Forest extract

Anna C. Naumann


love and adventure
light and shade



She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that`s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes.

While the fog was hiding her from the glances of the followers, Allegra started singing. Her beautiful voice penetrated the air like some stars are able to do with their beams in the dark nightly sky. Wild-cat Chouette jumped beneath the girl and it seemed as if she was dancing to her tune but in fact the small grey cat only was interested in skipping around the large puddles on the road at the very moment, wanting to keep her paws dry. There had been a heavy rain some days before. Birds came to listen to the music, not too close, they minded the cat of course, and some branches of old firs were rhythmically rustling in the soft wind. The whole foggy forest seemed to listen to the magic music escaping the lips of the ravishing young woman.

There be none of beauty’s daughters
With a magic like thee
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me.

„What are you doing here, Allegra. Be quiet. There are robbers and worse in these woods. They may hear you and attack us.“ Meanwhile advancing, Quinn interrupted the song, anxiety creeping into his voice.
Allegra turned around, waking with a start from the marvellous dream, music had put her in, facing her father`s assistant, Quinn and his horrified eyes.
„Where else should I be allowed to sing? It is not desired in town and even here in the forest it seems to be difficult,“ answered Allegra, disliking the interruption. „That`s annoying.“
„Quinn, don`t shout at the young Lady,“ said Fofo, getting out of breath while approaching.
„Singing romantic songs in this mysterious fog can bring bad luck to us all,“ whispered Quinn superstitiously.
„Fearing the supernatural, Quinn? Nonsense,“ commented Fofo, with a delicate smile to Allegra which she didn`t return.
„Romantic songs are exciting, that`s all,“ the girl nearly lost her patience.
„I think, they weaken your brain and melt all reason out of it, so to speak. Can`t be healthy.“ Fofo informed Allegra of his opinion, without being asked.
Meanwhile Foster, Allegra`s father, had reached the small group.
„I`m very much concerned about the consequences these songs will have for the development of your common sense, my daughter.“
Allegra rolled her eyes and turned away. Always the same. They kept on spoiling every joyful moment and tried to put her in a bad mood all the time.
“Fortunately we’ll soon arrive at aunt Paula`s flat, she is not such a superbore as you are, dad,” grumbled Allegra who always liked the time they spent visiting the old aunt who was a very inspiring lady.
Suddenly Chouette stopped jumping around, pricked up her ears and started bristling all her fur until she looked like a somewhat soft hedgehog. Obviously she had heard or smelled something strange in the woods.
„What´s the matter, Chouette?“ Allegra wanted to know although it was clear to her that cats couldn`t speak.
Some minutes later the reason for Chouette`s behaviour became visible for all of them. There should have been a forest inn – the only one far and away – turning up after the next bend of the road. But it didn`t. At this very spot, where the inn used to be, the perplex eyes of the four persons met an enormous fire. This unexpected view left all of them pretty speechless for the moment. What was going on here? Recovering from a first shock, three of them expressed their very different suspicions.
„Rebels!“ cried Fofo.
„The dark force!“ whispered Mr Quinn.
„Poachers!“ was the firm belief of Allegra.
„Why should poachers set an inn on fire! There is no sense in that!“ laughed Fofo.
Allegra stayed motionless looking into the fire with an unusual expression of horror deep in her beautiful eyes which seemed to consist only out of two large black pupils at the moment and held Chouette close to her heart who showed extraordinary fear of fire as cats usually do.
„There is no evidence of a crime, as far as I can see, it simply could be an accident,“ Foster finally remarked, showing his common sense again.
But a weird howling of wolves, followed by the sound of a shot were making the situation even stranger. Full of uneasiness, Chouette clinged to Allegra and the girl was calming her down by caressing her grey fur.
„As I said, poachers.“
Suddenly a man got out of the fire and started running into the direction of the four people. He was ablaze like a torch.
„Help!“ was his only reaction.

. . . . .

—– ebook coming soon —–