The Woods

The woods are where the bad things happen, they said

Where the evil goes

To celebrate its victories

To dance with hungry wolves

And tiny devilish men with secret names

And evil queens

The woods are where the evil goes

To gain momentum

To whisper to the sinners

Lullabies of golden promises

Lullabies of forbidden dreams

 

We were young

He and I

Were young and naive

And had eyes full of hope

Of golden promises

Forbidden dreams

Blind lust

Just this one night

What can happen in one night?

Nothing too significant, surely

Like I said

We were young

We still thought the world was tamed

Thought we could tame it

Or at least befriend it,

Embrace it,

Just one night

 

It was not yet dark when we left

The light would keep us safe from the wolves and evil queens

The light would not betray us

But we knew that light was fleeting

So we brought the bread

Just in case

To lead us back home

Away from the woods

Where the evil sleeps and dreams up all the nightmares we so abhor

A piece of home, to remind us that this can only be for one night

Because the bread would mold and go stale

And we must go back home to get more

To taste the beauty in the little everyday securities

Like stomachs full of bread

 

So we left

He and I

Were going to explore the place where the evil goes

And conquer it

Prove to ourselves that our cleanliness was by choice

And not because we had never seen dirt

This was our test

 

As we walked, we dropped pieces of the bread

When we ran out, we would turn home again

This way, we could not get too far

We would not lose our way

We had our tether

But then

The light left

Because light is too powerful a thing to be an always

And the bread ran out

And we tried to turn back

But the trail had been eaten

Perhaps by wolves and evil queens

Perhaps by our own carelessness

Because bread is too powerful a thing to be an always

And we should have known that

But we were young

 

“We can just wait until morning,” he said

“We will find a place to sleep, and we will travel back with the light”

Just one night

Sleeping with evil

For one night

Can’t be that bad, right?

We find a house, nestled in a clearing among the darkened trees

Strange

But it looks so inviting

And whatever is inside must be better than the unknown in the wilderness

 

She opens the door after the first knock

She is beautiful

Too beautiful to be of the woods

She must not know the evil things here

Monsters like wolves and evil queens

Cannot be as beautiful as she

She offers us a bed

Before we have to ask

She must have smelled our fear

Seen the blood on our shins from hiking through the undergrowth

We showed her our empty hands

She said she needed no compensation

Said she appreciated the company

After all, it is lonely in the darkness

Her house was warm and lovely

So we stepped inside

And smiled

After all

What can really happen in one night?

Like I said,

We were young

 

It was when we were in our beds asleep

That we learned the worst monsters look just like us

And they have warm houses

And they are so lonely

Because they are never really living in our world

And they do not have warm bread to remind them what it means to be whole

 

We rose with the Sun

Scarred

Numb

Ran away

Broke a window in the lovely house

Cut ourselves on the glass shards

Felt guilty of the scars that trailed along our hands and legs

From the broken glass

Felt guilty for having tainted the lovely house

Ran

So quickly

 

We finally found our way back home

But no one listened when we told them what happened

Like I said, we were young

The news didn’t report anything

Except two children getting lost in the woods

How scared their parents were

Because the woods are where the evil goes

But how ecstatic they were when the children returned

There was a party

And lots of cake

But no more warm bread

Not for him or me, at least

The news should have reported the two children who died in the woods that night

Because he and I,

Whoever we were before,

They died

And shells ran back

But we hid our scars

Because we didn’t want to burden the people enjoying their cake

But now we know

The danger of dark lullabies and beautiful people

Because we were young

But we will never be young again

And all this

Because of one night

 

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