Editorial: Things Found in the Woods Wendy Nikel
Is there anywhere more strange and mysterious than a forest?
From the first step within its branches, you can almost imagine that anything is possible. Around any curve of a packed-earth path, you might find the breadcrumbs of Hansel and Gretel or stumble across a buried treasure chest or wander into a secret dragon’s lair… or you might encounter something even more dangerous.
So many of our favorite stories take place in the forest. From a young age, we long to spend our time in the Hundred Acre Woods or Narnia or Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Big Woods. We journey to Lothlorian and Fangorn, to Terabithia, to Sherwood, until we’re old enough and brave enough to venture into darker woods. But what we find in each depends on the type of forest we’re in, and whether our adventure will end with the joy of discovery or the terror of witnessing something we wish we hadn’t all depends on the story.
Our flash fiction stories this month each take us by the hand and guide us deep into a different type of forest, where there are discoveries to be made about ourselves, about others, and about this world that we inhabit.
Wander the diverging paths in Beth Goder’s “Echo Echo Heartbeat,” (Sept 3) where something important has been lost and must be found. Search the forest floor for synergy and fleshy fungus in “A Girl Forages for Mushrooms” by Ruth Joffre (Sept 10). Watch the world change when something new enters the forest in Taylor Rae’s “When the Trees Spoke Back” (Sept 17). And prepare for the bitter winter ahead in “Beneath Her Sweet Roots” by Sylvia Heike (Sept 24).
Though short, these four fantasy stories contain vast and beautiful worlds; you won’t need to look very far to discover the magic within them.
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