The black-green scar of Hemlock Forest tore across yellowing plains. Before it all roads but one turned away in dismay. But Dad took the one road, the freeway’s thick black snake, and drove without pause. Soon sentinel trees stood guard to either side, bending to watch the car. Eyes shone in shadowed threat or hope, but Dad seemed unconcerned. “It’s just animals.”
Finn wasn’t sure. He jumped in his seat as they passed a line of orange cones blocking an exit. “Look Dad! Over there.” And his father explained, there’d been a village once, deep under the forest’s green, but it was was long gone, deserted before the freeway was even imagined.
The road’s snake rose on concrete stilts into daylight on the edge of the forest. Gray shapes of a lonely townscape shone in the sun. “That’s where we’re going, kids,” said Dad. “Hemlock Edge. We’ll be safe there.”
Finn still wasn’t sure.
But Finn and his family aren’t the first strangers to travel in search of Hemlock. The short story, Passage, in Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions, tells of another family coming from a place much further away, and a creature who maybe lives still under those trees, watching and waiting, bright eyes shading into dark.
You can find Hero’s Best Friend on Amazon Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Heros-Best-Friend-Anthology-Companions-ebook/dp/B00IAHEI1W
Look out for it in paperback, coming soon!