Hello coffee lovers and avid readers! Welcome to Olive’s Library at Olive’s Café, where you can read the stories of adventurous characters as they explore life.
Here’s a story of Sariah, a woman who shares a story of the time she got lost in the forest just wanting to escape life for a moment. Then, meets Alastor and wishes that they never met…
WARNING: This short story will contain vulgarity, fear, malicious and disturbing dialogue. If you feel that you will be triggered in any way, please DO NOT read past this point. Reader’s discretion is advised.
*What happened to you that made you avoid making friends? *
Huh… Well, I don’t know where to start, really. I mean, I couldn’t make any friends because I was always moving around. Even in my adolescence, I was always quiet, but I was more reserved than I was as a child. I wasn’t even loquacious to my own family.
*Do you remember what happened that made you reserved as a teenager? *
Well, I mean, when I look back, I believe it started when I was nine years old. During the time, I was always crying to myself in my room, and I felt like the world just ignored me. All I wanted was someone to be friends with.
*Did you eventually make a friend? *
I did, actually… now that I think about it, I remember this one kid who looked like they came straight out of a fantasy book. They looked like they came from another realm, and it makes me laugh now at how ridiculous it sounds… but I was nine years old at the time. I was actually fascinated by them.
*Were they a good friend to you? *
At first, I thought they were… but I learned later how much of a nightmare they were.
*What happened? *
It was on April 1st, and I wanted to tell a joke to my mother, but she was so busy with work that she didn’t even pay attention to me to say good morning. Even when I greeted her, she didn’t reciprocate. I don’t know why, especially when I’m so used to knowing how busy she was, but I cried and ran to my room to cry to myself. I felt so hurt, and it was worse that I felt lonely when I didn’t have any friends. So, I grabbed my rain jacket and backpack that had my camping gear and decided to walk inside the forest. Just for a quick walk, nothing too long. But I was so miserable, I didn’t even think about where I was going, and even when I had a compass I didn’t remember where I came in from, nor where I needed to go to return home. Once I did realize that I was lost, I felt even sadder. I was in a forest by myself, at nine years old, and the only source of light I had was a flashlight when it got dark. Luckily, I had extra batteries, but it didn’t make me feel any better. It was also getting cold, and the only thing I had that kept me warm was my long sleeve sweatshirt underneath my rain jacket. Oh, god I was shit out of luck.
*And when does this friend show up? *
…The very same night that I got lost. I don’t know where they came from, or how would they know that I was here, but they showed up… Even through my tears, I thought they were extraordinary and majestic. They had pointy ears and tattoos and body markings that was embellished with, I think they were either blue or green. I don’t know, I can’t really remember the exact details. All I know is that they looked magical. I didn’t even find it weird; I was too busy crying and admiring their beauty. And I think it was the very first time that I felt hopeful.
*What did they do? *
Well, as I sat on the log, they came up to me and asked, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?“
I gave a big sniff to bring back my snot before I answered, “I’m just alone. I don’t have any friends, my mom ignores me, and I feel like I don’t belong here.“
“Aw, don’t cry. You’re too pretty to cry,” they tell me, and they show me the shiniest smile I have ever seen. And at the moment, I stopped crying and wiped my face, even though I still sniffled as I calmed down.
“What’s your name?” they asked me, and I didn’t hesitate. I mean, they looked like they were the same age as me, and their presence felt comforting.
“Sariah,” I tell them, and I almost felt like I can breathe again.
“Pretty name. I’m Alastor. Nice to meet you,” they said to me. I have to admit; it was a cool name. And I was curious to know what they were and where they came from.
“Where did you come from?” I asked them, but they just simply smiled at me as they said, “Does it really matter where I’m from? All that matters is that I am here. With you. Cool?“
Even though I was just curious, I let it go and never asked again. And when they saw that I wasn’t feeling any better, Alastor gave me a strange, yet beautiful flower. The stem was long like a rose’s stem, but the petals reminded me of cherry blossoms, only bigger. It was, like, a purple color, almost lavender with teal pollen in the middle. It was extremely pretty.
“What’s that flower?” I asked them as I looked at it in fascination. “It’s an Oleander flower. I always carry some with me. My family grows them in the garden. They always hate it when I take them, but they’re a great source of energy, you know?” they told me. I looked at the flower, and I couldn’t help but smile at the time. It was super pretty and I’m sure that the pollen in the middle lit up.
They luminated in front of my very eyes and I was even more mesmerized. I smiled even more looking at that flower. I even promised to hold on to it and cherish it forever.
“See? It’s a great source of energy. You even smiled. Feel better?” they asked me. I nodded, though I wasn’t completely honest. I was still a little sad, but I wanted to move on. I wanted Alastor as a friend. I mean, they did a truly kind thing for me by giving me something that they risked taking. I just couldn’t be upset anymore.
