Playing with some passive voice…
There once was woman whose lover was stolen away. So the woman, knowing nothing else to do, packed up her belongings. The blanket her lover had slept under became the cloak around her shoulders. The bread he’d made she tucked away to sustain her later. Tokens of his affections, small beaded things and scraps of paper with even scrawl running their lengths became the fire under her feet. They moved her forward. Even when the others of her village shook their heads, kindheartedly trying to dissuade her from her path, these tiny items allowed her to smile, thank them for their concern, and continue unaffected along her way.
Trees, taller than she could see, stretched around her attempting to pierce the dark summer sky. The path was not a road one could stroll down. It was a hunting trail at times, a pale scar running through the grass. Other times it was no more than a rocky slope, each step a possibility for a blind fall. But mostly the uneven thing snaked through the trees, drawing the woman deeper into the black trunks and waxy leaves.
Wild things watched the woman as she strode along this path. Their shining eyes viewing every moment she allowed herself to rest and every weary step she took after that. She did not bemoan the cold, the wild or the unforgiving path. Her love hurried her steps, it cushioned her wounded feet and quelled the ache in her stomach. The woman continued like this for a very long time.
Even she could not tell you how long it took to come upon the grove. But when the path stopped she found herself in the midst of it. Spiderwebs formed its walls and wildflowers gilded its floors. This place was more beautiful than any other she’d seen. But the woman had no desire for it. In the center of this wondrous grove her lover waited.
But it was not for her. In the moment the woman paused another stepped from the trees. Willow wasted, long haired with eyes that saw only joy this other took the woman’s place in the man’s arms. And how they fit together, shoulders and wrists and chins, like the two were sewn from the same piece of flesh.
The two did not cling to each other, it was a smooth sway here and a gentle step there. The woman remembered that grace. This thing, the grace, that her lover and the other held between them, it had once belonged to her.
So desperately did the woman then search for glamor in her lover’s gaze. A child hunting for its only toy. She wished to see something false, a pause in the two’s embrace, an unsure caress. She found nothing, and how that void burned. It tore a hollow place within the woman, sending her to her knees among the wild blossoms.
A single glance was all he spared her. A wordless apology perhaps, or maybe just acknowledgment. She didn’t know, and wanted both.
The two walked away then, further through the glistening grove. The other woman sang, humming nonsense and allowing the sun to shine off the joy in her eyes. The man nodded with each note, he understood the words.
The woman, left kneeling on the earth under the blooms, watched her lover leave. For a very long time she stayed like that, watching the path the new lovers had left in the flowers. The wild things watched her, she never paid them any heed.
Finally, when the sun had fallen the woman stood. First she let the blanket fall from her shoulders. The woman couldn’t gain any warmth from it. The bread too was abandoned among the closed petals. An emptiness left no room inside her for food. And then the small beaded things and carefully decorated paper. These she held in her fingers remembering the feel of them. She tossed them away.
Vicious creatures of fur and teeth now stalked the grove’s border. As the things followed her down the dark sides of the path she made no motion to run. Her feet were raw, she felt every stone. The cold tightened her skin and set her lungs burning. Hunger too came quickly. It accompanied the smoldering void inside her chest. And she remembered the tokens she’d held moments ago. The memory coated her fingers and her eyes.
The dark things walked with her. When she sobbed they howled. When she stumbled they waited. When she screamed into the night they snarled with her. And when she ran they fell into loping strides beside her.