Tag walked further down the trail. It had been years since he had taken the time to explore the woods. Up until today, he had spent most of his timing swimming laps in the pool at the local college training for the Olympics. Some days he felt utterly alone and wanted to run as far away from the pool as possible. Other days he felt on top of the world as his body cut through the water at lightening fast speeds. Today was one of those in between days. One of those days where he could see the task set before him and imagine the victory yet at the same time mustering the enthusiasm to make the vision reality seemed an almost impossible task. His coach had suggested getting into nature to quiet his mind. Remembering how much he used to like hiking, he had taken his coaches suggestion. Walking didn't seem fast enough. Tag began to run. Over roots and through brush, he ran. He felt the wind rush over every pore of his skin and ran faster until he could run no longer and flopped down onto the ground leaning on a rotting stump. These woods had been here everyday beckoning to him since he had started his training but he had ignored their call, thinking he didn't have time for this sort of thing. Tag stretched his long legs out on the mossy earth and shut his eyes imagining that his body was melding into the earth becoming a part of the forest floor. Time seemed to slow down as every tiny sound pricked his ears and even the smallest breeze swayed the individual hairs on his legs. He could hear a whisper in the movement of the leaves calling to him. What was it saying? Something familiar. Something he'd heard before. Tag carefully opened his eyes in case there was someone nearby. Glancing around, he saw no human forms only the normal creatures of the forest... bunnies, butterflies, squirrels, birds. He closed his eyes again. The whispering was gone. Had he actually heard words or was he only imagining things? He turned the question over and over in his mind until the turning lulled him to sleep.
His mind's eye opened and he was in different woods. These were more ancient. The trees here towered together in dense bundles blocking most of the sunlight. Long muted tan vines hung from the trees covered with masses of tiny leaves. Unsure of which way to turn, Tag stood considering his options. Hearing a loud rustle of leaves coming from behind him, he quickly grabbed one of the vines and hoisted himself up to the first large branch of the closest tree. Peering over the edge of the branch, he spied two girls arguing.
"Lani, stop meeting him! He's mine and always has been!" screamed the first girl who tresses of golden hair whipped around as she yanked her older sister's hair.
"But, he likes me!" screamed the other girl standing her ground. "You may be his friend but I am his girlfriend!"
Just then, Tag fell out of the tree and landed right between the two arguing girls. Both girls kept on arguing as if he wasn't there.
"Hey!" Tag yelled to see if either would look but neither girl did. He stood up, waved his arms and screamed but the girls kept arguing as if he wasn't there.