Even in the filtered darkness of the forest I could easily spot the iridescent, lavender figure of my mysterious guide ahead. I had no way of telling how long we had been running; the light never changed here. She was fast, much faster than me, and seemed oblivious to my suffering as I struggled to keep up. Finally I could go no further. With my remaining breath I begged her to stop running and collapsed on the ground.
I laid there facedown for who knows how long, gasping for breath and ultimately choking on dirt. Looking up from my humiliating position I saw that my guide had stopped as I had asked, and was eyeing me impassively. I would almost rather she had laughed condescendingly, or given me an annoyed glance. Then at least I would know what she was thinking.
Pushing myself up off the ground and dusting myself off, I sat by the tree next to her.
“I’m not in the best shape of my life, I guess.” I sighed, glancing at her to see if she caught the joke.
“You are not alive.” She declared flatly.
“I know, I was trying to be… never mind.” I sighed and leaned back against the tree. It was hopeless trying to get a reaction out of her. I let my eyes wonder the trees around me, absentmindedly looking for anything that screamed “Underworld” about this forest. Normal trees, normal ground, normal old dirt path… Everything seemed natural. Until a dead-eyed woman dressed in rags shambled by. My lavender-clad guide, following my look, explained.