Stay On the Path

It is a beautiful late afternoon as you open the front gate and step out onto the path. Birdsong fills the air and you can feel the warmth of the golden sun that hangs in an azure sky embracing your shoulders and neck. Flowers grow about your feet, nestling at the side of the path marking the route onwards, a colourful guide so that you can readily view the way ahead. You adjust the basket that hangs in the crook of your arm, a basket that is stuffed with delicious fayre, forbidden fruits and other enticing goodies that are meant for another. You smile and begin walking, a spring in your step as you hear a voice call out from behind you,

“Stay on the path, do not stray from the path.”

You smile again at this warning. You know all about not straying from the path, it is all you have been told for some time. The warnings and the cautionary tales about what happens when you stray from the path began as frightening tales told before bed time but their foreboding content has lessened as you have blossomed. You still smiled politely as older heads than yours warned you about what lay in the forest beyond the path, of waiting predators that are red of tooth and claw. These once dreaded fables are no more than an opportunity for you to curry favour as you kneel next to the wise one and listen, showing attentiveness, but your mind has drifted elsewhere. Your thoughts dwell on whether those supposed savages do exist deep within the darkness of the forest or whether they are just lost souls, poor fellows abandoned by the world who lurk amidst the shadows of tree and bush, not because they seek to do harm but because they have been shunned and know no other way of behaving. You contemplate whether if they were shown love, caring and affection that these wild folk might just be welcomed back and then be able to prove they are not the threat that they are always held out to be.

The tales from those older and more experienced had less of an effect on your reasoning and this soon gave way to listening to the stories from your peers. One of your friends swore she saw one of these supposed savages watching her from a hillock within the forest. She spoke of how he watched her intently with the most mesmerising and piercing eyes which made her feel wanted but in a good way. You all giggled as she recounted this tale, a flush of desire making its way up her chest and neck. Another of your group recollected of how she also saw one of these apparent beasts. He was gathering firewood and she stopped to watch his lithe and frankly alluring figure as he stooped amongst the foliage, gathering logs. She smiled as she told how he turned and caught her watching, but she felt no alarm as he too fixed her with a most penetrating look and then slowly ran his tongue across his lower lip. Your friend places her hand to her mouth and confesses to ‘that’ warm feeling down below as he continued to regard her. You admit you felt a pang of jealousy as the gathering desires of womanhood began to flow through your blossoming body and you longed for your own encounter with one of these mysterious forest dwellers.

You skip along the meandering path as you recall these stories and others, wondering how much is truth and how much is just the product of an over-active imagination. You like to think it is the former and with that in mind you chose your best dress and stole a little of your elder sister’s make-up, carefully applying the blood red concoction of beeswax and crushed bright red berries to your lips as you formed a cupid’s bow wondering if he too waited amongst the trees ready to fire one of his love arrows through your heart. You shrugged off the disapproving look from your father as you explained your appearance was such to look your best for your grandmother. The small smile that your mother gave you as she handed you the laden basket told you she knew otherwise.

Some time into your journey through the forest the flowers become less as the amount of light which percolates through the canopy above becomes reduced. The trees are numerous, stretching up high into the sky and occasionally you stop and look up towards the tree tops, feeling dizzy as you do so. A breeze gathers and the trees sway a little as the eddies of wind disturb the bushes that grow besides the path. You can still see the way ahead but it is not as a pretty now, but you are not concerned, you have walked this path so many times before. Admittedly, that was with your parents or later with your elder sister and now this is the first time you have been allowed to venture out into the vast forest yourself, hence the warnings to stay on the path.

You scurry along, almost tripping on a long thorny vine which has grown across the path. The route through the forest is less distinct now, the moss and wild grass obscuring it in places, the bushes encroaching on to it but you press on regardless. You feel the first splash of rain land on your nose and then another. You halt and set the basket down so you can lift your hood about your head and keep your carefully pinned hair dry. You stoop and collect the basket once again, moving neatly and efficiently in the manner that you have been taught, bending at the knees and straightening carefully. You are about to continue your walk when you hear a noise, a strange guttural sound which seems to come from nowhere and everywhere. You cock your head but do not hear it again as you step forward and resume your journey.

The noise comes again and you spin around before letting out a gasp. There is a man stood right behind you on the path, tall and handsome and your surprise immediately gives way to round-eyed admiration at this elegantly dressed stranger clad in emerald green. He lifts his hat and gives an exaggerated bow. His gaze returns to you, a pair of dark, dark eyes which seem to bore right into you but you can help but stare at the glinting and mesmerising pupils.

