The marsh was beautiful and didn’t stink like rotted leaves as most did. It started in the middle of the forest, where no marsh should be. But it was. The trees thinned out and the sky opened onto the watery expanse where clouds seemed to dip their toes into the water as they passed through leaving only damp clothes behind.
The only way to cross was on top of a narrow, rotting, rusting boardwalk. No one could recall who put down the ties and nailed the wooden planks together. It had to have been a mucky, tiring job. But it was done and no one in the nearest village was volunteering to restore the planks that had fallen into the water, making it necessary to jump to avoid sinking a boot into the mud and possibly not getting it back.
Martha stood at the edge of the marsh shielding her eyes against the sudden sunlight with her hand. She had to go through the marsh, not on the boardwalk, but through it. She’d dreamt there was someone out lost and her dreams didn’t lie. No one would go with her (even though there were lost person posters affixed to the sides of buildings) and some called her mad (even though they’d come to her for interpretations of dreams late at night when no one would see), saying she’d lose more than her boots out on the marshes. But she had to go.
And as Martha sunk her first foot into the marsh, feeling the ground give way and hearing the slurping sound of her foot sinking, a twinkling light appeared like a candle above the water three feet in front of her. She smiled and took another step as the light led her deeper into the marsh. It might be a trick or trouble or a trap. But she had to go and might as well hope that it would lead her true.