She is small and her coat is black. The sky is low and white. She is alone in the woods. Her coat is black and her stockings are black and her boots are black too. Her hands curl into themselves for warmth. She is lost in these woods. Her hat is black and her face is white, frail moon in a tangle of trees.
She walks without direction, every way the same, the hiss of cold leaves underfoot. There is slope, but it doesn’t tell her anything, turning her left shoulder to the heights. She is here and no one else is. She is here and no one knows. Nothing holds her. Nothing reaches for her. Nothing calls her back. She moves up the slope through the silent ranks of black trunks. She moves and stops and listens, moves and stops.
Even with no words in it, the breath she breathes veils her. She turns her face up.
She is not frightened. She knows what happens next. She is ready.
The woman in white comes down through the trees, a swirl and glimmering, no sound but a hiss and patter in the leaves. She leans in close, opens her arms, and folds the girl into the protection of her still, black heart.