In the village where I grew up, the forest is a dangerous place to enter. Strange and mysterious things live in it, or so people say, and it’s easy to lose your way; vines creep over the paths and around feet, and trees block out the light. Hunters and witches are the only ones able to travel through safely.

Occasionally, a child will sneak past the trees; on a dare, or to show bravery, or to pick one of the sweet-smelling fruits that hang from a low-hanging branch past the border. And occasionally, a child will make it back alive.

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