Narrated by Annie Neugebauer
I remember when we looked up from our hopelessness,
blinded by the most, pure, saturated light
refracted in our eyes—
brilliantly striped in all the colors we’d lost.
The green is perfect, I’d whispered, and you nodded,
but your eyes were dyed indigo, just as flawless,
and we didn’t have to speak to know
we’d follow. The passages we found were dark, mysterious, and winding,
and the woods closed in on us as we sought
a truth we would never find—
but unattainable. We were lost, more fully
than Hansel and Gretel, in the perpetual shade
of these misleading forests. Only the occasional flash of that
apricot band through the trees
kept us searching. It grew colder; we were scared and those pigmented hues
had faded for you. It’s so dark, you sighed,
as you lay down on the ground in the
But it wasn’t dark, for me—not yet, not fully. I saw ruby dust
filtering through the dying leaves, so I trudged on,
leaving you among the narrowing paths with too many choices. I
find myself wondering if you’re alive as I push into
ominous branches that block my way. All I want is the color, but I’ve run out of passages.
All I wanted was the light—the beautiful, promising luminosity...
Crimson, I saw crimson, I tell myself, but
I’m alone now,
and all I see is black.
BIO: Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) is a novelist, short story author, and award-winning poet. She has work appearing or forthcoming in over fifty venues, including Black Static, Fireside, DarkFuse, and Buzzy Mag. She’s an active member of the Horror Writers Association, the webmaster for the Poetry Society of Texas, and a columnist for Writer Unboxed. She lives in Texas with her sweet husband and two diabolical cats. You can visit her at www.AnnieNeugebauer.com for blogs, creative works, free organizational tools for writers, and more.