An old friend

A silver haired man shuffled through a forest, his pot belly hiding his toes from sight. He gripped a small thatched basket under his arm as he wondered aimlessly through the woods, admiring the small flowers that grew around the base of the trees. The flowers grew like colourful halos around the base of their trunks, with a variety of shapes that gave them a varied, and satisfying texture. He smiled softly when he saw combinations that he had not seen before, taking the time to admire everything that had changed since he had last been through. Deep in the densest part of the forest he forced himself through the gaps in the trees, a small stone in his free hand illuminated his way with a golden yellow glow. The deep browns of the bark welcomed the light, casting shadows through their crevasses, and highlighting the worn surfaces. His belly tore the loose chunks from the tree as he squeezed his way through any gap that would let him. Eventually he arrived in a tiny clearing, where an enormous tree had fallen, pushing aside others, and creating a wound through the canopy that allowed light to come through where all that surrounded was bathed in darkness.
He pocketed his stone and placed his basket on the ground next to the tree, his hand outstretched to the tree, and he very carefully cut a large mushroom from the trunk with a small knife he had in the basket. Giving it a sniff, he hopped from one foot to another with excitement, he hummed to himself as he proceeded along the trunk, cutting, plucking, and gathering the variety of fungus that grew on the tree’s trunk. Unlike the flowers the fungus that grew on the trunk all had grown with strong earthy tones, creating a hue of browns and yellows along the downed tree.
Already new life had started to grow from around the tree, saplings took root from where their seeds were dropped to the ground. Small ferns, and grasses had already self-seeded through the massive hole that was left after the colossal tree was uprooted, blending green into the reds of the iron enriched, deep soils.
With a full basket of fungus, the old man had a skip to his step as he walked to the base of the tree. The roots towered high into the air, taking with them large chunks of dirt and stone. He slid slowly into the hole where the roots once resided, making a careful effort to avoid as much of the greenery as he could. He stepped delicately through the still disturbed soil until he was standing at face with the base of the root system, he closed his eyes, took three deep breaths, and laid his hand upon the largest root. It curved, and twisted around the other roots, acting like the anchor for the tree, the end snapped where it failed to hold the colossal weight of the tree as it fell. The old man gripped intensely, the tune of his humming changed, and his hand started to pass through the roots as if they were air. He steppe forward once, testing the waters, then another time, this movement was much easier than the last. Taking in one final deep breath he marched for with military certainty, disappearing through the roots of the tree, and straight into the trunk.
Where there should have been a solid core of wood was a hollow cavity that allowed the man to walk freely, his eyes opened and before him was the interior of a rustic bedroom. There was a wood-framed bed, with a dark wood side table, along the edge of the room was a small desk and chair, and illuminating the space was a collection of different glowing fungus. The old man let out a sigh of relief, his breath was short, and his eyes fell heavy as he finished fully appearing into the room. His steps were sluggish, and slid across the carved wood floors of the room, he placed down his basket of fungus on the side table before sitting on the edge of the bed. He kicked off his slip-on shoes, and took his coat off, folding it, and resting it on the end of the bed. He then peeled back the silken covers of the bed and climbed in with a yawn, promptly falling asleep.
When the man awoke he felt refreshed and rejuvenated, the fungus he had gathered were gone. His skin looked softer, less wrinkled, and his hair had regained some thickness, and even a little colour. Above him he could now see the silk worms nesting snuggly in their small cocoons. Twisting his head side to side his neck gave several satisfying cracks, he then climbed from the bed and walked to the door that was on the opposite side of the room that he entered from. It opened silently, and on the other side he was greeted by a small gnome.
The gnomes facial features were round, from his cheeks, to his nose, even he smile seemed to be more rounded than any human that the old man had met. He was greeted as an old friend, despite never seeing this gnome in his life. He was ushered through several rooms quietly, down a set of winding stairs, and finally arriving at an underground pool. Moss covered the surprisingly warm stone, water dripped all the small cave, and the echoes of the water gently filled there air before disappearing. Above the pool small, blue, butterflies flitted about, pausing momentarily on equally vibrant blue flowers before taking off moments later. The air felt as if it were vibrating gently, adding a pleasant tingling sensation to any exposed skin.
The man rose his head slightly, he took a long drawn out breath and closed his eyes, cutting off one sense he felt the others intensify ever so slightly. On the out breath he opened his eyes and lowered his head, below him the gnome was cupping a small wooden bowl, a delicate layer of moss decorated the outside of it, while the insides were filled with water from the pool, the interior of the bowl shone like starlight, it was a calming white with flickers of blue and greens dancing through the beams that rose from it.
The old man took the bowl carefully in two hands, he could feel the moss moving under his grip, as if it had a life of its own. He raised the bowl above his head and bowed on one knee to the pool, lowering the bowl back down he took one long drink and emptied it. He returned the bowl to the edge of the pool where the moss from it spread to the stone below nearly instantly.
The man sat back on his legs with his eyes closed, he felt the warm water travel though his body, leaving a warm sensation wherever it passed. It started with his mouth and throat, it quickly moved to his stomach where it sat for a short while, then he felt it starting to move through his body in a line, until eventually it reached his heart. In that moment he felt it spread through his whole body, he could feel the individual warmth of each vein until it had travelled through him completely.
But as quick as it was there, it soon faded. The mans breathing calmed down, slight aches that were in his body seemed to fade, and his body fell loose. He slowly lowered himself onto the moss-covered stones of the cave and let the relaxation of the moment take him to sleep.
He dreamt of the cave, how it sat in the darkness of the planet, contained by walls of dirt and stone. Its pure light, and vibrant energy surrounded him as he watched a singular stalactite above the pool dripped at a calming pace, even though it did not exist in the waking world. His breath seemed to get louder until it was the cave that was breathing, and he was motionless. From his seated position he started to lean forward as if there were no ground beneath him, he body felt as if it were plummeting through an empty void, yet his eyes were still locked onto the drip colliding with the pool of water.
The sound of rushing wind quickly consumed the space as an enormous blue butterfly appeared. Its wings spread as wide as they could, occupying the entirety of the young mans vision, after an instance of rest at full extension they closed down upon him and he awoke from his sleep.
His eyes flittered open and he remained rested for but a moment before slowly rising to his feet. He grinned, and bowed slightly to the gnome. The gnome mimicked and gestured up the stairs. The young man graciously accepted the invite and bounced up the stairs, back through the large, empty rooms, and out the same way he came in.
As he passed through the barrier, he felt the scratch of dirt on unspoiled skin. The air seemed thicker on the other side, as if it had a weight it didn’t have before. He turned to see the downed tree had nearly completely rotted into the ground, it was sunken in, a hollow husk of what laid there when he entered it. All around life seemed to have grown at an exaggerated rate, saplings were already developing their bark, and what was once a scattering of small bushes, and shrubs had become a well-established thicket.
Walking back out through the dense set of trees he passed by without ripping bark, or even touching the trees. He moved much quicker, his feet danced over the roots he wants plotted over, and he felt as if his legs had springs, propelling his body upwards with each new step. From the darkness of the thick woods, to the twilight zone in the middle, he eventually found his way back to the edge of the forest.
He looked over the rolling hills with a new perspective, the grass seemed greener, the sky bluer, and what used to look like a long trek now seemed like a stroll.
The walking stick he had left on the outskirts of the forest seemed superfluous, so he let it rest as he walked back to the small

