Light dappled her face through the trees. Weariness was impossible in her sturdy boots, but Joanna began to wonder how many steps they’d taken. Her pack was full, but not cumbersome. A crisp wind ruffled the hem of her long coat, prickling her skin where it could reach, but she did not shiver.
The path was bright; her steps fell with small clouds of dust. Joanna squinted upward through the leaves as she walked. It was difficult to be properly alarmed surrounded by the warm forest lull, but she was sure of it now, the sun had not set.
She thought at first her wandering mind was to blame. Perhaps her steps were quicker than she supposed, the path shorter than they’d warned. Joanna thought of their words, and the worried looks they’d worn as they’d spoken them. She thought of the stories. Joanna thought of all these things and the easy road never wavered, never broke from the trunks and russet undergrowth.
Trees stretched before her, peaceful and solemn. The weak shadows before her feet rustled in the gentle wind but never stretched. The gold of afternoon did not come.
The sun did not set. Its warm light never waned or faltered, shining through the verdant shade that speckled the path. There was no night to camp for, no hunger to eat for, no thirst to slake. Only the path to walk.