Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 17 October 2019

WEP/ISWG October Challenge - Horrible Harvest.





The challenge is back.  Huge thanks to the organisers and pariticipants.  A visit HERE will give access to a range of talented (so very talented) and different takes on the theme.  I do hope you will visit others and applaud them.

Just for a change (not) I am out of my comfort zone.  I can't watch horror (which these days includes the news).  I rarely read it.  Just the same there are undeniably some dark corners in my mind.


***



I watch over you, and will even give advice from time to time, but I am not an angel of any description.  Protecting you seems condescending to me.  Your life, your decisions, your outcomes... 

If you go down to the woods today, the sky will be blue and the air will be soft and perfumed with flowers but you must never step off the path. 

The trees are  green, and filled with bird song so long as you stay on the path.

It is  warm.  You kick off your shoes and walk on the lush green grass remembering not to stray from the path.

Time is irrelevant today.  You follow the path in the here and now, absorbing the sun, the song, the peace.  The sunshine on your face and arms is balm.  You walk taller and lighter with your head held high and wearing a contented smile.

The path ambles over an old stone bridge.  You laugh with the babbling brook below and delight in the silvery fish dancing in the crystal clear water.


As you leave the bridge and the brook  there are  fruit trees so very close to the path.

The trees are laden.  You don't recognise the fruit, but is golden, plump and obviously delectably ripe.  Your mouth waters.  You long to sink your teeth into that juicy perfection, but it isn't quite close enough and you must not leave the path.

You stretch greedy hands for it.  You jump for it.  You fail.  You jump and stretch again.  You look around and see no-one.  You look again.

You take a step.  And another.  A piece of that luscious fruit falls into your hands. 

It smells incredible.  It is velvety, sun-warmed  and heavy in your hands.    You take a bite, and it explodes in your mouth.  The juice spatters your hands and your face.  It fills your mouth and coats your tongue.
The taste and the smell are beyond incredible.

Your mouth is filled with the taste of undercooked offal coated in caramel, of resentment, of dashed dreams, guilt and bitter regrets.  Sticky, nasty putrefaction.

Your nose is swamped with odours of  sick beds in closed rooms, unemptied bins, stale tobacco and alcohol, and a rich marinade of cloying, clashing perfumes.

You retch, you helplessly vomit, you weep, you  moan.   Your hands and mouth burn as you stagger back to the path.

You run, back over the bridge where the brook laughs at you. 

And still you run.  Birds swoop ominously overhead as the skies darken.  That velvety grass is replaced with gravel and glass.  Your feet bleed. 

You reach the safety of home, rush inside and slam the door.  You strip off your blood and vomit stained clothing.  You stand in the shower frantically scrubbing till long after the water has run  cold.  Your hands and face are blistered and oozing. 

You scrub your hands, your face, your mouth, teeth and tongue till they bleed.  You scrub some more.  Rot and decay still fill your mouth and nostrils.

I told you not to leave the path.   




Full Critique Acceptable.

512 words.

We have a house guest and my time on the computer will be limited for the next few days so I am unlikely to be as quick to read other entries as usual.  Just the same I WILL get there, and am looking forward to it.

104 comments:

  1. Hi,
    memories that will never leave her. She left the path and stepped into something that her mind and heart could not handle. That's horrible!
    You did an excellent job of stepping on the horror side.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Pat Garcia: Thank you. I really liked your sadly true poem. How I wish it was just your imagination.

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  2. "...of resentment, of dashed dreams, guilt and bitter regrets. Sticky, nasty putrefaction."

    Two things.

    That angel is right, he is no angel. He is watching her mistake and then says I told you so. Ugh. That is unkind.

    But also... what she ran into was her own bitterness. Interesting, isn't it? She made that. That angel was right there too, she should not have gone there. He knew what it was. He was right, though he seemed eager to let her go. He wasn't trying to teach her a lesson. He just wanted to gloat.

    But... if that bitterness of her own making had been relinquished before she headed out to walk the world, she would have been free to roam where she wanted with no trap set before her. She would have been free.

    Or maybe I am reading too much into it! ;-)

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    1. This is deeply significant, the leaving of the path... worth analysing,
      Reminds me very much of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ in which the straying is sexual, whereas this has spiritual overtones. Unsettling, well done!

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    2. Sandi: 'I told you' so is rarely kind. Or helpful. I am really flattered (and grateful) that this short piece got you thinking and that you were generous enough to tell me. Every reader brings some of themselves to every piece and you were not reading too much into it at all.

