The sky was vivid, painted turquoise by an invisible hand, free from the merest puff of wispy cloud. The sun caressed the morning with its warm, comforting hands, bathing everything it touched with love. A gentle, delicate breeze tickled the air. Majestic emerald pine trees stretched limitlessly with the promise of adventure and excitement still to come.
The girl headed confidently in to the forest having walked these paths so many times before. The trees, these gentle giants, cradled her with strong limbs as she passed through and under them, safe in their presence and all that nested within them. Everything associated with this place felt right to her. The sounds so familiar, the smells so comforting. It didn’t matter which path she took, she always found her way through the dense woods and back home.
It was a shock, therefore, to find herself suddenly on a path she did not recognise. She hadn’t seen it coming, was taken aback by this new route. It felt wrong, oppressive and dark. She glanced about her, desperately looking for the way back to safety, back to the familiar sounds and smells, back to that warm, cosy feeling of belonging in this place, but it was gone.
The trees, once so reassuring now seemed to be suffocating her, powerful arms reaching out to squeeze the last drops of happiness from her very being. The path was shifting beneath her as she frantically tried in vain to avoid the black, gaping chasm that was rapidly opening. Her feet began to slip towards the edge of the deep, murky, cavernous hole. Trying to grasp on to the roots of the trees, where once they were safe they now seemed to shift away, her cries for help falling on ears deaf to her plight.
She fell in to the pit as a gnawing despair and helplessness began to seep in to her body. There was no way out. Colours no longer existed. Feelings so foreign to her now dug their claws in to her mind. In a moment of terrifying clarity, she knew that there was only one way to escape from the pit, to leave the darkness, the despair and the terror behind her.
If only she had the courage.