by maggi quigg
Shattuck-St. Mary’s School
The Revelation in the Forest
There once was a girl with sun gold hair who was happy. She loved her mother, her father, and all three of her siblings. Her crystal blue eyes would crinkle at the corners when she smiled and laughed at her friend’s jokes, played soccer with her dad as the coach, and enjoyed school and learning.
Her words were kind and her voice was melodious as it sounded like angelic bells tinkling in the midst of the night.
As the girl grew older, her older sister left to go to a special school in a faraway land that was cheerfully cold but wore a surprisingly warm demeanor.
The girl realized after a few months that her sister had not written a reply to one of her letters, and she realized that maybe she did not care. This made the girl both equally sad and relieved that the anger she held for her sister might be requited, and she was not the only one repelling a close relationship.
There were memorable moments her family shared, and as they laughed jovially and spoke with warm eyes that emitted love with each blink, she recognized that the family of five was more content than the family of six. This made the girl smile.
After one year of her sister being away, her parents surprised her with the news that they were all going to follow the older sister to said magical place of flurries and laughter, and they were all going to attend the same school.
This made the girl’s heart flutter with the hope that possibly this new place could bring her luck, but something evil rested in the crevices of her heart that was black and silently suffocating the part that knew love.
The girl wanted to share with her family that she was not feeling like herself, and maybe something was wrong, but she learned long ago that help never comes when it is needed most. So, she silently suffered.
Her voice started to become hoarse and harshly cruel, and this scared her, wondering where her angelic words had fluttered off to.
When the girl arrived in this new land she saw bright lights and the green grass, but as she looked closer at the scenery around her, she saw traces of black outlining the images. She shook her head and the black was gone, but not from her memory.
She smiled and joined her family as they rode the merry-go-round of joy and basked in their newfound home, hoping that this place would bring them more luck than the last.
The older sister appeared happily, hugging her family members, but when she got to the girl, she paused and tipped her head to the side, as if noticing something was wrong. But she shrugged her shoulders in defeat, and gave the girl a light hug, although her arms never quite embraced her sister.
Her younger siblings, a girl, and a boy, both ran to the forest, climbing the trees and examining the leaves that delicately floated to the ground in a shimmer of light.
Their faces were joy-filled as laughter and secrets escaped their lips while they promised to never let the other feel anything but this type of incandescent happiness, because then what is the point in living?
The mother was sitting off to the side, toes stretching out in the grass as she felt herself connect to the earth, the air, and nature itself in all of its glorious pleasures.
The father was walking inside their home, pacing heavily with the worry creased across his face. When the mother turned her head to look inside, he caught her eye and faked a jovial smile and a happy wave.
This was the beginning of it all — the rise, the fall, the in-between tangled with cries of sorrow and joy, everyone wanting their voices to be heard, but soon recognizing that no one was truly listening.
Six months later the girl was watching the sunrise when she heard a thud come from the bed next to her. Her sister had fallen out of her bed, clutching her stomach and screaming in agony. The girl merely looked at her, with curious eyes, and she felt something in her chest grow, become stronger as she looked away and continued to watch the orange sun.
In the hospital bed where her sister lay, the girl found herself staring at the sister. Mad at her for being weak and being sick. Furious the sister could not control or hide it. She looked upon her sister, eyes maliciously cold as black air accompanied her thoughts: Coward, no-good helpless weakling. You are now my inferior. How dare you become my inferior.
The father was pacing outside the hospital room, brow furrowed profusely, hair graying in front of the staffs’ eyes. This made one of the nurses worry, so she decided to walk up to him and try to soothe his nerves that his daughter would be okay and that the surgery was normal procedure. As she went to tap his shoulder, she saw there was black oozing from the moisture of his breath in the cold hospital wing, and she decided to leave him be, curious about the mysterious black and its origin, wondering if it was sanitary for him to be in the recovery wing.
The mother was in the elevator leaving the cafeteria with some coffee for her husband, the two youngest siblings on either side. They tried to reassure each other that the eldest would be all right and that this scare was not like the others, that this time she would rebound faster and her stomach would stop hurting so much.
When the mother saw her husband she smiled at her memory of their wedding night when he danced with her until her feet hurt, and even then, he took off her heels and placed her feet upon his own, promising to carry them on the adventure of life with joy and trust because that was the only way it should be done.
She kissed him on the lips, and when he felt what she was doing he jolted back, looking at her ferociously, and breathed hard.
She then saw the black moisture escaping his lips, and with wide eyes ushered her kids away, hoping they did not see the evil that lingered in the air — but it was too late, for when she saw her own breath in the shiny steel reflection of the elevator, she saw the ominous black moisture wisp out of her parted lips.
The oldest sister returned to her own bed a week later, saddened by the diagnosis, and cried into her pillow. Her youngest sister walked in and asked what was troubling her, and the eldest revealed that her life had been cut short, and the time she was allowed would be spent in writhing agony. The youngest sister took her hand and brushed a tear away from her role model’s face.
