The Wired Wilderness by Tim Sullivan

February 4, 2013 Comments Off on The Wired Wilderness by Tim Sullivan

Out in the woods, something is hiding behind every tree and in every shady hollow. I don’t know what it is, but it’s there. I feel it each time I step into the woods. It’s the same in any forest of sufficient size and wildness; just hidden from my eyes is something wonderful and strange, something indescribable and sublime that we know of only through old stories and whispers. 

Today, I can sense it right away, as always. After following a trail cut through an unfamiliar expanse of forest, I veer from the path and enter the true woods. The mystical and sublime seldom loiter near established trails. Soon, I am deep in cosmopolitan forest. A street market of birds and playful squirrels shout and scream and sing to each other all around me. 

Slowly, I become aware that below the chaotic refrain is another song, more ordered than the first. Pausing, I listen intently. It’s music . . . actual music! I can discern a violin gently sawing off to my left, a flute before me, and a clarinet behind my right shoulder. The instruments seem to flow together in an arrangement I’ve never heard before. I cannot see the players; they seem just out of sight. 

Voices, beautiful and high, begin to sing out all around me. Whether belonging to women or children I cannot tell. They pronounce no words, but rather natural sound spills from them. I am mesmerized, rooted to the ground by this smooth and enthralling melody. It’s like nothing I’ve heard before, more an expression of the forest than music. I feel as though I’m in a movie and can hear the backing score. The animals, however, have taken little notice and continue their own raucous verse.  

I want to find and thank the musicians for these few moments of wonder. I start towards some of the voices and after several hundred feet see no one, the music continues but the instruments and singers have moved, swirled around me. Running now, I attempt to find the hidden fiddler. No one. A full sprint and the music sounds at the same distance as before. Are they are moving and playing at once? I dart around in a mad attempt to catch sight of one of them, any of them. I fail to find them or to notice the up-turned root, which catches my foot, though I briefly see the tree trunk as my head flies towards it. 

When next I awake, the sun is setting. The animal song continues: a different tune but still the same song. My forehead throbs horribly. In the distance, I hear that mystical song. It is fading away; the unknown nymphs or satyrs or indie performance artists have wandered off and left me. But, as I stare at the tree trunk, I notice a small hole indented by my head. Inside, adeptly hidden and adroitly camouflaged, hides a tiny, now broken, loudspeaker. 

© Tim Sullivan 

Tim recently graduated college with a fancy degree in business administration and has spent most of his time since desperately attempting to find employment in that vein. A dearth of success has led him to start writing flash fiction in between sending out resumes. He also has a cat.

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