Don’t Stray From 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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23 thoughts on “Don’t Stray From the Path”

  1. If only all narcissists would wear emerald green suits, it would make it so much easier for us! Alas, no one told Red to ask him about his favorite toy as a kid or which parent he liked best! At least we know he doesn’t kill her. Just wastes years of her life, and then after devaluing and releasing her, hoovers and pesters her whenever she goes along that path to see grandmother again.

  2. HG, are you familiar with Into the Woods? You could get cast as the Wolf without an audition. The character was super-sexualized, as was the dialogue between him and Little Red. I remember seeing the movie with Johnny Depp and even though they supposedly tried to tone down the sexual part because Red was played by an actual minor, unlike in (non high school) stage versions, JD did not seem to hold back. Still it was a little creepy to watch sexualized banter between him and a teenage girl! Probably only a few years younger than his new wife… 😉

    1. Hello Cody, no, I have not seen that film, I shall have to look into it as it has piqued my interest. Of course the tale of Red Riding Hood is all about sex, the progression from girl to woman and her awakening sexual awareness which of course can happen anywhere between ten and fourteen, hence the direction the film took and also why, for reasons of mortality rates, girls entered into marriage at such a young age notably with older, titled men, in the middle ages, for the purposes of ensuring she was fertile and had a good period of fertility to preserve the male blood line.

  3. HG, this is a perfect analogy, I hope you read it on the You Tube channel (just found it and I’m hugely relieved now to know you’re not Nigel Farage. 🙂 )

  4. Quite the evocative tale, HG…highly sensual and imagery laden.
    I suppose some do seek out such, obvious in their attempts to ensnare and capture the attention of such predators. Then Some are unaware that such types leer and lurk and seek to target the innocent who trust and give of themselves freely. In the first scenario, it is more predator vs Predator posing as prey, In the second predator and prey.

    The veering from the path by enticement is always an alluring call of the wild. Once we have strayed, the path is no longer recognizable. It may transform from wildflowers to thorns and brambles before our eyes. Catching and Holding us and making escape all the more painful.
    Yes, prey is so recognizable in their unaware innocence and the predator often so not recognizable when dressed up as complimentary, thoughtful, attractive and engaging. The hand is given willingly and down the path we shall happily travail….

    This was gorgeous piece of writing HG. So unlike your other writings. May I ask what prompted such a change in story direction? It is a wonderful cautionary tale and fresh take on a classic fairy tale.

    1. Thank you but are you suggesting my other writings are not gorgeous? I expect that to not be the case. There was nothing behind the change in direction. I wrote it some time ago and this was its second airing. The fairy tale to which it relates in apt for making the point, with the suitable gloss and veneer that comes with our kind. Fancy a stroll in the woods? NQN and B&T are already in there.

      1. I knew you would think that I immediately regretted my choice of words.what do you think, really? Of course I think all your writing are beyond glorious. It is just this one had a differnt feel to it for me, I can’t explain it. Why I wanted you to do so for me.
        Okay you must have written during my absense from blog, as I do not recall it.
        I do fancy a stroll In the woods, if I can remain there and not come out. If the scenery remains as it did when I entered. If I become lost or disoriented in direction I am returned to safety. Can you promise me such..
        I am sure there are plenty more roaming the metaphorically woods you speak of.
        This song just ran through my mind…
        On a hot summer night
        Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
        Will he offer me his mouth?
        Yes
        Will he offer me his teeth?
        Yes
        Will he offer me his jaws?
        Yes
        Will he offer me his hunger?
        Yes
        Again, will he offer me his hunger?
        Yes!
        And will he starve without me?
        Yes!

  5. Oh my what a tale HG!!!!! I think you can imagine how I feel about it.

    I would never stray from the path and would place my delicate little hand in yours knowing you’ll always make sure I stay on your straight and narrow.

    Shivers….tingles….you have made my day.

  6. Such a brilliant piece HG !! This describes exactly what it’s like for girls entering a mans world. I think I grew up in the forest so it was always a bit murky but you articulate this so well that I can fully relate to it.

    It makes me want to go out and save them all. But they don’t want to be saved. And from your tantilising writing I can completely understand why.

    Even I feel excited and wanting just reading this piece and I bloody know hahah

  7. This describes my whole life! However, church and church people have proven to be a thick dense forest. So even when I thought to be on the straight and narrow, found out the hard way about the wolves in sheeps clothing! Married one and stayed for 20 years of Hell on earth! Had another one posing in the wings as my friend and protective “brother” for 11 years.. Strayed off the path for him after the divorce and now I am sick and alone. Took 17 years to find a safe church. Now he is sitting in it every week. I watch it on-line now.

    1. Hi Heather, i have a friend who was coerced by her church group into carrying and keeping a baby conceived by rape. It was a very dark time for her and the church did not help, not even the Pastor. It only sat in judgement and authority. She left and is happier. I just wanted to say, these groups do seem to be full of manipulative, controlling types, the sorts who will happily tell others what to do AND what to feel! You’d find more sincere and helpful support in a slimming group or a hobby club than the church in my view.

    2. Thank you. It took 17 years to find one that the Word is being preached unadultered in the Spirit in which it is intended. I NEVER leave my church feeling worthless, ashamed or conned now! However, I lay low now. It’s a BIG place filled with individuals.. I’m too sick to volunteer or get involved. NOW my latest Ex Narc is sitting in.. I watch church on-line now.. I believe that God IS NOT people! He is HIS OWN PERFECT SELF! I don’t blame Him for anything..

  8. This one is one of my favorite one. Its an amazing story to show the beginning of the dance. Your magnificent skills on 500 %. All of your posts are excellent but this one is specially of my favorites. 😍❤️
    Now the second time I read it, it comes to my mind that i think people dont know they are straying, or dont know the safe path, or dont see it when they become a target. It takes alot of hours spent in blogs and books like yours to get to know the path. And the most important ! Dont talk to strangers in foreign paths.

  9. Wow! My ex narc always compares himself to a wolf. wolves prey on sickly, wounded, or weaker animals. But occasionally the prey that appeared weak gets away and survives although wounded and scarred

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