Read Jenn’s Part Three before this one!
When I rose to my feet, it felt like I had aged centuries. I looked at my hands, but they were still as they had been when I left my father’s house. I blinked and tried to accustom myself to movement in a lateral plane.
I cannot say how long I walked in that forest, my feet falling on plants that smelled like resin. Stillness reigned over that wood, and its silence stole the sound of my own breathing as the green carpet stole the sound of my footfalls.
At length, I came upon a slight figure sitting on a stump. I approached and the child asked me, “If a tree falls in this forest, would it make a sound?”
I laughed and my voice startled me. The girl said, “I thought so. You look familiar. Have we met?”
I answered, “No. I am a stranger to these parts. Have I reached the other side of the world?”
“I’m afraid not. Have a seat and I will tell you a story.”
I sat on a clover patch and listened to her piping voice.
“I have three siblings and we were sent out on a quest to find something of great importance. I went West, following the sun. As a token for my journey, I received a mirror that was said to be magic. As night fell, the full moon’s light glinted off of my mirror and caught the attention of a silver bird. I followed it to a well.
“This well was made of silver and of light and the bird disappeared into it. I lowered myself in the bucket for a long, long time. During this, I could hear the bird singing. The song went something like-” At this point she tried to hum something, but it was too wild and too soft for me to get any sense of the tune.
“When the bucket hit the bottom of the well, I was greeted by seven silver soldiers. They told me that I was trespassing on the soil beneath the Sacred Well. If I wished to live, I would return the way I came. I tried, but the bucket broke. They tried to kill me, but I used the mirror to bounce light into their eyes. They were blinded and I scrambled about, calling here and there. They, trying to hit me, hit each other instead and fell like shards to the ground.
“I left them and continued on, searching for the silver bird. And that is what I am doing.”
I realized then that this girl was my sister, somehow transformed into a child.