Chapter 3: Lies (Part 3)

Outside the forest, the rest of the area was actually really pleasant. Miles of lush, grassy fields stretched out before us, with a nicely packed dirt road lazily snaking around and over a few small hills. We could see what looked to be a small town in the distance, and had started making our way in that direction, mainly out of lack of anything better to do. Besides for the road and the town, there wasn’t anything else that indicated the existence of other forms of life, which made the long walk oddly spooky, despite the nice weather. Of course, it didn’t help that Harold was refusing to speak to me.

I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t completely freaked out either. If anything, I was more justified considering it was my body that might be exhibiting weird magic tree powers, and Harold was just along for the ride (not to mention that those aforementioned weird magic tree powers completely saved his ass).  At the same time, I probably wasn’t taking it as strongly as I would have a few days earlier. Once you deal with magic portals, fantasy realms, and evil monsters, it begins to get a bit easier to see the rest of the stuff as…well, normal.

I briefly wondered if the fact I considered anything here normal was a sign that I had actually lost my mind. It was a concept that had been nagging at the back of my head since arriving here. What if this was all a delusion, or a hallucination? Was it possible that I was actually still in the attic, raving like a lunatic, or worse, stuck in a coma? And even if it was, would I ever be able to tell? The more I thought about it, the more I decided that thinking about it was a bad idea.

And then there was the third part of me, the part that secretly hoped everything here was real, that I had actually developed some kind of cool magical talent. It was the kind of thing that I daydreamed about when I was younger, going off on adventures, becoming a hero…to think that it might actually be happening to me was pretty cool, if not completely terrifying at the same time.

At the very least, my hunger was real. I realized it had been close to a day with barely anything to eat. My body had been so jacked up in a panic that I had been able to stand it for this long, but now that we were out of relative danger, the pains in my stomach were coming in full force. Harold didn’t seem to be as uncomfortable, which made sense considering he had gone so long on basically scraps, but I wasn’t so conditioned.

“Hold up,” I said. Harold looked at me cautiously, as if he expected trees to sprout up around me. “We gotta find something to eat or I’m probably going to collapse.”

“Well, what do you want me to do?” he asked. “I never left the forest. I’m just as lost as you are.”

He had a point. Meat was out of the question without any animals around, and I wasn’t sure I’d trust myself to kill and eat one if there were. That left plants, and unless I wanted to eat grass, I was pretty much out of luck there too. Unless…I grew something. No, I didn’t want to tap into whatever happened earlier just yet. For one, it would only serve to freak Harold out more, but part of me was nervous that it wouldn’t work, confirming that the whole tree-moving thing was simply part of the forest and not…me.

“Then I guess we just keep go-“ A wave a nausea hit me and I almost retched. Shit, was I sick too?

“Eden?” Harold’s voice seemed hazy, almost far away.

I sat down on the ground, surprised at my total lack of energy. I doubted it had even been a full 24 hours; it was kind of embarrassing to be so drained. I mean, yeah, I had been running around a lot, and I had thrown up on Patrick when we first went through the portal, but this…I could barely move. Had my powers (if they existed) caused this?

Harold was shouting something that I couldn’t understand and I realized that he was going to be my only hope if I passed out. Now, that worried me. Could I really trust him to find help, or was he just going to run away and leave me for dead? He already had told me he would rather be alone, and recent events had only served to push us further apart.

But again, it’s not like I had any choice in the matter.

Oddly, of all the thoughts going through my head, the one that stood out the strongest was how pathetic it was that I kept blacking out. How many times would this be? Two? Three? It was like some cliché storybook stereotype, the girl fainting and needing to be rescued. Ugh. Well, I wasn’t going to put up with that any longer! I wasn’t going to be some damsel in distress. I could do this. I just needed to push myself a bit further and-

I passed out.

I would have sworn if I weren’t, you know, unconscious.


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