39. Going Out on a Limb

With the sunlight on it’s way down, and direction sense becoming a little harder to come by, Rosella decided it was time,
to climb one of the scary trees and see if she could spot the direction of the cave above the tree line.  Luckily the trees
were so crooked and gnarly, that were relatively easy to climb, even in a beautiful gown and heels!  While she grunted
and groaned her way up (easy or not, she wasn’t accustomed to such a work out) she could have sworn she heard a
few groans of its own coming from the tree.  She quickly disregarded the foolish thought as a trick of the wind blowing
through the branches.  A silly thought that accompanied the fact that the trees seemingly had evil faces and eyes, so
why couldn’t they talk and groan too, right?  After all, a petulant young girl was clamoring all over them.

A chuckle from her winded red cheeks decidedly put an end to that foolish line of thinking.  Living trees?  As if!  After
catching a few fresh breaths in her little lungs, Rosella worked her way higher up the tree until she came to a lone
branch that curved up.  Judging from the looks of it, she would be able to see over the tops of the forest, if she could
reach the end of the branch.  Looking down at her heels, she realized that would lead to an early grave, so she
balanced herself against the trunk of the tree, while slipping them off and dropping them down to the ground below
where she would pick them up later.  Curiously, the shoes never made it to the ground.  The branches of the tree
seemed to “catch” them on their way down.  “Odd,” mused Rosella to herself out loud.  “Oh well, I’ll just shake them free
on my way down I guess,” she decided.

Hoping her grace, as a princess would come through for her here, Rosella began walking one foot in front of the other,
arms out to the side, along the branch.  Teetering only slightly, the princess was proud of herself as she made her way
up the angled branch toward the roof of the forest.  The top of her blonde head, her big blue eyes, and half of her nose
breached the canopy of the woods when she let out a gasp “It’s the-!”  But she never finished her exclamation.  Either
due to her excitement or some more sinister force, Rosella’s balance was lost as she swung her arms in circles
desperately trying to reclaim it.  She slipped off the high branch and tumbled down toward the ground and what would
be an almost certain doom when she was caught in the lower branches, just like her shoes.  Only this time, the branches
were definitely curling, twisting, and groaning.  The face on the tree was also far less illusionary, but no less wicked!  
The branches twisted around the princess entangling her with an unmatched might.

Perhaps this tree is not very forgiving of petulant princesses that clamor about its branches for their own means thought
Rosella to herself as she felt the branches constrict around her slender body.  Her skinny little bones couldn’t hold up
for long.  Moments later, Rosella was nothing more than a broken rag doll, hanging out with the trees.  Next time, drink
more milk!

-The End

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