TO BE CON'T
You thought you were going back towards the stream, but the trees are getting bigger and the light dimmer. Is there a storm coming?\n\nA distant rumble of thunder answers your question.\n\n*[[Turn around and head back]]\n*[[Stand for a moment to see if it passes]]
Get out of your head.
After a few minutes of walking, you come across what appears to be a steep hill.\n\n*[[Climb the hill]]
Near the edge of the city, a forest has appeared overnight. You stand at its edge and take a [[deep breath]], wondering whether anyone else has noticed it yet.\n\n*[[Short Stroll]]
The stream burbles along happily beside you. Its edge is carpeted in dense moss and [[tiny white flowers]], and as you walk small splashes precede your steps.\n\n*[[Frogs?]]
Perhaps these streams are also full of microscopic silver fish?
Halfway up the hill, you realize [[you should have brought water with you]], as the sun's light is getting more and more intense as you climb.\n\n*[[Almost there...]]
The hill is steep and rocky, with small, stunted trees growing amongst dense shrubs. You find a narrow path winding through the tangle and start to follow it.\n\n*[[Careful, don't trip!]]
Crouching at the edge of the stream, you lean towards the spot where the maybe-frog zipped into the swaying weeds. Holding your breath, you wait.\n\n*[[And wait]]
A lake of leaves. A harbour, an ocean.
Your spine cracks once, twice, a satisfying noise.
You walk as fast as you can back through the trees as the thunder's grumblings get closer and closer. You're not far from the edge when the [[skies open]] and you are immediately soaked.\n\nThe rain is warm and smells like summer.\n\n*[[Stand for a moment enjoying the rain]]\n*[[Run!]]
Another galaxy of stars twinkling alongside their aquatic cousins.
Beneath the shifting reflections, a small shape rises from the weeds. From your spot across the stream you see [[golden eyes]] bulging in a bright green head. The frog's nose is spattered with soft brown freckles, its delicate hands just visible under the rippling water.\n\nYou watch the frog float until a rustling noise in the undergrowth startles you.\n\n*[[Investigate]]\n*[[Walk the other way, a bit nervous]]
More drops follow, fat and bursting like ripe fruit falling. \n\nThe heavy drops splatter against your head and pour down your face in [[rivulets]]. Soaking wet, you walk slowly out of the forest, wondering if it will still be there tomorrow.
The dead leaves under your feet feel deeper here, as if a multitude of seasons have passed.
Escape
You're not sure about this forest, which was definitely not there yesterday, so you decide to go for just a short walk. When you pass the first row of trees, the light dims, becoming green and cool.\n\n*[[Go left]]\n*[[Go right]]
Out of the corner of your eye, something rustles in the undergrowth.\n\n*[[Investigate]]\n*[[Walk the other way, a bit nervous]]
You stop and stare at the water, still rippling from the latest splash. Through the surface reflections, which [[play with your eyes]], you see what could be a frog kicking its way into the weeds.\n\n*[[Get closer]]\n*[[Give up]]
You can smell the greenness of the leaves, the coolness of the shade in front of you and, underneath, a slight scent of musty forest floor.
More and more fish gather around your hand, darting in and away as you try to keep your hand still under their tickling little bites. Leaning closer, you see their miniscule gills fluttering as they flit through the water.\n\nYou twitch your hand and the fish flee downstream.\n\n*[[Follow the fish]]\n\n
When a forest appears out of nowhere in the middle of the city, you have a right to wonder what might be living within its boundaries!
You're sure you noticed some small shadows scurrying within, but it could just be your eyes playing tricks.
CONT'D
All but the silver stragglers of the school have disappeared as you stand to follow them. The edge of the stream is carpeted in dense moss and [[tiny white flowers]], and as you walk small splashes precede your steps.\n\n*[[Frogs?]]
