I believe that if you only surround yourself with like people, like surroundings, or like influences ...you will lose your individuality and become like ...
The winding path beneath my feet is not made of yellow brick or paved asphalt, but earthen clay covered in autumn leaves. Tumultuous shadows loom behind me, and bare limbs reach out to grab me; to entangle, to ensnare. Chilled winds of uncertainty nip at me, making me shiver.
Bits of sunshine cut through the thick canopy above me, dotting the road, baptizing me in its glory and praise, but its warmth is fleeting. One step away ...once again in shadow, two ...more sun, three ...more shadow, but never sustaining, never sure.
Whispers echo through the pines, those evergreens, always in season, always the same in a forest of changing colors and varying scents. "Come, come," they call, offering a home among the woodland, the accepted majority, kings and queens of their kind. The path is narrow; the limbs push and pull, defining familiar trails.
Into the foggy haze before me, a part of the road lay hidden in the unknown, cloaked in obscurity, and masked with uncertainty, I hear a soft melody. Its rich tone entices me, pulls me, and seduces me with each pure note. My Piper sings to me, "Come, come!" I long to obey, to fall under his spell.
The Pines, the Piper. A raging storm ensues. The Pines, the Piper. Calling, drawing, making me dizzy, and twisting me in knots. "Come, come," they implore. Spinning me round and around, entangling bits of my hair, ripping parts of clothes, slicing into my skin, till I'm nothing but a ragdoll.
I fall. "Come, come," I whisper through swollen, cracked lips. "You've taken all I have …sans my heart." Hot tears shimmer down my cheeks. "Come, come, if you dare. Who will save me?"
The Pines remain quiet, stiff in their pride, but in the distant a single, pure note weaves through the forest. My Piper comes. He appears out of the fog, followed by a gay crew of revelers. He stands before me, holds out his hand, a smile tugging on the edge of his lips, and says, "Come, come, my Lady, let's dance."