"Shallow Breathing only Leads to Slumber"

Only one place exists that pacifies, intrigues, and terrifies my inner self all at once. Only one. I never plan on going back there, but I find myself rising out of my cozy bed anyway. I am drawn to it, though I can go many days without being drawn. But, on that one day, it was inevitable as to where I was going. Pulling my night chilled clothes on, I headed outside. Walking turned to jogging, jogging to running, until I stood (once again) before the colorful path. A skilled painter could not paint a more perfectly nestled path between tall trees. Their skeletal branches bent over me, as if hailing my weak knees and sheltering me from the outside world.  I deeply inhaled the autumn air, it tasted crisp and chilling. It shamelessly bit through my sweatshirt. I shuddered momentarily. With each step, I could feel the weight of life flow from out my soul and catch with the wind. I inhaled the air once more; I caught a hint of the indistinguishably spicy scent of the fallen leaves. For a moment, a warm feeling of content filled my mind, leaving me breathless and tingly. The long path took me to places I’m sure I’ve never been. Seconds, minutes, hours passed me, flying by so cunningly that I scarcely noticed. My feet shuffled the gold and red leaves. Feigning exhaustion, I sat in front of an old, hollow tree to rest. I tilted my head upward and beheld the radiant sky. The pink and yellow tones overcame the cool shades of blue. I sat in silence.

An empty call of a crow pierced the atmosphere. I wondered what hour it was. Darkness hovered over me in its divine mystery. Deciding to head back home, I slowly rose and struggled to find the path. How could I have lost it so easily? The moonlight shone, its pale rays kissed my skin. I placed my small hands out in front of me. They glowed. An unspeakably cold wind breathed down my neck. I shivered under the sensation. Not quite sure which way to go, I continued to wander in the shadows. The decaying leaves now smelled musty as my senses sharpened. They crunched under my weight, my confused footfalls. I glanced up at the sky.  Eerie, grey clouds crept through the black sky and onto the moon. The beginnings of panic twisted inside of me. I stalked around aimlessly, hopelessly. I heard chirps of crickets crescendo and fall like the sporadic beating of my faint heart. Loneliness, I realized, seems overwhelming at times. Lighting illuminated the sky. Beneath the incandescent light, appeared large trees. They surrounded me. They mocked me. My shaking hand met the rough, yet mossy bark. I felt a slight tickle. I focused my sight on a miniscule, shiny spider on my finger. It scuttled up my hand. Brushing it off quickly, I turned to sprint in the other direction. Instantaneously, a root caught my shoe and I landed hard on the ground.

I felt a cool, wet drop splash on my forehead. Then another. “Did I pass out?” crossed my mind. I wept with the sky, letting the drops mingle with my tears and soak my face. I shakily stood up. The wind harassed the leaves and swirled them around me. Another flash. Then, a low rumble of thunder laid its tones deep within my chest. Terror swallowed my earlier panic. My eyes welled up with warm tears once more. One escaped and trickled down my cold, pale cheek. My hands shook uncontrollably. A twig snapped behind me. I whirled around. My eyesight failed me. Only the blackness existed. The cruel blackness. Paranoia joined my terror, tightly holding my emotions. I caught a glance of movement behind a large tree as the sky lit up again. I proceeded more cautiously this time in the other direction without losing any speed. A soft breathing echoed behind me. I sensed it. I felt it. I stopped cold. My own breathing increased; I thought it a part of my imagination until a gentle touch grazed my lower back. Harder. I spun around. The presence left. I felt insane. Was I? The rain continued to fall, though its mild scent can relax even the most tense, my nerves raged with anticipation. Just waiting for something else to touch me, I drew into myself and sat on the cold, wet ground. After awhile, I accepted the notion that the night owned me. Thoughts of slumber invaded my mind. In daylight, finding my way back home would be easier and less stressful. I tightly clasped my sweatshirt around myself and reluctantly sank to the ground. It squished underneath me giving off its earthy aroma.  The dark silhouettes faded into the back round as the drops of rain ceased. After that only I remained with my shallow breathing.

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