You follow the small rustlings through the trees, deeper into the [[forest]]. \n\nThe deeper into the woods you get, the dimmer it gets until you're wondering whether a storm is coming. A distant rumble of thunder answers your question.\n\n*[[Turn around and head back]]\n*[[Stand for a moment to see if it passes]]
You walk towards the sound, which stops as you approach. Squinting through the leaves, you can see a [[shadow]]. Whatever it is doesn't look terribly [[large]], so you keep walking, wondering how close you'll be able to get.\n\nJust as you near its hiding place, the shadow explodes in a clattering of wings and flies off, cracking branches as it goes. Just a grouse, you think and\n*[[keep walking]]
As if the forest's arrival was starting to siphon the city's reality, rendering it transparent and weak.
Is it looking right at you?
Who knows what that shadow [[could be]]! Walking in the opposite direction, you decide to --\n\n*[[Follow the stream]]
Part of your mind jumps directly to bear, or perhaps monster.
You stand and the air thickens around you. You look up and the scraps of cloud visible through the leaves are glowering down at you, grey and furrowed.\n\nA single drop falls.\n\n*[[Turn around and head back]]\n*[[Stay]]
The deeper into the woods you get, the dimmer it gets until you're wondering whether a storm is coming. A distant rumble of thunder answers your question.\n\n*[[Turn around and head back]]\n*[[Stand for a moment to see if it passes]]
The rain gets more torrential, its heavy drops splattering against your head as you begin to run towards the edge of the forest. Your shoes squelch against the sodden leaves underneath your feet and you almost trip over a root, but you make it past the edge of the trees.\n\nJust before you walk away, back into the city, you turn and wonder where the forest came from.
The rain gets more torrential, its heavy drops splattering against your head and pouring down your face in [[rivulets]]. Soaking wet, you walk slowly out of the forest, wondering if it will still be there tomorrow.
It's not every day a forest mysteriously pops into existence. At the time, packing sensible items seemed unimportant.
The trees stretch away from the city farther than you expected, tangled and wild, apparently ancient. \n\nAs you look, a movement in the leaves just below the crest of the hill catches your eye.\n\n*[[A bird? A squirrel?]]\n
You jerk your hand back, unable to bear the tickling nips of the fish. Standing up, you [[stretch]] and keep walking, away from the water. Out of the corner of your eye, something rustles in the undergrowth.\n\n*[[Investigate]]\n*[[Walk the other way, a bit nervous]]
Squinting, you wonder if you can see your home from here. The buildings waver in the distance like a mirage, less real than the [[surrounding trees]].\n\nAs you look, a movement in the leaves just below the crest of the hill catches your eye.\n\n*[[A bird? A squirrel?]]\n\n
The cool air is dense after the bright, sunwarmed air and for a moment, you hold your breath as if sinking underwater.
Wheezing slightly, you reach the top of the hill. The treetops extend around you, [[green and rustling]], the edge of the city grey and hazy in the sunlight.\n\nYou sit on a rock to catch your breath.\n\n*[[Look towards the city]]\n*[[Look towards the forest's depths]]
At least you think it doesn't?
You hear the faint sound of a creek burbling in the [[undergrowth]] and walk towards it.\n\nIt's hardly more than a trickle, but it seems full of tiny silver fish.\n\n*[[Squat at the edge of the stream]]
The creature has disappeared beneath the leaves. Walking down the hill towards it, you descend again under the [[surface of the forest]]. Another flutter of momvement catches your eye and you follow, continuing downwards until you reach the forest floor.\n\n*[[Keep following the creature]]\n*[[Try to find the stream again]]
Balanced on your haunches, you lean forwards and skim your hand through the water. The silver fish [[scatter]], then, as you keep your hand still, dart in to nibble at your fingers. The nibbling tickles.\n\n*[[Remove your hand from the water]]\n*[[Keep your hand still]]
That shadow looks more like a turtle, that glimmer another minnow. Or perhaps something more unusual? You think back to fairy tales you have read, try to remember the names of aquatic creatures.
And for a moment you think about the stars on moonless nights glinting in the darkness of space.
As if there are doors up there and a vast reservoir of water above them, waiting to pour down on the world.