Red Riding Hood, lost

I’ve been here before. You’ll make it safe through the woods if you stay on the path, that’s the rule, but there was never a path here in the first place. Dark branches tangle overhead and the trees are different this time around but the shadows are the same, thick and cloying and very very quiet.

At least I’m not peering over my shoulder for the big bad wolf. The only monsters here now are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, and I know them as I know my own tired heart, by pulse and feel. If you eat the food you have to stay, that’s the rule, but the rules have nothing to say about what happens when you breath carefully and yet still feel leaf-shadows, wet and cloying, sticking in your lungs like the heaps mounded on the ground. Besides, there’s no food here anyway.

You’d think I’d be an expert at this by now. I know enough of forest paths and the things that roam them. Hand over your name and you hand over your freedom, that’s the rule, but these trees have always known my name (I never spoke it here).

If there was a point to this quest, no one mentioned it to me. Can I have a dragon to slay? A crown to win? At this point I’d settle for a rabbit to save and a flower-crown afterwards.

You’re looking for an ending to this story. A resolution. Some sort of satisfaction. So am I. Even my monsters are searching for an end, are whispering through the branches what sort of silence I might find if I would only stop.


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