When the mists parted, she found herself in a wooded clearing, the tannin musk of saturated wood and rotting leaves overpowering her senses.
So this was it. The end of 2016.
Wiping her nose on a cuff, she wore the weather. It fitted her mood.
She should keep going. What could go wrong if she just kept plodding along the well trodden route?
The anticipation was building, but she didn’t want to fall into that trap again. Reminding herself: It was just another year, another pin on the map. She’d been to thirty seven before it. No biggie.
Spinning, she saw that there were four pathways out of the clearing. Were these here last year?
So now a choice was to be made.
The first path was a corridor covered in brown pine needles and wood chip. It looked soft and spongy underfoot.
The second exit was dark, a steep incline full of knarled trunks and mouse bones. Ravens guarded the gateway.
The third was the mapped escape. The gravely forestry commission path, tended neat; accessible and reliable. A red arrow pointing her on her way.
The final path. Well it wasn’t really a path at all. A fox trail into lush undergrowth.
No matter which path; shit would come.
Survival is luck; attitude, everything.