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Submitted on
November 14, 2013
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   The corner of the sky turned from the speckled black of a night illuminated by the stars to the yellow-blue color indicative of an imminent sunrise.  As color joined the sky, so too did it join the life on the ground; the meadows embraced a bright green color, and the forest’s undergrowth left pitch-blackness behind for a lush variety of greens, browns, and the occasional red or yellow.  It was not too long before the flowers awoke, unleashing purples and oranges into the crowd of life.

   With the new color came smells; as flowers and pine cones opened, their aromas became free to wander and mingle.  In the early morning, a few pine needles fell from their mother tree and, against every rule of probability, landed directly on top of a trillium.  Their scents blended and grew under the sun, attracting a variety of small creatures out from their homes.

   The creatures were not silent; as the smells and warmth of the new day awoke them, mice began to scurry and sparrows began to sing.  The sound of water rippling was not constant but frequent, matching the timing with which ducks arrived at and departed from their pond; occasionally the rippling was interspersed with resonating splashes as the local nutria dove in, on their way to find the next tree to add to their home.  As deer jumped carefully about amongst the trees, they rustled the bushes and angered the snakes, whose hisses filled the silence left by a no-longer rustling bush.

   As the morning hours continued, the sun rose to show its face in full, beating back the night until it seemed nothing but a memory.  As it reached the center of the sky, a single green maple leaf, veins spread wide in a fan, fell from the top of its tree and drifted on the breeze, slowly making its way down onto the softly babbling brook below.

   The tip of the leaf skimmed the top of the stream for a mere instant before the leaf landed in its entirety on the surface of the water, sending small ripples running off to all shores.  The leaf fell beneath the surface until it was entirely surrounded by the liquid, at which point it was pulled along by a slight current.

   The leaf followed the pull of the brook for several hours, neither trying nor wanting to be released from the water’s grasp.  It flowed effortlessly down to bends in the river, only occasionally finding itself temporarily stuck behind some pebbles before continuing on its way to the still pond where the ducks swam, where it sank to the bottom, joining several similar leaves which had taken the same path.

   As the leaf descended, it came alongside the feet of a duck, ever so slightly embracing the webbed structure before it fell to the pond floor.  The duck took no notice of the leaf, but a moment later had shoved its head into the water, looking for any little creature it might fit down its bill.  Finding none, its head came up and gazed at the sun, now heading over to the far end of the sky.

   Mirroring the movements of the sun, the wind made its unabashed way amongst the trees, brushing along the tops of bushes and making flowers bend, taking their scents with it as it moved through the forest.  Wherever it went, the wind calmed and relieved the heat that the sun had brought, if only for a moment at a time.

   All through the forest, where the deer pranced and the birds flew, gently harmonizing with each other as they traveled hither and yon, the wind and the sun fought between heat and cool until the sun, as far across the sky from where it first poked its head as can be, receded behind the horizon.  As it left the sky, it said farewell with fabulous reds, oranges, and pinks painted across the sky, once more creating a beautiful array of colors.  This time, however, the colors did not stay for as long, and soon gave way to the blackness of night.

   When the darkness took the sky and the land and everything in between, the flowers sealed their petals into buds and the critters closed their eyes, falling asleep with the woods.  As the smells of the day dissipated, so too did the noises; unlike the smells, however, the noises were replaced with new sounds.  Crickets chirped softly and an owl hooted every once in a while.  Light came from the moon, visible where it hadn’t been during the day, and was supplemented only slightly by the pricks of light that are the stars.

   The forest was still, with nothing but the chirp of the crickets to signal that time has not been frozen.  The day was done, and all had taken to a silence and stillness.

   Until tomorrow.

I challenged myself to write a story without any characters, and this is the result.  I think it turned out alright; I'd like (as always) to hear what is thought of it.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Student Writer

I've had this in my inbox for the past week, but have always been too busy to read past the first sentence. ;P Finally, I can say that I read it, ha ha. And I have to say that you did a brilliant job. Writing a story without any characters is definitely a challenge, and I think you managed it quite well. If you want to add to the challenge and make it more into a story, I would suggest adding some conflict. What you have here is more of a flash-fiction piece, I would say; I wouldn't really call it a short story. But adding some conflict would make it more of a story, although I have no clue how to do that. But if someone can do it, I'm sure it's you. :D


There was a lot of jumping around in the tenses, though. You began in past tense, then switched to present, which I found a bit distracting. I suggest combing through this again and making sure that all the tenses match.


Despite that, your description was incredibly vivid. You made visualizing the forest so easy. I also enjoyed your descrription of the nonvisual: namely, the smells and sounds, which was very refreshing. Most writers restrict themselves to the visual elements of a scene, when there is so much more. You really made it feel like the reader is standing in the middle of it all.


You also somehow managed to convey this great tranquility, which is amazing considering that, well, there weren't any characters through which to feel it. Impressive.


All in all, really great work!

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:iconbdancinjones:
BDancinJones Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, you were right about those tenses... I noticed some tense-scrambling while I was writing this, but I clearly missed somethings... I even found both tenses mixed within a single sentence!  Yikes!  Thanks for pointing that out.

You're right, it is more of a flash-fiction piece than a full story; I felt like saying that because there is a beginning, middle, and an ending to it that it could be called a story, but it does also seem flash-fiction-ish-y... yeah, that's a thing now.

Anyways; thanks for the compliments!  Glad to know that the description was so vivid; that was the goal!  And I understand the whole "have it in the inbox and not read it for forever" syndrome; I'm suffering the same thing with regards to your last three published pieces... I will get to them I PROMISE!
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Student Writer
No problem. :) Ha ha don't worry about it. You've basically critiqued everything I've ever posted, so you shouldn't stress out about it. Give yourself a break! Although I will always appreciate your critiques. ;)
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:iconrema-alkhany:
Rema-Alkhany Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013
It's a very beautiful Thoughts.
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:iconanticodac:
anticodac Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I love how serene this feels without the need for a story of any sort. It feels like a journey through nature on its own. It even seemed longer than it actually is. Nicely done :D 
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