Mary, in a flurry of confusion and determination turned the car round, heading towards the woods she had seen on the way to the house. She was driving deeper into the woods now, deeper into the descending madness.
Was she just an unfortunate victim of circumstance? Was it the cruel nature of coincidence that she decided today was the day she wanted to make an acquaintance with he long lost Father , a jigsaw piece missing in her life that she was so eager to find to make herself complete ? To form the full picture of her life. How she came to be.
Or was it fate? Did whatever omniscient being that controlled this world make these sorry events occur on purpose? Was there some beautiful truth to come from all this, some great test of human strength?
Mary hadn’t the time to ponder over such questions. She had her heart set on finding these children. As unknown to her as her own Father, these children were strangers too, yet she felt some sort of strange obligation to them. To save their innocence.
She sped down the rough tarmac road toward the woods, gritting her teeth to prevent the ugly sound of her squealing to convince her she wasn’t ready. She was fighting back tears now. She thought that if the tears didn’t fall, maybe she wasn’t crying after all.
Mary then slowed the car to a steady halt, parallel against the evergreen backdrop. It was disorientating how similar all the tall, leafy trees looked. As if the same trees just repeated and repeated into eternity. She wondered how she could find her way around such a bewildering place, nowhere to use for a marker, only to be swallowed up into the maze of trunks, needles and leaves.
There was no formal entrance to the woods, only narrow gaps between trunks to squeeze through. Mary forced herself between one of the larger gaps, surrounded by the smell of wet grass, the scent of autumn. Her hair caught on one of the fragile branches behind her. She let out a high pitched scream, cutting the air and making the birds nesting high in the tree tops to flee in fright. Panicked, she thought someone had grabbed her and anxiously through her fists in front of her reddened face.
“Who’s there” she cried, trying to assert some authority, but it came out like some weak cry, laden with fear. Like the murmur of the woman she had found in the house.
Moments slowly passed before she realized it was safe. Mary breathed a welcome sigh of relief and trudged through the swamp of mud at her feet into the center of the wood , further and further away from the road. Deeper into insanity.
She thought for a moment that she could hear a voice, a quiet squeal, a childlike cry.
At first she doubted her ears. After all, how much could she trust her mind?
It was only when the voice grew louder and more powerful, that she realized that it was coming from directly behind her.