by Jackson Parrish
As twilight surrendered to the cloak of night, I found myself drawn as if by some primordial magnetism into the foreboding embrace of the forest. The villagers, with their well worn faces and eyes steeped in wisdom had cautioned against venturing into these woods after dusk, but within me stirred an insatiable yearning for the dangerous dance of shadow and uncertainty, a craving for the very thing I was told to shun.
The forest with its twisted silhouettes and murmuring canopies was a siren, singing a haunting melody that spoke to the deepest recesses of my soul. I knew the dangers that lurked within its depths yet I proceeded, propelled by an enigmatic force that mirrored the reckless pull of a toxic love. A love that promises the heat of passion but delivers the chill of despair.
As the path before me grew indistinct swallowed by the encroaching fog, I pressed onward, the thrill of the forbidden quickening my pulse. The deeper I ventured the more the forest seemed to close in around me, a lover's embrace that tightens into a vice.
And then it appeared a creature of such formidable presence that the very air around it seemed to quiver. Its eyes, red as the embers of a dying fire, pierced the veil of mist, fixing upon me with an intensity that spoke of wild untamed dominion. The wolf like beast a monstrous apparition wrought from the nightmares of the forest, stood as an embodiment of every toxic union I had ever known.
Its growl was the whispered sweet nothings that turn to biting words the warmth of its breath the heat of passion that inevitably burns. I stood frozen, locked in the creature's gaze, recognising in its feral countenance the allure of the perilous affections I had time and again sought.
In this chilling tableau the beast before me was not just a creature of fang and claw but a manifestation of my own self destructive desires. Each snarl was a barbed hook of cruel affection each step it took towards me a dance of twisted courtship. Here was the embodiment of a love that devours a relationship that consumes with the ferocity of a predator.
The encounter was not a meeting of two beings but a convergence of past choices and the raw essence of self inflicted wounds. The beast's advance was not an attack but a manifestation of the consequences I had been too blind to see. Each of its measured steps towards me was a reminder of the steps I took towards those who would only ever offer pain masked as passion.
I realised then as the mist enshrouded us both, that there would be no salvation in this encounter. There would be no heroic escape or valiant overcoming of a beastly foe. The beast was and always had been, a part of me, the part that sabotaged the promise of genuine connection with the lure of a love that was nothing but a gilded cage.
As the red glow of its eyes burned into me I knew I would not turn and run. I stood motionless, not in defiance but in resignation to the twisted fate I had woven around myself. The forest had ceased to be a mere physical place. It had become a psychological landscape, a vivid tapestry of all the toxic ties that bound me.
The villagers would not come looking for they knew all too well the perils of the forest. They knew that some who walked into the thickets of shadow were lost long before they ever set foot beneath the twisted boughs, and as the forest claimed me, the creature and I became one, a single entity bound to roam the eternal night, a soul entwined with the dark embrace of a love that never liberates, only destroys.
January 28th, 2024
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