“Good day young lady,” he says with a deep and rich voice which makes you feel strange inside but in a good way, “what are you doing alone in the forest on the cusp of evening?”

“I am going for a walk, to my grand mother’s house,” you answer firmly and stand as tall as you can.

“Alone?” he asks again.

“Yes. What of it?” you ask as those glittering eyes dart left and right.

“Oh nothing save that a young lady so pretty as you should not be left unaccompanied.”

“I know the way,” you answer.

“Perhaps you do but the way knows you better,” he answers and smiles showing a toothy grin.

“My what a lot of teeth you have,” you cannot help but remark.

“Yes, all the better to eat the beasts of the forest with,” he answers.

“You eat the animals in the forest?”

“Of course, how else am I to survive, anything that comes through this forest belongs to us.”

“Us? There are more of you?”

“Indeed, this forest is ours, it is our hunting ground.”

“So the stories are true then,” you declare in a tone that is a mixture of wariness and delight.

“Very true.”

“So where did you spring from, how did you know I was here?” you ask as your eyes never leave this handsome and beguiling stranger.

“Oh nearby, but it was not difficult to miss you,” he says and reaches out a hand to touch your blood red and vibrantly coloured cloak.

“This made you stand out from everything else,” he adds.

“My grandmother made it, she told me she chose red because it is the colour of danger, a warning if you will,” you reply.

“So it is and such an attractive shade of red if I may say so, so recognisable and obvious.”

“Recognisable as what?” you ask.

“Oh that does not matter,” he says quickly, “may I escort you ? I know a short cut to your grandmother’s house, just through here,” He proffers his arm as he points through the trees. You peer into the gloom and then look back at him. You pause for a moment but that gaze of his, those eyes which seem to promise so much of that which you want to experience draw you in and you have to, you want to obey.

“Of course, that is most kind of you, ” you say politely. He nods and he stands by your side as you begin to walk. You look ahead and fail to see the red glow around those dark eyes and the especially long tongue which has slid from his mouth and run across the top of all those now sharp, white teeth. He begins to talk as he steers you towards the trees and off the beaten path…..

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31 thoughts on “Stay On the Path”

  1. Its excellent!!!! You can be what you want. narcissist, sociopath, psychopath disordered whatever, nobody knows certainly, not even the health professionals… What you really are is a great ecrivain ☀️.

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  2. Great article HG, I think I go to that forest on a regular basis. I see him, the one you speak about and how the girls are taken in by his gaze. I want to pull them back but he’s stronger than I.

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  3. Your writing is so enlightening and captivating. I’ve read quiet a few of your books and from the first book I wanted to talk to you and let you know I am around if you ever want to talk or need to vent. Your writings touch my soul more than usual and I’m not sure why.

    No matter; I love your writing and think you’re brilliant and a lot less ‘selfish’ than people say. Your books help a lot of people, one being my Grandmother, and that’s very kind of you…it’s very selfLESS of you to share so much. But I thank you.

    I wish I knew how to be more like yourself; if you have any tips feel free to let me know lol. As you have said, you get things done. That’s what I need more of. I love being there for those in need but I have no ability to get things done when it’s only about me. It leaves me feeling stupid as hell because I am not changing it. I’d love to! But I have no idea how. >.>

    Anyway, my mini novel is now over =P I saw your post and felt I had to remind you that you are a great soul and a hell of a lot better of a soul than I think you get credited to be. I hope you’re enjoying your day 🙂 Be well.

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    1. Hello Noctern and thank you for your post, you are up early or perhaps you have not retired to bed yet which given your name is probably the more likely. Thank you for your kind words they are appreciated. I am interested to learn how I have helped your Grandmother. If people find the byproduct of my writing is helpful to them then it is a win-win. Yes, my kind are all about getting things done, that is how we were created and you are different. Perhaps you need to hire one of us to get things done on your behalf or acquire some Lieutenants? Thank you for observations and do keep reading.

