We had somewhat expected the fog to clear, but it did not. We waded through the Forest like amongst watery shallows, it rising until we submerged to the half. Everything was adorned with frost, the roots tripping us and sending terror lurching to our hearts like some lethal injection. I remember the moon like an embroidered pearl, hidden by dark leaves that moved like dancers.
Many times, I thought that when the wind would blow, I would turn and find the great Amaymon hunched over me, her poisonous breath turning my insides to gore. It was then that I had noticed that the trees were enclosing us, and inside me I knew that I was not mad, but Thomas would not believe me. They had been a procession along the path we had followed, and I'd seen one step out of line, a sentinel breaking rank.
I'd pleaded his name, "Thomas. Thomas?" I had said.
"It be nuthin. Yur talkin' daft. The clachan is right ova -," he had turned, and even then he couldn't deny, for the trees blocked the path we had traversed, their roots erasing the evidence of it at all. I had then seem something white in the darkness as our lamps seemed to dim. I approached it, something shining from the trunk of a tree against the undergrowth of leaves and fungi. When I drew closer to it, I knew it was a crucifix, gleaming silver untouched by age, patterns carved with ritualistic precision that spelt protection and prosperity. My finger had brushed it, and pulling, I struggled. It was only with all my strength on it that the chain brought forth the neck; the body. It had risen as if from the earth, coming upon me with white, doe-like eyes and dark hair tangled like hemp. Thomas had seen it, and I remember the sound of his screams, his cries and his retches, doubled over behind me as the word escaped his lips.
That was his daughter, her name, her body.
"My bairn..." he had wept, though I knew he was furious, and I suppose it was in that moment that I should have realised that I would never leave that place.