I walked into the dark woods. I was a woman so I walked softly.
I covered my body and tied a small weapon around my waist.
A wolf only has to get lucky once.
The trees were narrow and jointed like fingers. A wolf can dart silently beneath their cackling leaves. The trees stood close together. Between them, my thin body felt wide. I was going to the neighboring town to get supplies. A bird rolled down a branch and like a bowling pin it flew. I was going to the neighboring town to get a haircut. The damp earth smelled like something living. A wolf can sense the whole environment in the tips of its furs.
I met an old witch with a blue face and a glorious uni-brow, but she didn't offer me any wishes. Under my feet things cracked like fine porcelain shards. I was going to the neighboring town to get free WiFi. A wind stripped through the woods and I felt the breeze in my leg hairs. The rope around my waist chafed a red band. The trees stood in rings where it was appropriate. I was going to the neighboring town to catch a matinee, but it was nighttime.
I met a squirrel with anime eyes, but it did not sing to me or offer to clean my apartment. I felt sad at this because everything that's mine was a mess. I was going to the neighboring town to beg forgiveness. A long pricking briar curled about my ankle like sentient aloe; a forest eel. A wolf's paws are too quick for any of that nonsense. I looked for lightness in all the drudge. I was going to the neighboring town for an ice cream float. The insects buzzed thick and made me overthink everything. My days were boring; I wore turtlenecks and looked forward to mealtimes. I was going to the neighboring town to see some local color. It was dark and the trees were uniform.
I met a cat, but when all candles are out all cats be grey. The forest held up a mirror to my figure and I turned to shadow. I was going to the neighboring town to get a lot of tattoos and piercings. The walk took hours longer than I thought and I wondered what I'd done wrong.
I met a mythic hero dressed in animal skins. He called me a harpy and punched me in the nose. The woods were insular. I was going to the neighboring town to get a first aid kit.
I met the woman of my dreams but she was only halfway into a thousand-year sleep. The trees were wily with their forking paths. When I tried to walk in a straight line my legs gave way. Someone was whistling and my headband was tied on tight. I was going to the neighboring town for cosmetic surgery. A wolf wouldn't say so, but my arms were too thick. I kissed a spotted toadstool and everything went bright. I mustered my guts and patted my weapon. I was going to the neighboring town to understand mimesis. Seeds spiraled down or shot like bullets. My barking thoughts twanged like gut strings.
I met a cellist with a cereal-box smile, but she gave me no trinkets. It was my birthday and I was a child. I saw a flower and knew what came from vanity. I heard an echo and knew what came from love.
I met the source of the river but it said it had no wisdom for me. It made no sense; I saw water escaping a sealed slab of lime. My heart quickened. A wolf laughs at precocity, preciousness.
I met a fleet of flying saucers, but they were really just hubcaps on fire. My perceptions deceived me. The trees switched places.
I met a CEO and he offered me a cigar. I accepted though I quit smoking two Januaries ago. I was going to the neighboring town to take a break from my life. The CEO told me I looked like a real winner. I told myself I'd buy a lottery ticket. I found a pool of water in a clearing but my reflection had gone from me. I was looking for quick bucks but found another immateriality. The trees gossiped and took away my body.
A wolf could have told me this would be the course of things. I was going to the neighboring town because I wanted to get out of the green and into the blue. I did my hair in a bouffant and sang a country song. A wolf never falls to pieces.
I met a golden light but it expressed a potent and unearned jealousy.
Nothing was too distinct between me and my new friends, and the neighboring towns, and trees, and sky.
I met a forest fire and saw the future in its smoke.
The neighboring town was far.
A wolf bides its time.
I waited for the whole woods to bloom, or erupt.
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(The fourth sentence, “A wolf only has to get lucky once,” is a misquotation of Emily Carroll, from Through the Woods.)