Afraid

Skipping through the dark, dank depressing forest. Trying to ignore the fear that crept up her throat and settled in her heart like an ice-cold dagger. She shivered in her red cloak trying to allow the warmth to calm her heart that was pounding like hoof beats. Hoof beats. Galloping up the grassy slope towards her through the trees. She shook her head trying to clear her mind. But the hoof beats remained as loud as a drum in her mind. The fog rolled through the trees obscuring her vision as she tried to make out the scenery around her. The hoof beats were growing louder. A scream bubbled up in her throat as she skipped through the trees. The skipping slowed and stopped. Then she was running as she allowed her terror to overcome her. The red cape was streaming out behind her like wings of fire. She ran through the trees, each looking identical to the last. She had travelled these woods many times but nothing was familiar. Her heart pounded faster like galloping horses as loud as drums in her ears. She turned a corner and collapsed against an old spruce tree. Its bare branches reached out around her in a sinister embrace as cold and exhaustion overcame her. A wolf howled in the distance as the clouds cleared allowing the moonlight to throw vast shadows through the trees and against the ground. The wolf howled again. Eyes glittered through the darkness, staring at her. The stars should have been sentimental watchers, comforting protectors. But now they were sinister eyes watching her unblinkingly as her own eyelids flickered and closed. The stars would watch as her body slumped unconscious against the wood. But in the deepest part of her mind, before she slipped off to sleep, she wondered if those stars were the last things she would ever see.

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