Deep in the forest's poisoned heart seven beasts roam freely. Free to hunt. Free to survive. Free to live at their own costs, for danger is everywhere here, it shrouds them in thick swarms from forces unknown. They only survive through their slim number in which they share the essentials for every day life. Some more willingly then others.
'Work for each other and you will be safe' as a joyous motto once proclaimed, a slightly obligated task that is trusted less these days.
They move in the mist, through the tall, black, silent tree bodies that are now without song from the once lively, majestic canopy tops. Death to all who come to live here, within their naked, anorexic fingersof the bowing branches. They continue through the bones and ashes which lay still at their feet. No time to morn as the dust fills the air with a bitter sting.
The beasts throats clog with even more as they are enforced by nothing but instinctual prime fear to run. But there is no one there. Only death walks free of a job to gaze with ease happily on his view of a perfect spectacle. Unless he noticed them, then he would oblige and take his name as gospel. A common sight they must have witnessed behind those teardrop and sadened eyes as they are picked off one by one and life begins to shrink.
They where heading for a shelter. One of many that they had camouflaged completely to keep them moving through the shadows and invisible from anyone and everyone that would happily seek to kill a beast of their nature for any reason, even if it where for fun.
Life. Not that you'd call it worth living. Fugitives in their own natural home.
You see the beasts show no vicious like qualities for that is the title of the last act any living creature heard about before the dark magic extinguished such beauty and the only act of a poisonous ruler that chose this as the condemnation of all lower classed then her, alpha to human life who is suited only for power.
"A witch for a queen, who would choose that," they would moan to each other grunting rude remarks that mock and tell the truth, from their huddled stampede to get out of sight from the unforgivable habitat around them to a safer area then the open offered. With only their rations strapped tightly to their backs.
On this trip they where venturing to the northern hut. The coldest and most uninviting thicket to want to be wound up in with holes in the roof and damp straw as a mattress all seven dreaded the prospect of the smallest patch of earth as their nighttime company so they where all eager to place their order first to ensure that their experience was not at all too horrid.
As they came ever nearer to the thicket they didn't notice the bare footprints engraved on the ground so distinctly leading across to where an even thicker layer of sharp brambles twisted and domed in like a giant iglu lay as their final destination, they where too busy discussing quietly about the conflict they had had among themselves in the previous move about who was to sleep where and the rota for various duties for the duration of time they would stay for until it was their time to move on.
Suddenly the wisest of the group silenced the chatter among them and emerged to the front of the pack to stop them from continuing, he noticed a strange glow from within the tangled net of branches and consciously looked to the other six for guidance, they ushered him onwards the bravest of the group to look forward into the entrance of the door. He hesitated and heard a gentle sobbing originating from their domain. He turned to the distant spectators and whispered "there's someone in there" he returned to the door and entered slowly six pairs of eyes hovered in the early morning mist scared and confused glancing at each other longingly for the unknown to be explained to them.
The bravest was soon met with a sight that shocked him. There was indeed sobbing coming from the spacious room, from one corner which was illuminated via a small blaze of sticks and twigs from a curled up mess of beauty stripped in a shameful intent as she clung to the last few shreds to regain a small level of dignity.her pale skin shone in the room as we'll as the fire spat out light through its fuel of the excess twig and debris that was falling to disuse on the muddy floor.
"Who are you?" He grunted at the sad sight before him, the girl crawled into a ball and sat there shivering and hiding for she had never seen such a creature before. The tears melted down her face as she backed away to the very edge of the room. He approached cautiously and knelt down beside the fire, unloaded his rations offered her a flask of water, " it's ok, we won't hurt you.
She crawled out from the shadows into the fire's small blaze of light, cuts bulged on the surface of her smooth skin. She took the bottle gently and pressed it against her dry, cracked Lips and allowed the liquid to seep through to her tongue and gulp down her throat. She sighed deeply and turned to the creature before her. Her condition suggested that she would have taken anything to ease her suffering even hemlock would have been greeted as a tender kiss.