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      1. Good morning to you, and I first must say, you are the only person as of yet (probably the last, too) to use my name in a sentence as opposed to making an inquiry of it’s meaning. Thank you lol it’s refreshing and yes indeed, true to my name, I rarely am asleep before the sun comes up. I rarely sleep, to be honest, as there’s not enough time to use daily. Sorry, enough on my lack of sleeping patterns lol. I like that idea a lot; I could use with quiet a few Lieutenants, I believe that with all my heart. Perhaps I could even learn how to operate my brain more effectively! >.< I hate being able to feel so deeply; not just my own, even, but others! I'd rewire my brain in a second if offered.
        But anyhow! =)
        Yes, you have helped my Grandmother. Here is a short summary of what she has and what you did, if you are interested.
        She has been married to a severely abusive man for 50+ years. He uses a lot of the same 'tactics' as you…however before I continue I feel really bad leaving it at that so let me go ahead and say, you are far better of a soul than he is. You, for example, have times when you are kind to whom you are with. I could go on but for the sake of not putting you to sleep I'll finish this with…Above all else, you are a far better soul than he as I assume you also have never attempted to murder or rape anyone. He is a horribly sick person, but only to her. He has been diagnosed as a "psychopath" and as I'm sure you know they tend to have a lot of "narcissistic" traits. So while he shares a lot of things with you, please know I am not trying to say you are like him; instead, he simply uses a lot of your methods to punish her with. He has, however, *never* been kind to her once they were married.
        He has kept her in a complete state of confusion with his mind games, manipulation, cheating, lying, denial, silent treatment, breakdown of her confidence, etc. You can catch him on camera doing something as stupid as trying to not get caught doing something like.. uh, say eating a hamburger. But the moment you mention it, just such as, "I saw you've already ate, do you still want to go out for dinner?" he will deny "eating the burger" even as you replay the video of him doing it! I finally gave up on caring, but my Grandmother still does, and she lets that type of behavior drive her into tears and down into his sick little cave.
        He still does that kind of stuff but as for going out and being with other women or whatever he was doing, he now is older and cannot go out like he used to; all he has is her.
        After he tried to kill her, I moved back to America (I've been living in England with my husband) trying to get her to open her eyes and get out. Something I've been trying to do since I was a kid, only to fail as we see. He's on probation for the attempt (he charmed his felony offenses down to misdemeanors, somehow) but he still not only is verbal and emotional, but physical, too. She even provokes him at times; she still does! But not like before; after she finally started reading your book and writings I send her she has been trying (and sometimes succeeding) to not let him win in his mind games or attacks. Your writings are so helpful because you are straightforward and say it how it is. He loves to upset her, to see her cry and scream; I can see it on his face. Until she read your words, however, she didn't understand what I meant. She's started trying to remember what he is doing, and what she's read in your works, she says. Living here I see a positive change; I just wish she would listen to your words and not respond to his attacks and mental games at all…But I know it's not as simple as that.
        When I was reading "Confessions of a Narcissist" I couldn't put it down because it was as though I were reading so many of the mind games he plays. I bought her the book and because of your writings, especially the book mentioned, she is starting to learn that he does know what he is doing (something I've been trying to tell her since I can recall) and he can control how he behaves.
        I can't recall which book it is in, but in one of the confession books there is a chapter where you speak on the woman "waving the paper in your face" you will deny it and so forth. That is a scene from their every day life. I have told her just to ignore him, do him as he does her, but instead she goes the other way and loses it. He responds just as you predict.
        When she finished reading the book I got for her she told me she was going to try and make an effort not to get upset when he gives her the silent treatment, not to, basically, "fan the flames". Though it hasn't totally worked, she does at least try and at times is successful. She also has been seeing a doctor and lawyer after reading that book; it's been as though you lifted a veil from her eyes and for that I can't thank you enough.
        I know I wrote you a novel and if you're still reading, I thank you. Just think, this is the short version =| Apologies for the length!!! Have a great morning/day, and thank you again for sharing your knowledge; you've given something priceless to this world.

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      2. Good morning and thanks for putting the flesh on the bones with your grandmother’s situation. It is very much the case that through reading people gain understanding of what has happened and until they understand they cannot do anything to help themselves. This if of course how we design it to be, but the accumulation of knowledge, from the correct source, can indeed be empowering and is the only real route to understanding and resolution. Do you know what your grandmother intends to do?

