The dreams, when they do come, are full of their faces, waiting and watching at the edge of the woods. You can hear the sneaking mutter of their schemes to trick you and trap you back into their blame. You don’t feel afraid though, just buried in anger.
You spit and seethe, you belch and seize and sprint through the trees. The clatter of your teeth as they sink into things. The tremor of your changing frame. The blows of something budging its way out from your brain. Your muscles wrack in spasms with your smoldering gut, spilling open inside by the strength of your hate.
These dreams wander through you, weaving in and ever thicker, until some unknown toll is staked away for you to awake.
When you wake, you walk. You travel and map every withered bit of your world, tracing your tracks in order to forget. To untether the trials that have become your mind, to purge all the dead ends that did you in.
Your stomach is a knot you may never find a way to untie, and though you have no appetite, you take note of your ribs reaching through your torso, sharp against your taut gray skin. Your search for sustenance bares little beyond brittle nuts from the pines and the white roots of the trampled grass. Riding the resolution of your perpetual motion, you manage to tread forward, seeking only moments lost in always passing, seeking only to never stop.
Days or weeks or any number of suns gliding over the forest in slumping arcs and still you wander, still you walk. You walk until you could rewrite yourself into the land through your steps, step into the discovery of an entry, or better—an exit. You walk with the thought of never stopping until your bones splinter, turn to dust. Until you could be blown apart across the earth and air by a single breath, certain in some way to never arrive.
Connor Phillips lives in Arizona.