It happened again. I awoke in the forest, naked, dirty, alone, no memory of how I had been transported there from the quiet confines of my bedroom. Something was in my hand, a strip of cloth, blue, satin, obviously torn from a dress.

It had begun two months ago, a nighttime walk in the woods on the edge of the glen. Whatever had possessed me to blaze that nocturnal path, I do not know, but I remember suddenly being overcome with a sense of a presence, of something watching me, tracking my every move.... I heard a twig snap, a rustling of leaves behind me -- I could not help but to run, and as I ran, crashing headling through the brush with a powerfully pounding heart, it seemed as though the very brambles themselves were reaching toward me, intent upon slowing my flight and insuring my capture by whatever followed. At last I burst from the woods and into the glen, illuminated by the fullness of the moon. I turned to confront whatever fell beast might be chasing me, but saw nothing.

It was only upon my return home that I realized how scratched up I'd gotten myself, dashing through the bushes like that. Nicks and scratches adorned my face, arms, and legs, and even my clothing had been cut through in a few places. Streaks of blood mingled with a few lines of sticky sap and particles of greenery. How silly I'd been, I thought with a half a laugh. Why, there'd been no other animal around to raise my hackles in those woods, nothing there at all but trees and bushes. And obviously I couldn't have been chased by a plant.

But then last month, after each day of the full moon, I had found myself in the glen again, bereft of clothes and with no idea of how I'd gotten there. As I made my way back to my house, thankful that I could plan my path to avoid others viewing my nakedness, vague memories of a dream remained, of running through the woods with a feeling of bliss, not fear, of coming to a standstill and of meditation on that experience for pleasant hours, in communion with nature all around.

And then there was last night, the same but for the added twist of another person running through my dream, a beautiful woman in a blue dress. In my dream, I had reached out to her, desiring to help her, to calm her, but she had just scraped against me as she ran past, and I could do nothing, rooted to the ground as I was....


It happened again -- I awoke in the forest, naked and dirty. But this time, there was a beautiful woman with me, in just the same state....


For FloraQuest 2011