My family used to have a summer home. By a lake with small islands surrounded by trees on all sides. Days would pass reading books, whatever was in the bookcases. 1970s children's magazines and sesame street in a suitcase, scattered by the season's end. Wading in the lake, leeches squirming to pierce your flesh, hungry for the crimson pulsing beneath your skin. Summer mornings, wandering. The woods always beckoned as they to to any one to a small moon-faced child. An excited tickling within your ribs.

The thickets, vast easy to lose your way as one would expect. So tempting to keep walking, to trip over the fingers of trees digging the dirt, taking the strength of the dirt swelling with worms. Roots go far back to ancient times. Rough surface unhuggable even to grown arms.

I found a shed in the forest.

The squeak of doors unopened, at least the age of mother's magazines. Two chairs in the dim light. Dull with age and moss, taken back from society. Large door towering tall. Tetanus metal that looks punched through. The squish beneath the sandals, wet and taken by domed hats of untouchable life. Air stagnant, smelling of rusty nails and fungi.

From school, reading from spirits. Tall creatures living in the woods. Long and thin and too many limbs looking for food. Licking their lips at your ankles like the leeches. Behind the door.

Sick games in a fungal shed of infection and hunger. The chairs were to be ignored. The walls spoke of misfortune, resting on the spots of the damned.

I leave.

A game I refuse to play. The sickening sound of the floor behind me. At my back. The wail of the vault, i don't turn around. I walk among the bones of the forest, not turning my head. Questions asked, purposefully unanswered. Mother calls. Steps unbroken, light breaks the dead leaves the scent of death lifts form the air. Parents and parents call me, asking. Nothing. Looking to the trees.

It scuttles to the mud.

1997