own ears.  She was forever bound in her own mental prison, rotting away as a figment of her own imagination.  If she were to go totally mad, she would actually believe that she was someone totally made up by Autumn.

But Jill still had her sanity, and she would keep it as long as she could.  And she continued screaming, hoping someone could hear her….

Back at the surface, Autumn was completely unaware of any voices in her head.  As Autumn sat there that night, a blinding flash happened.  The flash was a sphere, materializing in the flashing light.

When Autumn saw this sphere, it sent chills down her spine.  “No.” She said in disbelief.  “Not that….”

The flashing faded from the sphere.  The sphere was transparent, with a flashy white outer coat.  When the flashing completely faded, a hologram of a girl wearing a white dress, holding a golden leaf projected from the sphere.

“To the one originally called Jill,” the girl began.  “This message is for you.  From researching my ancestors, I have found that you are my great-grandmother.  In looking at your history, I have found that we share the same fate.  Autumn has already tainted you, and she is beginning to do the same with me.  I have found this golden leaf, and I wish that I never had.  It is her vessel.  This is what she told me.”

“Now I know that your name is not Jill anymore since she renamed you with her name.  She has not done this with me yet, which is why I am acting quickly.  While I am still in my right mind, I am executing a last-ditch effort to change history.  That sphere that you see before you is an egg.  Now I need you to enter that egg.  It is the only way that you can kill Autumn.  Your body, however will die with her.”

“But don’t think this is the end.  In place of your old body, the egg will hatch and your new body will be born.  It will be just like your old body, only you won’t have Autumn inside you anymore.”

“Please take heed, Jill.  Autumn will not stand anywhere near that egg, for she fears its power.  But you must fight her.  Fight like you’ve never fought before.  I know you can win.”

“Well, my mind is beginning to fail me.  I am beginning to feel her influence even stronger now as I’m recording this.  I hope that this egg and this message gets to your time period.  I love you very much and I hope that this ripple that I’m creating is enough to effect time.  Your great-granddaughter, Margaret.”

Autumn backed away in fear.  “How?” She gasped.  “Where did he….”

With a shriek of fear, Autumn blew herself away to the farthest end of the forest.  The end farthest away from the mysterious egg.

Meanwhile, the egg remained there, sparkling and glowing, as it sat surrounded in a sea of colorful foliage…..

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

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