A silver haired man shuffled through a forest, his pot belly hiding his toes from sight. He gripped a small thatched basket under his arm as he wondered aimlessly through the woods, admiring the small flowers that grew around the base of the trees. The flowers grew like colourful halos around the base of their trunks, with a variety of shapes that gave them a varied, and satisfying texture. He smiled softly when he saw combinations that he had not seen before, taking the time to admire everything that had changed since he had last been through. Deep in the densest part of the forest he forced himself through the gaps in the trees, a small stone in his free hand illuminated his way with a golden yellow glow. The deep browns of the bark welcomed the light, casting shadows through their crevasses, and highlighting the worn surfaces. His belly tore the loose chunks from the tree as he squeezed his way through any gap that would let him. Eventually he arrived in a tiny clearing, where an enormous tree had fallen, pushing aside others, and creating a wound through the canopy that allowed light to come through where all that surrounded was bathed in darkness.

He pocketed his stone and placed his basket on the ground next to the tree, his hand outstretched to the tree, and he very carefully cut a large mushroom from the trunk with a small knife he had in the basket. Giving it a sniff, he hopped from one foot to another with excitement, he hummed to himself as he proceeded along the trunk, cutting, plucking, and gathering the variety of fungus that grew on the tree’s trunk. Unlike the flowers the fungus that grew on the trunk all had grown with strong earthy tones, creating a hue of browns and yellows along the downed tree.