The black tear fell onto her finger, and the little girl saw it run down her fingernails, turning the beds black as though she had just finished playing in the dirt.
She ran from her sister, afraid by what this meant, and cried her own translucent tears, only stopping when she saw in the mirror that they weren’t black and thought to herself that maybe she had just forgotten to clean her fingernails, and she would listen to her mother more now.
The moon looked into their household a while later, checking in on the family who needed her. That night the moon cried, tears leaking from rain clouds as she saw the youngest girl oozing black liquid from her ears after screaming to her mother that she hated her; the moon tried to escape the horror, but when she checked on the second oldest girl, she saw the lost look on her face as her eyes looked right through the moon and the stars, as though she no longer believed in a guiding light. The moon cried when she saw the eldest sister writhing in pain on the bathroom floor, crying out. When she looked into the kitchen she saw the father pacing crucially, ignoring his youngest son who wanted to play baseball. The boy was pleading profusely, pulling on his father’s shirt until the father struck him across the cheek — his wedding band cutting through the young boy’s skin. The moon peered in closer, having faith in the young boy — hoping he would bleed red. But he did not. The blood that trickled down his face was black as the night.
The moon turned its back on the family, saddened by their hatred, and tried to think of how to fix them — how to make what was once dark, light again. She thought and thought and pondered continuously until an astounding revelation came to her. And then she shone brightly, hoping her beacon would signal the right cure.
Two months later the girl was in a deep sleep when she was suddenly jolted awake. She saw that her eldest sister’s bed was empty and she knew where she was. And for a single second, she was sad that her sister had to feel like that. But it was a mere second and forgotten when the next occurred.
The girl lay back down, closing her eyes blissfully when she was jolted awake again. She was surrounded by a deafening silence, yet she still felt as though something was calling her name. So she grabbed her coat and walked outside, her toes cold in the night.
She heard her name being called from the edge of the forest, so she assumed she had been mistaken about her sister, and that she had actually ventured outside to feel better.
She followed the call, her feet growing heavy, arms tired, and head pounding. What was happening? she wondered, feeling as though she was walking through a haze of cotton, unable to see what was in front of her or speak clearly. The only part of her anatomical makeup that remained clear and precise was her hearing, as she followed the call of her name.
She tripped over large rocks and jutted roots, falling repeatedly and viciously, forcing her to meekly crawl limply in the darkness, defeated.
The trees were casting shadows on the ground, making the girl fearful of her isolation and the engulfing darkness that was penetrating her thoughts profusely.
Her vision was almost gone, and she could no longer make out the shapes and patterns of the treacherous forest that held secrets and promises long-forgotten.
She felt herself crying, screaming in terror at the noises of nature in the shadows of darkness in the depths of the night. She wanted to stop — to give in. She tried and she tried and she tried, but no one ever listened. No one ever cared. And she felt alone. Hopelessly and entirely alone.
She stopped crawling, clutching her legs into fetal position as she rocked and screamed into the earth. But then she heard her name again, and this drowned out her terrifying thoughts, and her tears stopped spilling quickly and slowed to a soft pace until they heeded entirely. She raised her head to see a cottage up ahead, flames of a soft fire flickering in its windows, looking warm and welcoming. She crawled slowly, barely mustering the strength to make it to the door. When she did, a woman opened it, the girl’s arm barely raised to knock, looking like a defeated worm on the ground.
“Come, child. Come,” The woman said. Her voice sounded like angelic bells tingling in the midst of the night. The girl pushed herself on all fours, and slowly stood up, looking in the eyes of the kind woman and saw her own crystal blue eyes and golden hair. There were wrinkles on the woman’s face, and light yellow and white were intermingling in the air of the room, making the girl wonder if she was a witch.
The woman laughed at the girl’s thought, and the girl’s eyes widened, inherently feeling that the woman knew what she was thinking.
“Why of course I do — I am you,” the woman said, puzzled by the girl’s ignorance at this obvious notion. She then left the girl to go grab her tea, chamomile, which she knew was her favorite.
“How?” the girl asked aloud, not solely thinking it because she wanted to add some normalcy to the situation.
The woman returned with the tea and ushered the girl into a comfortable chair near the crackling fire. “The moon called for me. It proclaimed you were in danger, so I came.”
The girl’s eyebrows furrowed as she swallowed her tea, and said, “Okay, because this is apparently normal, then why did you come?”
The woman’s face softened and her eyes were heartbroken. “I will always come for you. Don’t you know this? Don’t you know that you are never alone in this world?”
The girl laughed viciously and said that the woman obviously did not know her family. That the weak did not survive in the land of warriors, and her family does not tolerate the weak.
“That is not true. That is only one perception of the idea,” the woman said, kneeling in front of the girl.
The girl drank some more tea and felt something inside her shift, and she suddenly felt the urge to say something that had been lingering in the shadows of her mind for a long time. “I feel different.”
