Travelling through the great deep forest can be a wonderful, relaxing experience; trails dappled with sunlight, chirruping songbirds, maybe a chance to take a shot at a hare or a deer or the like for your dinner (and dinner to share at that), maybe the discovery of a sprawling patch of morels or a burbling brook or, oh wondrous moment, a traveller’s lean-to maintained by years of fellow wanderers …
Oh. Oh, dear.
This doesn’t seem to be that kind of forest, does it.
What has the forest let you find?
01. A white stag that fades to bone and mist as it leaps away
02. A lone birch with golden leaves marked as if by tearstains
03. Three pillars, blade-like, of pockmarked black stone
04. A gossamer net strung across a shadowed side-trail
05. A cairn of softly glowing wolf skulls
06. A figure in torn leathers, lying still inside a ring of crimson toadstools
07. A pine weeping blood-red sap from savaged bark
08. Six pinecones gleaming oddly silver in the unsteady light
09. A tiny glade carpeted with tattered moth’s wings
10. A ring of trees grown together, so much like a small hut with hearth
11. A weathered sword of bone and gold thrust half to the hilt in an ancient oak
12. First one white sparrow follows you; then two; then four; then eight; then …