Already new life had started to grow from around the tree, saplings took root from where their seeds were dropped to the ground. Small ferns, and grasses had already self-seeded through the massive hole that was left after the colossal tree was uprooted, blending green into the reds of the iron enriched, deep soils.

With a full basket of fungus, the old man had a skip to his step as he walked to the base of the tree. The roots towered high into the air, taking with them large chunks of dirt and stone. He slid slowly into the hole where the roots once resided, making a careful effort to avoid as much of the greenery as he could. He stepped delicately through the still disturbed soil until he was standing at face with the base of the root system, he closed his eyes, took three deep breaths, and laid his hand upon the largest root. It curved, and twisted around the other roots, acting like the anchor for the tree, the end snapped where it failed to hold the colossal weight of the tree as it fell. The old man gripped intensely, the tune of his humming changed, and his hand started to pass through the roots as if they were air. He steppe forward once, testing the waters, then another time, this movement was much easier than the last. Taking in one final deep breath he marched for with military certainty, disappearing through the roots of the tree, and straight into the trunk.

Where there should have been a solid core of wood was a hollow cavity that allowed the man to walk freely, his eyes opened and before him was the interior of a rustic bedroom. There was a wood-framed bed, with a dark wood side table, along the edge of the room was a small desk and chair, and illuminating the space was a collection of different glowing fungus. The old man let out a sigh of relief, his breath was short, and his eyes fell heavy as he finished fully appearing into the room. His steps were sluggish, and slid across the carved wood floors of the room, he placed down his basket of fungus on the side table before sitting on the edge of the bed. He kicked off his slip-on shoes, and took his coat off, folding it, and resting it on the end of the bed. He then peeled back the silken covers of the bed and climbed in with a yawn, promptly falling asleep.

When the man awoke he felt refreshed and rejuvenated, the fungus he had gathered were gone. His skin looked softer, less wrinkled, and his hair had regained some thickness, and even a little colour. Above him he could now see the silk worms nesting snuggly in their small cocoons. Twisting his head side to side his neck gave several satisfying cracks, he then climbed from the bed and walked to the door that was on the opposite side of the room that he entered from. It opened silently, and on the other side he was greeted by a small gnome.

The gnomes facial features were round, from his cheeks, to his nose, even he smile seemed to be more rounded than any human that the old man had met. He was greeted as an old friend, despite never seeing this gnome in his life. He was ushered through several rooms quietly, down a set of winding stairs, and finally arriving at an underground pool. Moss covered the surprisingly warm stone, water dripped all the small cave, and the echoes of the water gently filled there air before disappearing. Above the pool small, blue, butterflies flitted about, pausing momentarily on equally vibrant blue flowers before taking off moments later. The air felt as if it were vibrating gently, adding a pleasant tingling sensation to any exposed skin.

The man rose his head slightly, he took a long drawn out breath and closed his eyes, cutting off one sense he felt the others intensify ever so slightly. On the out breath he opened his eyes and lowered his head, below him the gnome was cupping a small wooden bowl, a delicate layer of moss decorated the outside of it, while the insides were filled with water from the pool, the interior of the bowl shone like starlight, it was a calming white with flickers of blue and greens dancing through the beams that rose from it.

The old man took the bowl carefully in two hands, he could feel the moss moving under his grip, as if it had a life of its own. He raised the bowl above his head and bowed on one knee to the pool, lowering the bowl back down he took one long drink and emptied it. He returned the bowl to the edge of the pool where the moss from it spread to the stone below nearly instantly.

The man sat back on his legs with his eyes closed, he felt the warm water travel though his body, leaving a warm sensation wherever it passed. It started with his mouth and throat, it quickly moved to his stomach where it sat for a short while, then he felt it starting to move through his body in a line, until eventually it reached his heart. In that moment he felt it spread through his whole body, he could feel the individual warmth of each vein until it had travelled through him completely.

But as quick as it was there, it soon faded. The mans breathing calmed down, slight aches that were in his body seemed to fade, and his body fell loose. He slowly lowered himself onto the moss-covered stones of the cave and let the relaxation of the moment take him to sleep.

