The hot summer sun was at its peak as it shone brightly through the dense leaves. The light cascaded down, creating a myriad of sunny slivers illuminating their path inside the woods. Two happy children chuckled heartily and without a care in the world as they sang and skipped deeper into the wooded area of the edge of town.
Grade three had just let out for the summer, minutes before, and their school bags and books lay strewn at the entrance to the forest. Both blondes, though closer to white heads of hair, and still dressed in academy attire with ties loosened, they danced the path. Without a wind in sight, young Peter stopped abruptly and put his hands on his knees, breathing heavy.
“Oh, come on. You aren’t an old man like your daddy. Keep up, Mister!” Savannah said with a smile, also causing Peter to grin ear to ear. She ruffled his warm hair and then ran deeper into the treed playground.
In the deep trunk of an ancient cedar, they had an arsenal of weapons stashed. Wooden shields and makeshift swords. Backpacks loaded with handmade arrows made out of whittled sticks and homemade bows consisting of wooden cooking spoons and giant elastics bands. There were all sorts of traps, grenades, throwing stars, as well complete with food rations, as sometimes full days took place in these sacred woods, just Peter and his Savannah.
They would constantly fight for the role of angel or often termed “the good guy”, with Peter more often than not fitting the bill. Savannah and he would walk fifty paces in opposite directions, silently as can be. Then, they allotted themselves fifteen minutes to “disappear”, then the hunt for one another would begin. The demon might climb high in a tree and swoop down on the passing angel, battle exploding with yells and the cracking of their little wooden swords. Much rolling around on the dirt would transpire, until almost every time, Peter, the angel, would enter his sword into Savannah, the demon, by way of through her arm and into the ground, hard. Savannah would then hiss and convulse and pretend her best at melting away into nothingness, as Peter the victor stood over his kill, arm and sword pointed high in the sky. A brief blanket of silence would cover them, until Savannah would pull Peter down to the ground and they would burst into deep laughter until tears and gasps for breath embraced them.
Another favorite game to play was the marriage ceremony, which would take place in front of thousands of their closest friends and family members. Also inside the belly of the cedar lay a bag of clothing: a frilly, white dress Savannah stole from her older sisters’ closet months ago and a nice sports coat and top hat Peter had found along his travels. Peter, wearing his Sunday best, would stand in front of a veil of willows, with his hands clasp in back.
Savannah would approach from behind and take his hand in hers. Then they would enter through the beautiful veil of branch, coming to a grand stage of flowing brooks, multiple varieties of lush, colorful plants and trees that let in just the right amount of sunlight, making a spotlight for the two of them to stand in. Facing each other, they would recite vows of love eternal and at the end of such declarations, they would kiss then wipe it off on the backs of their hands and laugh uncontrollably.