(The four previous stories now have their own page, ‘Prelude’ just up there on the header)
I found myself in an old, old forest.
Moss-covered tree-trunks towered above my head while shafts of pollen-laden sunlight angled through the sparse undergrowth and shone on fallen giants repurposed as nurseries.
I sensed, rather than heard, birdsong and the lilt of falling water underneath the sound of soft rustling leaves and creaking branches.
I was so happy to be Journeying again I spoke without thinking. “This is much better than drowning.” My words disappeared the minute they passed my lips. I paused, warily. The universe didn’t immediately end so I counted my blessings and moved on.
The gnarled tree trunks gave way to saplings and then to a clearing. In the center an old woman kneeled next to a small energetic campfire. Its light threw her flickering shadow up against…
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