Um, later on that night, we played around the fire that they made and told stories about of strange lands and weird creatures. I will tell you this; Alastor was great at telling stories, especially when they seemed like they actually happened. I wanted to ask, but I was exhausted already. So, we fell asleep by the fire. The next day, I woke up with such high hopes and good spirits, but I was reminded that I was still lost. Since Alastor was such a good friend, I asked them if they can help me get back home. “Uh… yeah sure, but only if you play with me,” Alastor said. I hesitated at first because I needed to get home before my mom would grow concerned that I went missing. And I told him so, saying that I really needed to get home. But then, something happened that made the forest get a little dark. They said, “Well, I mean, your mom didn’t even pay attention to you when you left. So, what makes it any difference when you go back home?” Although I thought they were right, something inside me gnawed at me, telling me that I needed to go home at that moment. But the last thing I wanted was to make my new friend upset, so I agreed to continue to play with him as long as they help me get back home. “Yeah, sure, whatever. I will get you back home. Now, let’s go play!” Their excitement made me smile and laugh, so we ended up playing more games and just had fun.
*Did they do what they agreed to do for you after playing around in the forest? *
…Not exactly. Um, it was more like I was taking around the forest and I felt like I was going deeper and deeper into it. I even kept asking where we were going as I grew exhausted as we walked. But the more I asked, the more annoyed they got. “Listen, we’re getting there. You just have to stop crying about it, you big baby.” When they said that, the forest just got darker. I mean, I knew that the sun was out, so I didn’t understand why it would get dark so fast. I wanted to get home so fast, I just decided to not complain anymore and just followed them. But the more we walked, the more exhausted I got, and I was worried about the flower that they gave me. So, I held onto it as tight as I could, so I don’t lose it and just kept going.
*Do you think that the Oleander flower gave you reassurance? *
I thought it did, so I held onto the idea that the flower was hope for me to get back home.
*So, what happened on that day? Because you mentioned that they became a nightmare. *
They were. I may not remember the details on Alastor’s body, but I do remember when I started to see what kind of being they were. Their behavior is what scared me the most.
It was later that day when two other kids appeared, they had similar pointy ears, but their embellishment was different from Alastor’s. I didn’t know where they came from but all I remembered was that Alastor was excited to see them. Turned out they were their best friends. I was happy that more kids would be around, and I hoped that they knew the way out. But…
*But what? *
…But…I didn’t get the chance to ask them where they came from. Because…they…
*Sariah, what happened? *
…Alastor said things to them that felt like the forest gradually went dark. I waited as Alastor spoke to their friends, and all they did was laugh. As soon as they noticed me, that’s when I noticed his behavior.
“Who’s that, Alastor?” One of them asked. When Alastor turned to me, they frowned. The night before, they smiled and reassured me, even giving me a beautiful flower. Then, they frowned at me? I didn’t understand why on Earth they would frown at me all of a sudden.
I watched, flabbergasted, as Alastor rolled their eyes at me as if I were a nuisance, and they turned to their friends as they said, “Oh her? I just found this cry baby sitting on the log. Oh, my god, she was just crying there about her mother and how she doesn’t have any friends. I’m telling you, it’s pathetic.” Then, they looked back at me and continued, “It’s no wonder she doesn’t have any friends.“
I was shocked… Shocked that Alastor, the one being that I thought was my new friend, would behave that way in front of their friends and hurt me with their insults. And what they said next… Well, let’s just say that what they said next hurt me to the core.
“So why is she with you?” the other one asked. “Because I thought it was funny to make her walk around the forest. She was begging to go back home, but she needed to lose all that fat she was hoarding. Snap, even I was exhausted just from walking with her and playing around,” Alastor told them, and it made them laugh. After what we shared the night before, and the morning of, that’s what they think about me? That I was exhausting them? Just even replaying these memories makes me just as thirsty as I was then. Not only did I feel exhausted, I felt even more miserable than the day before. I wanted to cry so bad, but I didn’t want to do it in front of them, so I asked if they knew where the nearest river was, hoping they would show a little bit of kindness. My hopes were shot down.
“Pig, I don’t know. Go find it yourself. Just be careful when you eat the berries. You eat too much, and you’ll sure explode,” one of them said, making Alastor and their other friend laugh. At that moment, the forest got pitch black and I felt even more exhausted as I grew more miserable, lonelier. I just walked away from them, not wanting to be there anymore. As soon as I was feet away from them, not even by an ear shot, I sobbed. I wanted to scream, but I didn’t have any more energy in me to do it. So, I cried in silence. I couldn’t believe it. I was… naïve enough to believe that I had a friend that understood me, but as it turned out they exploited my vulnerability and insulted me. I wanted to get out of that forest so fast, leave the nightmare behind.
