There are things in this world that aren't meant to be known.
At least, that was what Marielle told herself as she ran blindly through the strange forest.
Breath, run and don't fall down. Breath, run and don't fall down.
In her panicked state it was all she could do to keep those thoughts running through her head. Her lungs and legs ached from the exertion.
Stop. Rest a while. Everything is fine.
She shook her head as the words seeped into her consciousness. Those weren't her thoughts.
She'd heard stories of this place, people said it had a way of getting in your head. Making you do things, see and hear things. She'd been warned against coming here by anyone she'd mentioned it to.
There were things in the woods they'd said. Unnatural and dark. She'd shook her head at the old woman who had clutched her sleeve and begged her to stay away.
She'd met their stories with skepticism and mirth; she hadn't laughed in their faces of course, that would be rude but she'd laughed in private all the same.
That so many of them believed all these fairytales had shown her how simple minded small communities were. Or so she'd thought.
Shortly after noon, she had wandered into the woods, the warnings of the locals ringing in her ears. A sense of foreboding had surrounded her like a thick, suffocating blanket. She's merely shaken it off; the locals must have gotten to her a bit more than she'd thought.
Though mid June, the trees surrounding her were bare, their branches naked and skeletal, like fingers reaching out to grab her. The trees must have had leaves, at one time. The evidence of this being the thick carpet of discarded foliage which only made her journey that much harder as she was unable to see the gnarled roots underneath.
After wandering for a half hour or so, she had realized she wasn't as alone as she thought. The strange, twisted trees were hiding something. She caught movement out of the corner of her eye but whenever she turned to investigate, there was nothing. Not even a sound to indicate someone following.
She'd continued to wander until she reached what she assumed was close to if not the heart of the forest itself. As she'd drawn nearer, the eeriness of the place had become more apparent.
She should have turned back. She knew that now. She could hear them gaining on her even as she tried desperately to keep going. She brushed a few strands of hair off her sweaty forehead and kept running, hoping to reach the edge of the Cursed Woods. Her foot hit something and sent her tumbling to the ground.
Tree root. She thought numbly as her legs refused to allow her to stand.
They would reach her this time. There would be nothing left and she would be just another story.