I remained hidden, watching from behind the fern for some ten minutes or so before deciding that such exceedingly odd behavior strongly recommended that I turn back around- especially considering my inability to spot any mushrooms of the sort lying around. That meant abandoning the idea of finding any refuge or sustenance. The rock catches hadn’t yielded near as much water as I had hoped for. Physically however, I recognized that I didn’t realistically have that choice, unless I wanted to risk collapsing on the way to a place that I didn’t even know was there. I instinctively reached back to check for my buck knife- just in case- to realize that it hadn’t made the jump and all I had now was a walking stick for which I had just made use of a peculiarly straight oak bough.
Given, I had seen much stranger behavior during my stay in the London asylums. Ironically enough, it was there I encountered a decent number of memorably unique individuals- some even seemingly brilliant to my interpretation- of whom could seem more “sane” than the management body of its facilities. As mentioned, I had seen that every advantage had its disadvantages, every gift had its -often steep- consequences, and everything has its price. Needless to say, after that I never again broached or entertained conversation of my lives’ experiences. Though the following centuries gave rise to many inquiring minds for the mystical- it was mostly intangible imaginations of past lives, and never gaining any answers had long left me feeling voicelessly isolated inside- wondering if I was the only one, or if anyone else who had been around the block more than once was also fearful to speak of such matters with confidence.
I often passed some of the countless lonely hours pondering or making up stories of where the selected few other humans I had cared about were now. I liked to think that they conjectured similarly.
A small, biting voice intruded my train of thought, “Just what exactly are you doing hiding there? If you’re going to be creepy, you could at least pick a bigger plant!”
Clearly my time killed musing was potentiating trouble for me again. I stood up from my apparently meager cover, mostly surprised that I had even been noticed at all. I didn’t think to say anything but an indecipherable mutter, and stared back at a girl of about 12. Her dark eyes stared impatiently through unkempt, black hair.
“What are you mute? Well you clearly didn’t come all the way out here just to stare did you?”
“I suppose I’m rather lost? Well- I thought I knew where I was, but it seems like everything is changing…”
“What did you choose the Blue berry and then get lost in the woods? Are you slow? Of course everything is changing- its an unsafe world where you can’t predict or control anything but what you do! The landscape is always changing!” sounding like she was reciting some mantra, she was apparently accustomed to speaking just short of a yell, and her enthusiasm seemed oddly misplaced.
I paused. “I saw the fire and needed somewhere to rest because I’ve been wandering and I don’t know where I am, how I came upon this unfamiliar place, or where I’m going.”
She rolled her eyes, “Oh man, have I heard that one before. Well I guess you’ve stumbled upon just the right place! We at least know what we’re doing here. We have options and choices. We’re free.”
I silenced my many inquisitions and simply returned an untenable smile; disguising my incredulity at such a all-encompassing statement to a subjective end.
Her childish grin yet unforgiving candor was inscrutably reminiscent of some place familiar.