There was a growing sense of menace behind every tree in that maze-like forest. One never knew what might come out to confront one. What had brought the two of them to the middle of what professed itself to be the eastern section of the Sumava deep in Europe seemed less important than the desire to get back into the rental car and drive howe with all due haste. A man shepherding his mother on what had initially promised to be a voyage of discovery of family heritage now taken with a dark foreboding. Strange little effigies of awkward gods of a heathen past continually showing up after being found in one’s baggage and then discarded. The narrow roads cloistered on either side by densely covered firs prematurely blotting out the light of afternoon as they ran into oblivion in either direction. The travel down these empty lanes for the most part unaccompanied by any semblance of human traffic. The escape from the two story corporate motor in franchise interrupted by the animal frenzy of a haste of departure. He could not recall if the car they had needed to be returned to that lodging alone? The drive back through this sinister too watchful landscape even more terrifying. His ignorance compounded by arriving b ace at the rental office minutes before closing and not realizing the proper place where the agents would be found until when the clock struck all windows closed leaving no one in attendance to answer the simple question of vehicle ownership and the protocol for its lawful surrender in another location.
His poor mother sat outside patiently biding amidst the interior cramped with their luggage. She wasn’t young anymore and his compounding errors in judgement were beginning to weigh heavily on his consciousness. Was all this becoming too much for her? He felt a sense of haste as he skittered ambivalently from one likely bureaucrat to another begging his simple question of protocol. Satisfied with a single sentence explanation of rental policy wrested from one of their departing host he veered back to the parking lot and the auto. Given al the time wasted and the waiting malevolence of the forest they both decided upon another possibly more direct route to a coastal city rather than the transcontinental approach that they had initially decided upon. Passage could be booked upon the staterooms of a smaller cargo vessel and the burden of effort spent upon the roadway avoided. Though travel on the seas presented its own special form of imminent peril. Storms this time of year were not uncommon. A blow could occasion twenty foot waves that might daunt even the most hearty of mariner.
The return journey such as it was was still darkened by the thought of pursuit by unseeable forces. The question that rang out continuously through his consciousness being as to what sort of dubious fate had they collectively run counter to that had resulted in such a tireless pursuit seemingly by the powers of nature itself? Were there old unsatisfied gods long unsuppicated that lay in wait for hapless prey deep in the hinterlands of that ancient region? Had some cruel destiny been visited upon his remaining family that perhaps his forebears had in some previous wisdom escaped but that he and his mother had so foolishly reinvoked in their modern ignorance? He was loath to consider his reaction if one of those innocuous doll once again magically appeared in their stateroom. Or worse yet, upon their unpacking back at home at journey’s end! All that he could hope was that the rolling sardine can of a vessel upon the high seas would daunt the attempts of this age old supernatural to enact its incomprehensible revenge.