The path stretches on and on, never seeming to end.
All in sight are trees and remnants of ruin in a present I no longer recognize.
Piles of bricks and splintered lumber lay about, all that remains of what was thought to be before.
Metal twisted in shapes not conceived by man, no hope to mend.
How did I get here? Where do I go on now? There is nothing left for me here.
Woodlands too dense to traverse, now overgrown.
Leaving battered and faded road; the only option left except the unknown.
Out in the open on my travels, but no longer remember what I once sought.
My spine shakes at the thought of being seen, but I continue to see no one.
It is only me here in this place, but I feel the invisible eyes bore at me from afar, judging.
I know not where to go and not what to do, for it is only me.
Noises linger through the night, pitter and pattering, cackle and surly all around the forest floor.
The sources I do not see, but I know they are there.
I am scared to leave my light on at night, it may attract them.
However, the thought of walking blind with no guide scares me evermore.
I must stay on the road, the road is safe, the road is clear.
Though I feel if I did move off the path and venture out into the unknown,
I could find what I have once sought, or even more what I need, but knew not that I needed it.
A single step off the path and I make myself vulnerable, to anything that lingers, waiting.
A mere few feet on and out of the beaten road, out of nowhere I saw someone.
Oh, hello fellow traveler, they told me, have you moved beyond your straight road as well?
Christopher Girardi is an emerging writer and an undergraduate student in the BA English program at California University of Pennsylvania. He is currently living on campus. He is a reporter for the campus’ newspaper The CalTimes and acting Secretary of the Creative Writing club. Some of his other work has been published in the online 2020 edition of his campus’ magazine, 'The Inkwell' and Poet’s Choice 'A Fleeting Visitor.'