Another quirky, open-ended little piece that I really like. I draw a lot of inspiration from Brian Froud when I’m out walking and when I’m collecting images. I love imagining where roads and paths may lead and what other purposes they might have. I’ve gotten some great ideas from this practice, and for whatever reason the thought of what might be possible usually pulls me out of a funk, too. Plus, I always perk up when I’m surrounded by green, and I just love seeing how trees grow. As a kid I lived in parts of the Midwest where I swear it was like the trees were barely restrained by guardrails on the highways – they were just waiting for mankind to turn their back so they could take back what was theirs. Branches arched over roads and met each other in leafy canopies. It was gorgeous to just be out driving on a nice day and be part of it all, wondering what else it could be part of.
Anywho, another little short from Lost in the Shadows!
“You pass under those trees, lad, and there will be no comin’ back. I brought you out here to warn you, not to encourage you.”
The lanky youth shrugged his shoulders and tried not to look too eager or too hungry. His curiosity had always been his undoing. “What lies beyond the arch, Father?”
The elf sighed. With that one question, his son was already lost to him. “The mortal world, such as it is. It isn’t like in the old days. You wouldn’t be welcome, or even feared. We aren’t the Good Neighbors anymore. We aren’t even Neighbors.”
The boy leaned forward on gangly legs, his long auburn hair that had caught many a maid’s eye gleaming in the sunlight. He had such a bright future ahead of him, and now his attention was turned. Even if he went back home now he’d dream of nothing else and eventually deny all food and drink, wasting away at the draw of what could be.
“The adventure isn’t worth the price, son,” the elf lord sighed, though the warning was half-hearted. The boy was already walking, already doomed.
“I just want a peek,” the son said to himself. “Just a look at the other side of things. I’ll just lean through, have one foot in and one foot out.” He chuckled at his cleverness, though deep down he knew it was a lie.
“Good-bye, my foolish lad. Be careful,” his father whispered.
As he stepped under the bowed limbs he was momentarily cooled by their green canopy. The grass under his soft leather boots gave way to something hard, a path that had not been there moments ago. A strange crackling buzzed around him. His stomach dropped and an overwhelming fear snatched him round the throat.
He turned. There was no forest, no familiar village hidden among the trees. Only the path. He turned back and kept walking towards the little fence and the giant, unfamiliar-looking dwellings that were nowhere near as fine as what he was accustomed to. From somewhere he heard the laughter of children, though none of their words were familiar to his ears. Even the air smelled different. He shook as it hit him how unprepared he was to make his fortune in this foreign realm.
The elven youth turned and took stock of his surroundings and thrust his chin out sharply, defying his trembling hands. “Well then,” he murmured to himself. “I suppose this is how stories start, isn’t it?”