A fascinating short story by Pink Woods called The Mortal and the Secret Ritual of Nature. 🙂 You can read it via her blog here.
I looked at him and I saw in his eyes the feeling of frustration. It was slowly creeping into his being, he might not know it yet, but I’m sure, sooner or later, he would give up and think that all of it was just a worthless and crazy pursuit.
I first saw him just this afternoon, and as I conversed with the Tree, I learned that he had been sitting there since yesterday—not moving a single limb, and he was perfectly doing the secret ritual only known to nature, and to us, Beings of nature.
“What are you up to, young mortal?” I asked—more to myself than to him, while pacing in front of him.
In fact, I’d been doing a lot of pacing ever since the Wind whispered to me that somebody had found the Enchanted Tree—the tree that had been hidden since the beginning of time, the tree that could only be found by mortals with pure unbreakable great desire—and was attempting the secret ritual.
It had been such a long time since someone had attempted to do the ritual, and when I said long, it’s more than any mortal could imagine. Our time frame is different from mortal’s perception of Time, because Time is nonexistent for Beings who know Eternity.
I even thought that the Wind was kidding me in saying that, and then I remembered that it was foolish for me to think so, because the Winds are one of the most serious beings of nature and they never lie even if most of the time, what they say are almost unbelievable and even hilarious.
The sun would soon be down. And if he would continue in doing the ritual, the Enchanted Tree and I would soon be left with no choice but to grant his wish, any wish—no matter how wicked or noble.
I sat in front of him, studying his face. His gaze was directly at me, as if he could see me, but of course that is impossible. He has such a fine-looking face, and his skin is as white as clouds, and his presence stood out like a sparkling star from the darkening forest.
“I wonder what you’ll be wishing for,” I said, wondering out loud. “Judging from your looks, you surely must come from a very affluent family, so maybe it can’t be wealth. Is it love? But you have such a handsome face to even have a problem for capturing any girl’s heart! Power? Hmm, maybe not, for you doesn’t have an air of greediness. How about health? For you or for your love ones? Or maybe you’ll be wishing for immortality? Well, that is the only exception for only the Maker of all things can grant that! What are you seeking for, mortal?”
He let out a long breathe of sigh, and closed his eyes. The ritual was finished. The sun was down. To officially end the ritual, and to have what he desire, the first word that should come out of his mouth should be his wish.
I leaned forward, and everything else in the forest seemed to listen for his wish, not even the Wind dared to move.
Seconds had passed, but he was still not uttering anything, and for the first time I felt what might Time means, for Eternity seemed to have passed.
So even though I knew that it wouldn’t be possible for him to hear me, I still said, as I always said to others who attempted but not succeeded, “Tell me, what are you seeking for, mortal?”
He opened his eyes, and I could swear that he could see right through me.
And he said, “You.”