The Whispered Tales of People
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Whispered Tales

Tale One: The Garden

I remember when I found it, when I first entered it. I was lost, faraway from home when I came across it. That day is the day I regret most, the day I hoped to forever take back and redo. I never would've gone into the forest, never let myself wander off the path, never let myself find, The Garden.

The day had been a good one, a weekend, a few hours slept in, and began with a beautiful cup of coffee. I spent a few hours working on some projects, actually finishing one of my book's chapters, something I had been working on for weeks, so it put me in an even better mood, so, I decided to take a walk through the forests behind my home. Slipping on my hikers, tossing on a light jacket, I began my journey. I wandered on through the forests , following a very old path that cut through the trees. I've been following this trail for years, but I had only reached the end one time, having to spend literal days walking to reach it. Today, though, I just wanted to walk for a little, no more than a few hours, allowing my mind to wander as I thought up my novel's newest chapter, planning out actions, dialog, and plot.

While allowing my mind to wander, I didn't notice my feet take me off the beaten path, and into the forest proper. Minutes ticked by, then an hour, two, three hours passed before I snapped out of my thoughts, characters swirling around, deaths, climaxes, everything fell away as I found myself in a clearing, one I had never seen before. I looked around, and found myself unable to see the path. I tried to see if there were any identifying bits of the forest, but I found myself in an unfamiliar part of the forest. Scratching my head, I checked the time on my phone, and found it to be just passed 6:00. Sighing heavily, I tried to look around again, but it was a waste of time. With another puff of breath, I walked through the tree line, and tried to find my way back. I checked my phone to see if I had service, maybe I could use the maps to locate my home? But that plan failed quickly once I saw the "No Service" in the top left corner. Rubbing my head, I tried not to let this get to me, it was a good day and I was going to make sure it stayed that way.

An hour later, I had to admit that I was very much lost. It wasn't dark yet, with it being just past 7:00, but it was going to be dark in a few hours, and I had no idea if I was going in the right direction, or how far away I was from home. As I continued to fail at finding anything familiar, the icy hand of panic began to grip my heart, a lover's touch at first, easy to ignore, but felt, then it began to caress my heart, well felt and very intimate, making my breath hitch. Finally, it held my heart my heart in a death grip, making breathing difficult, and my mind began to spiral. Thoughts of my demise penetrating my mind, death by starvation, death by falling trees, bears, squirrels, anything you name, my mind found a way to kill me with it. I was running now, trying desperately to find a way home, searching for anything familiar, anything recognizable. Something! But all I found were trees, mushrooms and shrubs, the wild world.

After another twenty minutes of panicking, I finally lost my balance and fell into a large bush, my body crushing the small branches and the thorns puncturing and scratching my skin. I grunted and gasped a bit, the stinging intense for a few moments, and the pain grounding me, stopping my swirling death spiral. Calmer, I pulled myself from the bush and sat against a tree, trying to understand what to do next. I checked my phone, the time reading 7:34 pm, and a quick look at the sun told me I had about an hour and a half before the sky started to properly darken. I cursed silently and rested my head back, bumping into the trunk of the tree I sat at. I started up at the branches, for a moment, before an idea hit me. I just need a better view, yeah? Why don't I get a bird's eye view? Scrambling to my feet, I looked for the low hanging branches and jumped up, gripping them tightly, pulling myself up with some difficulty, but nothing too much. For years, I had been climbing these trees, reaching the highest branches many, many, times. My parents used to yell at me for how high I would get, terrified I would fall and break my neck.

Minutes passed, and I had finally reached the higher bits of the tree, and I looked out at the vast forest before me. For a moment, I was stunned, the view was so very breathtaking, with the thousands of trees splayed out before me, birds flying and singing, I absolutely loved it. After a moment, I focused, I needed to find home before dark, I didn't want to lose my way. I scanned the horizon, looking for the end of the trees and the beginning of my property. It took me a few moments, but I finally spotted it, and it was far. almost too far. Had I really ended up this far from home? I noted the direction and began my descent, determined to get home quickly, I was beginning to get very hungry. Half way down, something caught the corner of my eye, and I looked over. There was a small part of the forest that had trees almost double the height of any other, and the leaves were fully bloomed. I blinked and rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing something, but I wasn't, and the trees stayed there. Checking the time once more and looking at where the trees, were, I decided I had enough time to go look. I knew where home was now, I could do it. Clambering down, I began in the direction of those strange trees.

It took me a few minutes of walking, but I eventually reached a break in the trees, a clearing that had a ring of those giant trees surrounding it. I looked up in wonder, a small smile gracing my lips. I walked into the clearing, and what I saw was the most beautiful sight I had ever laid eyes upon. Right before my eyes, I found myself in a giant garden, with vibrant flowers, trees, and a creek that flowed through the center of, a tiny bridge going over it. The flowers were separated with small metal gates, sectioning off the gardens. I looked up all this and tried to understand how this would've happened? How did this come to be? As I looked on, I began to feel something. A kind of apprehension, one that made my body fill with nervous energy. I looked around, but other than the garden, there wasn't anything else to be wary off. I tried to brushing the feeling, but it persisted.

"Excuse me?" A voice spoke, and I screamed and whipped around tripping over my feet and fell towards a bed of bright red roses. Suddenly, I was grabbed, stopping my descent, and rescuing the flowers. Breathing a sigh of relief, I looked at the hand gripping my shirt. I followed it until I met the most beautiful set of green eyes I had ever seen, they seemed to sparkle and shift, dark green and light green moving around and combining beautifully, giving me the impression of a tree in the breeze. She had a sharp, perfect face, one with high cheek bones, smaller nose and pristine eyebrows. Her lashes were long, and her lips were puckered just a bit, seemingly a natural pucker. Her hair was a light brown with streaks of green dye in it, giving her a calm, unique look. She wore a simple brown shirt that seemed to have a bark pattern, as well as a long, dark green skirt. She looked absolutely stunning, and I found myself blushing heavily as I realized that I had been staring at her for far too long without speaking a single word.

