Into the Woods – A Poem


 

Into the Woods

The young man walked into the darkening woods

few dared tread even in daylight,

for there were many a tale of a sly fey or evil

sprite who walked there at night.

 

Not caring for rogue or dark highwayman to

lay upon him on the open road as he slept,

he sought the sanctuary of the deep forest

instead for his bed.

 

He bunkered down next to a dead fallen tree

and built a small fire against the cold that crept

as the sun crawled deep and fled into a hole

in the ground as he prepared for sleep.

 

He stared into the fire and being young let his

fancies take flight, beginning to imagine eyes in

the woods contemplating him, waiting for him

in the burgeoning night.

 

He wasn’t a child to lose himself,

so he shook off his disquiet and the cold and closed

his weary eyes pretending to be bold and found sleep

even through his fear of the unknown.

 

Into the night he slept until the crescent moon

shone high overhead casting pale blue shadows

across his face and breast as he slept on his

forest bed.

 

Now some say if the moon finds you in the forest

other things may as well, like a beacon to a boat

far off shore.

 

The young man started awake to the feeling

of a finger lightly brushing his cheek,

cold but oddly yet full of heat.

 

The fire was mere embers casting a feeble light,

but he could see the outline of a figure nearby, one arm

outstretched toward him, sitting in a low crouch

swaying to and fro and cooing as if in love.

 

 The young man sprang up and backed over and

behind the tree and clutched at the hag bone which

hung around his neck for encounters such as these.

 

A good thing his talisman he wore for he may have

found himself dead in the morn.

 

“Come hither, Come closer.” It seemed to whisper in

his very ear, even though the creature was across from him

and not near.

 

It moved closer and the light from the dying fire

caught its face just so to reveal black pupils set against

black orbs which should have been bone white.

 

The face sneered at him with a clown like grin showing

a full set of razor sharp teeth within, while all the while green

flecked saliva dripped and slipped down its pointy chin.

 

It licked its lips with a tongue as red as blood and smelled the

air seeming to mark the man’s scent if  he should run.

“Sit and talk brother, I am alone I just wish a little company

in my forest home.”

 

“I am no brother of yours darkling, be gone from my sight!”

the young man yelled back shaking his talisman as he held

it tight.

 

“You are more kin than you know, do you think it mere

happenstance that I appear before you so?”

 

The creature looked at him from across the dim fire and

stared into him deep. Shadows danced on the creature’s face

as its dead eyes bore into him full of dead life and fathomless heat.

 

“You are my brother, for your heart is as dark as mine, for it beats

within you and called to me for it keeps the same time.

No moon called me to this place, nothing but your blackheart

pulled me to your presence and this forest space.”

 

 The young man said nothing but continued to clutch the talisman he wore.

The creature smiled and looked at what he held so desperately to his breast

for it knew the man’s secrets and oh so much more.

 

“Why should that help you in a time such as this? Should it not turn

on its owner and prove itself dead instead?”

 

“You will die as they did, oh yes. I see your eyes tell the lie on your lips

as you twist the truth you try to spit.”

 

“You saw the little farm house, deep in the wood and all alone?”

“A  husband, wife and daughter safe in their home

in the night, as you stared in their window and

crouched like I do now so low.”

 

“You crept inside when the night was still and killed the man while fast asleep.

Then you had your way with mother and daughter both and

all the while you smiled and laughed as if it all a joke.”

 

Like a lightning stroke the creature grabbed the young man’s hand and

ripped open his grasp and flung the worthless talisman from the young man’s

hands into the cold dewy grass.

 

The young man eyes opened wide and

 implored to the creature “Please I don’t want to die.”

“Hmm..that was the same said by the mother and child”

“Remember what you replied?”

Then you should not have taken up residence so deep in these woods.

 

With that the creature buried its teeth

into the young’s man’s neck and drank deep

of his brother all the while the young man

screamed for release.

 

Now the tales say if you go deep into the woods you

may run afoul of dark things at night, but the tales also

say be wary of the darkness in your own heart.

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