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    3. lostinimaginaryworld: Thank you. Very much.

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  3. Chilling and creepy! A different take on the garden of eden story. Well paced and of course it's forbidden fruit so it would not live up to the expectation. He knows she will reach for it and eggs her on by saying mustn't this, mustn't that. Why am I assuming it's a 'he' who's talking and a 'she' who's walking?? Telling!

    Thank you for posting for the WEP Challenge!

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    1. Nilanjana Bose: I carefully didn't specify the gender but will admit to thinking the watcher was male and the walker female. As I said to Sandi, every reader brings some of themselves to the party. Which means that the piece belongs to them as well. Thank you.

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  4. Wow,very well written, gives me chills☺

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    1. natalia20041989: Thank you. I hope your delicious curry can dispell those chills.

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  5. Beautifully written, you weave your words so well, just enough of the scare factor without over the top , perfection! I will visit the others,

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    1. laurie: Huge thanks. I hope you enjoy the other pieces. The ones I have read have been brilliant - and such different takes on the prompt.

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  6. Eerie and elegant. Every word! I'm a bit frightened to step out from the safety of my blog.

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    1. nothoughtsnoprayersnonothing: You should be safe - so long as you stay on the path. And thank you too.

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  7. Just in time for Halloween. Boo. LOL.

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    1. gigihawaii: Boo indeed. We don't celebrate Halloween here (but my father kept me terrified of ghosties and ghoulies and things which go bump in the night).

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    2. So sad, and wrong, to be kept terrified by a parent.

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    3. River: He would have said (and probably thought) that he was toughening me up for my own good. He enjoyed the process too much for my liking though.

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  8. Nicely done! From heaven to hell in one fell swoop. The watcher was particularly creepy.

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    1. Diane Henders: The watcher was a truth teller. Which often IS creepy. Or so I think.

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  9. Yikes! That's incredible, EC. Well done.

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    1. Sandra Cox: I hope you will read some of the others too. I am enjoying them, but fear that some should not be read in the dark.

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  10. EEEK! I kept wanting to shout "Stay on the PATH!!!"
    Loved the narrator's voice and tone - great impact on the story!

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    1. Jemi Fraser: Thank you. It really was a mistake not to pay attention to those warnings wasn't it?

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  11. What can I say I will never leave the path when told not to.
    Merle.........

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    1. Merlesworld: A wise decision in this case. Very wise.

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  12. This story is deep and thoughtful, almost metaphorical. "Leaving your path" is always a scary experience, at any age, in any circumstances. Stepping into the unknown could be toxic and bloody, but it also could be rewarding beyond belief. Or it could be both at once. You never know before you gather your courage and step off your path.

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    1. Olga Godim: How right you are. Leaving the path is indeed scary, and not without risks. There are consequences for so many decisions - which need to be considered.

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  13. Beautifully written and caught me until the very end. Scary and sad in both ways. Leaving the path has consequences.

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    1. Susan Kane: Leaving the path does indeed have consequences. Sometimes the price is high.

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  14. I guess sometimes, one needs to stay on the path. Who knows what lurks out there?

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    1. Truedessa: Who indeed? Warnings should be considered even if not heeded too.

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  15. Wow. WOW! The path sounds delightful and the sunwarmed fruit reminded me of a peach tree in the yard of a home I once rented. But then...oh, what terrible fruits. I'm betting that person will never stray from the path again. May never even walk that particular path again. This was a great read. I'm a fan of horror, stories and movies, but these days prefer lighter fare most of the time.

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    1. River: Thank you. I am wondering whether that person will leave the house again, much less follow that path.

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  16. Love this! Deliciously creepy. Awesome narrator, who ramps up the reader's trepidation until wanting to scream at the hapless person about to stray into the "don't go there" zone.
    Beautifully done, EC!

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  17. So very well done. You carried me right along and had me breathless as to what the outcome was going to be. Awesome. Makes me wonder what happens next.

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  18. Scary and creepy. Sometimes we are warned and just do not want to hear it.

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    1. messymimi: If we don't pay attention to those warnings we do have to be prepared to pay the price. Whatever it might be.

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  19. You write so well, Sue. I don’t like horror, but admit that I do like the thrill of being scared. Good job!

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: Thank you. My wimpy self struggles with real life horror, let alone the imaginary versions.

