The Forest of Smoke

The Forest of Smoke

++++++++++My grandparents knew of a little girl who got lost in the forest–
Gone: like clouds in the night, dissipated under the guile of the moon.
++++++++++They told me her name–Jessica Gray–, and they told me her problem–lunacy. “She was always very strange around evening time,” they told me. “Avoid the lass. She’s no good.”
++++++++++But how could I? There was a certain allure in the way she carried herself, and therefore, there had to be a certain embellishment in their warnings. At the tender age of 12, I knew someone so pretty could not be crazy. If anyone, I would be the crazy one–the ‘inspired’ distant admirer. She could not have lunacy.

++++++++++“Start using your brain!” they scolded. “Do you not see her witchcraft?”
+++++++++++++I did.
++++++++++But that was what made her so lovely.

~    ~    ~    ~ ~        ~ ~ ~    ~ ~        ~

The night before I vowed to met her personally came a dark breeze. One would think wind scattered fogs, but not this one. In its ghostly wake drifted a cloud of black fume that infiltrated the atmosphere with obscurity and treachery.
++++++++++She came out in a white dress, dimmed by the ominous gust of the vapor and walked in.
Naturally walked into the air of gray as the fog hugged the low benches of the ground and blanketed the wispy cloud. No one dared follow her; no one dared look at her. It was 12:45 PM, and not a ray of moonlight pierced that forest of smoke.

The morning after I asked my grandparents. They had never heard of the forest until the day of her disappearance, but I knew in their hearts they felt justified and relieved–justified that the theory of witchcraft proved true, relieved that she would never bother me henceforth.
++++++++++I never saw the ghostly belle again–a dark void that outmatched even the gravity of the forest.

My grandparents knew of many little girls, but it was she who lost herself that I loved.

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