Everything around her was green. The trees, their leaves, even their trunks. They were furry, like caterpillars in summer, but still green, green, green. It was the most amazing thing she had ever seen, and she had no idea where she was. There was nothing in the ground around to her indicate how she had gotten here. No breaks in the branches, no scuff marks in the green fur of the trees. Everything was undisturbed, and yet, here she was.
She stood on shaking feet, leaning against one of the trees, feeling some of the moss jacket slip and come off underneath her palm. She looked at the bare mark, the marring of the surface, and knew that if others had done the same, if she had done the same, upon entering, then there would be some sign.
The light around her was muted by the branches above, but she could still make out a direction. Whether east or west she wasn’t certain, and figured that answer would only reveal itself in time. Although, she supposed, all answers were supposed to do that, weren’t they?
Wrapping her arms around herself, she shivered and looked down at her clothing for the first time. She was in a light summer dress, white and sleeveless. The skirt billowed out like petals of a flower, airy, weightless, useless. She was cold and the fabric offered absolutely no protection from the damp air around her. Her feet were bare, and she realised that she could feel the cold damp of the light-starved grass under the soles as she shifted her weight nervously. She was not dressed to be out in the middle of a forest.
She moved, one step at a time in the direction of the sun, east or west, and kept going. The skirt waved with every step, lifting a breeze that wasn’t present, ethereal in its light motions and gauzy surface. If she weren’t so cold, she would have found the fabric enchanting.
She looked behind her, to see if the ground showed any sign of her passing this time, and gasped. The dress was not the only gauzy surface in that direction. Behind her, moving just one pace ahead as she spun in a circle trying to get a better look, were delicate multi-coloured wings. They reminded her of the dragonflies she used to try and catch at her grandparents’ cabin in the summer time. She never had managed to do so, but she had always tried, admiring their wings, their freedom, their home at the tender lake.
As she spun, the wings behind her fluttered, a low humming noise filling the clearing, loud in her ears with her breathing the only other competition. Before she knew it, she could no longer feel the cold of the ground beneath her feet, could not feel the cold of the air at all either. She was warm, was hovering in the air held aloft by buzzing dragonfly wings that were hers.
The wings were hers, and perhaps that was how she hand managed to enter without marring the green, green forest around her. Reaching out, she tried to once more touch a trunk, tried to run her hand over the moss jackets, but she could not reach them. Every time she came close, her heart sped up, her wings sped up, and she missed her target, leaving the trees and the moss and the green untouched, unspoiled.
She laughed, and the sound of bells joined the buzzing and the breathing, and she realised with glowing delight that she no longer had to chase dragonflies at the cottage. She no longer had to envy their wings or their freedom, because here, somehow, she had found her own.