She disappeared when she was ten. They had led extensive searches to find her, but there was no trace. After a year they stopped looking assuming she was dead, they had found no trace of her.
It was seven years later, she crawled out of the forest. Moss clung to her stick thin body. She had learned all the secrets of the forest, and the creatures inside it. The river outside her old house washed her feet clean as she approached. The forest would not keep her anymore and she didn’t know where else to go.
She knocked on the door. No one answered. The door was locked.
She sat on the porch, waiting for someone to come home. She whispered fairy spells of protection. A squirrel perched on her moss covered shoulder. She waited all day absorbing the sunshine, no one came home.
She knocked on the door again, still no answer. She whispered a fairy spell to unlock the door, vines grew and plucked the pins on the lock. The door swung open slowly. Inside the house was bare. There was no furniture no sign of life in the house that she had lived in when she was little.
She walked into her old room, there was nothing there. The wall where they had marked her height till she was seven had been painted, like she had never existed.
The forest had promised her a fresh start. Her dirt covered finger left a mark on the wall where she touched it. She wondered if this was part of their plan.
She slept in the garden that night whispering to the plants coaxing them to grow. Vines crept up the building by the time the sun came up. Succulent fruit had ripened on plants that had been nearly dead when she arrived. Moss clung to the hard wood floors where she stepped as she toured the house. She opened all the windows letting the delicious wind and sunlight in.
A week passed and the forest was creeping forward long grasses grew and trees started to sprout where her parents had constantly battled to keep the forest back. Wildflowers grew in the perfectly manicured garden. The house had a fine covering of moss, it was starting to disappear from the neighborhood.
No one stopped by, magic kept them away while it transitioned back to the forest. Within a month there were young saplings surrounding the house. The faeries crept out from the edge of the forest to their newly claimed land. They whispered more spells to the plants and trees. They sent her next door.
The neighbors youngest daughter was lured into the forest by a moss covered woman. Quiet suggestions and spells made them leave. The fair folk of the forest raised the young girl while their young moss woman claimed the land past the river.
Trees broke the cement driveways and sidewalks between the buildings. They began raising their next guardian of the forest, while their first recruit continued to reclaim the neighborhood for the forest.