Excerpt from “The Illuminated Forest”

The Illuminated ForestThere are tales that rise like the early sun, breathe, and take on a life of their own. There are ones that flow quietly and effortlessly until time forsakes them, but there are others that fight until they find their way to the edge of reality, as if coming straight out of a dream.

With every sip of water from the stream, the stray cat swallowed the moon and a handful of stars. Weary with exhaustion and not knowing how it ended up there, it lay alone, surrounded by darkness and the agitated sounds of other animals. Luckily, it had found safety in a secluded spot deep in the forest beneath the branches of an orange tree. The stray finally settled in for the night behind a soft, tall fortress of grass that ensured temporary privacy. It now felt protected by a canopy of shrubs entangled with vines and wild flowers. But still the cat could not find warmth, even on the improvised bed of dry leaves and brush. As the creature lay quietly, tired from wandering, it tried to ignore the hunger gnawing at its guts. Soon, the night’s symphony of frogs, crickets, and sleepless birds soothed him to sleep.

A sudden far away rumble shook the dew off the jasmine and interrupted the cat’s fitful sleep. As it lifted its sleepy eyes to the sky, it discovered the burning tail of a beautiful falling star whose brilliance transformed the tranquility of an otherwise ordinary night. The stray watched as a thin flash of lighting cracked the sky open to a dazzling rush of shooting stars. Among them, the brightest of them all fell from space at an overwhelming speed, making its fiery way past other stars and planets, following the invisible curvature of space as it began to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere…

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