Fences weren’t enough. A law was made: stay on the path.
Always stay on the path.
Jenny knew her quarry was in the forest. The Pathless tended to gather there. Cowards who murdered and fled to the dark places. The problem with the new law was that straying from the designated roads was a hanging offense, no matter the excuse. Jenny’s excuse was revenge.
The murderer lived away from the path, of course, and it was illegal to pursue him. So Jenny had to be careful.
She smiled to the Pathwarden as she strolled through the forest, a basket in hand. The warden smiled back behind a brush-like mustache, taking a long whiff of the fresh baked bread in the basket. He tipped his hat. Jenny faked a blush and carried on.
When the warden was no long in sight, Jenny left the forest path.
Traveling away from the padded ground was difficult. The forest floor was littered with uneven roots, rocks, mud puddles, and other such unpleasantness that made traversal a challenge. There were also the flickering eyes hidden in the leaves, the hollows of the trees, the tall grass. But something kept Jenny safe. Her determination, perhaps.
A couple hours of forest-delving led her to a grassy hill with what seemed to be a rabbit hole poked into it. Except the hole was too big for a rabbit.
She squeezed through, dragging the basket with her.
And there he was. The murderer of her parents. A hairy oaf, snoring on a bed of dirt, grime and earthworms.
Jenny pulled the napkin from the top of her basket. Then the bread just beneath.
Then she removed the knife at the bottom.
Today’s three prompt categories were, “Stay on the path,” “A new law,” and “Revenge.
Paths are overrated.