The woman laughed kindly and said, “Well of course you do. This is a transformative time in your life right now.”
“No,” the girl interjected, “I feel wrong. And I think it’s affecting those I love.” The girl looked down at her shirt, noticing the grass and mud stains from the crawl, and hoping that her mother would not yell at her when she returned home.
The woman took the girl’s mug and set it down next to the chair, then took the girl’s hands in her own--her large ones enveloping the girl’s, making the girl feel like a child — something she missed terribly.
“This is why I was called,” the woman said. “Because something is wrong in your family, and the moon knew that you would be the only one who could fix it.”
The girl looked at the woman with scared eyes. “What if I can’t? What if we are doomed to be forever hateful because I don’t succeed?”
The woman squeezed the girl’s hands and said, “You will succeed because you only have to do one thing, and if there is anything I have learned from your thoughts and by being you, is that you will try so incredibly hard to defeat the obstacles you endure.”
The girl looked at her with tentative eyes and felt something flutter in her chest — something hopeful. “Please tell me. I want to try.”
The woman looked into the girl’s crystal blue eyes and with the assurance of countless philosophers said, “Tell them how you feel.”
The girl's eyebrows raised as she looked at the woman questionably, wondering how the anecdote could be so simple. The she remembered it wasn’t. Communication was not something her family exceeded at.
“Tell them everything. Tell them what your heart is telling you. Tell them and they will listen.”
Worry spread across the girl’s face as she thought about how no one listens to her. No one has, and she never thought anyone would.
The woman nodded at her and said, “Make them listen because you are important and you deserve to hold the sun in your hands. Don’t let them make you feel like the light is too far away. Because it’s always with you. Always.”
The woman left the girl and before she could understand what was happening, the woman began to fade away, her smile bright and incandescent as she did something the girl had forgotten how to do — she believed in her.
The house was gone, the comfortable chair was gone, and she could smell and hear the final breaths of the crackling fire as the heat left her warm, but it was gone as well.
The girl realized she was alone in the depths of the forest and felt her toes wriggle in the grass happily as she smiled and looked up where she saw the moon and the stars scintillating brightly, giving the world light in the dark. And she remembered happily how the light never leaves us — it simply takes a new form.
She stretched her arms out to the side, threw her head back and started to laugh. She laughed at the bizarreness of life but also laughed with the hope that everything would soon be fixed--it would soon be okay. When her laughter fell into a satisfied sigh, she looked at the canopies around her and felt cocooned in the comfort of nature.
She looked at the moon and the stars once more, nodding towards them as she gave them permission to guide her home, and she ran. She ran towards the house, excited to tell her family what she had learned, excited to be happy again.
She ran hard as she fought the thick boughs of low trees and hopped over large rocks and jutted roots that were obstacles she once was forced to crawl over but could now fly over.
When she saw the lights of her house she stopped to catch her breath and saw that the moisture leaving her lips was light and white and beautiful. It was hopeful.
She saw her dad pacing in the kitchen, her older sister clutching her stomach on the couch, the mother fighting with the younger sister about her outfit, and the young boy punching holes into the wall that would accompany the plethora of other holes scattered throughout the house.
I can do this, the girl thought to herself and smiled as she ran towards her house, opening the doors in a large flourish, causing the curtains to billow in the air, making her family members look at her incredulously as she interrupted their miserable routine.
“I love you!” she shouted and ran to kiss her mother. “I love you so much!” she bellowed as she hugged her brother and younger sister. “I love you,” she said softly as she kissed her older sister’s forehead. “And I love you, Dad. I really do,” she said kindly to her father, and she hugged him, squeezing him tightly, hoping he understood she was not going anywhere no matter his income status or what level of the building his office presided. She loved him. She loved them. All of them.
She saw her mother’s head tilt to the side, eyes clearing from a fog towards clarity, her siblings had started to hug, and her older sister was no longer clutching her stomach. And without initially noticing, she then recognized that her father’s phone was on the table beside them and his arms were wrapped around her.
She saw white moisture in the air, genuine smiles, and translucent tears of happiness. She pulled away from her father and looked at her family members, feeling something in her chest finally break free as she contentedly sighed and said again three little words that had freed her from the suffocating silence of fear.
There once was a girl with sun gold hair who was happy. Then darkness penetrated her heart, thickening it with black, losing its previously beautiful composure of kindness and love. She was alone, scared in the submergence of darkness. But do not fret, for the girl learned how to find the guiding light that would bring her home. She rediscovered a cleansing love that would fill the cracks and crevices to make her whole once more. This is a girl who is happy.
I have enjoyed figure skating for about fourteen years, and I have been fortunate enough to compete different styles such as ice dance, synchro, and freestyle. I earned my Solo Pilot’s License at the age of sixteen. I enjoy reading and watching Harry Potter, and my favorite food is apples.