Upon the leaves, and the dust he awoke.
Golden sun streaks through the limbs of live oaks, spreading their massive branches towards one another, their leaves cutting the sun into ribbons that cascade towards the leaf strewn floor beneath. The sun was bright to his awakening eyes, and by its intensity and warmth, Locke wondered just how he had managed to sleep so far into the day. It was a common thing for him, to wonder of time and place upon first waking, the place was obvious to him, the forest of his death, beneath the golden caspare trees of the Northern Forest, the time…
He pause a moment, sitting up, looking upon the squat, massive trees before him. Caspar trees were well known for their narrow trunks, reaching as though to touch the heavens, like fingertips from the earthen floor below. Often growing more than 30 times the height of a man, but no more wider around than two men hand to hand… Locke gripped the earth beneath his fingertips, pulled the dirt and dried leaves from the floor, and brought then fisted hand up to his nose. The scent of the earth, the decaying odor of the leaves, this did not smell as home did. The floor was covered with round nuts, whereas Caspar trees spread as fledling trees off a single, large root system, all belonging to one mother tree.
Curious, Locke rose up from the dirt, brushing leaf and soil from his bare legs as he did, looking over himself, finding the loin cloth, the only dignity afforded him on the day of his execution, soiled from dirt and dew. No crimson of blood marked his body, nor clothing. No sign of struggle, to explain his escape from a dedicated and talented execution squad, and no sign of injury to tell that the task had been completed, however flawed the result may be. Observation only brought question, and a quick scan of the world around shows that nobody remains to answer the most curious of questions rolling around in his muddled mind: how is it he lives.
“Hello,” he called, a loud voice to echo through the trees. He was quickly coming to the conclusion that whatever had happened to him, the story would not be his this day, and he found himself in the precarious situation of being lost within a forest, with no idea of where he was, or how to get out. The call went unanswered, as he had expected it, and his eyes scanned the skies, seeing only small breaks in the canopy above to allow the streams of light to enter, to illuminate the world beneath branch and leaf, without givng much more than recollection of one’s surroundings. Everything was dim, darkly lit, unless standing in the direct path of a ray of light, in which bright circles formed upon the floor. Grass was sparse, as most was thick braided weeds or thorn bushes. He randomly selected a direction, putting his feet forward one after another with no real inclination of where to roam. His ears listened for sounds to help him locate himself: a passing wagon, the whistle of a wind, even the trickle of a brook, but the forest was eerily silent. No click of crickets, or scurrying of rodents. The trees showed no sign of life either, no birds flew amongst their branches, which lay still from lack of squirrel or other small animal.
For nearly an hour he walked, as straight and steadfast as he could manage, before coming to a stop, looking up at the canopy above once again. He was thirsty, and his stomach felt like a whole in the center of him. They hadn’t decided food was necessary for him before his execution, and on the trip into the Golden wood, he had been afforded little water, except what was needed to keep up his strength so they didn’t have to haul him bodily through the forest to kill him. Easier to kill a man on his feet, than to have to drag him. The heat of the day was beginning to press through the trees, and he was thankful for the dense foliage, through it provided much in the way of shade, it was beginning to trap heat in with the humidity it maintained. He watched for water on his journey, but found little. Now his lips were parched, his thirst becoming painful.
He was lost, and it was too quiet.