Step by step, the path slowly flows beneath your feet, the rock and shell crunching softly with each footfall.
Slowly passing through the deep, shadowy corridor of ancient Live Oaks, sheltered from the sun, you gaze upwards at the huge, gnarled branches of the trees, twisted arms that reach out, searching for something, questing in the stillness for unknown things. For the time being, you are safe from their dark intents, they are after different prey on this day.
Pungent scents of wet wood, dying leaves, and creek water fill the air thickly, tickling the back of your throat and leaving an aftertaste that isn’t totally unpleasant, just a bit off kilter causing you to swallow more often in an attempt to wash it away.
Brushing at your upper arm, the feel of moist air flows past you in a humid wash that leaves a slightly cool, misty feel to your skin. Your footsteps move in cadence with the sound of frogs, crickets, and tropical birds that dimly echo throughout the shadows, and still you move on, hypnotized by the verdant path.
A distant fork in the greenery at the end of the path serves as a taunting lure, a seemingly moving target.
Then, in an instant, as if the fork in the path beat you to the meeting place, you stumble over a grasping tree root, and fall in an ungraceful heap onto the ground at the center of the fork.
Hissing sharply at the burning scrapes that demand attention on your knees and palms, you brush at the tiny bits of sand and rock which have embedded themselves deeply into your tender flesh, that yes, can feel pain even in a dream.
Aggravated at yourself, for not paying attention to the path and what your feet were supposed to be doing upon it, you scoot back until you are up against a huge rock that protects you from any other unforeseen attacks.
Nursing your palms, a choice is before you, should you go left or should you go right?
Studying the forked path, the forest stills around you, awaiting your decision. The path to the left is darker, more malignant and feels as if it is repelling your attention. The path to the right continues on, in a manner that you have already experienced on this dream path, endlessly dwindling away to an invisible point, many forevers away.
Suddenly, the thick peacefulness of the forest is broken, a huge stag leaps over the path to the left, looking back at you with a shockingly human gaze as it breaks the forest’s edge to head up the haunted path.
Then, startled, the stag stumbles, a harsh cry breaks forth from beneath the ground, as filthy hands reach up out of a rotten, hollow stump, grasping for the stag’s unprotected belly. It bolts away into the darkness as you stare incredulously at its vanishing form.
Furious howls erupt from the earth as the hands disappear from view, sinking back into the bowels of the earth. Deeper thuds resound from the depths of the hole and move away as the villain escapes.
A shudder ripples down your back, you feel the dark stain of the Hunter, yet you still do not realize who he is, you just remember him from previous dark dreams as the one that chases you, with your destruction as his goal.
As the sounds of his retreat fades, your gaze returns to the dark path, tangled brush littering the path is the only memory of the stag’s flight.
Chewing the inside of your lip softly, you wince, the metallic taste of blood fills your mouth. The lure of the stag’s human gaze mesmerizes you, and without realizing it, you are softly treading down the dark path in search of the beast.
Turning, and spitting the blood into the brush, you pause considering your options. Then, determinedly, you step forward, the pain from your scrapes forgotten, along with the fear of the Hunter. For like the Live Oaks that line the path, you too are searching for something in your dreams.
This image was a hard one. It demanded simplicity, but needed the effects of good and evil and the mesmerized girl as its audience. I have been working on this image for several months, having to stop and step away from it many times as the final image eluded me.
It is the product of approximately 8 images that I have photographed in Florida, and Colorado, and in my own studio (the model) resulting in the final composite. At one point it had three paths, but it was really getting wonky, and I realized I had to trim it down- which is like giving away your own children, you don’t want to let something you created go. I am including a closeup of the stag. To see all of my blog images at high resolution please visit my website- http://www.fierytailimagery.smugmug.com
I hope that you are well, and rested, and that your forays into the dreamworld have been peaceful and productive, if not exciting! Until next time,