You held my hand as I walked ahead of you. You trudged along. The dried leaves, tangled mass of branches, scattered everywhere. The leaves crunched beneath my feet reminding me just how much I love autumn. Sunlight crept in through the dense mass of leaves and branches overhead. I looked up, above me, loving the feel of the not-so-harsh rays of sun falling on my face, mildly warm and so comforting.
I looked back at you and saw you glancing on your right. Jealous as I get to what’s caught your interest in the woods, I tickled your palm slightly, just so much to have your attention back. You glanced at me, but I could say you were lost in thoughts. We walked on… Your grip loosened again and your fingers slowly slid away falling to your side.
“What if we are lost?” I asked to keep you, from whatever was distracting you. You took your time to answer like you always do. And I waited for several more seconds like I always do. The quietness amplified with every second. You must be lost in thoughts I’d assumed without realizing it was actually me who was lost all this while.
The sound of your footsteps following me had long died, but did I notice that? I’d tugged at a twig, dangling from a branch, almost stumbling. Gaining balance, I’d asked again, a little louder, this time. “Baby, what if we are lost, here, in these woods? What shall we do?” A little play in my voice, to tease you like I always did.
I’d heard a bird cry, in the far distance. It had sent chills down my spine. Was this the first cry that even registered with me or was I just…? I’d taken a turn about the tree, next to me. Holding on to its bark, dead, scathing. A twig pricked my finger and it immediately started to bleed. Putting it to my mouth, I came around the tree. The prick hadn’t hurt till then, but the pain came down on me as an avalanche just the next minute.
Blood drained out of my skin and eyes couldn’t see clearer anymore. You weren’t there. Just vanished into thin air.
Where were you?
© Asha Seth