Danny stood in a fairy tale wood. It was dark and thick and moist, the ground covered with a soft mattress of loam. Ferns and white toadstools stood in small stands beneath the trees. The air was damp and smelled spicy with the decay of old, dead trees.
Danny turned slowly in place and sighed heavily. She was surrounded by trees and more trees. She saw no path, nor any other trail marker. After several moments, she picked the direction that seemed the least dense with foliage and began to wander that way.
Although the forest was thick, some sunlight filtered down through the canopy. In places where patches of light streamed in through a break in the leaves, small bursts of wildflowers colored the forest floor. Once or twice, Danny swore she noticed the quick movement of tiny gossamer wings amongst the flora.
From behind Danny, a sweet bird’s call sang out above the background noise of droning insects and birdsong, so close and so loud that Danny whirled. A small yellow songbird perched in a nearby branch, tail perked up, apparently staring at her.
“You’re lost,” said the bird in a high, lilting voice.
“That,” Danny deadpanned, “is an astute observation.”
The bird paused, cocked its head, and said, “Where are you going?”
“I’m going to see the Keeper of Names. Do you know where she lives?”
“Of course!” it chirped. With a flick of its tail, it said, “Follow me.” Then, it leaped into the air.
As she ran after it, Danny wryly noted that she had a habit of chasing after talkative fowl.