- - Whatever you may want to forget, I can help you…
The voice seemed to come from deep beyond the rain and hail. Marina stood there, freezing but attentive of the voice she had heard. But she never heard it again. Instead, another voice seemed to be approaching, yelling something that she couldn’t understand. Then she saw a shadow that turned out to be her father. He had a large plastic covering him and yelled Marina to go with him. She doubted for a second but he helped her by taking her arm and running with her. They were followed by Anseon, Marina’s pet pig, who stopped every so often to check on mushrooms growing in the ground. About ten minutes later, they were inside their house, by the edge of the town.
Marina went straight to her room, dripping water. She crossed her mother but didn’t say a word, only standing by the door to let Anseon in. She then removed her wet clothes and put them in a plastic bag that she would get downstairs some other time. She lay in her bed and covered her face. Marina could hear the voice again, as clearly as she had in the downpour. Who had talked to her? The woman, because it was a woman’s voice, had not revealed herself and Marina’s father probably scared her away.
Anseon climbed on to the bed and Marina uncovered her eyes, caressing his pet and wondering what had really happened that night. She had only gone to the forest to pick up some berries for a desert, the ones she did every week, and suddenly a storm had formed and she had been trapped there, on the mud, between the hail, the rain and that strange voice from beyond. It may have been a forest spirit or maybe a wandering soul… Many people, including her grandfather, stated that the woods were haunted and that spending any time there after nightfall was, at very least, dangerous.
Marina was distracted from her thoughts when her father came in, without even knocking. He knew very well she hated when he did that, only because the doorknob didn’t work. She then grabbed a book that she had left on her bedside table and pretended to read, although she didn’t even look at more than two words. Her father sat down on a small chair by her closet and asked her why she had left the house that day. Marina left the book aside and told him he knew well that she always cooked a pie or some desert for all the family. She knew the best berries grew in the forest and she had gone to grab some. Her father then asked why she didn’t have any of them with her when he found her and Marina explained she had dropped them when running from the storm.
Her father didn’t seem to believe her very much, especially because when he found her she had not been running or anything similar. But apparently he decided not to keep asking anything and just old her to go down for dinner. After putting on a sweater and caressing Anseon’s belly a little more, she went down and sat besides her mother. Her younger brother Mason was already eating, trying to cut his meat but failing awesomely at it. Marina realized she was not very hungry but tried to eat at least some bites. She knew her father was looking her every move, as if she was a dangerous criminal. Her parents started talking about the downpour.
Spring had arrived, that much was true. But it never rained like that on this part of the world. They hoped it would soon end because the river downhill could overflow and that would be devastating for the little town. As both kids had class the next day, no parent said anything when Marina stood up and left her plate almost full. She went to her room and hugged Anseon. Marian then thought of the rain, the voice, his parents, of everything that had been going on in her life and then started to cry in silence. The pig appeared to be worried about her but she soon fell asleep. After all, she was very tired and needed the rest.
However, the rain didn’t stop during the night. It hadn’t become stronger either. It just rained and rained, sometimes some hail falling, others only liquid water. Marina’s mother called the school and learned it had been closed permanently because of flooding. The school was located in the lowest part of the valley and, apparently, many volunteers were trying to make a barrier with sand bags in order to repel the water. Father had gone to work, as the factory did not close for rain or for anything else. Mother was attracted to the idea of helping the school but the children were too happy about not going to class that it would have been cruel to take them there anyway.
Marina decided to spend the time writing. She had been reading a lot about poetry and thought she could give it a go but after an hour she realized it was much more difficult than what she had thought. Then, she decided to try drawing but that wasn’t much better either. Bored with the outcome of her attempts at being an artist, she decided to help her mother with lunch. They did a gorgeous steaming hot soup, with all kind of vegetables in it and pieces of chicken. They all needed something like that to warm up the bones; after all, the rain didn’t seem to recede in any way.
After they had the soup, Marina decided to cook one of her pies. True, she had lost of the fruit she had picked the day before, but her mother still had some lemons and all the ingredients to make one. So she started cooking and realized the feeling she had when doing a pie was the one she would have want to have when writing a poem or drawing some scenery. It was that permanent bliss, that strange peace that sets in when one does what one likes. When she finally put it in the oven, she looked through the window and then she was sure she had seen an elderly woman outside. But after blinking and getting close to the window, she realized the woman was not there.
Maybe it was because she had been inside the house for too long… She had started imagining things. After all, the day before, she never saw the face of the woman that had talk to her. Marina thought she was just too eager to have something special happening to her and that’s why she was imagining things. When the pie was done, she gave a warm slice to her brother and mother, along with some tea. Her dad arrived just when they sat down and she gave him a slice too. For the first time in a long while, they had a nice time as a family. There was no fight or no unusual tension. Her father told them about the flood down in the valley and how the factory had been closed earlier to also prevent flooding.
They chatted for hours until night came and mother started heating up some soup for everyone. It was then, when Marina went to her room to look for her notebook, that she saw the woman again. From her bedroom window, she saw the old lady looking at the house, at her. She smiled when Marina looked at her. The girl pulled away from the window, breathing heavily. Apparently, she was the voice in the rain. It was two coincidental… What did she want? Why did she think Marina wanted to forget something? Or was it a trick to lure her into the forest.
Marina then decided to wait for everyone to be asleep and then she would go outside, not minding the rain, and demand an answer from the woman. She waited patiently, distracted by her family during dinner. Somehow, her father was in a great mood, telling jokes and holding their mother’s hand often. Mason had spent all they making small clay characters and they all congratulated him because they were just great. Even Marina got to confess to her family how much she loved doing the deserts, cooking. She told them about that feeling, the kind that fills your heart when you do something that you love.
Her parents encouraged her to keep learning all about it, about confectionary and cooking in general. They knew she could be great as all her creations were just delicious. Their support almost made her cry and it was Anseon asking for food that distracted her and made them all laugh. After some time, they decided it was time to go to bed and see how the next day was going to be like. Marina volunteered to wash the dishes and her father stayed at the dining table trying to fix a clock that hadn’t worked in many months. When she finished, she looked through the window and then to her father, who was immersed in the fixing of the clock.
Marina decided to sit at his side at the table and just speak to him. She did so, without stopping. She told him about how she was going to go to the forest again, following and old woman she had seen her earlier that day. She told him she felt that woman had something to say or to do and she needed to find out about it.
Her father turned to her, smiling. This confused Marina. When he started talking, it was in a very soft voice, almost melancholic. He explained that woman had been seen often in the last few years. The forest was haunted, indeed. By a woman that had thought that the best way to deal with thing was forgetting about them if they hurt or if they're scary. That woman, he explained, was a rumored witch, an ancestor of theirs. He advised Marina not to acknowledge her but never to forget about her because she represented that which they should never do, which is ignoring problems. He then told his daughter to bed and rest as the next day they would be helping people in town. She smiled, kissed him on the cheek and went upstairs with Anseon to sleep, a dreamless sleep.