She was hidden, disguised, camouflaged by the branches. The cold licked her face and crept beneath her thin attire, seeping through her skin. Lips tainted purple, she watched from above as the group dispersed throughout the forest.
The forest that once felt alive now weeped in the absence of it’s leaves; habitat, it seemed, to only the people who found pleasure in bonfires and camping off-bounds; people who couldn’t care less about trees.
With no longer a palpable reason to exist, the forest didn’t thrive as it had done in it’s youth, but Laura still found the same peace and simplicity in the trees as she always had. She watched the group – little older than her, maybe even the same age – organise themselves in clusters to mark out the points in which their camp would begin within this most desolate part of the woods.
Laura caught sight of a boy who must have been not much more than a year older than her. At about seventeen, he sat on a log parallel to her tree, evidently reluctant to do any heavy lifting. He fumbled around in his pocket and pulled out a lighter with which he began to torch the few leaves that still lay dormant on the ground; one by one. However dead they might be, Laura could have sworn she had heard them scream as they combusted into a cloud of sparks and ashes. She diverted her eyes; it pained her to see such destruction of a place she loved so dearly. How can you willingly destroy something so beautiful? She wondered in rage.
Laura wriggled her toes against the branch, the bark scratching on the bare skin of her feet. She rolled her head back to rest on the trunk, trying desperately to erase the image of something so beautiful being destroyed. She fumbled in her pocket and pulled out a cardboard packet; worn and torn to the point that the warning painted yellow had faded to an off-white. With shaking fingers, she pulled out a cigarette and proceeded to light it, pressing it against her lips. Later that night, when she returned home, her brother would ask, how can you willingly destroy something so beautiful?