The faery path is winding and laden with poison fruits, plants both baneful and healing. The leaves clinging to twisted oak branches chime like bells as they sway, the wood creaking like a violin. The air itself is intoxicating, shimmering, undulating.
The trees and vines recognize me as one of their own. Their malice is sweet on my lips, not bitter, and its effects are enthralling, not threatening. The music of the trees, the grass, the wind draws me forward.
Light filtering through the highest branches dances over moss and flowers, ferns and fungi. Petals in hues the human eye can’t see unfold as I pass, greeting me with bright stigmas and intoxicating perfume.
There’s a yearning I can’t place in my chest, urging me forward to find answers to the questions I don’t know to ask. The artificial layers I had no choice but to build around the core of myself unravel the further I go.
The deeper I follow this path the more bizarre and foreign it becomes.
The deeper I follow this path the more familiar it becomes.
I’m not alone on this path; beings introduced in childhood watch from a distance, shining just out of sight. I’m protected, not threatened. These entities of light and life and shadow See me, Know me; they are nameless and possess many names.
I wear a crown of toadstools, nightshade, ferns, woven with plants unknown to human eyes. Under every stone is a hint, a clue to unlock the parts of myself that live only in this world. Every bird song is a message, every leaf an old friend.
The rules I was supposed to follow are forgotten and replaced with my own intuition, the knowing in my bones and the song in my blood. The heavy black berries that should summon my mortality promise evolution, alchemy, transcendence. The beings I was told to protect against instead protect me, guarding slivers of myself until I’m ready to find them again, watching over when I foolishly stumbled through the briars of paths that didn’t lead me home.
Here, I resonate. I expand. My roots dig into the fertile soil of magic and mystery, nourished by elements that would face anyone else with malice. The toxic roots of the native flora are a balm for my aching soul. Here, the things of ancient cautionary tales hold me in their arms and heal my softest parts, damaged by so many years away from this place. What should be a nightmare is, to me, a blissful dream.
Here, I unfold.