Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I was walking in the forest, when suddenly the sky darkened and the smell of mushrooms and burning leaves filled the air. One of the autumn spirits stood before me as tall as the surrounding trees.
"You have to choose", it said with a voice that sounded like dead leaves rustling in the wind.
"Choose what?" I managed to ask after my feet had refused to move and running away screaming was no longer an option.
"You have to choose what I'm going to take away from you. It has to be something you care about, something that matters, something you want to keep."
I felt sick. My head felt dizzy and I thought I couldn't breathe.
"Why?" I whispered. "Why I have -"
"You know why", the spirit interrupted me. "It's autumn. Something must die, something must be lost, something must be taken away. You know that this happens. It has always happened, and so it will happen again. This is what I do. So choose and give me what I came for."
And so I did. With my head hurting and struggling not to throw up, I chose and gave the spirit something I wanted to keep. Because somehow I just knew there was nothing else I could do.
"Can I have it back later?" I asked, though I already knew the answer, but the question still slipped out of my mouth.
"No", the spirit said. "You cannot have it back. And even if I gave it back to you later, it wouldn't be the same anymore, it would be changed then, turned into something else. It would be different. So no, you can never get it back. It's lost to you from this moment on."
The spirit started to fade away, but before it disappeared into the woods it leaned towards me and pressed something very cold in my hand.
"Now I give you something in return. I give you mourning, emptiness and longing. And as long as you have these inside you, I'm not going to take anything from you. But as soon as you let go of my gifts, I will meet you again in the autumn and we will trade like we have done before."
The spirit stepped backwards and just vanished, leaving only a slightly rotten smell and coldness hovering in the air. I looked at my hand, but there was nothing, it was just freezing cold. The smell of autumn hang heavy around me. The warm days were over. The winter was coming.