Imagination – Sir James

By the time James had reached the top of the miniature mountain the sky had already gone to night and was filled with stars.

“The passage of time is different inside the Dark Woods,” Mr. Teddy said when he saw the look of confusion on the knight’s face. “Sometimes the day would seem to last for an eternity, at other times it was over in the blink of an eye. The same goes for night time.”

James stood beside the Stuffling. He scanned the Dark Woods spread out beneath him. It was vast and endless—a sea of trees, hard to see with the darkness of the night, all leafless. Their bare branches seemed to be clawing towards the sky. James tried to find the bridge where he had fought against the trolls but he couldn’t find it. Had he been running for so long that he went deeper than he had expected inside the Dark Woods?

“How well do you know the Dark Woods?” James asked.

“I know it very well and yet at the same time I know nothing about the woods,” Mr. Teddy answered.

“Do you mind explaining?” James said in a rather annoyed tone.

Mr. Teddy smiled at him, showing a full display of teeth. “The Dark Woods is…alive,” Mr. Teddy said, “It’s not just a patch of land with trees that are black. It moves. Let me ask you young knight, how did you enter the woods?”

James pointed south. “I went pass the stone bridge. I can’t see it from up here but I know it’s over there.”

“It’s no longer there. The woods tend to move around a bit. Though if you’ve been here as long as me then you’ll see a pattern in its movements. No one spot stays the same inside the Dark Woods.”

“Do you remember what direction my cave is?” The Stuffling asked.

James nodded.

“It’s no longer there. By the time the sun sunk down the sky, everything had moved. Those who had lived inside the Dark Woods somehow know when night is coming. I do not understand it as well but we get this feeling that darkness is approaching. The reason for us going up high is to stop us from moving with it. That’s the reason for my cave as well. It’s more than just a shelter to the heat of the sun or the coldness of the night. It’s a shelter from the woods itself. The number one rule we should follow is to not be inside the woods during night. Things can get a bit…strange for you if you do.” Mr. Teddy finished. He then went on to lie down as if to say that the conversation was over.

James sat down on the rough surface of the rock formation. He continued to watch the quiet woods beneath him. Sometimes he thought he heard sounds—animal cries or the fluttering of wings—deep inside the woods. He also saw movements inside the woods. He saw shadows scurrying pass the trees. There were times too, he was sure, he saw the trees themselves were moving. James didn’t realize it but he had fallen asleep while seated watching the Dark Woods move beneath him.