You’re driving. Past the houses, past the farmlands, through the nearby towns. You drive past everything you know, until there is nothing. Until there is nothing but you, in the middle of a long and empty road, with only the woods and the creatures that dwell within to accompany you. You can almost hear the judgement of those back home. You can almost hear them telling you how pointless it is to come out here, how stupid. Almost.
You get out of the car and slide the keys into your pocket. You let the wind wash over you, gently caressing every inch of your skin. You bask in it. You hold your breath and open your ears. You don’t hear the violent noise of the crowds, or the constant ringing of phones, or the endless cars whooshing past you. None of that can be heard here. None of that will ever be heard here.
You hear the leaves rustling in the wind. You hear a branch breaking under a creature’s foot. A bird chirps, and another answers its call, more high-pitched than the first. You hear every one of nature’s songs as they were meant to be heard. In peace, and undisturbed.
There is nothing to be afraid of here. There is no one that can hurt you here. This is where you were meant to be. This is home.
The sun has just begun to set, sending beams of pink and golden light along the trees. Though it isn’t yet dark, stars are beginning to appear in the fiery sky, eager to shine. This is their home too.
You leave the empty road, stepping slowly onto the soft grass and into the forest beyond. The creatures take no notice of you. You belong here just as much as they do. You let your fingers brush over the roughness of the trees and the softness of their leaves. Everything feels right, whole here. The anxieties of the world behind you are gone, and there is nothing left but serenity. Every sound is a comfort, every sight a blessing. There is so much joy here. And you’ve only just begun the journey. There are so many paths ahead of you, so many roads to take. But all lead to peace.
We have all been here. We have all taken these paths. Some of us, physically. But not all of us are so lucky. For some of us, this place exists only in our mind. But it’s something we visit, as often as we need to. A safe place. For many of us, it’s a favourite place in a favourite book. Or maybe a place we’ve created ourselves. But that’s the beauty of being who we are; readers and writers. We have endless homes. If only we could live in them forever.
Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress