I was wandering in a forest last night, but the trees were white, and the snow was red. I wasn't lost, though, I was walking. There was a sudden pain in my stomach and I looked down to see a hole in my belly, right over my womb, right over my baby. My blood was black.
White as the wood, red as the snows;
Black as the blood that over it flows
I kneeled there in the snow dying. Yellow eyes watched me from among the woods. Wolves, but they were too small. Coyotes, but they were too muscled. Dogs, but they were too wild. Their fur was black tipped with silver and they circled me like starlight.
There was a cub, no more than a year, who came to sit before me, his yellow eyes looking into mine. I reached out a hand, white skin with black rivers running over it. He sniffed me, tasted me, I fell over. The snow around me is cold. I am lying in it, surrounded by crimson. He is lying with me, his head resting on my neck, my fingers twining in his fur.
He sat and lowered his head, lapping at my belly. His muzzle was black with the blood of my baby. He is sipping my soul. His eyes were a mirror.
I was falling in them.
Red as the snow, white as the leaves,
Black as the soul that mourns and grieves
"Let it go," said the wolf-coyote-dog. "Let it die. In death, there is always new life. In truth there is no dying, only change. Look at your belly."
There were two young ones, baby wolf-coyote-dogs lapping at the blood around me, feeding on me.
I looked back at him, and saw him for what he was. He was King Death in a hellhound body, running in the dreamland.
"Let it go," he said and lowered his bloody muzzle to my face. I closed my eyes and he licked them each, leaving a circle of blood on the lids. I could not open them.
"The toll for the ferry to the waking world," he told me. "This is like life too. You must even pay to be abused, as you are punished for being hurt."
White as the dawn, black as the leech,
Red as the lessons hell has to teach
When they went, I was alone in my snow-grave. In dreams, I slept and saw them roaming the shores of the Styx. I did not follow them. I was done with despair.