Empty Silence

Thorn sat on a branch of a high oak tree, one leg hanging nonchalantly off the edge and the other curled underneath him like a cushion. However, despite the relaxed pose, Thorn was as tense as a highly-strung bowstring. He sat there, as still as a statue, scarcely moving but for the motion of his chest as he breathed.
And even that was as silent as the air around him.

Straining his ears, Thorn listened intently, as if hearing something no-one else could. He stayed like this for several minutes, storm-grey eyes staring glassily into the middle-distance like two dark pools in his sharp-featured face. Then, suddenly, he seemed to snap back to life again, just as if he had been released from a spell.

However, it was with troubled eyes that he looked out at the forest floor below him, all quiet save for the crackle of the wind in the branches. The voice of the forest was silent once again, as it had been for several days. This was disturbing news for Thorn, who had listened to the forest ever since he'd learnt to walk. Never before had this normally incredibly talkative place fallen silent like this before. Never before had Thorn's listening ears been greeted with nothing but empty silence.

This could only mean one thing. Something was wrong in the forest. Something had upset the balance that sustained this place. Thorn's brow furrowed; whatever it was that had caused this, it had to be something potent. Many of the trees around him had been standing here since before Man could remember. It would take something very powerful indeed to cause something like this. Forest song was not something that was easily disturbed, let alone cut off. But as hard as Thorn tried, the forest would tell him nothing of who or what was causing this.

Thorn sighed and, unfurling himself from his position on the branch, leapt lightly out of the tree, landing among the leaflitter, silent and stealthy as a shadow. Pulling a few stray twigs from his dark russet hair and stretching his limbs like a cat, Thorn turned and strode off into the thick, swirling mist that still clung to the ground.

Leaving nothing but the empty silence behind him.

The End

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