"Ah! I-I-I'm so sorry!" I say quickly, stumbling over my words as I righted myself. I stood above her by a few inches, and she looked up at me slightly, tilting her head curiously. I cleared my throat before I spoke again. "Uh, um, is this you're, us, garden?" The girl's eyes widened and she smiled as she spoke.

"Ah! It sure is! My pride and joy! It's so lovely, isn't it?" Her smile seemed to radiate a sunshine that could rival the sun itself. To spare my eyesight, I looked behind myself and took in the garden once more, leaving me breathless again. I smiled as I looked upon lilies, poppy's, roses, mountain lilies, and so many more plants I could never name. There had to be over a hundred different flowers alone, as well as a hundred more small trees and plants. I swore I saw some cacti before I turned back towards the beautiful lady before me. I smiled back at her.

"It really is lovely. You have so many different flowers and plants! It's truly beautiful!" I spoke truthfully, as I had no true reason to lie. The girl beamed up at me and she wandered further into the garden, gesturing me forewords. I stood in disbelief for a moment before reaction to her next words.

"Well, don't just stand there! Come here and I'll show you all of the plants I have here, I came here to water them anyways!" Blinking for a moment, I followed after the girl, just now noticing the watering can in her hands.

For the next few hours, we talked about her Garden, how she'd been taking care of it for years now, planting any and all seeds she'd find in the market or ground. She even had a, heavily sectioned and detached, spot for weeds, which grew to be giant. Once the sun had set, I was still conversing with the girl, who's name turned out to be Eve, and I hadn't even noticed. Eventually, I passed out under one of her trees with her, a smile on my face once more. In the morning, I was greeted with some delicious, hand picked fruit for breakfast. For some reason, I felt much more refreshed than I had ever been in my life, and my skin seemed to have a deeper tan than before, but Eve was speaking, so I pushed the thought aside and gave her my full attention.

"Sam, I think I should, uhm, say something." Her voice was soft, shy and a bit apprehensive. I instantly caught on and gave her my attention.

"What's up?" I sat cross legged in front of her, hands in my lap. I smiled over at her, thoughts of asking her on a date whirled in my mind.

"I, uhm, believe you should know the truth, about this Garden."

I was confused. "What do you mean?"

"Well, this Garden is special, in a way, and not in the physical way, well, I mean, yes in the physical way, as there's every single plant on the planet in this garden, but, special in another way, one that no one but I know of." I listened to her intently, intrigued. She took a deep breath and spoke once more, quicker this time. "This garden traps you in here with me!" Her statement brought silence, for a moment, before I busted out laughing. Eve stayed silent, but I laughed long and hard.

After a few moments, I finally calmed down and spoke once more. "That, ahem, that was pretty unexpected, sorry for laughing." I cleared my throat and looked into Eve's beautiful green eyes, only to see her completely serious. "Wait, you really believe that? Eve, there's no way this is true! I mean, I can leave at any time!" I said this, but something nagged my mind, like I was missing something very important, but I brushed it aside as Eve spoke once more.

"It's very true, trust me, I've been stuck here for far longer than you can comprehend." She stared me in the eyes, completely believing the crazy words she spoke.

"Eve, don't be ridiculous! Watch!" I stood up and walked towards the tree line, intent on walking through it, just as I had entered it. As I passed the trees, I continued a bit further just to hit the point home, but, eventually, I found another ring of giant trees, and, walking through it, I saw Eve sitting there, looking towards me. "W-what?" I turned around and walked back through the tree line, but found myself walking towards Eve once more, not away. Gritting my teeth, I turned back around and ran this time, but instead of getting away from The Garden, I almost ran into Eve. "What's going on?" I looked around, feeling as if the once beautiful Garden was now, somehow, sinister, evil in some way.

"I told you Sam, you're trapped here. And, well, that's not the only thing." Eve looked down to the ground as she spoke, and I watched her carefully, suddenly very warry of her. After a deep breath, Eve spoke once more. "Not only are you trapped here, just like me, but, well, time moves differently here. A few hours here can be years out there." That stopped me dead. My mind came to a screeching halt, I felt numb. There's no way that's true, no fucking way for that to be true! Shaking my head, I turned around and ran out of the tree line, and eventually, I ran past Eve, but I didn't stop, I kept going, I passed two, three, five, seven, fifteen, thirty times before I collapsed in a heap, my legs giving up.

"You're-" I coughed and hacked as I breathed in air to my exhausted lungs. "You're lying! You have to be!" I stared up at her, horror filling me to the brim. Eve only looked down at me, her eyes filling with tears as she slowly shook her head. "No! No! It can't be true!" I slammed my fists on the ground as despair overcame me. I sat there, tears falling from my face as I tried to deny it, beg myself to believe that this was just some sick dream, made from my delusions. It couldn't be true! It should never be true!

I cried for hours, begging Eve to tell me that it wasn't true, but she only sat there in silence, a small comfort for me as I came to terms with my new home. After a few hours, I finally stopped my ranting and raving, and decided to ask Eve the question. One I had been dreading.

"How long has it been since I entered The Garden?" Eve was quiet for a few moments before I repeated myself. "How long, Eve!?" Eve shrunk back, but answered me.

"In The Garden, you've been here for 9 hours, as for out there, you've been gone for, I believe, 5 years, now." She didn't look up at me, and I didn't care, I only stared into the ground as well, letting the new information sit in my head, but I refused to understand it, refused to even process it.

This was the beginning of my new life.

The beginning of my life in Eve's Garden.

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