Wonderful Path | For almost 2 miles this forested path takes… | Flickr

“Just don’t touch any of them unless you’re certain,” said the figure behind him. The two factions were coming closer as they continued to walk, a fact that was causing his heart to flutter as he continued to glance between them. On the right he could see dark, terrible things. Demons, dragons, things he had no name for, things that made his eyes hurt just looking at them, and monstrosities that had no earthly business existing even in the darkest bowers of the imagination. Yet on the right he was struck silent for a moment by the beauty, the grandeur, and somehow the awful but desirable goodness he could feel radiating from that direction.

“What do you mean?” he asked, almost breathlessly.

“The transition can’t take place until you touch one of them. In other words, the first one you touch, that’s who you’ll transition into. And believe me, no matter what they say, every one of them wants to transition. It’s a tiresome job being a deity or a spirit, especially in a world that doesn’t believe as much any longer.”

“But, how…”

“How will you know?” the figure chuckled, “Oh, you’ll know.”

As they continued to walk, more and more individuals started to appear along the side of the path, each one of them leering at him in their own way before railing at those on the other side. He felt dizzy as he tried to keep his eyes on them all at once, finding that it was impossible as the mere presence of these beings left him feeling weak, strong, cold, and warm all at the same time.

“None of them are allowed to touch you first,” the figure stated, “But that doesn’t mean they won’t use other wiles to get your attention.”

“Their, wiles?”

The figure snorted, saying nothing more as they continued forward. His head was swimming as he tried to keep to a straight line, stumbling slightly as he felt his footing grow a little more uneven. And then, just as he’d expected it would, his balance gave out, sending him careening forward, reaching out for the first thing he could, which would hopefully be a tree. What he ended up grabbing felt bristly and even moss-like at first, but as he heard a dark chuckle and shifted his hand the tree moved, and he realized that he’d made his choice, unwitting or not.

“Well then,” drawled a familiar voice, “I do believe it’s time for a story.”

(to be concluded)

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