Chop... Chop... Chop... My axe sliced through the thick wood like a knife through butter. Crunch... Crunch... Crunch... Dry, autumn leaves crunched under my feet as I strolled below the whispering rustle of trees; carrying a portion of wooden planks that I had cut, one at a time, to the gigantic oak tree with big, firm branches and a few acorns. Bang... Bang... Bang... My hammer flew through the air and plonked onto the nails, drilling them further and deeper into the wood.
Soon, I had constructed a well-built tree house, by hand. Tongue sticking out, I hauled my bags and precious valuables up onto the roofed tree house, with another layer of brushing leaves for extra shelter and safety.
After a couple of tiring hours of lifting and dissipating, I snuggled down in my new house, in the comfortable, cosy covers of my sleeping bag.
At about two o’ clock in the morning, something started to drift irritatingly into my nostrils, persuading me to sneeze. Annoyed, I sat up and opened my eyes just a slit, because it was getting into my eyes now as well.
At first, I thought that a mist had somehow appeared in the woods and had found its way into here. But then doubt rushed into my mind when I heard crackling and popping noises, like popcorn in a microwave. Then I realised. Smoke. And that could only mean one thing. Fire. Fire!
I slid out of my crumpled sleeping bag and clambered out of the little door of my home in the trees and down the rope ladder rapidly. Smoke curled into my mouth, making me cough terribly and screw my eyes shut tight, so that I couldn’t see anything that was going on.
Instead, I knelt down onto my knees and crawled on the dry, cracked ground, where it wasn’t so smoky and hard to see.
At least I could open my eyes a fraction or two. But then, I wished I hadn't. Except then I would burn to death.
Right in front of me, was the most horrendous and dangerous sight that one could ever see.
The wooden bridge that soared over the small river was on fire, burning fiercely, covering everything in its reach.
It flapped its wings aggressively, like a human wanting to fly. It was dancing over to the trees, roaring with rage, filling the sky with colours: scarlet, amber and saffron. Suddenly, the woods were filled with a gigantic boom! And the sky exploded with powerful and vexed flames that sprinkled red hot fire. The flames continuously licked the trees hungrily, sizzling them into ash, masticating the wood. Somewhere far away, a tree could be heard, creaking and groaning, then toppling onto the ground.
The noise was deafening, the smell was outrageous. I had to do something. Holding my breath immensely, therefore causing my cheeks to blow out like a chipmunk’s, I stood up and ran towards the city lights; which were hunched on the horizon, covering up my mouth and nose with my t-shirt for extra protection.
A few hours of non-stop running later, I came across a small house, the first building I saw, exhausted. Still persevering to save the woods and my beloved belongings in my hand-made house in the trees, I knocked on the door really loudly. Moments later, a cross man in a dressing gown with a furious frown plastered onto his face opened the door and shuffled huffily.
“What are you doing ‘ere at this ‘our in the night?!” asked the man.
“Call the brigade! Man the hose! The woods just a couple of miles away are on fire! Trees are burning away right this moment! Get out here and help!” I shouted loudly, waving my arms about for effect.
“What in the name o’ heavens are ya talkin’ about!” the man argued back in my face. “What woods?! There’s no woods down there! We’re the only city for miles around ‘ere in this dump of a country!”
Shoulders slumped, disappointed, I dragged one foot after the other until I came upon something where a forest might have stood. There were broken bits of branches lying around and old, mouldy ashes stood in a wide heap; nothing but bare ground could be seen for miles around. But this forest wasn’t the one where I had slept and made my own tree house. It was something that had burnt down hundreds of years ago.
Depressed and downhearted, I sighed and looked at the long pieces of wood, laying there on the ground. But then I saw something that made my whole body freeze. There, on the ground below me was a sleeping bag that looked just like mine. And on it – my name.