It wasn’t just mycelium that connected the forest. Threads of fungus, microscopic silken filaments spread through the soil listening, sensing, and feeling every emotion that filtered through the woods. Carpets of ferny mosses blanketed the ground covering the feet of the trees and tapering out to the path. And tree roots stretched deep, down into the earth, connecting to the mycorrhizal network.
Not a thing, not even a moth, could enter the forest without being known.
So when Corinthian Taylor slipped into the woods unseen, he was not unknown.
He peeked out from behind pine branches in the shadows, gazing at the cottage in the clearing, just a stone’s throw from the trees. A lusty smirk spread across his thin features, and he leaned, out of sight, against the tree.
The tree shuddered and needles fell, but Corinthian noticed nothing. He was too busy staring up at the open window. The rising sun was in just the right place to glint against the glass as the woman behind it moved across the room. Corinthian released a frustrated throaty growl and blinked as the sun momentarily blinded him.
As blue spots danced across his vision he couldn’t focus on the woman behind the window, and he looked away, shaking his head and rubbing his eyes. The window above slammed shut, and he froze for a moment, trying to blend with the Scots Pine. He relaxed sure he hadn’t been seen as he gazed at the house. His mind began playing scenarios, vibrant extracts of salacious desires. Blood pumped as he imagined entering the house and coming across the slight woman, and he pressed hard against the trunk.
The pine recoiled, resinous sap drained from its surface, and three pine cones dropped to the ground at Corinthian’s feet.
The back door opened and the woman stepped out into the morning. She smiled at the sun, took a sip from a glass of water, and smoothed her floaty petticoat as the gentle breeze teased the soft white muslin. She stretched her hand to smother a yawn and her slip lifted to reveal her thigh, and Corinthian could hardly contain himself as she moved forward into the glare of the sun. Against the light and beneath the thin gossamer material, her whole body revealed itself.
Almost out of his mind with longing the man grabbed at his crotch and tried not to groan. He already knew her next move. She would finish her water, place her glass on the windowsill, and dance into the forest to feel the moss beneath her bare feet.
It was her daily ritual, just as his routine was too.
Sometimes she danced alone in the forest, sometimes she met other men or women, sometimes she made love, and sometimes she fell asleep amongst the flora. He recalled watching her as she lay among wild garlic, the pungent scent tickling his nose so much he had to steal away before he woke her. Of all the people she met in the woods he had never been one of them.
This time as she danced, backlit by lemony morning rays, his resolve began to weaken, his sweat began to bead, and his trousers bulged.
It was with relief to him that she stepped into the shade and her shift covered her nakedness once more. She faded into the forest like a dragonfly. Corinthian girded himself and followed, leaving the Scots Pine and its disapproval behind him.
The woman slowed to gaze up at wildcats or red squirrels, pirouetting to drink in her surroundings. Corinthian sidestepped, with practiced ease, and leaned against an ancient tree. Not long before she’d pause, before she’d slip to the floor and spread herself across the moss. Corinthian knew that there would be no holding back and, as he adjusted his trousers, that today was the day.
Corinthian was right, there would be no holding back, and today was definitely the day.
Messages had been broadcasting through the soil, from roots to fungi strands, and mosses, brambles, and coiling ivy. The forest’s network had been communicating beneath Corinthian’s feet. Moss began to sink, to gurgle, and ivy fronds unfurled and curled around his ankles, and Corinthian had no time to think before he was deep beneath the compost, and the taste of foetid and festering mulch was the last thing to entertain his drowning senses.
The Scots Pine, by the house in the clearing, shook itself again and stood sentinel straight, its job done.
A good nine months since I last wrote a piece of Flash Fiction, but a photo of the forest taken by Ron Levy and chosen by Miranda, at Finding Clarity, for her Mid-Week Flash Challenge this week was perfect for me. The sheer magic of the forest…
Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph. I filled the brief with 747 words.