It’s early Autumn. The air is crisp. The broad leaves of the oaks and maples are sharp and bright in the sun. Against the darker conifers, the reds and yellows are more muted–less distinct and less joyful.
There is a lane. It seems to possess a faint voice calling for you to follow to wherever it leads. The fair-haired, blue-eyed woman beside you urges you to take a few steps into the forest. Her white hand suddenly is gripping your right forearm. Without words she is telling you to not take another step.
“We don’t know where this path leads,” she says with her eyes. You brush a red leaf from her soft hair. You look down the lane again. Something is urging you to explore–to follow the trail to its end. On your left, a woman with dark eyes and pale flesh takes your hand.
“Come,” she whispers in your ear. “We can’t keep them waiting.”
You look to your right. The fair one has a distressed look as she stares down the lane. Her hand trembles.
Turning your head, you see your car parked miles away. How can this be? You’ve only taken a few steps into the woods. A breeze picks up a few leaves and stirs them at your feet. The branches of the trees begin to weave and roll and shudder.
There is a tug at your right arm.
“Let’s go back,” the fair one says. “I don’t like this.”
“Let’s move on,” your pale lover says. “It’ll be good. I’ll see to that.”
You are unable to move. You stare into the distance and wonder where it will end and how far the walk will be. Will there be a pool of clear water? A bower of red and scarlet leaves? An old farmhouse? Does the backdoor–the screen door, bang in the wind? Is the spring rusty? Are the rooms empty?
Is there a house at all? If not, why the road? All roads lead to something in this forest.
You’re frozen with indecision. You want to go forward and you want to run back to the car.
What about your lovers? You look from left to right. There is no one there. Was anyone ever there? Are you awake? Is this a dream?
You look back at your car. It is not in sight–there is no car. Looking down, you see there is hardly a path. It’s all overgrown.
A woman’s voice calls to you. It’s a song–so very sad. You’ve heard this lament before. Nothing good can come of this, you’re thinking. Nothing good.
It’s never good when you’re alone–in the woods when the sun begins to set.