Danny’s Story

33. in which danny discovers the heart


Danny found herself sprawled across the forest floor, face pressed to the ground. Sounds of crashing reverberated through the understory.

When she looked up, the cyborg was gone. It had blazed a path through the forest, leaving a gaping hole through the trees in its wake. She stood slowly, first getting to all fours and then putting each leg underneath her, relishing the sudden calm. As she did, her gaze remained trained ahead of her, at the hole through the trees. A dazzling green color took her attention, and she began to walk forward, her feet moving — one in front of the other — almost of their own volition.

Danny came to stand beside the white-and-metal mass that had been the cyborg, and stared. The tree trunks here were velvet with green moss. Some branches still swayed, supple, with the cyborg’s upset. The leaves that spread from them were a vital green. The air was suddenly damp with the respiration of plants. It was ripe with flesh and life.

The ground that Danny stepped forward onto was springy with leaves and fallen foliage. Somehow, this portion of the forest had remained untouched by the metal and silicone. The air virtually thrummed with magic. For several long moments, Danny found herself turning in circles, dumbfounded by this sudden change. She was…home. Engulfed in enchantment and green, growing things.

Danny’s final turn brought her face-to-face with it: the most immense tree she had ever seen.

At first, Danny did not recognize it for what it was. Its broad trunk was merely a backdrop for the trees in front of her. However, when she drew closer, she found that the forest thinned. She gazed down a stretch of bare forest floor toward a tree as large as a high rise. Its head was so vast that it precluded the growth of any other trees for hundreds of feet from its base.

“The heart,” murmured Danny.

Energy radiated from the tree — a skin-tingling, pulse-throbbing quickening of the air. Despite Danny’s enmeshment in the Suit, she could feel it on the back of her tongue and trembling against her skin. Magic. Forest magic.

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Christie “Iamba” Bailey