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I wasn't Allowed in the Woods

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EMA Govind It hadn’t occurred to me that I wasn’t actually allowed in the woods. No one had mentioned it. You would have thought that they would. Failure to comply with the laws of The Estate resulted in the disappearance of many people - some call it death; some exile; some speculated that they ended up back in the Tower with The Mistress. Either way, they are never seen or heard of ever again. I had heard this facts as I travelled the streets of The Estate; snippets of conversation as I waft past. As a non-entity, no one actually speaks to me directly, preferring to look the other way. That is how I came to be here, in the woods; reclining in a nest of leaves, surrounded by the treasures I have spent the morning collecting. My stick lays by my side, a mud stopper at the end defining its last usage. I hum quietly to myself as I watch the red and gold fingers flex above me, letting the warmth of the sun rest upon my face. I reach out and touch my hoard, my fingers finding a rough mass. Rasping the mud away with my thumb, a silver shard is revealed. I lift it to the light where it glistens and reflects, speaking back to the sun. ‘And what’ll you do, if I cast you into the furnace?’ I ask, rotating it slowly. A twig snaps, and I drop the rock back to the pile, lifting myself to a sitting position. The wind moves the branches to one side and for a moment, I am sightless. An outline is definitely making its way towards me through the haze. As they near, I can make
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