by Jim Stitzel
The Lonely Moon gazes down on me,
The pale, immortal Son of Night.
It wakens the Eternal Sleeper,
Who calls to me, and I answer.
She walked, barefoot, across a carpet of moss. Her song - soft, haunting - danced on a breath of air, spun through the wood.
Only the trees observed her progress, their bony fingers scraping across her skin, clutching her hair, tugging at her thin nightgown. Dead leaves chittered nervously, a lament for other lost souls. She seemed not to notice, hypnotized by the enchantment in the air.
She sang, even as vines wrapped around her and bore her to the great old oak. She greeted it like an old friend, her hand caressing its rough surface.
"Hello, lover," she whispered. "I have been waiting for you."
It stood wide to receive her, molding itself to her as she was pressed into it. Washed in the moonlight her features were transformed into gnarled bark as the oak claimed her for itself. Her song ended only after the tree was whole once more.
* * *
Somewhere in the forest is an ancient oak tree with a human face. The legends all say that once upon a time, the Eternal Sleeper reached out from its slumber and called a young maiden to itself, that she went to it willingly and became one with it, a song of joy on her lips. It is also said that when the Lonely Moon shines upon the Sleeper, you can hear her singing still.