Part the Fourth



She lives in the woods in a cabin. If you saw it (but no one sees it), if you went to the door, you might expect Mother Goose or Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother to answer. She looks a little like she might be either, but when either was a a younger woman. Sometimes she moves carefully into town. She stands out, but not as much as you might expect. An eccentric maybe, or someone from an Amish or Mennonite community, some cosplay religion. She tries to rely on herself as much as possible. The land yields much of what she needs, if she tends it. She hears voices sometimes, people passing. Hikers. Sometimes she shows herself. Sometimes they talk to her. She tries to guide them on their way, and then she returns quietly to places they cannot see. The trees stretch up like cathedrals. In winter they turn, by turns, barren and bright. She dwells among the untrodden ways.

There is only one place she won’t go.

She's been there, she thinks, in a nightmare. It's not far over, on a road that sometimes doesn't exist. The road likes wanderers and children. It offers itself like candy to little girls.

They live there. They have lived there for a very long time.

Not even they can see her, now, but she knows they are still there.

She doesn't know about the official records or what they would show. She doesn’t know what I’ve found and, by all that might be holy,

neither do I.



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