Theme: Me (As a Writer)
The crows were gathered. The story was about to begin.
Silas struggled to his feet and caressed his pounding head. He looked around, saw only a wall of trees, still and silent as statues. Where was he? Why couldn’t he remember?
‘H-hello?’ he rasped. He swallowed, brought a hand to his throat and felt thick welts around his neck. Had he tried to hang himself? ‘Hello?’ he tried again.
But the forest was unmoving. It’s stillness was unreal, as if someone had placed it there and forgotten to give it life. Silas took a few tentative steps and heard laughing. He glanced up, spotted a few crows cawing in the branches overhead. They were mocking him.
He has a journal. He needs to read it.
Silas froze. He hadn’t thought that… had he? It wasn’t his voice. He cast his eyes to the ground and spotted a burgundy, leather-bound book. He snatched it up and flicked to the first page. Nothing. He flicked forward a little, but every page was blank. Was this some kind of game?
He flung the journal at a tree and yelled: ‘Show yourself! Why are you doing this to me?’
Silence. Silas slumped back to the ground and tore at a clump of grass. It smelled of nothing. He dug his fingernails into the soil underneath, but hit something hard and cold. Was this death? Had someone murdered him?
‘I’m not going to play your game!’ Silas shouted. ‘You can’t break me!’
Pushing himself off the ground, he fixed his gaze on a distant gap in the trees and sprinted towards it. Thick trunks rushed past him on both sides. The crows flapped after him frantically. He was nearly there! Freedom.
Then everything was gone. No trees, no birds, no ground. Nothing. Silas tried to touch his face, but his hands wouldn’t move. He was paralyzed.
There’s a village nearby. It’s deserted.
As sudden as everything had vanished, it returned. Silas was on the edge of the forest now and he could see buildings just ahead. He dashed towards them, his head still pounding. He blocked out the pain and focused on finding someone, anyone, who could help him.
‘Is anyone here?’ he yelled, as he reached the heart of the village. ‘Hello?’
That doesn’t work. He’s back in the forest.
Silas blinked and he was once again surrounded by trees. ‘No!’ he screamed. ‘Let me out of here!’
He slammed his fists into a tree trunk, punched the bark until they should have turned bloody. But there was no pain, no blood… nothing. He looked down at his hands and found himself holding the journal once again. He made to throw it away, but stopped when it slipped open. There was writing there now.
Silas took the journal in both hands and sat down on the grass. He started reading:
I have been lost in this forest for what feels like an eternity. I am being watched. I cannot escape. If you are reading this you must
The entry ended there. Silas looked up and saw the crows gathered above. They were watching him.
End of Chapter One.
I slide the keyboard tray back under the desk and swivel round in my chair, rubbing my tired eyes.
‘So, this guy is a bard. He wakes in the woods with no memory of his life. He feels like the birds are watching him. Then… then, what?’
I look out the window. It’s dark and I’m hungry. Dinner soon, hopefully. I turn back to the computer and close the file for the first chapter. I open a new file and start typing:
Silas explores the forest and finds a hangman’s noose on the ground. There is a knife covered in blood. Is there a murderer loose in the forest? Not sure what can happen next.
MAKE THE READER SYMPATHISE WITH SILAS!
Silas covered his eyes, rocking back and forth on his haunches. ‘Let me out. Let me out. Please, someone… let me out…’