Wending through the trees, on the slopes above Pitlochry, following the shadows where they lay. The sunlight shatters in the canopy. All the pieces drop along the path beneath my feet deep with orange pine needles. A signpost points up to Craigower and north to Killiecrankie. I stalk north, marveling at the interlaced boughs trying to catch the pieces of light like fingers in the rush of a waterfall. Pollens sparkle in the still air, though wind roams the edges of the forest like a ravening beast behind bars.
Which one of us is the imprisoned? This is a fae place – a thin space – where the veil between the world we know and a world we’ve never guessed at has lost its opacity. Small clusters of mushrooms with spindly stalks and caps like hats hide by tree trunks in the dank shade. Keys, if I would only eat them. I know if I step off this path I would be lost. I would never reach Killiecrankie, I may never return to Pitlochry, may never find my way back to reality. Temptation burns like a flame behind my eyes, but I have not the courage.
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