I remembered every tree. Moan of the wind in the dead branches. The smell of night-time. Death. Putrid mists raising above my knees.
Not much further now. Swamp to navigate. Hated black flies and mosquitoes. Their unremitting search for blood.
Waves of nostalgia came like smoky, frozen breathe. Learning to walk the forest with eyes closed. Relying on other senses to get me home again. Where edibles grew. Where the deadly ones thrived. So much learning. So much gained.
I sensed rather than saw the house ahead of me. Porch more weathered. A lean to the right side. Moss on the roof.
Sad to see the house empty and uncared for. I knew it would hit me hard. I stumbled a bit as I headed toward the half open door. Screen door long gone to the wind.
I was weak. I had to stop and breathe deep cold breathes of night. It was the right thing, the only thing to do.
My family always came home to die.