The cottage garden had a wooden gateway to the forest, covered by an overgrown arch of holly, beech saplings and blackberry vines with tiny pink blossom. One sunny afternoon, they decided to walk in the woods and set off, ducking under the foliage into the open forest. Lucy and Jack ran ahead between the trees. Steve and Michelle walked hand-in-hand. Wild mustard flowers grew in clumps on open patches of grass. But the weather soon turned. There was a dampness in the air. They looked upward as big drops of rain fell from darkened clouds.
They walked downhill on the slippery grass toward the ripple of a stream and saw a mini-waterfall, barely half a metre tall. Images of trees mirrored in the water and the sheer beauty of the scene made the Nobodys feel free. During the brief downpour, they took cover in the forest. The family walked as the rain subsided and a fallen tree loomed ahead. They drew closer to the massive oak, which looked as if it had been ripped from the ground. The greys of its bark were turning green as moss crept along its splintered branches.
A misty shimmer accompanied their stroll over the crest of a hill. Woodsmoke drifted through the air as the land flowed downwards and a grassy pathway emerged. The trail was bordered with fern. Trees towered on each side. Sunlight glinted through the woodland canopy and a light wind swept around the dancing leaves. Steve slowed down as he heard an abrasive metallic noise. It was out of place out there in the forest. A line of blood ran from his nose.
“Are you okay?” Michelle asked.
“I think so… I… I just heard something,” he said, wiping the blood.
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