Grey Forest

Prologue

When she awoke that morning, she could hear distant shouting. Not frantic or panicked shouting; no, it didn't sound as though someone needed help. It sounded like someone was barking orders. As the grogginess of sleep faded a bit, she realized that she also heard the sound of some sort of vehicle. No, many of some sort of vehicle.

Her curiosity aroused, she opened her eyes and slipped out of bed to look out of her window. Sure enough, about 100 yards away from her home (or so she guessed), multiple trucks were parked. Some had trailers, others didn't, but they all carried the same thing: trees. Whether they were dead or alive, their roots bound in a bag full of soil, she couldn't tell from this distance. She could see that a group of men and women were hauling the trees from the trucks and carrying them out of her line of sight while one man (she thought) appeared to be shouting at them.

She stepped away from the window to dress herself. What were they doing with those trees? And why? Normally, the Montroy Authorities informed citizens who lived near the site of a community project. She hadn't received a phone call or a letter, yet. Then again, she lived fairly far away from the capital of Montroy. Perhaps the letter hadn't reached her yet. She decided that, after she got dressed, she would go down to ask about that project.

As she got closer to the site of this mysterious project, she could tell that the trees in the trucks weren't dead--their roots were bagged. That made more sense than if they were dead, for what would they do with dead trees?

Finally, she got close enough to try and ask someone about this mysterious project. She didn't want to interrupt those who were working, but she did identify one man who was just sitting and, every so often, shouting orders to the workers. She approached him.

"Excuse me," she began, "but what are you doing?" She knew the answer was obvious--they were planting them. What she really wanted to know was why.

The man turned to her. "Planting a forest," he answered shortly.

She blinked. A forest? It did make sense, of course; they weren't planning on planting just a few trees--there were still trucks coming. But she had never heard of anyone planting an entire forest before. "May I ask why?"

The man glared at her, seemingly in annoyance. "Didn't the Montroy Authorities send you a letter with all this information?"

"I haven't received a letter. Though, my mail should come soon. Maybe I'll get it today. But I'm just curious, that's all," she replied.

The man sighed. "Harvey Grey, a Representative in the government of Montroy, proposed that a forest be planted around the new border of Montroy. Apparently, they thought it would be environmentally beneficial, or something. Just a way to waste money, if you ask me. But I dunno. Read that letter, when you get it; it'll have more information than I do."

Knowing she was dismissed, she thanked the man and headed away. As she walked away, she thought about the sadness she felt upon hearing this news. A forest? Around the border of Montroy? Perhaps that man was right--it was a way to waste money. The border of Montroy was rather large, after all. But that wasn't why she was saddened. She was saddened because the forest would be a constant reminder of the fall of Montroy. It was still a great country--there was no doubt about that. It was the only country, but that just made it even greater. Still, she yearned for that time, that wonderful era, when Montroy had no border.