“You left him in the woods. He is alone now. You have to find him.”
There was one very obvious question, but I could not ask it. I could not ask anything because as soon as she had arrived, she was gone. The light was gone. My room was gone. The safety of my bed had been blown away and I was left stranded on the carpet of corpses that formed the forest floor. She had sent me back to save a boy whose name I did not know. I had been safe and now I was not. At least it appeared that I was able to stand.
A moon sat above me. The tree canopy, which had previously been a formidable barrier, had opened to allow traces of light fall through. It was a hint of illumination but that was all that was needed for the scene to take shape. I was standing on a precipice, a sharp fall of some twenty feet to the place where the dead had been discarded to their final resting place.
She had told me to find him, but I had no idea who he was. There were many bodies down there and each would have a name and each of them would have a story behind their unwanted death.
Most deaths are unwanted. Some, after hopeless suffering are desired, even encouraged. The memories of those, who were now strewn in the light of the moon, had died. The very fact that they had died in one place, at the same time, before being dumped away from prying eyes was a question that should have been asked, but no voices would rise to do so. On that morning, with the last wisps of ground mist evaporating, with the last warmth of past lives already dissipated, it was my imaginary pen that followed the trail of thought. I was trying to find both the truth and a story, the two ingredients that could take my account forward, but the nib was dipping into some darker some darker fountain, one that was a taste that had to be acquired before consumption. For those of you that enjoy their tales to remain true to the purity of the genre, unadulterated by an apprentice’s attempts at creation, I have stepped over the line. You’ve probably invested a number of hours in order to reach this point and, upon discovering a unacceptable deviation from the path, you are shrugging your shoulders whilst lamenting the lost moments of time spent wandering the ways that my words have taken you on. For those readers, I apologise.
I, too, had been misled, but all paths lead somewhere and sometimes the paths that lead into the woods share equal importance. I’m thinking about the girl, a false lead. For a time back then, with my broken body still confused and my floating guru offering a selection of drugs that held the promise of the knowledge that I most desired, I was willing to trade all for that moment of revelation, the time when the tale became mine. For a time, she seemed to offer an original creative response to a less than original beating from a realistic world that sniffed at my offerings. I was wanting to turn the tables, to make this absolute narrative barrier work in my favour. I had seen the forest and the children skirting it. I had seen the shadow and knew it to be a threat that was setting itself for the children, and for me. And then there was rapidly advancing Venus Fly-Trap, tempting in its prey before leisurely digesting that which accepted the invitation. Perhaps the Fly-Trap was the story itself. And did it just wink at me in a playful confirmation? If I saw it then, on that welcome trip into the unknown, was it the first time that it had been there, or was it the first time that I had been aware?