sylvan – adjective, noun
- feeling relaxed and happy because something difficult or unpleasant has been stopped, avoided, or made easier : feeling relief
Jolene stepped into the meadow. On the other side were the woods. Behind her a group of kids ran after her chanting mean horrible things. She scanned the meadow; no where to hide there. Right then she knew she had to make it to the woods to drown out the meanies and their chants or she would lose her temper causing even more chaos.
Only a few yards in, the chants grew quieter as the woods ate up the sounds past it’s borders. Jolene breathed in deep. Ahhhhhhhhh. Much better. The only sounds were squirrels chattering and rustling in the foilage and something small scampering across the forest floor.
The air was crisp and piney, her favorite smell as it reminded her of Christmas time, a time that was always magical no matter whose home she was at. She closed her eyes and reveled momentarily in Christmases gone by.
Her eyes flew open. Was that a lightning strike? Jolene knew that sound all too well. She looked up to the sky. Blue skies still spilled through some of the gaping treetops and sunshine peeked through here and there. Not thunder, not this time.
The sound came from in front of her. She scoured the trees for falling limbs and branches.
Now this was different. The sound was directly in front of her somewhere behind the oak and pine trees.
SNAP! A flash of electric blue light shot out from the wide oak.
Jolene was mesmerized. Her feet happily lead her to the majestic tree.
“Hello? Who’s there and how did you make that blue light?” she asked skirting herself around tree.
CRACK! SNAP! was her reply. Jolene jumped. She scurried to the other side of the tree in time to witness tiny feet like a babies but with only four toes kick forest floor up at her.
“Go away. You scare me,” a tiny yet commanding voice said.
“Who are you? I promise not to hurt you in any way. You made beautiful blue light. Please come out,” Jolene coaxed.
Shuffling sounds grew closer to Jolene.
“I do not have anything but my clothes and shoes. See?” she said holding her hands straight up in the air.
A short, furry person with a cherub face stepped out from the oak tree. This beautiful being radiated a soft glow of white light almost with a bluish tint and was carrying what looked like a bamboo stick.
Jolene immediately felt relieved and at peace, something she had not felt in a long time.
“You have the sweetest face I have ever seen,” Jolene said.
“Thank you,” came the simple reply.
“Most kids do not like these woods. Rumor has it these woods are haunted by ghosts of evil people. I like the woods. I find peace here.”
“As you should.”
“But there are scary creatures and animals in these woods aren’t there?”
“On what you think is scary. Do you think rabbits, squirrels, fox, deer, owls, birds, or Sylvans are scary?”
Jolene thought about this. She really loves all animals but she had never seen a Sylvan before and was not sure what one really was.
“What is a Sylvan?”
“I am a Sylvan. Are you scared of me?”
The Sylvan twirled around emitting a cloud of powder blue dust. As the dust cleared, a taller shape stood in front of Jolene. This shape was just like Jolene’s dream version of a grandmother. This being still held the bamboo looking stick.
The Sylvan swirled in circles again emitting a powder blue dust cloud. Now it was shaped into strange animal that had paws like a kitten, powder puff tail, soft fluffy looking gray fur and the face of a wolf.
“How about now?”
Jolene laughed. “Definitely not.”
Once again, the Sylvan swirled and twirled and when the powder blue dust cloud settled, the group of meanies was standing in front of Jolene.
“And now?” growled the Sylvan.
Jolene trembled. She felt fury rise up in her throat all sense of peace gone. Red was everywhere, she felt it, saw it and tasted the bitterness of it.
“Yes but scared for you, not of you,” she said through clenched teeth closing her eyes, willing the Sylvan to retreat. The heat was rushing through her veins and scorching her eyes. “You need to leave before I hurt you.”
“You can open your eyes, I have changed back.” the Sylvan said.
Slowly Jolene opened her eyes. Her hands trembled, her body shook.
Blue light filled the space around her. The Sylvan was once again the furry, cherub faced short being. It reminded her of everything good in the world, babies, animals and spirit beings.
Jolene relaxed. Peace was filling her up inside pushing the fury out of her. She sat down on the forest floor grateful for the soft seat it provided.
The Sylvan sat beside her. “You passed the test, you may visit these woods whenever you want Jolene. I know you will bring no harm to the creatures who live here.”
“What is your name?”
“Sylvie. Unoriginal I know but I like it best.”
“Makes sense to me. Why did you change shape? Can all Sylvans change shape?”
Sylvie tilted her head to the side and snapped her stick once.
Snap. A tiny blue streak shot across the air.
Finally she answered.
“We Sylvans change shape to suit our need. If we feel a dangerous being is here, we change into whatever scares them the most. If we feel a good being is here, we change into whatever image brings the happiest thoughts to that being. I imagine this is why these woods are rumored to be haunted.”
“I am so sorry I became so angry. When you changed into the meanies, every horrible thing they have ever done to me, other kids and even animals came to me and my horrible power started kicking in. I cannot control it when it does which scares me the most. I have to either run away or will the target to go away so I cannot harm them.” Jolene explained.
Sylvie squeezed Jolene’s hand. A warm feeling of love flooded Jolene. She hugged Sylvie then stood up to leave.
” I have to get back home Sylvie. My foster Mom will be worried if I am home too late. I promise to keep your secret.”
Sylvie smiled a brilliant smile. “No need to keep the secret. It will just be another rumor but one that will keep the bad beings out. You may visit whenever you like. In fact, coming here will ease your power and help you keep control over it until you learn how to use it wisely.”
Jolene tilted her head and thought a moment. “I’m glad you are my new friend Sylvie. I’ll visit again soon.”
CRACK! SNAP! Beautiful blue light lit up the forest.
Jolene rushed home, just in time to help with dinner.
“Where were you Jolene?” her foster Mom asked.
“Working on my creative writing project with a new friend.”
“New friends are good. What’s her name?”
Jolene beamed at her. “Sylvie.”