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The Forest Spirit

It is stirring.
Centuries it had observed wordlessly,
Roosted its colossal figure in the depths of the wild.

Framed by a billowing white mane, down its chest,
Whispers of fur as gossamer as wind
Give way to matted bronze,
Hiding a massive body that chanted with every motion.

Upon its magnificent head mounted two antlers,
Branching out like a pearly oak tree.
Moss-covered and reaching towards the heavens,
Between them coiled ghost-like creatures,
Semi-translucent silhouettes of birds, rodents, and beasts.
They climb, among the boughs,
Clinging on like lost children,
Afraid of being blown away in a storm.

It is moving.
The very earth rippled beneath its razor talons,
That silently prowls forward.
Undulating waves crash out,
Toppling pines and mountains alike.
The landscape screams and buckles in protest.
Crevices and cliffs split like scars on the bare rocks.

It is coming.
The shouting men, holding spears in their hands
yell as they look up at the towering God before them,
And they see a monster, a bringer of vengeance,
Ugly and dark with fury and violence in its eyes,
And the promise of death in its bared fangs.

Splinters impale its leg.
Shards up its body, deep into its neck.
And the first red droplets tumble out like jewels.
A few screams of victory uttered from the men,
But disappear into the staggering silence.

Its knees buckle.
It crumbles in on itself, shrivelling,
The wraiths swarming between its antlers lose hold,
And slip, tumbling upwards, swept by the howling gale,
Dim angels returning to the sky.

Trickling down the slopes, a brilliant red river
That flows down the sacrificial temple.
The ground fizzles beneath,
Everything withers where the crimson liquid touches.
Those men who flee too late and drown under,
Feel the burn of it on their skin.
More blood than possible flows out,
Like a tide determined to wash over the land,
Cleansing with its searing acid.

Its blood leaves nothing behind.
Nothing but deformed rock stretching in every direction,
Towards the horizon.
No men are in sight; perhaps hiding, perhaps drowned.

Green tendrils break through the dirt, poking out,
Like hairs that warily raise on an arm.
They unfurl, extend, until the land becomes a field,
Flowers shoot up, and then bushes,
Trees thunder up from the ground,
And bloom with white buds.

All traces of scarlet seeps into the ground,
And fades among the grass.
The disintegrated flakes of brown hide dissolve into sand,
Carried in the wind.
It is gone.
They are gone.
And the forest starts to heal.