Silent Whispers

“Damn, come on Phi,” said Plisken, his tired old limbs pushing his body to the launch site of the missiles.
“Wait,” said Phi, hurrying after the old man.
The two of them pushed through the thick forested border that lined the ruined city. Branches and leaves clung at their clothes, pulling them away and trying to stop them progressing. Plisken gently brushed aside the forest arms, as gently as he could while running. Phi watched as the old man carefully stepped in between the roots and the dusty forest floor, careful not to break any plants or flowers. Phi tried her best to copy but too many flowers became crushed under her sandals.
Plisken glanced back at Phi’s wake of destruction. “Don’t worry,” the gruff voice of the old man said, though Phi suspected he was saying it to the forest and not to her. But Phi continued to try and protect the forest from her own clumsy footsteps, though she couldn’t fathom why. The forest just seemed to be alive.
Plisken raised his fist, slowing down as the two of them came to a clearing in the forest. A soft cry appeared to be echoing from within the clearing, drawing Plisken in close. As they came closer, a small cot became visible. Sitting on a rock, it was illuminated by a single shaft of light that broke through the canopy of leaves.
“Plisk, who is that?” asked Phi as she crept in closer to see the face of a crying baby in the cot.
“It doesn’t matter,” Plisken snapped, pulling Phi away from the cot. Phi looked around in shock at Plisken’s outburst, but her face softened when she saw the sorrow in his eyes. “It doesn’t matter,” he said again, more softly – though it was more for his benefit than hers.
Hey wait a sec aren’t those the crystals that you used last time?” said a female voice in the distance, hidden behind walls of forest.
“Was that... Jade?” asked Phi.
“Quite possibly,” said Plisken nodding.
The two pushed on, moving slightly away from the supposed launch site of the missiles and more towards the source of the voices. Plisken and Phi caught more snippets of conversation until finally they tumbled out the heavy growth and into another clearing. But as they pushed themselves to their feet, they found that no-one was to be seen.
“Wha-?” Phi said in disbelief.
Plisken sighed, “Bloody forest, must be playing with us. Carrying sound or something.”
“Trees can do that?”
“What makes you think that are trees?”
“They are made of wood and have leaves,” said Phi as if talking to an animal.
Plisken smiled and held out his hand, Phi taking it with a face of confusion. Plisken closed his eyes and placed his free hand on the bark of a tree, his metal fingers pressing into the grooves of the wood. A sudden sensation filled Phi, a thousand whispers filling her ears. She snatched her hand away from Plisken in shock.
“They – they are alive?”
“Everything here is, at least I think they are.”
“I lived in a forest like this. The Forest of Silent Whispers, they called it. I thought they had all gone…”
There was another dull boom in the air. A silver trail blazed and screeched across the sky, its origin very close.
“Come on.”

As Plisken and Phi approached the sounds of hushed chatter, Phi turned to Plisken. “How do we know that the trees aren’t messing with us again.” A strong gust angrily swept through the leaves, a hurt roar coming from the trees. Plisken raised his eyebrow, “I know, now.”
Plisken held out his hand, the fingers outstretched. He began to count down and his ears desperately strained to hear what the hushed words were saying before he pounced on them. But he ran out of his own time and he and Phi burst through the growth. But what greeted them was unexpected.
Two tri-pedal creatures were standing their, their backs hunched over. They resembled and elephant. Only with out a trunk. And the large ears. And had three legs. And it was smaller. And it had a complex and advanced looking rocketry system mounted to its back. But apart from that, it was exactly the same as an elephant. But what gave the biggest surprise of all was the high pitched squeak they gave. It was a “Aaajk”. They fled into the forest and Plisken and Phi took a moment before they recovered.
“I’ve never seen that before,” said Plisken.
“That can’t be good.”

Plisken and Phi looked at each other and then darted into the forest after them. They pushed through the growth, trying to track down the creatures. They followed the squeaking until they thought they heard hundreds of them. They pushed though some branches and found themselves at the beech. Without any tri-pedal creatures.
“Again?” said Phi in disbelief.
“The forest must have been protecting us…”
“Yeah, sure,” said Phi skeptically.
“Phi! Plisken!” called a voice from the distance. They both glanced over to the source of the voice only to find the smoking remains of the Starbug.
“Oh bugger,” said Plisken as he and Phi set off to the ruins.

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