The Cinder Path

The forest swallowed her.
Left the cinder path.
A lone Gretel lost in a tangle.
Dark ferns muffled footfall
Until she no longer felt herself.
Was one with the heavy black.
Breathing its baited stillness
Swallowing the dread that caught in her throat and beat against her chest.
Hers to keep, a sullen crow.
Fingered pine trunks grotesque and scarred in the ashy light
They did not point the way. Not like the fairytale she’d once read.
The one with the bees circling ahead and the forest parting.
This entity wanted her to stay.
To tear hairs and grasp limbs
To seep tar like into the soft blackness
And fill the crevices and shafts of moonlight.
To be lost.
She stood on the cinder path.
Lip trembling.

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