"You seem to be real but how can you be, I have never heard of a description to match your existence" she said curiously studying the masked face of hair covering most distinguishable features, black beetle eyes popping out looking back into her tearful eyes. "Are you many?" He refocused his gaze and remembered his fellow six still freezing in the door way unable to move with worry.
" erm, yes" he beckoned them in with a swift swipe of his hand in mid air. "We are but seven only" he said watching the others edge into the warmer centre shell of bracken. "What are you all? She asked I should title you via expression rather then name" looking at the array of emotion through the room, "but for now I shall call you my salvation" she smiled.
Each stripped a piece off clothing of their backs and draped their small fabrics around her body regaining her dignity. They then snuggled up into a relaxed heap and lay in the dark as the fire's fuel turned to nothing more then a cinder of ash on the ground. No time for explanations for sleep hit them from their tiring journeys.
The dark sun rose as always in the forest of winter. Cold and bitter, the morning air bit at their skin through even their perfectly worn-in protection. The collection of beast and beauty stirred hidden from view in the thick morning mist. Instinctual routine meant that the seven saviours woke first to find that the girl was actually a reality and not just a dream to them. They left her to sleep and crept silently into the open cold air to hunt. They routines their passage through the trees as normal; to hunt and to feed. Their swift movements the trees shattered the painful silence as there once ever eternal joy in which they had roamed lay broken beneath their feet, twisted in dust and ash, nothing but a layer in time openly fossilised chaos in perfect detail, every inch easy to read like a page from a story.
'I guess here we are just stories in the end',they would say and in reply another would answer 'we're not even stories, we're just myth now, myth taught by the brave willing to speak of such be it that of their own risk, who would dare?'
They ventured ever closer to their supplies when a curtain mirical caught their eye. A colour, a colour suspended high above their heads shinning through the dull surrounding nets.
"Is it?" One contemplated as he points curiously at the objects ray of a shiny surface.
"I never thought I'd see the day" rejoiced another as he readied his lips for a taste.
"IT IS!" Shouted another, "an APPLE!!"
The seven glance at each other and suddenly stampeded their way towards the glowing red skin of the apple. They all new food was a rare specialty around here and they couldn't believe their luck. They had actually retrieved a rarity of such value to their body that they where as gentle as a feather when occupying the trees ascent and plucked it carefully from the trees grasp. They protected it with the little and best materials that they had on them carrying it as if it where made of gold.
They reentered their lair of hiding to await a tidy room that compacted a perfect ideal rationed living space along with one freshly faced girl who now possessed slightly fitted rags from the generosity of raw materials they had so willingly donated the night before.
She and them both exchanged a happy greeting and with a roaring fire at their side the saviours and the blessed both sat closer around the fire.
The beasts didn't waste any time in telling her about the discovery of the mirical fruit and unraveled it from its precious protection for all to see, one lifted it into the air and doctored its red back to show it's truly remarkable exsistance.
"Beauty, pure beauty" they smiled as they examined its colour, shape and texture. Rotating it carefully as if it where a treasured jewel.
All where fascinated by the apple but none more so then the girl, she was curious. " where was it?" She asked intently to the glowing eyes of the beasts.
"High above suspended in ore for us to see, we scrambled willingly above the forests floor. They returned to gawk.
"I think it's a trap" she blurted out disturbing the silence.
"A trap?!" they laughed, "A TRAP?!!" They continued laughing at her idea, they saw no reason why this should be a trap, "my dear girl, how could it be?"
"Haven't you ever heard about such traps?," she exclaimed with a serious glare in her eyes, she continued, "It's a vanity trap; you're so distracted by something of so much interest and importance, that you don't realise, that you're sticking your head in a noose. You were seen, you must have been seen, how many times do you believe in fruit born from a long-dead tree?"
They exchanged looks at each other confused and worried that it might be true, however driven by hunger they were desperate for just one bite of satisfaction to tend their eternal thirst. So... They ignored the girl and sliced the inviting colours to their lips.
That was it; no more apple, no more satisfaction, no more them. They lay silent and still on the ground a tender kiss crossed their lips from the lonely girl who left the dying beast. That was their own doing so she emerged from the hide into the cold hours of the forever snow.