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The stars were covered. Penelope had finally emerged from the forest, ready to find her way home… But the stars were clouded over with ominously grey clouds that sucked the light out of an already dark sky. She fell to the ground, her knees sinking into the soft dirt. She was ready to give up. She may as well accept it – she was never getting home. Angry with herself, with the world, with the strange green bird she had followed earlier into the forest, she beat the ground.

Through her sobs she did not see the glow, did not hear the beat, beat, beating of a drum – no, a heartbeat.

Penelope heard a throat being cleared and knew it was not her own. She wipes away her tears, leaving behind a trail of moist, rich earth.

“If you wouldn’t mind,” spoke an earthy, feminine figure, “I was trying to sleep.”

Penelope’s eyes grew wide as she took in the full form of the being: forged of the same rich dirt that she had fallen into; a leafy cascade of amber, red, and green was her hair; lips of dew-dropped earth; and a tunic of moss.

“I’m sorry,” the words fell from her lips before she knew what she had said.

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