A narrow path lead her down the side of a forested mountain, the filtered light from a high sun falling like speckles through the canopy of leaves. She minded her footing as she descended along the sloping trail, the enveloping silence interrupted only by the crackle of discarded pine needles beneath her feet, the air perfumed with the crisp sweetness which could only belong to an autumnal afternoon.
Her thoughts had softened until they became almost altogether absent, her mind absorbed into the tranquility surrounding her, a lightness buoying her as she made her way along the meandering path.
From behind a tree emerged a blurriness, an apparition without definition, a haziness with the form of a person. This being was only slightly smaller than her, a slender wisp, and its translucency beckoned her as she neared.
“You must continue,” it said with a whisper. “You must go on, for this is the proper route.”
She felt that this was a vindication, a validation of her ambition, and she nodded thankfully to the thing as she passed it. “I shall do so,” she thought to herself and after having looked over her shoulder to discover that the blurriness had disappeared, she proceeded happily down the mountain.
Before long, another blurriness appeared from behind a tree, the same size as the last, though this one buzzed angrily at the edges, its flickering translucency steeped in darkness.
“In a small amount of time, you must reverse course,” it said viciously. “There is no other option nor condition. When the minute strikes its position within the following hour, you will be expected to ascend this mountain from the way in which you came.”
The merriment drained from her into the forest floor and she felt herself become frightened, her mirth replaced by fear. The trees loomed above her threateningly and the path which had been winding gently now cut back and forth irritably, as if it desired to throw her off of it entirely. Her heartbeat quickened and she clung desperately to her mind as her thoughts distorted, shadows clawing at her from within her head, her skin bristling as hundreds of tiny insects began scurrying over her body.
A third blurriness materialized from behind a tree, the thinness of its form moving like a slow liquid, the embodiment of an echo.
“There is no use,” it said with a voice impossibly distant, as if it could not be found at all. “This will be the place for an abandonment, you simply can not go on. This mold is yours to take, hold it firmly and bring it with you, it is a memory newly minted for you and you alone.”
She felt herself become fractured and from each splinter was born a difference, as if all had become unbound, any discernment lost in a flurry of absurdity. The day had become night and the moon sat in a corner with tears in its eyes, as if it understood what she did not, though forever refusing to offer explanation. She looked back up the path from which she had come and began to climb it, one foot before the other, the distance feeling horribly long.
The atmosphere subsumed her, its thickness stale and stubborn, as if the air was obstinately reluctant to allow her passage as she pushed her way through it. The forest felt loud, though it was only her thoughts vibrating madly against the walls of her mind, the insects having found their way into her, their itchiness scratching through her veins.
There was no longer a path, only her remembrance of it, and she became lost—herself now little more than a blur within a mountain forest, any semblance of perspicuity having been transformed into a mere obscurity as she vanished behind a tree.