Also an Influence of Stephen King’s “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon”

(a very unfinished story)


Renee found the clearing in the woods hours before the moon arrived. She watched it rise, thinking of how it looked shallow, lacking marrow, in the fog. She listened for a while to the way leaves brushed together, observed how darkness equalizes the appearance of trees.

She was lost. It was dark, and somewhere in the darkness, there was a looming storm. A cloud of breath escaped her lips.

Renee tried to remember exactly how the day had started, repeatedly, to travel back the way she had come. That morning, she left the campsite in search of dry branches. Listened to her shoes crunch the fall leaves against an uneven public path. Then, like a fairy tale, she was picking flowers, moving further and further from the path.

What happened after that was less than explainable. In the trees, a mass had developed that made Renee think of a man. A man made of particles that could manipulate into a cloud.


The possibility of retracing her steps had been lost hours ago. There was a time of following a stream, running through the trees, watching the sun drift west but forgetting the cardinal direction of the camp.

Hello, my name is Renee Childs, and I am lost in the woods, she thought. A fractured smile.

Lost somehow was not true in this situation. There was an emptiness to the word, as if it addressed something less. She moved forward to a darker area. Denser trees, fewer animals.

But what worried her most were the bugs.


About mckenzielynntozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives and writes in South Bend, Indiana, where she works as the Departmental Secretary of English and World Language Studies at Indiana University South Bend, and remains closely affiliated with 42 Miles Press, New Issues Poetry and Prose, and Wolfson Press. She previously received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University, where she worked as the Layout and Design Editor for New Issues Poetry and Prose and as an Assistant Editor of Poetry for Third Coast. Her poems have appeared in Encore Magazine, Sleet Magazine, Rogue Agent, Thank You for Swallowing, Whale Road Review, The James Franco Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Analecta; and her book reviews have appeared on her website and on The Rumpus. She lives with her husband, their daughter, and three cats. For more, visit View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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