Danny’s Story

15. in which danny follows a path through the woods


Danny dodged trees, leaped over moss-covered logs, and tore through bunches of ferns. The little yellow bird was always just in sight, leading her on.

Danny could see a splash of sunlight through the trees ahead. Abruptly, the little bird circled and disappeared. A moment later, Danny stumbled upon a path. It was about three feet wide and seemed to be made of gravel. As no trees came within a few feet of the path, sunlight streamed down here, and Danny could see the blue, blue sky above. A carpet of verdant grass lined the path, flourishing under the light.

“Here it is,” the bird said. It was sitting on a nearby branch. “Go that way.”

Danny looked up, then followed its gaze. “Thanks.”

“Don’t thank me. Be careful careful careful!” it sang, then dropped from the branch and flittered off into the thick of the woods.

Danny was left alone again, this time with a clear path and a direction. As she walked, the gravel crunched underfoot like dry Cheerios. Startled, she stopped. On closer inspection, she realized that it was not gravel at all, but breadcrumbs.

She walked for some time. It was hard to tell how much time passed, as the intensity of the sunlight never changed, and — as she did not see the sun in the sky — she could not track its movement. The dense forest that flanked the path never thinned or let up. She felt like she was walking through an endless sunlit tunnel.

Eventually, however, she caught a whiff of woodsmoke. Soon after, the forest opened into a small clearing, in the middle of which sagged a tired-looking cabin. A chimney poked out of one end of the thatched roof, exhaling a curling tendril of smoke.

And lining the bread crumb path to the door were several wooden poles, each topped with a human skull.

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Christie “Iamba” Bailey