Short Story by Tom Cullen

The Mysterious Orb

I hadn’t a clue how it had gotten there, a small box on the forest floor. It was gold and glittering, wrapped in a royal blue ribbon tied neatly into a bow on top. Taken over by curiosity, I bent down and picked up the box. It was weightless in my hand. I pulled the tail of the bow gently and the ribbon fell to the ground. I carefully removed the lid and a wisp of white light flew out and formed itself into a sphere. It slowly drifted into the forest.

Entranced by the orb I followed it down the path. It was mid-summer and the trees were dressed in vibrant green leaves, which swayed lightly in the refreshing breeze.  The sun was setting but it was still warm. The forest floor beneath my feet was littered with twigs and scattered sticks. These woods were not often walked in, so it was extremely peaceful and the plants and shrubbery were overgrown. I was so overtaken by the orb that I hadn’t noticed that night had closed in.

The ball of light had started to stray from the path, floating further and further from where it had started, I followed it nonetheless. It was as if it was pulling me behind it. As I kept walking, the forest kept getting darker but the ball lit the area around me.

I trudged on through the bushes and brambles, focusing solely on the orb. The further from the path I went the thicker the undergrowth became. I trailed the orb into a large circular clearing. Then, the orb began to drift upwards. I tracked it with my eyes as it ascended into the starry sky. When I looked up I saw millions of bright orbs, drifting, tumbling and dancing around above my head, illuminating the clearing in multiple vivid colours.

I sat and watched them dance amongst the branches of the trees, backdropped by the stars. They were enchantingly beautiful and I stayed there for hours. The orbs entertained me until dawn arrived, and, as the sun rose in the new morning, the orbs dissolved into the daylight.