Random Advice for a Stranger About to Walk into the Deep Dark Woods (Alone) Wearing Red


It's best to wear red in autumn when the leaves have already turned. This way you may drift through the woods bold and unseen. Is it autumn, dear stranger?

Good things come to those who wait. Walking isn't waiting. But you started on this path and now you must continue.

Don't count your blessings. You wouldn't want anyone to overhear you.

Keep moving forward. All paths end eventually.

You may be tempted to spin in circles, rippling the air around you. If you do, you'll create a target with you as the bull's eye. Summoning is less tricky than you'd imagine.

Don't stop to smell the flowers. Keep walking. But don't run. Unless, of course, you want to be chased.

What goes down, stays down. There are no squeamish stomachs here. Only greedy, greedy gullets.

Don't worry. Be frightened. Very, very frightened. Pay attention when the birds go silent, when your skin pimples like tiny ghosts on your arms, when the back of your neck crawls as if teeth are fixed upon it.

We are who it eats.

Killing you will only make it stronger. It is these woods. These woods are it.

All isn't well. This is how it ends.

H.L. Fullerton writes fiction—mostly speculative, occasionally about forests—which is sometimes published in places like Lackington's, Devilfish Review, Riddled with Arrows, and Daily Science Fiction