emotion#8: Fear

Illustration by the author.

As they entered the woods, the trees formed a dark, impenetrable wall behind them. There was no turning back now.

“Where are we?” — asked the little one, oblivious of the fact that she was chewing the tip of her scarf.

The older one didn’t reply. She was afraid, but she didn’t want to show it — she couldn’t. She saw herself as the mooring rope, the sturdy rock, the mother.

Despite having the sunlight covered by that sudden movement of the trees, they kept on walking. They always held hands: not like kids do at school, palm to palm and fingers to the sides, but like lovers do, with their fingers tangled in each other. The weather was warm and the air was stuffed, but the sweat inside their coats, sticking their shirts to their backs, was ice cold.

With each step, they were more awake. With this growing darkness inside them, the children knew — with that kind of knowledge that only children possess— that the unknown is to be feared. There was something ahead, and yet they couldn’t turn back.