A Halloween tale

Under a pink and orange sky, in twinkling twilight light, a long, empty road, the sounds of occasional cars or trucks passing by temporarily drowning out silent whispers of wind blowing in forest leaves and the singing of birds that have yet to find their way home for the night. A single street light flickers ever so often over a bus stop, barely visible under the long, dark shadows creeping out from the forest. With cold air dancing over exposed skin and unfamiliar sounds echoing between tall fir trees and birches desperately holding on to the last golden leaves, the forest tries as gently as ever to stir up uncomfortable fear in a woman, sitting cross legged, waiting for a bus that will never come to pick her up. But while the forest tries, it can never reach her for she’s lost in another world with her nose hanging over a book. Unaware of her surroundings, she finds herself in a place much closer to her than lonely bus stops and flickering street lights, but at the same time further from where she will ever be. She does not hear the owl’s loud cries, doesn’t smell the fir needles or the cold air around her. A fox crosses the road, stops, looks up at her and stares. Orange fur blows in the harsh wind, nose twitches, it stares at the woman which it wouldn’t have noticed if she hadn’t turned a page, just as the fox was crossing the street. For a moment, time stops. And then, as the woman turns yet another page, the fox runs away, disappears between overgrown briars and grey boles. Soon, the woman will unknowingly follow the fox into the forest, but not yet. No, at the moment she’s narrowing her eyes as the orange sky turns purple and the street light is no longer enough to make out the words on the page before her, but she tries, barely noticing how it hurts her eyes. She cannot stop reading because her heart is there, in a light morning, walking through glittering snow, over high mountains. It is curious, how she does not even notice her legs moving, her body being called in by the forest or how thorns scratch her naked legs as she disappears into the dark night. Even when she can no longer see the book, or even her hands before her, she keeps walking – walking almost running – without a care in the world as wild night animals screams after her and branches tear her clothes. Freezing air crawls under her skin, gets to her bones till it’s no longer the forest that emits the cold, but her. The scratches and scrapes on her skin starts bleeding and from them grows small, thorny twigs. Around her, in the shadows, the animalistic screams becomes singing and soon, where the woman once stood now stands a tree. It is a small tree, green spring leaves and petite pink bubs in the early winter. Below it lies a book, soon to be destroyed by weather, bugs and curious mice. The forest lets out a sigh, tired from chasing its food, and so it falls asleep. Far from there, a bus passes an empty bus stop with a single flickering light, but it never stops to pick up a passenger.

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