Melodious strains of lilting birdsong drifted into Serena’s conscious, enticing her back from what felt like the deepest of sleeps. A soft breeze grazed her skin, wisps of hair tickling her cheeks. The air was pleasantly warm, soothing. Her long eyelashes fluttered open cautiously, bright sunlight blasting her retinas until her vision adjusted to her surroundings. She was lying in a dappled glade, shadows shifting as the light breeze played with the verdant branches. A sturdy oak tree towered over her resting place, its anchoring roots bursting through the earth. And intertwined across the ground, lilac and snow-white wildflowers filled the glade with floral fancy.
Serena rose slowly, drinking in the beauty of the setting, and admiring the bed on which she had been lying; carved from a felled tree trunk, with a wooden pillow to match. In spite of its apparent hardness, Serena had been incredibly comfortable on the timber duvet. The whole scene flooded her heart with a sense of calm, her body with relaxation, her mind with peace. It was paradise. She sat awhile, unaware of how much time was passing, but she didn’t care. She could stay here forever.
However, Serena couldn’t help but wonder how she came to be in these woods, on this bed, bathed in glittering sunshine. She searched her brain but found only blankness, as though her memory had been scrubbed clean. Something had happened to her, she knew that much, but the details were tantalising intangible. Gradually she became aware of an uneasy sensation cutting through the paradisiacal picture. It took a moment for her to figure out what was wrong: a dull ache near her temple, gently throbbing. She put her hand to her head, willing herself to remember, but it was futile. As the aching worsened, Serena was overcome by a renewed sleepiness. Cradled by the floral-scented breeze, blanketed by the cosy warmth and lulled by the birdsong lullaby, she reposed upon the log mattress and surrendered to the enveloping folds of velvet darkness.
“Goodnight Serena, sweet dreams.”
“We love you so so much, rest in peace my princess.”
Serena lay upon the crisp white sheets of a hospital bed, head bandaged, eyes fixed shut. Her golden tresses framed her face whilst the morning sunshine streamed through the window, painting an image of angelic tranquility. Tears in their eyes, Serena’s parents held each other in a tight embrace and squeezed their daughter’s hand one last time, as the doctor switched off the life support machine.
Emma H, age 26, 09/07/2017
Short story written for Sue Vincent’s “Peace” #writephoto prompt. A lot of the entries this week have been predominantly romantic so I thought that I would write something a little different. Thank you Sue for the unusual and whimsical prompt this week!