Hey guys! I know, it's been a long time since I've updated. And I know this probably won't be enough, but it's all I've had time for, since I am going away on Friday for the rest of December and won't be able to write anything. Please forgive me! And enjoy! xx
The forest seemed infinite. It was eerily silent; save for the pounding of her beating heart and the soft thud as each of her feet hit the ground. Erin didn't look back. For all she knew, Ms Preston could have sent the police after her, and so she had to get as far away from here as possible. And yet, despite the fact that she was leaving the only home she had ever known, she felt exhilarated. The rebellious part of her thrilled at the idea of defying the law and running away. Becoming an outcast wasn't as scary as she thought it would be. She could live in the forest, hunt on animals for food and use the trees for shelter. It would be a primitive, simplistic life, but Erin knew it would be far better than being back at that orphanage.
Encouraged by her positive thoughts, Erin ran harder, enjoying the burning sensation in her thighs as she pressed on, deeper into the forest. She was beginning to feel tired, but she didn't once stop. Stopping could mean being brought back to the orphanage. To take her mind off her ragged breathing, Erin concentrated on her surroundings. She had been in this forest countless times, and yet she had never truly appreciated its beauty. The pine trees stood tall and lean, their dark green foliage branching outwards into one another and blocking the sky above. Tendrils of light seeped through the gaps, casting a greenish tinge over the ground below. An array of pinecones, leaves and moss covered the forest floor like a prickly, earthen blanket. Moss clung to the lower trunks of trees and over large grey boulders. Small, woodland animals would scurry along the ground, disappearing into the shrubs. In the distance, the chattering of crickets could be heard as they whispered to each other. Erin closed her eyes briefly and inhaled the sweet, woodsy scent of the forest. Never had she felt more at home.
For the first time, Erin cast a glance behind her – there was nothing but an expanse of trees. Sighing in relief, she sat down on a moss-covered boulder and massaged her aching legs. There's no one after me, she thought to herself. No one cares. She didn't know why, but she felt slightly irritated about that. Didn't she mean enough to send out a search party for her? Obviously not. Erin picked up a rock and threw it bitterly at a nearby pine. As she did so, a deer scampered out from behind.
"Wait!" Erin called out to it. The doe looked back at Erin for a moment, her ears pricking up. Her dark nose twitched a little. Erin took this as a good sign and quietly rose from her seat. She took a step forward and accidently crunched a pinecone under her foot. The doe flinched and took a few steps back.
"It's alright," Erin assured her in a soothing voice, reaching out with her arm. "I'm not going to hurt you." She crept closer and closer to the doe, not taking her eyes of the deep brown ones. Out of curiosity, the doe inched forward towards her outstretched hand, sniffing cautiously. Erin smiled and stretched out further, brushing against the soft brown fur of the doe's face. She snorted and nuzzled contently into Erin's palm, encouraging Erin to scratch her behind the ears.
"There's a good girl," Erin cooed, pleased with herself. She didn't know why she was talking to the animal, but she felt a strange connection to the doe – something almost maternal. Where it came from, she had no idea, but the doe seemed to respond to her. Feeling inspired, Erin bent lower to the doe's ear and whispered, "Do you know where any water is?"
Almost as though she understood, the doe pricked her ears up again and trotted away. Once she had gone a few paces, she glanced back at Erin, as if gesturing to follow. Erin nodded and ran after the doe. She led her to a waterfall that spilled down the side of the mountain and into an icy lake below. The doe bent of the edge of the waterfall and began to drink. Erin decided to do the same. The water was freezing and splashed her face, making her teeth chatter, but it quenched her thirst and she was grateful for that.
Once the doe had finished her drink, she trotted back into the forest and disappeared behind the trees.
"Wait, where are you going?" Erin called after her, but this time, she didn't turn around. With a frustrated sigh, Erin stood up and trudged back into the shelter of the trees, her hands shoved in the pockets of her jacket and her quiver and bow strapped to her back. Who was she kidding? As much as she loved the forest and the sanctuary it provided, she couldn't live in here forever. She needed to find civilisation – fast.
Please read and review :) It means a lot. xx
Also... to the guest who last reviewed this story, no Erin is not Artemis.