My Forest

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Chapter one

Hello, my name is Vince, simple as that. The last few months have been... enlightening to say the least. I would love to share the story with you, especially about my first flight. Oh... I just might have said too much. So as I was saying, my story is the usual classic, man meets world, man learns about something, then man saves the world.

Vague... I know, but I can tell you right now where this all started... About three months ago... not entirely sure about the times... I have been busy... I was driving to the corner store about... ten miles from my house near the forest. Cannot remember if it was for milk or just eggs... but as I was saying, I was driving along in my pickup, without a care in the world. The next moment has been the pivotal point of my life. A wolf ran across the road, darting from the forest. He was a magnificent beast, grey, black, and white, a perfect predator of the forest. I swerved just in time to save him from getting run over by my tone and a half of truck. I stopped on the side of the road to calm down after that near accident.

Then the oddest thing happened... The wolf stopped also, on the other side of the road, opposite of the forest and just stared... right at me... eye to eye. I stared in return, neither scared nor, oddly, surprised at his mannerisms. He gave a nod, such a human thing that I just blinked. When my eyes opened I saw him running back into the forest, taking a wide detour around the stopped truck. I started the engine and drove back onto the road and headed to the corner store.

I came in and nodded to Frank behind the counter with a smile and headed to get what I came here for. I was minding my own business when this man, dressed in Indian shamanistic clothing, came up to me and spoke in a rough voice, choked with cigar smoke, "You have seen the wolf... He told me about you... Vince."

I raised my eyebrow at the man and sighs, "How did you know sir?"

"The wolf... the black, grey, and white wolf you swerved to avoid as he came running out of the forest. He has spoken with me. He thanks you and would like to thank you in person in the upcoming... days... Do not be afraid of your dreams tonight Vince. You will know in time." He spoke, his tone, not entirely threatening; yet full of wisdom of his... visually sixty odd years.

I stepped back from him, a bit... surprised at his accuracy of what happened not just twenty minutes prior, "You have been watching me... What am I to you? What am I to the wolf?" I asked a bit nervously.

The shaman smiles and just nods, "You are the answer to the animals of the forest. Go home and dream."

I just shook my head and walked around the man, "What ever Shaman... Thank you for your... wisdom I guess." I headed to the checkout and looked to Frank, "What is with his story Frank?"

Frank just sighs, "I do not know... He has been around the past couple of days. He's a wanderer though... Do not take his words to heart."

"I will not... Here's the three, forty seven I owe you for the bread and eggs..."

"Thank you and have a good night, it is getting late now."

I look outside and blinks, "Where has the day gone?" I ask to myself out loud as I head out to my pickup.

Twenty minutes later, I arrived at my small cottage by the forest. I smiled as I drove up the small stoned driveway towards a sparsely furnished home of refuge. I loved it here, basic cable, and no internet. Just the woods to explore and camp out in from time to time. I parked and headed inside and placed the eggs and bread into the fridge. I grabbed a coke and headed to my chair in front of the TV. I sat down and turned on the TV to the news. The usual... war... famine... Obama's recent speech. I was not interested in any of that, it was far away from my home.

After an hour or so, I started to get drowsy and headed to my bed in the room next to the living room/kitchen and flicked on my bedside lamp to read a great classic, Ferinhight 451, a great novel by any standards. I was about half way through at this point and read for another twenty minutes before I heard the call of a wolf. I stopped and cocked my head to the window to listen. I knew that call... the sound of a lone person. I nodded to the window and I placed the book down and turned off my lamp and fell to a fitful dream.

In the dream, I stood in the middle of a clearing I knew very well, for it was just a few hundred feet behind my house. I watched the trees as the wolf from earlier slowly walked out of them, his head held high. He looked straight into my eyes and spoke, not with words, but with wolf yipps and barks that I understood, "Welcome Vince. I call you here for a boon, a request. This forest is in danger from poachers and loggers. We of the forest," as he said 'we of the forest' more animals came out of the trees; bears, rabbits, eagles, falcons, deer, and the pack of the forest, "called you hear because.. We need you."

I was... utterly flabbergasted and slowly shook my head, "Why me? Why? That Shaman... must have spiked my bread... my eggs... something..." and shook my head, "This cannot be happening..."

A voice spoke behind me with a small chuckle, "It is happening Vince... Believe it and accept the gift I told you at the store."

The Shaman walked out and I whipped myself around to face him, "You... You did this to me."

He chuckled and shook his head, "The animals did this... I just knew of it before hand. They need your help. Accept their gift young one... and be free for once. Help them and you will keep the gift... turn them down... and the forest is lost. The animals will die."

I listened patiently, and wondered what the gift was. I turned to the animals of the forest and spoke slowly, "What is it that you will give me? What will it do?"

The animals spoke as one, the voice a jumbling of all of the sounds, "We give you the gift... of our forms... our language... "

I stepped back, not entirely sure what they said. The shaman stood behind me and I felt him smile, "A gift of the millennia... A rare gift indeed...." He turned and walked out of the clearing with these last words, "Learn the ways... and you will save the forest... Learn their ways..."

I listened to them all and slowly it dawned on me, the Shaman's words spoke true to my own belief of animals. I stood straighter and spoke with clarity, "I accept this gift... What must I do?"

The animals all smiled their own way and rushed towards me. All running at me and through me. I felt them pass through me as I stumbled back, afraid. The last one to pass through me was the lone wolf. He spoke as he stepped through me into my mind, "Find me here tomorrow... Cub..." I fell back and blackness enveloped my sight.