The sound of laughter broke into his stormy thoughts. Hiking was his was of getting away from the world. He had never encountered anyone in these woods before, and wasn't happy about the change. Especially today.
He looked up to see two girls clutching handfuls of yellow flowers dancing down the path. The taller of the two girls whispered something to her companion, who responded with a laugh, and disappeared into the thick trees.
She turned to stare straight into his eyes. Her fingers quickly formed the flowers into a nosegay, tied with a ribbon pulled from her belt. She was all ribbons and gauze. Her skirt a flowing patchwork of colors. Her long hair tied up in a complicated mass of curls and braids that somehow seemed simple and natural.
Three quick steps brought her to him. She reached out a hand to lightly brush his cheek before deftly tucking the flowers into his vest pocket. She whispered, "Flowers are a soul's friend," and with a small squeeze of his hand, she danced away, into the thick trees.
He sat quietly on the rock, trying to understand what just happned. The smell from the flowers was the only sign either girl had been real. His ears strained for the sound of their laughter, but only birds answered. In any other time or place he would have thought her a freak, but here, in the dark woods, with the scent of flowers bringing a smile to his hard face, he only thought of the peace she left behind.