Lost in the WoodsPosted: February 29, 2016
They reached for each other’s hands at the same time. Touching blindly, they clasped firmly. As the sun set, the darkness blanketed them in its soft sadness.
“Do you think we should have made it back to camp yet?” she asked, managing to sound mostly unconcerned.
He continued to lead them forward for a few more moments before answering, “yes.” But with a slight squeeze of her hand, he held the rest of his answer inside, fearing that if he said it aloud it would become a lie. Don’t worry, we’ll be fine. She didn’t need him to feed her fear.
They trudged in silence again until she could take it no longer.
“Honey,” she began.
“Not sure where we are,” he admitted, interrupting her.
She stopped suddenly, releasing his hand as he continued on.
“Is that a light up ahead?” He saw nothing, but there was too much hope in her voice for him to deny her this.
“Let’s go find out.” He reached back for her hand and picked up their pace.
After only a few dozen steps, the ground smoothed beneath their feet, and he was the first to notice that they were now walking on concrete instead of the forest floor of leaves and dirt.
“I see it now,” he whispered, forgetting that he hadn’t told her that he didn’t see it before, but she’d already forgotten as well.
She stopped again, pulling on his hand to keep him back with her, urgently squeezing his fingers.
“I-I can’t,” she said.
He furrowed his brow in confusion.
“Come on, we’re almost there. This is where the pavement ends.” He tried to tug her forward, but her feet were solidly planted.
“Come on,” he repeated, and gently pulled once more.
She shook her head, slowly at first,then faster and faster, whipping her hair into a tangle around her face. He dropped her hand and took a step back. She was mumbling something, but he couldn’t quite make it out. He inched back a bit more, then stumbled, falling off the pavement, and he finally understood what she was so upset about.
The gates of hell.
22 minutes by hand; 8 minutes transcribing and editing.