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      3. Yes indeed and you have given her that, which is something I’m beyond thankful for… I wish I could say to you that I do know, but I don’t. I know what she says she is going to do, but she has made claims like this before to me. She was leaving him to live with her sister but fate is sick and her sister passed away from cancer a few months past.
        She still says she is going to leave him but hasn’t…the reason for that is me.
        Apologies in advance for my long, boring explanations =S …
        Before I moved to England I sold my apartment in NYC…and I also ended up losing my business. I am working my way back up regarding money but I couldn’t afford to pay for a place here again yet, that’s true.
        She says she stays because she doesn’t want me to ever get “stuck in England” as she believes my husband is abusive and using similar mind games on me. I don’t know about that; I do know he hurts my feelings a lot, but I also know I am have Borderline PD- I don’t know if it’s just me overreacting emotionally or if she’s right or if I just am the latest scapegoat, but that’s her current reason for staying.
        He has stolen all her money and used all her credit cards to their max. That is the other reason, which I understand, but I’ve given her access to fiscal help. She claims that she is afraid to try because “I may need a place to stay”. Just to get this out there, she is actually very sane and has not lost her intellect or wits lol, she may be older but she is very much ‘sharp’. She is very afraid and I think she’s just using these things as excuses; she won’t even call his probation officer on him when he has physically attacked or attempted to ‘do’ things to her.
        Wow now that I’ve typed all that out I question my sanity for having hope that she will leave…but I don’t see one reason she stays?!
        My hope is this time she is going to keep her appointments with the lawyer and doctor (a former excuse for a reason of staying she has used is, she needs him to admit what he did -such as cheat on her in front of him- or break her bones or etc- and he, of course, denies he did any of it. I’ve told her he would never give her the closure she seeks, why would he!? >.< But, thankfully, again, after reading your works she agreed. She wants to see a doctor to explain to her the "why" and the "how to cope with not knowing".
        I hope she actually does, and then continue forward to moving out and starting a new life. I've told her I'd stay and help her get on her feet.
        Sometimes I think I am doing her more harm than good. ?
        But! this is the first time she's gone this far, perhaps she will continue to see it through now as she continues to grow in understanding of what he is doing and knowledge that he is not going to 'change', that he can control it, etc I hope she will actually go through it. I've tried to get her to join me in the UK but she won't go. To tell you the truth, I'm a bit confused about her true intent; may I ask you what you think? For now I am not sure I know what to think about what she says she is doing… Maybe that alone answers it? *spins off*
        (Ahem, I'm sorry for the length once more. I give flesh to any topic you'll see lol) =]

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  4. HG no kidding this is one of your best. You convey something the many dark man fables do not…the sensual innocent desire, curiosity and pleasure over the “forbidden fruit” that girls/women experience. Fruit meant for another. Dark man in the woods. You do it in a most non-judgmental way and with clarity. Yet eyes of the predator hold no judgment during the hunt do they?
    Thank you so much.

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    1. Hello Cat, thank you that is appreciated. I like the line “The eyes of the predator hold no judgement during the hunt do they?” Very apt. I may use that for a further article.

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  5. Very good! The truer version of Little Red Riding Hood, I always knew it was a warning about the human predators in the world. 😉

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    1. Indeed it is. Little Red Riding Hood is really about a girl’s transition to woman hood and how the world of men is waiting for her, the red being symbolic of her acquired fertility.

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    1. Goodness me, perhaps I should jump on the erotic fiction bandwagon and write about about billionaires, gormless waifs and inner goddesses every other page. Or maybe not. I am pleased you found it er, stimulating.

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      1. You are the master storyteller HG. Your ️Rich verbosity combined with your uncanny insight into the psyche of the female mind does lend itself to one hanging onto your every word. SMH

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  6. Joy and sorrow are inseparable… Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

    Kahlil Gibran (1883 – 1931)

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  7. it is sad to read your story Noctem Aeternam . An elderly person still being abused emotionally and physically becuase I suppose your grandma must be in her 70s or 80s .
    can I allow myself HG to recommed that besides or even instead of your books your grandma should read about self steem and the purpose and sense of relationships and maybe answer questions on why she stays still with a man that takes the worse out of her, that treats her like the worst and that neither seem to be willing to put a foot outside of the chamber of torture.
    The only purpose and sense of a relatioship is to be with somebody who takes the best side of you and that encourages to give the best out of yourself.
    Much luck with your grandmother.

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      1. Okay okay alongside but I thought since its an elderly person for example revenge is not applicable in this case.
        But yes alongside Fuel and Fury for example.
        I wonder if 80 year old men hoover.

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  8. Well you seem to be way much younger than me fortunately for you but unfortunately for me because in 60 years Most probable I will not be here anymore but we can communicate spiritually and you can tell me.
    Another optiom is that I remain in a narcissistic relationship for the next 40 years… I prefer option 1.
    thanks HG 😃😃 we have made a deal.

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