The Forest

The python slithered across the lush green forest floor, its forked tongue flicking in and out. Its eyes were cold, devoid of warmth, and glistened in the faint sunlight bleeding through the canopy. As it neared its target, the beast slowed down, tensing its body like a coiled spring, ready for the kill. The man seemed blissfully unaware, sitting on the stump, as death approached in the form of a serpent.

Just as it prepared to strike, the man clicked his tongue softly and the snake froze, it’s body rigid.

“Come now, perfidiae” the man purred, “is that really how you treat an old friend?”

The man I knew is dead.

“Is he now?” the man asked, turning to face the snake. “But I seem uncannily alive, don’t you think?”

You wear his flesh. That means nothing to me. He is dead.

The snake now encircled its would-be prey who continued looking rather unfazed, bored even.

“So where is she? I don’t exactly have time to burn,” the man said, rotating a miniature hourglass in his hand, letting the grains of sand trickled down.

Your concern repulses me. I will devour you, be you first of men, or first of the fallen.

“Oh really? You’re willing to do all that and for what? Redemption?” the man asked. “Don’t make me laugh. I’m not the only one here, in someone else’s skin. You got off lightly, trying to wipe yourself off the mortal plane. Your prison was made in my likeness, after all. A poor resemblance by any means, but tell me, was it worth it?

I did what I had to. And now I pay the price.

For a brief moment, the forest fell silent. The rustling leaves froze, and the wind died. The chirps fell silent and time itself seemed to have slowed down.

“As do we all. But did we really have to? What were we trying to achieve?”

Freedom.

“That word is so grating, don’t you find it? The greatest joke of all time. The belief that somehow we get a say in all this.”

Feeling cynical? Must be ironic.

“I don’t know. Say, you think she’ll recognise me?”

I’ll still try to eat you, you know.

“One can always hope”, the man said, as the snake lunged forward.

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