The Woods of the Erl King

The woods shift and pull like hairs under the icy breath from the north. Wanderers lose themselves in the ever-changing landscape. They hear the warnings, and with foolish eye glance at the forest and deem it safe. Looking at the tree, marking them as though the trees centuries old shall rest and mark a path.

The woods are not still. They are alive and you are in between their claws.

They run breathless; their feet pounding against the ground like the heart in their weak chests. Roots slowly strike out at shins, and they stumble. The birds fall silent to give no guidance. The endless green canopy shuts out the light. Tall leafy guards shift to close the path behind them.  The wreckage of their footsteps on their finale journey is soon healed and hidden by the undergrowth.

No one leaves the woods, unless the trees whisper to the wind to say let them  go.

The cage birds sing sweet songs. Their voices belong in this world away from man. They are more gentle, more musical than their previous human voices. They have beautiful feathers that they groom and clean whilst missing their human flesh. They do not stretch their wings to fly; they never learnt how to fly. The cages I wield myself. Pretty human companions. Beautiful songbirds.

She enters the wood. As brave and foolishly fearless as the last, who now sings frantically to the girl.

He will do you harm

A smile pulls at my lips. A lean down to stroke the fox that rests to close to me. She keeps singing, she keeps walking. Naive she doesn’t hear the birds warning. Or she mistakes it for a fanfare into the woods.

I hear her drawing closer. Soon she shall enter my Eden and she shall not leave. She is just waiting for a cage to trap her. The new songbird shall sing and scream from her imprisonment under the Erl King.

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