I hear distant voices and suddenly it occurs to me that Violet may have seen me running away and told somebody. Are they worried about me? They can’t be…I mean I hardly talked to them at all…
“Zaziquita,” The man’s voice brings me back to the wood, “Listen to me.” His voice is soft and makes me think of planets slowly rotating round a strong sun.
I rub my forehead “Are you the sun? No, sorry, I’m confused…”
“It’s them, the others. They don’t want you but they’re trying to bring you back into their cage. They’re using their powers to brainwash you-”
“That can’t be true!” I snap at him, feeling the cold of the wood again, “Who are you to say that about them?”
“Dear Zazi-no don’t speak,” He says, holding a hand up as I feel my voice go quiet, “My name is Ian, and I used to be friends with Meita, but she hurt me and now she wants to hurt everybody else. She’s the one who organised putting you all in here.” I gawp at him, but still can’t speak. His power has rendered me voiceless. You idiot! How am I supposed to say what I think about that if you don’t let me speak?!
Ian laughs at my expression, “You don’t need to speak, my dear. All you need is to listen to what I ask of you. Is that too much to request?” I nod and gaze into his deep blue eyes-they seem to contain the secrets of space and this captivates me.
“Now what I need you to do is this…” Ian whispers, coming closer to my ear and brushing away a wisp of my golden curls, so he can caress my right cheek.
I nod all throughout his talking and, for some reason, feel like I don’t need to interrupt. Ian has an unnatural talent for public speaking and putting his ideas across. “…Understand? And remember, I’ll know if you’ve disobeyed me.” He waves his hand again and I feel my throat untighten, then he helps me prepare to return to the house; dark leaves are knotted into my hair, my top is slashed and my arms and legs are cut with some of the branches in the clearing. Ouch! I only hope he doesn’t ruin my skirt. But I can’t speak out against him…
“Now run,” Ian whispers menacingly, “RUN!”
And with that the forest dissolves around my eyes, and I find myself back in the garden. My special garden.