The word was ominous. Cody had been struggling to find the right word as he stood in the backyard looking into the woods behind his family’s new house. The wood was a collection of colors and shadows. On the edge, light mixed in with the sharp greens and varying shades of muted browns, but looking deeper, deeper was the gray and the black. He zipped his jacket up a little higher, stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets, and walked toward the dark tree line. Ominous, he thought as he walked, yes.

Cody liked words. He thought they were important, and often wished words, the right words, would come to him more easily. Silence came more easily, he thought. Cody knew he was smart, but never as smart as other kids or certainly his teachers or parents. He believed he was smart in other ways, but sometimes that knowledge still made him feel small.

He lifted his eyes from the ground as he stepped across the tree line. His imagination became active for a moment, and he pretended he was on an alien planet, discovering new plant life. It didn’t last long. It was just a game he still caught himself playing, but he was getting too old for such nonsense. At least, that’s what his dad said. In reality, the plant life was made up of different kinds of trees, but Cody wasn’t sure of their names. He recognized large and small ferns covering the ground, along with other plants. He liked the earthy smell of the vegetation. He wracked his brain as he walked for a word that would describe the smell besides ‘earthy.’ Oh well, he thought.

He was among the trees, and surrounded by the shadows. He stopped and listened. There were noises, but they were whispers and little sounds, that mixed with the shadows, pressed in on him. Cody turned to look behind him, and noticed the afternoon sunlight shining on the lawn, the house and the leaves on the trees; it was beautiful.

Cody liked their new house. He could see the exposed basement from where he stood, and the deck up above that cast the sliding glass doors in shadow. The front of the house was nice too, with the creosote pilings lining up the blacktop driveway. He pictured the basketball hoop in his mind and smiled ruefully, he was not very good at it yet, but he would practice. He turned and shook his head thinking of the boxes that still filled the garage, some of the rooms, and even lined the hallways; boxes of things that still had yet to be unpacked. If it were like the last time, some of those boxes would just get put on a truck again without ever being unpacked.

Cody sighed and turned to face the forest. He walked forward and listened to the swish and occasional crack of his sneakers as he tread upon the orange and yellow pine needles, brushed along the ever present ferns, and found the occasional twig with his feet. He tried to be quiet as he walked, placing his feet carefully with each step, but he could not always avoid the unexpected forest tidbits crunching underfoot. His father said they might go hunting, and he would need to learn to be quiet. He stuffed his hands in his pockets again with the thought. Cody was not sure how he felt about the idea. But he would be spending time with his dad… and using a gun might be cool, he thought. The truth is he was scared…

© L. Rose (2015)


A working title of course. I was interrupted after sitting down and writing this, and have not returned to it since. Unfortunately, I am no longer certain where this was headed, and while I was writing it, the story took on a mind of its own.

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. Thanks for reading!