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  20. Stunningly written dear EC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    you drove me into your created world with sublime words so nicely woven

    i wish i can give you award for such incredible tale which sounds familiar from holy book
    yes this is story of man who has left the path
    i wish he can realize the mistake he made and walk back
    amazing job ,you just made my day :)

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    1. baili: Many thanks. Do you know that I think you are the first person to see the sadly mistaken walker as a man? I do hope that he/she can find that path again.

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  21. You did great with this, EC. The tone was perfect. I wanted the watcher to whisper one more warning but never did. Ugh! So good!

    Elsie

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    1. Elsie Amata: Thank you. How many warnings would it have taken? That walker really wasn't listening. As we so often don't.

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  22. WOW...this really gave me goosebumps!!
    Oh I so enjoyed reading this...and, yes, you definitely do deserve an award for this...it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout!!😊😊

    Have a wonderful day!

    Much love and hugs ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

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    1. Ygraine: Reading through the incredible posts I am so very grateful that I don't have to pick a winner. There have been some incredible entries.
      I hope your chest cold is easing and that your day is delightful. Huge hugs.

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  23. Enjoy your houseguest. We've left the light on for ya:)

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    1. Sandra Cox: Thank you for leaving the light on.

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  24. Have fun with your houseguest, and looking forward to lots of pics. So sorry, I haven't been around, but my computer died, and using the library right now. Hugs, RO

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    1. RO: I feel your pain. Our PC is having hissy fits too. I do hope that yours can be fixed and returned quickly. Hugs.

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  25. The forbidden fruit strikes again. Sad the angel didn't see the need of helping.

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    1. Bernadette: The watcher says very clearly that he/she is not an angel. Sad that the walker wasn't listening. Forbidden fruit might look tempting, but the taste is long lasting...

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  26. A very creative rendition of the Forbidden Fruit in genesis. Staying on the path is difficult with all the temptation and so many stray off the path. Well written.

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    1. Julia: I suspect you are right, and many of us do fail to stay on the path. Some of us at least find our way back to it.

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  27. Never leave the path! :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. A Cuban in London: Or be prepared to pay the price...

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  28. I've been catching up! I look forward to your tulip tops posts every year and you didn't disappoint! Just magical!

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    1. kylie: We look forward to Tulip Top Gardens too, and I am very glad and grateful to hear that you look forward to the posts. Some year you will get there.

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  29. So many emotions and questions rise from reading this. Angel, demon, or the personification of self-doubt and insecurity? Is it he, she, or some being beyond gender? Is the path realy the best, or is it simply the easiest- is it reality versus the fantasy bubble we'd like to live in?
    Wonderfully written very scary. An excellent horror.

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    1. Toi Thomas: Many thanks. I am so grateful you shared some of the questions this piece raises...

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  30. This is definitely a dark tale, perfectly fitting for this month's challenge. Despite warnings, we humans like to push boundaries and often land in trouble. This ominous and creepy story certainly illustrated that point well.

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    1. L.G.Keltner: Thank you. I have been (of course) blown away by the stories this prompt has evoked. I really don't envy you and the WEP team in selecting a short list - or Nick in selecting a winner.

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  31. Absolutely! The news truly is in the realm of horror. But, to your story. I loved how the mood changed and your descriptions made me feel first the bliss of a beautiful life and then the regrets and horror of a decision you wish you hadn't taken.

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    1. Kalpana: I worry a bit that I am turning into an ostrich on the news front. Thank you so much for your comments on this piece.

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  32. Brilliant, Sue! You're right; it's a little creepy, but it's more than that. To me, it has an allegorical flavor that expresses a sad truth about human nature. Even when we know our lives would be better if we "toed the line," those outlying fruits have a way of tempting us into doing things to our detriment. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it? At any rate, you did a terrific job.

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    1. Susan: If you read it, it was there - for you at least. Toeing the line might be dull, but it is rarely dangerous...
      I hope you and Smarticus are doing well.

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  33. This is somewhat reminiscent of Christina Rossetti's "The Goblin Market," which is a longtime favorite story for me. The beautiful fruit which turns out to be terrible and life destroying. Very well-written!
    For me, writing horror is a way of dealing with the real horrors of the world. The stuff I write about ghouls, vampires isn't scary. The atrocities that humans commit is.

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    1. The Real Cie: Thank you. That is two of you who have said that it reminds you of The Goblin Market. I don't think I have read it, but will try and track it down. Yes, the atrocities of our species scare me a heap more than fantasy, and always have.

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  34. This is powerful as we all interpret your well-written words differently. Such a good take on the prompt.

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    1. Sally: Thank you. I am so very glad that my readers have read it from their own perspective. Glad and grateful.

