The Hanging Gardens

While trying to find a way out of the forest, Will and Rain stumbled into the Hanging Gardens.

In the time before the Ocean of Trees, the people of Precipice Village hanged their criminals deep in the forest. They hanged thieves and witches alike, and when the trees began growing like a reverse wildfire, they stopped hanging people, especially witches. The woodsmen worked and still work daily and nightly to sever the evergrowing forest, to keep it at bay, like waves rushing against a beachhead, only to recede with axe and flame, already preparing to rush again. The clopping sound of axes never ceased, nor did the vague rumble beneath the village after each felled tree. The crescendo of chopping and the vibration of the earth became a drum of life in the day and a lullaby in the night. And since Precipice was backed against a cliff, the villagers only had to chop the Ocean of Trees from one side. But no one knew just how far the Ocean was spreading on the other side.

For generations, the boys of Precipice dared one another deeper and deeper into the Hanging Gardens, where the evil men and arcane women dangled like vines, like decaying cocoons. Rainfall, or Rain as he liked to be called, never made it past the outer edge of the Gardens, not even after the jeers of his so-called friends.

And now he had to walk all the way through if he wanted to get home.

“This is an evil place,” said Will, which was what Rain named the last will o’ the wisp in the Ocean. Will’s floating, bobbing light faded in fear.

“We need to go through,” Rain said, even though that was the last thing he wanted to do. He feigned courage for Will’s sake. He couldn’t afford to lose Will’s light. The forest was always dark, but it was growing darker in the dusk. And there was no way he was sleeping anywhere near the Gardens.

 


 

 

Day 312’s three random writing prompt categories were, “The hanging tree,” “Autocannibalism,” and, “A forest world.”

Okay, I’m making this a two- or three-parter. This is awesome.

Also, it’s a moderate sequel to A Boy and His Wisp if you’re interested in those sorts of things.

– H.

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