Chapter 1: Lily

My mother gave me this notebook for my birthday. She said I should write my stories in here but I don’t have any on my mind just now, so I will write about me instead.


I am Liliana Martell. My parents and their friends call me Lily. Most kids at school call me Forest Girl or Woodpecker. That’s the nicer names, anyway. I don’t mind being called Forest Girl, but some days it’s ‘the Outcast’ and ‘wood gnome’ and ‘needlehair’. The last one is my fault at least, so I don’t mind that very much, too. I had some pine needles in my hair from sleeping in the tree one day and kind of forgot to get them out.

When I was a small child – I am 11 now – I thought we were just a normal family. My mother works at the hospital, she’s one of the best surgeons around. Sometimes she works long hours and comes back late at night still wearing her hospital clothes, but she always has time for me, even if she is very tired.


My father is a musician. He likes to be famous, and he plays at various bars and restaurants all over town, but he doesn’t make much money with his playing. I know that because I listened to my parents argue about money one night. I have no idea why they argued about money. We don’t have much of it but why would we ever need much?


Because that’s the thing that makes us different, I guess. We live in the woods. In a tent. Well, actually, it’s two tents now that I am not a baby anymore. I have my own tent. And last year we have finished building the other shack. We already have a shack, it’s for washing and showering and keeping some stuff that needs to stay dry. We slept in the new shack during the winter. It’s warmer than in the tent and you don’t have to keep the fire going all the time, but it feels weird to me. The solid wooden walls block all the noises out, and I miss the hint of moonlight coming through the tent fabric, and the sound of the wind in the trees. Sure, it’s got windows, but it’s not the same.


My father came from a big city in some other country, Bridgeport or something. He grew up there but didn’t like it. He always loved the woods. He could play music in the woods, and it would… flow, he said. He came to Erlenbach and purchased a huge plot of land next to the forest. He left it mostly as it was. He even planted a few more trees in the beginning, and a small herb and vegetable garden. He lived the early years in a single tent. He built the washing shack when my mother moved in. He once told me he knew my mother since his first day in Erlenbach but it took him a while to work up the courage to ask her out. Why would a doctor come to live in the woods?

She gladly did, though. When she’s not working, she’s tending our garden, and carving small wooden statues and figurines, and selling them for small profit. Sometimes she paints, and her lady friends paint as well, when they visit the patch of woods we call our home. I am a painter too. When I grow up, I want to paint the things I see in the deep woods sometimes.


So, you see… our life is a bit different than most.

The other kids at school sometimes ask, what do you do living in a tent? I don’t laugh at them. It’s not polite to laugh at others just because they have no idea. I just secretly smile to myself, especially when I don’t feel like explaining. They wouldn’t understand anyway. They are too caught up with their TVs and their console games and their fancy toys and clothes.

First, you can sit at the fire, especially in the evening, and tell each other stories.


My mother often invites her lady friends from the hospital, and they sit at the fire until late at night. Sometimes I wander off into the deep woods and crawl in my favourite tree and sleep there because the women at the fire are too loud. I don’t mind, though. I know my mother is working very hard and she deserves all the good time she can get.


There are gatherings during the day, too, when both my parents don’t have to work, and my father’s friends come as well.


But I am getting sidetracked.

You can do a lot of things living in a tent in the forest. I mentioned watching the moonlight creep through the fabric and listening to the wind. You can watch the bats dart through the branches after their insect prey. You can lie in the grass and watch the sky. You can carve toys from wood or search for special rocks up in the hills. And you can go up to the waterfall and listen to its song.

And sometimes I see things in the deeper woods. I always tell my mother about them, and sometimes she gets a really weird face, but she never says anything. Sometimes I tell my father but I always make a point of pretending it’s just a story. I’m not sure why, it just feels better this way. Once, me and my father wrote a song together. I will write it down just in case I might forget it – though I’m sure my father has it written down somewhere. And after that it’s time for me to turn the light off and to go to sleep… it’s a school day tomorrow.

We’ve been there for million years
Through the rain and through the heat
Dancing round in silver light
Chasing all throughout the night

Crystal laughter by the river
Glimmering lights through the heather
Through the time we’re still unchanged
We are the hunters we are the prey

We’re still there between the trees
Nature spirits wild and free
Chanting songs in sacred places
Hiding deep behind the branches

Don’t you dare to follows us
Floating fires o’er the marsh
Across the mire there is no way
Take a step and go a-stray

Sparky shapes upon the lake
Softly cradling with the waves
Dancing laughing spinning singing
The haze of mystery we’re bringing

We’re still there between the trees
Nature spirits wild and free
Chanting songs in sacred places
Hiding deep behind the branches

(Author’s Note: “Nature Spirits” is a poem by yours truly, originally posted on my own site.)

3 comments on “Chapter 1: Lily

  1. cathytea says:

    I love this! I love Forest Girl! People at school used to call me that, too, because I also often came to school with leaves and needles in my hair! I really love this family.

    Nice place to start, too, with the gen 2 girl. Oh! I also love your visuals!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Allie Mac says:

    Aww love Lily and the she world lives in. Your poem is simply beautiful!


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