As I hiked through the rocky hills, I came to a humble narrowing. This was a place of vulnerability, but I knew that going backward wasn’t a viable option, at least in terms of self preservation. On either side of the path, monstrous jagged trees pierced into the sky for what seemed like miles. I had no intentions of traveling into the wild, even though the thick scent of blood lingered ahead in the pass. These were the wandering woods, impossible to navigate and with beasts twice as savage as the most hideous of men. I would have been lost and devoured in less than a minute out there, in the tangled brush of infinite possibilities. At least I knew what manner of thing lay in wait in the upcoming crevasse, terrifying as it may be.
I continued cautiously, taking note of the various the places from which an ambush could be staged. In the darkness waited a stalker of flesh, watching my motions and carefully weighing the odds of my struggle. I made a desperate attempt to disguise my flaws, hoping to avoid conflict outright. Somehow, I knew my ruse was being met with some sarcasm from somewhere just out of sight.
I remember noticing the movement behind my head and over my left shoulder. I turned too slowly and was knocked to the ground in an instant. My assailant was exactly what I had expected, and yet somehow I found myself in a chaotic turn of events. I was pinned by a wild widow. These vaguely arachnoid hunters are feared and revered for their insatiable appetite and preternatural senses, and few victims tell of their encounters. I cursed my hesitation, for it had doomed me to gaze upon a nightmare.
The widow is a putrid fusion of spider, bird, and human kind. It stands just smaller than a man, but with a wide span of powerful legs. It has a hominid torso, but no upper appendages. There is some speculation as to whether the beasts simply have not yet developed common human arms, or if they in fact lost them to natural selection. Their head is that of a great bird, and it is said that it sings in pulsing tones which draw out unsuspecting prey through eager bliss. I had heard no such singing, so I wondered now how much was really known of the creatures.
My struggle led us to the cold stone wall of the passage. Where did it all go wrong? I thought to myself, attempting to block out this overwhelming stimulus. I knew that if I could reach the end of the narrowing, I could overcome these dreadful odds. With that goal as my sole thought I fought for freedom, and made it to the very edge where the path opened up yet again. The widow released me from its grasp, shrieking and staggering back toward its sacred grounds. I had been victorious, but the encounter had not left me unscarred. Events of this caliber never leave you without some lasting effects, but I am not sure that is a negative fact. I would transcend such a place again, if needed.