Walking along the sidewalk, I wondered whether to go into the woods or not. She had said the magic forest was somewhere in the city park. She had explained to me that I would find it if I walked through the city park southward at nightfall.
The problem was that I didn’t believe Melody – her name is Melody – because she had described this magic forest as ‘floating’ and that sounded strange even to me.
Why even to me? Well, my name is Jake and I’m a sort of a wizard. I fought Cyclopes and other dangerous monsters only a few days ago. I believe in magic, of course, but a floating forest? I couldn’t even imagine it.
But Melody looked like a remarkable girl when I saw her running across the street two days ago. Then, that afternoon, I bumped into her at the local supermarket. I was trying to escape from a monster when I met Melody. She looked as scared as I was.
“You’re the boy,” she said. “You’re the wizard. The bird said it’s you!”
I couldn’t answer; Melody only introduced herself, explained how to find the floating forest and ran away.
Now, when all my problems were solved, I was hesitant – should I get into trouble again? Maybe Melody needed help. Anyway, I was in front of the city park, so I went into the woods. I had been walking only a few minutes to the south when the trees gradually disappeared and I found myself on the edge of the earth. I was standing in front of an ice-blue abyss.
And it was just beyond the abyss.
Dark twisted trees were floating above at a distance of two meters from me. Small colorful birds were flying under the crown of the trees. The earth there looked freshly dug and dark but I could see clods of it chipping off the edge and falling down into the light-blue abyss. Was this place dying?
When Melody told me she lived in a floating forest I thought she was crazy. But no, there it was, just like she said.
I should have believed her. After all, I considered myself a magician. I had magical powers, I fought plenty of monsters, and I lost friends for the greater good. Upon seeing the floating forest over the abyss I felt guilty for having called her crazy.
And I swore I would help her.
I made sure there was no one around and without hesitation I jumped over the abyss. I felt I was falling into the open air when a hand in a dark glove grabbed me and pulled me up to the ground. I had a look around and I saw Melody standing in front of me, a raven settled on her shoulder.
“Thanks for helping me,” I said and got up from the ground.
Melody’s eyes remained as cold as ice. “According to this raven, you’re the only one who can help me save this forest from breaking into pieces before the next full moon. I have to warn you that I sow death anywhere I go,” she explained to me.
I sat on the nearest rock and noticed a small lodge behind Melody. “What did you just say? You sow death?”
“You don’t believe me, do you? Let me show you. I’d never hurt this forest but there’s one way,” Melody took the raven in her palm. “When is the next rain?”
My eyes widened when I heard the raven caw: “Only in a few seconds!”
“The raven talks?” – I was amazed.
“Of course it does. You’re a wizard. Didn’t you know?” Melody was even more amazed than me.
I had no time to answer. In the next moment some cats and dogs fell from the sky. Most of them were small ugly creatures resembling cats and dogs – they had this shape but their blood-red eyes and long sharp teeth were too abnormal.
The strange cat-dog-like monsters started hissing at me and Melody, but she took off her right glove and caught one colorful red-eyed cat. Instantly, the cat-like monster turned into ash and the rest of the animals ran away as fast as they could.
Melody turned to me putting her glove on. “Well, do you agree to help someone who has such powers?” she asked pointing to the heap of ash.
“I have only one question – how often does it literally rain cats and dogs?” I answered smiling at her.
Melody screwed her eyes. “You don’t get it, do you? I am doomed to sow death. This forest was falling apart when I found it a month ago. I settled here and the decay of the forest quickened. Parts of it disappear into the abyss daily” she said sadly.
“Then why don’t you leave this place?” I asked.
“I wish I could. But once started, this place will vanish once and for all. This raven – its name is Iry – was born here. I have to help this place. I can’t watch it slowly dying! Iry says you can help but I think it’s too dangerous. To save the forest, I need to find the Mother of Doom. According to an old legend, she lives in the darkest area of the floating forest. I wouldn’t put anyone in danger, including you, but Iry insisted on you knowing. My task was to let you know about this whole place. I don’t think you should be here at all. You can shelter for the night in the lodge but tomorrow you’re leaving!” Leaving me alone outside, Melody went into her lodge.
The talking raven invited me to dinner. Melody didn’t show up. I thought she was really scared of her deadly powers and she was afraid of hurting her friends. I didn’t believe there was something like the Mother of Doom but I hadn’t believed there was a floating forest either. Now I was in it. The world had gotten even crazier than I used to know it. But fighting with monsters and helping people in need were much more exciting and noble than vegetating in front of the TV.
I chose to help Melody and Iry.
On the next morning I went out and found Melody carving a grey stone. Iry had settled on her knee.
“Well, it was nice meeting you and it’s even nicer to send you off” – that was her morning greeting. I wondered if she could sing well – her name meant ‘melody’ but her voice was mainly rude.
“Which is the path leading to the Mother of Doom?” I said in answer.
Melody stared at me. “Didn’t you listen while I was telling you about my powers?”
“Yes, I did and I think it will protect us during our search.”
Melody gave me a cunning smile and shouldered her backpack heading to the darkest path we could see. Iry was flying above us.
“I hope you can fight because you’re going to dice with death. This forest is full of dangers,” she warned me.
I smiled and followed her into the unknown. I could only hope I wouldn’t end up as a dead body.