This morning I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood. Again.
This place from which I had so narrowly escaped in the past had returned to torment me. It was just as I remembered; it’s appearance so nondescript and unsuspecting. All the better to lure its victims unawares. I waited quietly with several other poor souls to be judged before the Mighty Gatekeeper. After providing proof of my identity thrice over I was allowed entry and made to await Final Judgment. Time passed, how much I do not know, for I was transfixed by the eerie silence interrupted only by a faceless voice calling forth the next hapless wretch.
And then I was summoned. My designated arbitrator eyed me suspiciously while muttering incoherent instructions and, when met with my stammering responses, seemed ready to bring an abrupt end to my quest. “What does thou wish from me?” I cried in desperation. I rushed to follow all her commands and only hesitated when she forbade me from showing my teeth while she took my likeness. What dark place had I journeyed that a person could not smile without fear?
Finally, it seemed my suffering would soon be at an end. After depriving me of a few hard earned wages, I was given license to take my leave. I had survived. Be that as it may, my joy was incomplete, as I feared I would someday once again find myself in that valley of evil whose maze had sapped my very heart with fear!
I share this dreadful account in the hopes that perhaps some of you may be spared such trials as these. No matter the occasion, if you ever happen to come upon anything resembling this sign, alter your course at once. For it is a secret warning of the horrors that will follow.