“So,” he said, his voice just as quiet and wonderfully husky. “Didn’t your grandmother warn you not to walk off the path in a dark woods?”
My costume stretched tight across my ribs, the red sequins winking slightly under the pale starlight, the only light there was now. I smoothed the red velvet cape that draped around my shoulders and lifted the red hood up to cover my head, giving a mischievous smile. The night was crisp, but I was suddenly burning.
“Why? Do you think a big bad wolf will come to get me?” I replied, and bit my lip. I tried not to think about how his hands would feel on my skin.
He laughed again and said, “Come on,” motioning with his head towards the woods.
The trees stood like dark skeletons with long, grasping claws, threatening to reach over and pluck someone from the ground. My hand reached out, fingers splayed, to touch the deep shadow in front of me that blanketed the trees and him. I drew back with a small gasp, startled by how cold it had been, how solid it seemed, and stepped backwards into the lantern light. Warm air enveloped me, and the sound of the pounding music beat at my back.
He looked at me, and before I could discern the look on his face—irritation?—he locked eyes with me once more, and the pounding music and heat fell away again, and there was only his frozen onyx eyes and the shadowed woods. I did not hesitate in following him this time.
We walked in silence for a while, his white limbs bobbing ahead of me. I looked down at my feet, trying not to trip over twisted roots and grasping shadows. When I looked up, we had come to a small clearing, barely lit by the stars. The grass was tall and covered in black pearls of gelid dew that soaked through my tights and the edge of my skirt and numbed my legs yet still, my body burned almost feverishly. I was being frozen and scorched at the same time.