The treetops brightly sheltered its inhabitants from the sky, but what would normally be considered a vibrant forest was distorted by a shallow layer of sludge that covered the forest floor. It had a grim fairy tale atmosphere, with nymphs dancing in and out of my vision in the ankle-deep mud with ease, always perceptible, but never within reach.
I couldn't find my way.
The forest twisted and turned, surroundings blurring from one step to the next, becoming a labyrinth that had me straddling the thin line that separated sanity and madness. Roaring oceans beckoned to me with a siren’s call, but I found myself taking flight into my own displeasure. It was carrying me far from where I wanted, needed to go. This path leads to desire, the prophecy spoke. But the deeper I ventured into the forest, the thicker the mud, and the fainter the voice.
The spell woven by the woods was broken by tinkling laughter falling from the trees, accompanied by small feminine body. Impulse seized the moment, and I lunged forward, paying no mind to the mire at my feet. The nymph fell softly into my arms, light as a feather, with eyes bright as the ocean I craved and curly blonde hair that shone starkly in contrast to the dark land. She thanked me, but showed no sign of standing on her own, nuzzling my neck and inquiring, "Where are you headed?"
"East," I told her.
She smiled coyly, "The oceans, you mean? You aren’t going to find them going this way.”
”The path of the forest will not allow me to go in the direction I desire,” I replied.
The nymph in my arms clicked her tongue. "Ah, that is where you are mistaken. The belief that the forest has only one path is all too wrong, indeed.”
Surprise rippled through me, and the overwhelming need to ask what exactly she meant by that statement sent my mouth moving of its own accord. But she silenced me with a slender finger to the lips, and I was no longer compelled to speak.
“Here, do not worry, I will return you to where you rightfully belong.” She cupped my cheeks in her soft hands, and I swam in her blue eyes. “Try again, tired one. If you look in the right places, you will find your way. And maybe, if you find your place, we will be able to return home.”
And with that, her mouth pressed against mine in a kiss that tasted of dew, and the color that I beheld melted from sapphire to shades of grey.
Wind whipped the snow, stinging my cheeks as I stood upon the street corner.
"Where have you been? Did the night steal you away from me once more?" the grey world greeted.
Timidly, I nodded. "I was taken far, but do not fret, Mother. I will always return to you."
She welcomed me with open arms.
As I stepped without hesitation onto the cold concrete of the vacant road, the consuming realization that a taste would not satiate my desire struck in all its ruthlessness. I inhaled a shaky breath and closed my eyes, finding that I could still hear the seductive call of the ocean, still see the twinkling blue eyes, and still taste the water on my lips, bittersweet on my tongue.