S Peter Davis

All characters (C) SEGA, Archie and SP Davis 2004 (unless otherwise noted).
Used without permission

Everything the way it should be:

(Whose woods these are I think I know, his house is in the village though)

The Great Forest was prettiest in the spring, when the entire world seemed newborn. The weather changed quickly, and one could never really predict what was going to happen, whether it would rain or shine, be windy or still, hot or cold. The sun was out today, it shone on the forest floor and evaporated the rain that had fallen overnight. It was raining more often, the monsoons weren't far away; you could always predict the season. Nature needed no guard, no watchman to remind it of its duties. It kept its own schedule, as tight as any timepiece made by technology's hand. The seasons, after all, were the oldest timepiece there was.

(He will not see me stopping here, to watch his woods fill up with snow)

Out here in the forest, his fur warmed by the morning sun, he admired the beauty of it all. In a world where so much was lost to the darkness, where so much evil ran rampant like an incurable cancer, it was still so simple to lie here and see that, yes, the world was still beautiful. No amount of evil could really diminish that. The world was still beautiful. The birds would still wake up every morning to sing their jolly song, the deer would still leap and forage, content with it all. No matter how much was lost to the darkness and how terrible everything seemed, the sun would still rise in the east the next morning, to evaporate the rain and to warm his fur. Life would go on, and life was okay. Even when life was bad, life was still okay.

(The only other sound's the sweep of easy wind and downy flake)

He heard the crunching of leaves, and he did not open his eyes. It was surely a deer, or a badger, or a wild pig, any of the things that moved about in this forest teeming with life. It was far too comfortable in his patch of grass to bother sitting up and looking around. Whatever it was would go away of its own volition, he wasn't bothering anybody lying here. There was plenty of room in this forest for the peaceful, and for those at peace with the world, who only wanted to enjoy then morning and warm their fur in the sun. He was not an intruder here, he and the forest were one.
But the sound did not go away, it even seemed to approach him, and this was something slightly odd, because animals rarely approached this close to the village, and almost never approached its residents, wild as they were and untamed. His interest stimulated, he lifted his head to see what it was that dared to come so near.

(These woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep)

Out of the forest stepped a tired and travel-weary stranger, a person, and his solitude broken, he sat up and squinted against the morning sun to see who it was. This was after all a secret place, nobody trekked this far into the heart of the forest unless they knew what was here.
He saw the face of this newcomer against the light, and he frowned. It surely couldn't be who he thought it was. They had told him that that was a lost chapter, an old wound, healed as all wounds were by time and patience. They had believed this, but he hadn't. It simply never felt right to let go - and here, standing before him, was the evidence that he had been right all along. Sometimes, the laws of logic and likelihood had to give way to deeper feelings. Feelings so deep that only the soul knew them.
Rising to his feet, he began to cry. Tears of an old pain came bubbling to the surface and he did not fight them, for they had more than earned their right to roll down his cheeks and redden his young eyes. He cried, and ran, ran right into the waiting arms of the traveller, who returned his embrace warm and tight. As he cried in the arms of this newcomer, he said over and over what he had held in his heart for the span of a year.
"Sonic... I never lost faith, Sonic... I never lost faith..."

(And miles to go before I sleep)

"Me neither, Tails. Me neither."

(And miles to go before I sleep)

January 1, 2000 -
August 8, 2005


I have the following people to thank:

First and most, K.M. Hollar for her ongoing support, praise and inspiration, and for helping see this through from beginning to end.

No less importantly, I want to thank anyone who's ever read anything I've written from beginning to end. Especially those who read this hulking thing from beginning to end. That means you. Thank you.

The talented artists who supplied artwork for this story deserve their due copyright credit, as well as my deepest thanks for their fantastic contributions.

Seeing Double © Tash Dragon, 2003
The Holy Prophet © Tash Dragon, 2003
City in the Sky © Baz, 2004
Rolling Towards Him © K.M. Hollar, 2003
Roxanna © Baz, 2003
Wibble-Kee © K.M. Hollar, 2003
City of the Spiders © K.M. Hollar, 2005
Sonic and Cinos © K.M. Hollar, 2005
I Never Lost Faith © K.M. Hollar, 2005

Exerpt from Sonic the Hedgehog #151 © Archie Comics, 2005, art by Art Mawhinney, Jim Amash, John Workman, Josh & Aimee Ray.

All other images © S Peter Davis, 2005

Reproducing these images without the express written permission of the artist will not only invoke their wrath, but also mine.

I also thank the brilliant and sadly the late Robert Frost for the poetry that appears between the paragraphs of this saga. For those who are interested, the lines belong to the following works:

Chapter one and the epilogue - Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Chapter two - The Wood-Pile
Chapters four and five - Birches
Chapter six - The Tuft of Flowers
Chapter seven - Good-Bye, and Keep Cold

All are © Robert Frost.

Finally, in the spirit of this story's theme, I should thank God, at the very least for seeing fit in His wisdom not to kill me before I finally finished this thing, and to hope that He doesn't see its completion as an invitation to snuff me any time soon.