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  35. Hope you are having a lot of fun with your house guest!

    Wow! You really took the prompt and wrote a piece with many layers. Such a strong voice. I really enjoyed this- and it is creepier than I was expecting. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS ~Jess: Thank you. It has been a tiring time but has been good for himself (the guest is his sister).
      And thank you for your words of praise. There are definitely creepy corners in my mind though I often ignore and/or hide them.

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  36. Hi EC - this is brilliant ... so well written and with that horrific, appalling never ending end. I agree with everyone's comments - an amazing tale - awful about how we can have choices, but are also pushed to make decisions by our unthinking mind, as it says it'll be ok ... and when it wants what it perceives ... but which is so contaminated and dangerous and from which morass we'll never be able to forget. Not a good idea at all.

    Wonderful story ... just brilliant. I too must look up 'Goblin Market' by Christina Rossetti ...

    Yes - enjoy your house guest ... Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: Thank you. I am certainly guilty of doing something a small quiet voice has told me firmly was not a good idea. Aren't we all (at least occasionally)?

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  37. So in other words, never stray from the path, right? Sometimes temptation sure can be a you know what haha Sure a great description of the nastiness of their choice. Stay on the path and don't eat strange things. Check.

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    1. Pat Hatt: Thank you. I struggled with the nasty side and eventually went with things that I personally would scrub out my mouth and nose to try and eradicate...

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  38. oh, so visual and so horrifying. I've not decided yet if I want to participate this time around or not. The month has been quite hectic, and I have some writing contests I should enter with deadlines quickly looming.

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    1. Cindi Summerlin: Sadly (for us) you have missed the boat this time round. I do hope you can join us in December.

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  39. … perhaps best to stay on the path!

    All the best Jan

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    1. Lowcarb team member ~Jan: In this case I suspect you are right.

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  40. Hi Sue, I'm glad you made it this time even though you had house guests. Your stories are always intriguing and this one certainly is. I love the way it's told, the voice is quite chilling. A real 'fairy tale' with the moral: you must not leave the path. If you do, bad things happen. So many tropes I recognized. Thanks again for creating this piece and sharing with us...(I sorta thought I'd commented then came back today for another reading and couldn't see my name. Oh well...so if you find two?)

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    1. Denise Covey: Thank you. Just one comment has landed (so far) but you are always more than welcome. Have you ever thought watching/reading horror that the victims brought the problems on themselves? I certainly have. Too many of them seem blissfully ignorant of danger despite strong indications to the contrary.

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  41. Sue, you are deep and beautiful. I really think I must get off the path more. I'm too safe! xxx

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    1. kim Sisto Robinson: Safe life? You? Queue hysterical laughter. Your life is filled with pain and a steely resolve to ensure that others don't endure the same pain?

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  42. Oh wow...I can literally feel and (almost) taste what this person is going through! How awful, and so freaking good! Love this!!!

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    1. Carrie Ann: I do hope you can't taste it. My mouth wrinkles just thinking about it - and huge thanks.

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  43. Wow. Chilling. I love the way you progress insidiously down the incredible path towards the inevitable. Punctuating the journey with the warning not to leave the path. A special hoorah for ‘if you go down in the woods today’, making me think of the Teddy Bears’s picnic song. Not a picnic at all as it turns out.
    The sickening outcome is beyond imagining. Especially enjoyed the path of gravel and glass, nice twist. A weaker note could be the length. Maybe you could use up the 1000 words by lengthening the first path, with inner reflections and less warning so the straying and biting comes over as a sudden surprise.
    I was drawn in immediately and found your use of language very vivid.
    Thank you.

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    1. Susan B: Thank you. I too, thought of the Teddy Bear's Picnic - and the surprise at the end of it.
      Your critique gives me some thoughts to consider. Many thanks.

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  44. That childhood/folk tale warning 'Don't Leave the Path' is drip fed into us. Sometimes it's true - don't touch the cooker - but often it's a control mechanism - don't bring them home. And then our mind twists them and guilt creates nightmares.

    Excellent use of the theme, EC. Builds and sweeps the reader on to a unending moment of horror.

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    1. Roland Clarke: Many thanks. As I said, there are dark corners in my mind, and I am glad to take you along for the ride (and hopefully nightmare free).

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  45. Ec, this is creepy, powerful, scary!!! Well done!! Love it! I love the way you described everything! Big Hugs!

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    1. Magic Love Crow: I did say that there are some dark corners in my head didn't I? And thank you. Always.

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