The Lady Ghost of the Forest

The forest was my life. I lived in it, slept in it, breathed its air, and surrounded myself in it since infancy. Before I was born, my family's village had rejected my father, blaming him for a crime he did not commit. He was a law-abiding family man, but since that incident, to them, he sinned and that was punishable in our society by death to him and his family. But we escaped, banishing ourselves into the forest to escape the scaffold. Not even our God-fearing pastor would believe us, whom my father had known since birth—his own older brother. No. No one believed us, so we surrounded ourselves with the forgiving serenity and silence of nature. Father built a house, deep within the forest, surrounded by rosebushes of an assortment of colors: white, red, deep burgundy, pale and dark pink, yellow, coral, and orange. I thought of their thorns as protecting me from the shame placed upon my family.

When I was about five, my father began to believe that he was a criminal. He was so deeply rooted to the society and religion that he knew of nothing else. When he lost everything, it began a slow process that ate away at him, and he disappeared from my life, escaping this world through suicide. My brother left when he was sixteen, and I, seven, telling me that he would come back one day "wealthy and important." But he hasn't come back yet and it's been ten years. Mother, drove herself to insanity and soon followed in my father's footsteps after my brother left. I was the last one left. I raised myself in this forest.

I loved the forest for providing me with safety and food, and knew it like the back of my hand, but it was a prison. I was isolated. My mother always described me as "as beautiful as the roses that surrounded our house every spring," but she said it was wasted in this forest. She said that she wished that I could leave, go out and experience the world, get married, and have my own family. But she and I both knew that I would live and die in this forest.

My existence would go down in history as "The Lady Ghost of the Forest," who had been a beautiful young woman with beautiful long brown hair, a pert little nose, and large brown eyes. But one night on a full moon, while she was out with her lover in the forest, she saw a beautiful lake and decided to take a swim. Her lover watched from the shore. While she was swimming, something caught her ankle and she could not escape. She called out to her lover, but he did not know how to swim. He promised to return with help, but when he came back to the lake, she was gone with no trace left behind. On a full moon you could hear her crying out to her lover to help her. Those who fell for the trick disappeared and then reappeared on the next full moon, lying on the bank of the lake, dead. Those who happened to see her said she had hair as dark as night and teeth as sharp as a wolf's. Her lips were stained red from the blood of her victims. And whenever she passed, it smelled of roses.

But that was a lie. I never had lover, I did not know how to swim, and I cried because I lost all my family on nights of a full moon.