Gnarled branches bare of foliage stretched over her in sinister silhouette. Thick webbing reached from stem to stem replete with ravenous shadows waiting for the approaching darkness to emerge. She stepped gingerly between the rotting drupe, eyes focused on the dancing lights before her, beckoning her deeper into the darkness.
Soon, the flickering beacons surrounded her. She bent down with cupped hands allowing one to alight on her palm, captured for a moment. Smiling softly, she stood with arms raised, letting it free to join the others, which had grown in number. The faint glow increased with their presence, pushing back the gloom. They swirled around her, darting in and out the spaces between her limbs. She laughed as she twirled her body fluidly, undulating to music only she heard.
When the dance was over, she picked up the edges of her skirt and deeply courtseyed. Nodding her head towards her partners, eyes sparkling like the fading lights swirling off into the night, she turned back towards the road.
Alone now, the darkness enveloped her. She took a deep breath and uncaring of the decomposing mush beneath her, ran back the way she had come. Knotted fingers reached for her, hungrily biting at her bare skin. Sticky threads snagged in her hair as she emerged from the thicket.
"What possessed you to go in there?" I asked as she stood before me panting and pulling cobwebs frantically off herself.
"I was living" she said. "You oughta try it sometime"
I eyed the scratches upon her body asking if it was possible to live without being so wounded.
"Of course not" she answered "You could not recognize delight without knowing distress, now could you?"
With that she winked and left me where I was rooted to my safe spot in the middle of the road. I watched her go wistfully with her scars and her sparkles. I looked down at my own unblemished skin, safe and tepid. Once again I glanced into the inky shadows where the dancing lights had reappeared.
Fear gripping my heart, I inhaled deeply the night air, then finally....stepped out of my sheath.