As the sun set, the watchtowers were lit. The light of their individual fires blazing into one enourmous pool of orange-yellow, that illuminated my village. It looked peaceful and quiet. Safe. Half of me yearned to go back. Forget the very thought of going off into the world by myself. It was overruled, however, by my sense of adventure and need for independence. As I stumbled through the wooded area that surrounded my village, I thought only of how I could survive. I had stolen enough provisions for a week or so. Two weeks if I really rationed my supplies. I stumbled and fell, scaping my hands and knees. I got up and continued walking. If anyone found me then I would die. I would be called a traitor. No one was supposed to leave the village ... unless it was for war. I began to run, afraid for my life, stumbling and tripping over roots and fallen branches. My feet grew sore as they pounded the soil. The moon was high. It was late and eventually I fell exhausted into the black abyss of sleep.
I dreamt of a man. He visited me often but I knew not who he was. His eyes were like mine. A stunning shade of electric blue that make people do a double take. It's as if he's sitting next to me. We're laughing and talking but I don't know what about. He brushes my short chesnut hair behind my ear.
"You know cherry, I wish you'd grow out your hair. It would look so nice long."
I laugh and reply, "You know that it needs to be short. It's the rules."
"But you're not there anymore. You don't live by their rules."
I woke up then, for the first time realising that I was truley on my own. I had no idea where I was. Trees surrounded me and almost completely engulfed the sky. I could tell only that it was early morning. I stood up, brushing myself off. I would not eat breakfast on the first day. I would ration all my supplies. I started to walk again. Not letting myself think of the long journey I still had. That I had only just started.
I walked for hours, not knowing where I was going or when I'd get there. My surroundings stayed the same making it impossible to know how far I'd gone, though I knew that I was far enough away now not to be found by anyone in my community. The sun grew hot, beating down on me relentlessly. I drank scarcely any water. I stumbled and tripped constantly. I sang a song that I was taught as a four year old, whispering the melody as it came into my head
"As they danced around the fire light, the birds sent into joyful flight, victorious in their rivals plight, we rejoice tonight"
The words had meant nothing to me when I had first heard them. Then as i grew older, their true intention began to shine forth. It was a song of victory, and even though it rejoiced in the failure of others, it was still something I was proud of. I sang it over and over. I sang it until it grew so dark that I was forced to sit and rest. I could walk no farther. My stomach yelled at me, but I was too weary to cook anything to eat. I would eat in the morning. And so it was much the same. My first week in the forest.