key to the willows pt XII

the wildlife froze
as if becoming statues
around her
she clutched her bear
close to her chest
the shaking stopped
the dust settled
but the air
had a taste of wrong
to it

at once the world
erupted
into motion
starting
with every bird
in the forest
taking to the sky
at once
in a cloud of wings
that blocked the sun

a cold metallic taste
floated heavy
on the breeze
as the animals
searched
for whatever hiding spot
they could find
in the dense thickets
burrowing
into the soft earth itself

she found herself
backing farther
into the swaying branches
of the willow
a shadow
in the shadows
of the tree
until she felt her back
bump into
the trunk itself

darkness approaches
from across the valley
one whispered
only in the light of noon
so as to not
invoke
the great evil
of the witch
for to say her name
brought her gaze on the unwary

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