3 days before the expedition into Everwood Forest, night
“Axie? Really?” Axel hissed.
“It’s a thing she does. She adds an ‘ee’ sound to the names of people she likes. Think of it as a good thing!”
“I’ll think of it as a silly thing.”
Jess merely groaned in response.
Axel was back at Jess’ house, but as it turned out, she wasn’t the only person he was there to spend time with. The two were waiting by the microwave, making popcorn. Axel looked back to Lucy through the kitchen divider. She was idly watching TV, sitting on the carpet.
4 days before the expedition into Everwood Forest, night
On the outskirts of town, there was a figure walking into the forest. An item of clothing was draped over the figure’s shoulder. The figure did not bring a torch, their eyes having adjusted to the darkness fairly easily after years of walking around late at night. No one was around to see the figure, so no one was there to identify the figure as Axel Heronicus. Using the pale light of the moon to guide his way, he disappeared among the cluster of trees. He had no visible destination but walked with purpose nonetheless. He shivered a little as he weaved his way through the trees (it was a fairly cold night), but not once considered putting on the item of clothing draped over his shoulder: a dark blue hooded coat. Was he that committed to his monochrome fashion trend that he didn’t want to wear a coloured piece of clothing? No — it was meant for someone else. Granted, the latter didn’t necessarily mean the former wasn’t true.
Eventually, Axel stopped and frowned. Something wasn’t right. Something should have happened after wandering this far, he thought.
5 days before the expedition into Everwood Forest, night
A shiver ran up Axel’s spine, throwing him out of his daze.
What have I been doing? he thought to himself. A quick survey of what lay in front of him suggested he was lying on his couch, watching TV at his house. However at second glance, he realised it wasn’t his couch, nor his TV — this wasn’t even his house! But if it wasn’t his house, whose house was it? Axel looked around and noticed what appeared to be a family photo, framed and hung on the wall. The photo displayed a mother, a father and two daughters, one in her late teens and the other a small child. Upon closer inspection, he recognized the older daughter as his friend, Jess. He concluded that he was in Jess’ house (a safe assumption). But where’s Jess, then? The only reason he would be in her house would be to hang out with her, yet here he was sitting and watching TV by himself — not hanging out with her. Perhaps we were watching TV together, but she left to go to the bathroom or something? That would make sense. She’ll probably be back soon. I better just wait here.
Everwood Town was named after the phenomena the trees encircling the town demonstrated. That is, they never changed their appearance. The trees were the same size and shape at Axel’s birth as they are presently. Legend has it that one of the founders of the town said: “These trees do not appear to age, nor grow. They are not affected by the seasons. They do not know of Time’s embrace, for Time has not known theirs. These trees are everlasting. It is my wish that this town — Everwood Town — will go on to live in prosperity, like these trees, forever.”
“Huh, what?” Axel sputtered. He tried to remember what he was doing when his friend, Evan, made it clear.
“Did you just completely zone out?” he gawked. “We’re in the middle of eating lunch!”
Axel glanced around. The two were sitting on a picnic bench with their respective lunches. “Hm, so we are.”
“Axel! Wait up!”
Axel stopped, turned around and saw Jess, one of the other two teenagers in Everwood, walking towards him at a fast pace and with a bounce in her step. A look of disdain shot across his face, if only for a second. Was it of surprise or disappointment? Who knows.
Jess was of average height, but around Axel she appeared very short (he was probably almost a head taller than her). Her dark, naturally straight hair went down to about her shoulders and was often unkempt. She did try to keep her hair tidy using a headband, but her efforts was never entirely successful. She didn’t have to try very hard to look more stylish than Axel anyway.
Axel didn’t value his friendship with Jess as much as he did his friendship with Evan, the second of the other two teenagers in Everwood. However, he thought: I can’t push her away, because there’s literally no one I could befriend in my age bracket as a substitute. She’s not really that bad, anyway.
6 days before the expedition into Everwood Forest, morning
Axel had the strangest feeling that he was being watched. He span around to check, but saw no one behind him. Must have been his imagination. However, it was enough to send him out of his daze.
Axel often drifted off into the confines of his mind if not tugged at every so often; while gravity prevented him from literally floating away, there was little to prevent him from doing so figuratively. Gravity’s effect on the plastic bags he held still remained however; its light pull reminded him of what he was doing. The bags were filled with food products and the like, so he figured he was in the midst of returning home from his routine morning grocery shopping. A quick observation of his surroundings confirmed this; he was walking along the usual path he took home. As he looked at the trees looming over him, he was reminded of the dream he had the previous night.
It was a calm night in Everwood Town; the isolated town surrounded by trees and ignorance. Every light in every house was off, and every person in every house was tucked into bed. The people of Everwood knew that the night was for sleeping and they did not question that. Well, every light and every person except for one pair: a bedside lamp in an attic poorly refitted as a bedroom and the person to whom the lamp belonged to, Axel Heronicus. Axel did not agree that the night was just for sleeping. He did not agree with a lot of things the townsfolk had decided upon, in fact. The townsfolk thought curiosity was foolish. Axel disagreed. The townsfolk thought the forest was inhabited by a monster. Axel disagreed. The townsfolk thought it wasn’t worth knowing what was beyond the forest. Axel disagreed. And so, in his non-conformist way, Axel decided against sleeping that night. In fact, as he checked the time on his alarm clock, he decided it was late enough to set his plan in motion: to begin his expedition deep into Everwood Forest.
“Everwood is one of those things, one of those places that seem normal, but get more and more screwed up the more you take a closer look…”
This is a narrative concerning Axel Heronicus and his isolated home of Everwood Town. The narrative will be in short story format and in turn, each story will be uploaded in parts. This is a fictional world I would like to continue writing about beyond this blog.