Purple flowers come out of the green on either side of the dusty, narrow path. I stop, heaving a sigh, wiping sweat from my forehead, only to feel granules of dirt smear across my skin. They leave a stinging sensation—dirt, sweat, and a peeling sunburn.

I close my eyes against the heat, and breathe in the comforting coolness of the trees. There are bees buzzing, and rustling of birds or mice in the bushes. I am not alone. I open my eyes to the purple flowers.

“Hello,” I say.

“Hi Katarina,” they sing back.

They dance with the breeze, and the power of pine trees and mountains looms behind them—powerful protectors.

“They’re here to protect me too?”

The flowers sway back and forth—“Of course, of course, of course…”

I nod, and drag my feet onwards. I brush the flowers with my dirty palm as I pass, thanking them.

“Of course, of course, of course,” I whisper to the flies in my ears.


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