*And did you manage find the river? *
I did, eventually. I wanted to be relieved that I finally found water, but…I was replaying those moments over and over again, trying to understand why they would say such things about me, in front of me. I was so occupied with replaying the memories and sobbing, I didn’t even bother kneeling on the ground by the river. I just… went in it. Then, something changed…
*Like what? *
Well, I needed to drink the water, so I let go of the flower and let it float next to me, and the first thing I did was wash my face and drink the water. Suddenly, the forest looked brighter, and I regained my energy. I took a deep breath and my stress just… went away. I looked at the river, and the direction it was heading, and remembered that if the water were flowing to my right, I would live the opposite direction. I remember taking out my compass and looking at where the arrow pointed. In front of me was North, so the river was flowing East. That meant I lived West. And because I finally saw the forest more clearly, I knew what I needed to do. But when I turned to grab my flower, it turned black and gray, and I took it that it died when I let go of it. I didn’t understand it then, but now that I think about it, I realized what that flower was doing to me.
*What do you think it was doing? *
I didn’t think about it at first because I was determined to get home, but now… I think that the flower was source of my energy being drained. As if it was absorbing it to live. Once I saw that the flower withered, I got out of the river and hiked West to head home. I assumed that Alastor ran off with their friends, so I just kept going. But I was wrong.
As I was hiking home through the forest, I felt the wind blow hard, even heard the whistles and the leaves shuffling around me. I was scared because I didn’t understand what was going on, but I became terrified when I heard whispers and echoes of Alastor’s voice.
*What were they saying? *
…Um… I heard them say, “Hey, Piggie…” and “Where do you think you’re going, fatty?” and I had to pick up the pace. It only intensified when the whispers and echoes got closer and louder, as if they were following me. But then, the whispers turned into loud echoes, calling my name in a rage tone. Just as I ran, I sobbed because I was terrified, and I wanted to be home already. My heart raced in fear because I was so vulnerable and miserable when I met Alastor, who I thought was a kind and fun friend, comforting me and giving me hope. But they turned out to be a rogue being, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Just as my heart was racing, my brain raced with memories of the night before and the day of. It was a nightmare, only I was awake during the entire time I was running away.
Eventually, I bumped into them, as if they just appeared in front of me, and while I was down on the ground, Alastor hovered over me and continued to torment me. “I finally found the pig. Now, where do you think you’re going?“
I remember wiping my face as I told him, “Home. I need to get home.“
“Home? HOME?! Ha! Why? There’s nothing there for you. Your mom doesn’t love you; you don’t have any friends. I mean, what’s the point of going back? You’re just a pathetic pig,” he told me, smirking mischievously.
I looked at them terrified yet… angry at the same time. I didn’t get up, but I did yell at them, “I didn’t say my mom didn’t love me. I said she’s been ignoring me.“
“What’s the difference?! If she’s ignoring you, it means she doesn’t love you. I mean, who would love a pig? Pigs are made for slaughter and consumption, didn’t you know?” Alastor said. At the moment, my anger started to take over, even though I was still terrified. I didn’t have any other words but “SHUT UP!!” Alastor was taken aback at my outburst and laughed me. “Wow,” they said to me, “I thought the flower was doing its job. Where is it? I thought you were taking care of it. I thought it gave you hope. Now, you let go of it? I thought you wanted to be my friend.“
I was ready to tell them off, but nothing came out of my mouth as I froze in front of them. And they continued, “That flower is supposed to be protected. It’s supposed to give me energy, but now it’s dead and useless because you let go of it. No wonder no one wants to be friends with you: you can’t even do one simple thing, you dumb pig. Just remember this; no one loves you; no one will ever love you, and I will find another way to make you mine.“
At that moment, I didn’t bother finding the right words to express how I feel. Instead, I screamed and shoved them down to the ground as I slapped them as hard as I could. I even continued to scream as I slapped them. Right before I struck once more, Alastor stopped me and shoved me off and sat on top of me. It got to the point where we were fighting each other’s hands, with my attempt to block them from hitting or punching me. Suddenly, my hand got caught on their necklace and somehow it snapped off and I grabbed it. Alastor quickly removed themselves off me and I got up immediately, running away with the necklace in my gripped hands. I ran and ran until I saw the sight of road pavement. I ran faster and headed towards the road, but just when I reached there, I heard a scream that made my blood run cold. “I WILL KILL YOU, PIG!” I turned around and looked back at the forest, my hand still holding on the necklace. I didn’t know why I stopped, I had no reason to, but…
*Maybe what they said is what caught your attention? *
…Well, yeah, but… I believe it was more than that. Maybe it was… because I wanted to go back and just fight them again. But I was too scared, and I wanted to go back home.
