From the Shadows
She walked into the woods in Autumn. Said she was going for a hike. Took a vegan protein bar with her.
But she didn't come back.
The town organized search parties. There were helicopters and stories on the news.
But no one found anything.
Except a bandana. With a speck of mascara and a drop of blood.
Just a drop -- not enough to seriously warrant concern.
And then she vanished.
Five months later, she emerged.
Walked out from the snow. Thinner. And much lighter.
She talked about the birds she'd seen. Said she'd had long conversations with them.
She said she'd built a snow cave. And eaten berries she found.
But after a few months, she needed sustenance. Needed company. Needed food.
So she lured wild animals to her, told them stories about far-away places, listened to their stories of the woods, then thanked them, killed them, and ate them.
This, she said, was sacred.
This was important.
And then, in the Spring, she lured a bear to her camp with stories of cheerleading practice.
But the bear said she couldn't eat him.
The bear said perhaps he should eat her.
She agreed. This seemed the normal way for things to end.
Then the bear wandered off. Distracted. Drooling over a deer fattened by eating out of a dumpster of a trendy restaurant.
When the bear was gone, a fox came by and told her it was time to go.
Besides, there wasn't enough meat left on her to satisfy the bear. She'd die for nothing.
And, said the fox, there might still be things for her to do.
Outside the woods.
So she walked out. Back into town.
And the fox nodded, knowing more than he would say.
Which is often the case.