He dreamt of the cave, how it sat in the darkness of the planet, contained by walls of dirt and stone. Its pure light, and vibrant energy surrounded him as he watched a singular stalactite above the pool dripped at a calming pace, even though it did not exist in the waking world. His breath seemed to get louder until it was the cave that was breathing, and he was motionless. From his seated position he started to lean forward as if there were no ground beneath him, he body felt as if it were plummeting through an empty void, yet his eyes were still locked onto the drip colliding with the pool of water.

The sound of rushing wind quickly consumed the space as an enormous blue butterfly appeared. Its wings spread as wide as they could, occupying the entirety of the young mans vision, after an instance of rest at full extension they closed down upon him and he awoke from his sleep.

His eyes flittered open and he remained rested for but a moment before slowly rising to his feet. He grinned, and bowed slightly to the gnome. The gnome mimicked and gestured up the stairs. The young man graciously accepted the invite and bounced up the stairs, back through the large, empty rooms, and out the same way he came in.

As he passed through the barrier, he felt the scratch of dirt on unspoiled skin. The air seemed thicker on the other side, as if it had a weight it didn’t have before. He turned to see the downed tree had nearly completely rotted into the ground, it was sunken in, a hollow husk of what laid there when he entered it. All around life seemed to have grown at an exaggerated rate, saplings were already developing their bark, and what was once a scattering of small bushes, and shrubs had become a well-established thicket.

Walking back out through the dense set of trees he passed by without ripping bark, or even touching the trees. He moved much quicker, his feet danced over the roots he wants plotted over, and he felt as if his legs had springs, propelling his body upwards with each new step. From the darkness of the thick woods, to the twilight zone in the middle, he eventually found his way back to the edge of the forest.

He looked over the rolling hills with a new perspective, the grass seemed greener, the sky bluer, and what used to look like a long trek now seemed like a stroll.

The walking stick he had left on the outskirts of the forest seemed superfluous, so he let it rest as he walked back to the small village he came from. The journey back was quicker than on the way out that is always the case with any journey, but this one seemed to be an exaggeration of the same feeling.

As he approached his village there was a chorus of cheering as those who occupied the small shacks all called out with delight. They welcomed him home as if he were returning from war, a triumphant hero, a saviour. There were only a handful within his town, and all looked as young as he did. But after a short fan fair an elderly man appeared from one of the huts. He had a plain wooden walking stick and a thatched basket under one arm, he was hunched and aged, while those around him stood tall, and broad chested.

The elderly man grinned, seeing the new old face, and gave the now young man a hug. The two of them held firm as if they had been friends for a lifetime, before letting go and parting ways. The elderly man shuffled towards the edge of the forest while the newly young man joined the others. They all waved and cheered the man on as he slowly moved away from the small town.

All around the people jumped, and lifted objects for seemingly no reason, getting overly excited each time they succeeded.

Although the town was small, and worn down, the inhabitants were of high hopes, all gathering to fix what needed to be fixed, and to create what needed to be made. By the time the sun painted the sky with oranges and reds a young man approached the town. The sky felt as if it were a celebratory banner, risen to honour his return, filling the man with a strong pride for his people.

He was welcomed as an old friend, the kind of friend they had had for a lifetime.

he came from. The journey back was quicker than on the way out that is always the case with any journey, but this one seemed to be an exaggeration of the same feeling.
As he approached his village there was a chorus of cheering as those who occupied the small shacks all called out with delight. They welcomed him home as if he were returning from war, a triumphant hero, a saviour. There were only a handful within his town, and all looked as young as he did. But after a short fan fair an elderly man appeared from one of the huts. He had a plain wooden walking stick and a thatched basket under one arm, he was hunched and aged, while those around him stood tall, and broad chested.
The elderly man grinned, seeing the new old face, and gave the now young man a hug. The two of them held firm as if they had been friends for a lifetime, before letting go and parting ways. The elderly man shuffled towards the edge of the forest while the newly young man joined the others. They all waved and cheered the man on as he slowly moved away from the small town.
All around the people jumped, and lifted objects for seemingly no reason, getting overly excited each time they succeeded.
Although the town was small, and worn down, the inhabitants were of high hopes, all gathering to fix what needed to be fixed, and to create what needed to be made. By the time the sun painted the sky with oranges and reds a young man approached the town. The sky felt as if it were a celebratory banner, risen to honour his return, filling the man with a strong pride for his people.
He was welcomed as an old friend, the kind of friend they had had for a lifetime.