*What did you do next? *
… I turned back around and continued walking to the pavement. And because I was so hurt and scared from what Alastor has done, I decided to do something for revenge.
*Which was? *
The necklace in my hand… When I reached the pavement, I immediately threw the necklace down on the road, and stomped on it hard. At full force. As soon as I removed my foot, I stepped back as all the pollen that was in the crystal float away and the wind blew them further into the sky. I swear to god, my skin shrank and the hairs on my body wanted to jump off and run away with the wind when I heard that blood-curdling screech in the forest, and it made the trees shake and the wind blow more forcefully. It sounded so high-pitch and loud and it was terrifying. I almost thought my ears would bleed. I didn’t even bother turning back around into the forest. I just wanted to go home. But I was in such a shock, my brain couldn’t even tell my legs to move. I guess my brain shut down from the shock…
*Did you eventually get home? *
Yeah… I did, but not in a rush though, as I was still in shock. I walked home in a pace where I can almost assume that a snail got to my house before I did. And when I got home, my mom was there with the police, and she rushed to me with tears in her eyes, and she told me repeatedly that she was happy that I got home. I… I was still in shock. I didn’t even hug her back. Not even her embrace brought me back from the fright that I experienced.
*Did you tell her what happened? *
No. Not on that day at least. I finally told her yesterday after 20 years. She expressed that she was so concerned that I never made any friends, even avoided going to parties. When she learned what happened to me then, she even recommended that I see you. I was reluctant, but… after thinking about it, I realized that I wanted to heal and just… have a relationship with my mom.
*Do you think your mom believes you? *
I doubt it, but I can’t blame her. I wouldn’t believe myself either. But… what happened to me actually occurred. I just didn’t have proof.
*Do you think that having that necklace would have been proof enough? *
…No. At first I thought about what would have happened had I not crushed the crystal, but it made me happy that I did it.
*Because you believe that had you kept it, Alastor would’ve hunted you down. *
Yes. And that my nightmare would have continued.
*Do you think that Alastor is dead? *
I know Alastor is dead.
*What makes you so sure? *
…Because of that necklace, even I knew the pollen came from the Oleander flower that they gave me. The pollen that flowed away from the crystal was the same color as the pollen in that flower. So, I connected the dots, and it was clear to me that the crystal was the life source for Alastor.
*How did you know? *
…Because I was exhausted that day from all the walking until I let go of the flower. Even when I saw the flower withering in the water, and it died. Without me, that flower didn’t last long. Something so beautiful and charming was actually poisonous for me…
*Well, that’s all the time we have. So, here’s my assessment: that experience you had at nine years old in the forest is what affected you in your life. You didn’t have any friends before you went into the forest, and you didn’t know why. But after the situation in the forest, it traumatized you to the point where if you made a friend, you fear that someone would turn out the same way as Alastor. It took you 20 years to finally open up to your mother because she expressed her concern that you don’t have any friends. Even with Alastor gone, you still fear that they could be around and torment you again. Not physically, but metaphorically as you may believe that anyone can be the next Alastor. You’re afraid of making friends because you’re afraid that someone will manipulate you into believing they’re your friend, and then weaponize your vulnerability, and it held you back for so long. Now, has sharing your experience with your mother and coming here made you realize that no one is like Alastor? *
…Only my mother. I still think everyone could be another Alastor.
*Okay, well I’ll assure you that opening and talking about it is step one to healing. The next step is reminding yourself that you made it out of the forest and that Alastor no longer exists. It won’t be immediate as it will take time, but when you keep reminding yourself, that chokehold will finally let go of you. Another step is having conversations with your mother: start small and then when you trust her enough, progress into more personal matter. Everything takes time, and eventually you’ll trust yourself to make friends. Learn to crawl first before you fly. *
Okay… thank you. I will do whatever it takes to get better.
*Just remember to take your time. Rome wasn’t built in one night: it’s all about progress. Shall I see you in two weeks? *
Yes, I’ll add it my calendar.
*Okay, then. Same day and time. I’ll let my assistant know. *
Thank you, doctor. I’ll see you next week,
As I walk out of the office, I see my mother sitting on the chair in front of the door, reading her favorite book. When she notices me, she smiles as she gets up and takes my arm as we walk out together. That day was the first day that I smiled at her. I begin to feel like things will get better for me now that I finally talked about it, and the weight of my childhood trauma is slowly starting to shed off…
Not everyone will be malicious, but it would have to take a lot of faith and trusting yourself to believe that someone can be a good friend. You don’t have to forget the one person who hurt you so badly that you would avoid making new friends, but you can choose to forgive them for yourself so you can move forward. Additionally, don’t be afraid to talk to someone know and trust. You may never know; you can start healing just by talking to them.
Thank you for tuning in on Olive’s Library at Olive’s Café! Enjoy your coffee artistically!