Darkness Lay Ahead

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She ran through the forest, alone, with nothing but a backpack. The backpack contained her life: the past, the present, the future all squeezed into that small bag. The path grew narrower as the trees grew thicker. But she continued to run faster and faster until her legs could barely support her any longer. Why was she running? She didn’t know. There was no one chasing her, no one threatening her yet she felt the need to escape. Her heart beat quickly; she breathed unevenly. She put her family and her friends behind her to embark on an insane, unpredictable journey to the unknown.

As the darkness began to scare her, she decided to rest and start again when the sun was up. She chose a tree to lie underneath and used her bag as a pillow. Curling her body into the fetal position, she tried to sleep. Ominous noises echoing across the forest made her task nearly impossible. Every time she tried to relax and allow herself to sleep, the distant sound of a hooting owl or the howl of a wolf would startle her. The grass below her was soft and comforting, the soft winds were cooling, but the fear overcame her senses. She couldn’t rest so long as it was inside of her. It was fear that forced her to run. She didn’t know which was more frightful, though, the forest, her former life or her indefinite future?

All she knew was this: she would be dead if she hadn’t left. Not dead in the literal sense, but figuratively speaking that was the path she was walking towards. As dangerous as her choice was it was exciting and essential. She couldn’t bear her life any longer; the monotony along with the extreme waves of change. One day she decided it was enough. The forest signified the end of the city. It separated the enclosed man-made structure from the wilderness; at least this was how she perceived it. She was born and raised in that city and not once had she ever been to the forest. But the day she decided to leave was when she learned she was destined to cross the woods and see for herself what was really on the other side.

The night crawled with unfriendly creatures; killer beasts and venomous beings. Where they hid or if they even existed where she slept? She had no idea. She prayed for the night to end quickly and safely. The sound of her heart in her ear felt like a ticking clock, every beat bringing her closer to sunrise. To say she slept that night would have been a lie. But at dawn she was wide awake, anxious and enthusiastic about the start of a new day. She walked slowly, trying desperately to let go of her fear. The terror residing in the night before was forgotten when the tender morning sun rays hit her face. Hours passed until she finally caught a glimpse of what lie on the other side of the once mysterious forest.

Glipho Photo Challenge #2

Full story available on Smashwords.

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