It was dark, it was dangerous and evil waited on the other side and it sat there inviting the mischievousness side of us all and for an 8-year-old it sure as hell was scary. As I entered grade 3 at Our Lady of Fatima school, the woods that sat behind the school were enticing but we were warned by the Nuns of a new menace that lurked on the other side A PUBLIC SCHOOL that went by the name of Hillcrest and early that fall we all were warned about the dangers of going into that woodland that separated us from the heathens that ran that place, and worse the creatures that roamed the dark spaces of the woods. The Nuns told us about the woodelves, and about the trees that could take on human form and eat the less than Pious among us, hell my older sister told me about a boy that ran into the woods during a lunch hour and was never seen again and that was enough for me as I swore I would never take the path that was inviting us all to enter., I sure as heck didn’t want my lifeless body to be discovered by the protestants and hung like a squirrel in their playground for all to see. And for the rest of grade 3 we resisted the urge to go into the Woods and would live to enjoy our lives, but that changed the next school year, for we were a little older and one of us( I don’t remember who) had made a friend during the summer that was going to attend That Other School and as curious 9 year olds will do we snuck off during a lunch period, gathered our wits and our liquid courage( okay, it was chocolate milk, but you get the point) we sharpened some sticks into what we assumed would become our weapons against the protestant menace and headed off into the path of the unknown, and the nuns were right, it was dark and smelly and scary but we soldiered on like the Holy Catholic Warriors that we were and after what seemed like an eternity,and perhaps a few stained underwear along the way, we came upon an opening to the other side and we stared dumbfounded There were no Centaurs, no Bray Road beast, no Hydras and no Ogres, hell we didn’t even come across a snake during our great trek and there sure where none in the playground of the school that sat in-front of us, all we could see where children playing and laughing and ordinary looking teaches watching over them, heck they were just like us except that there teachers weren’t as scary looking and were not carrying rulers ready to hand slap the first person to act up, we all seemed to let out a big sigh of disappointment at the sight. As a matter of fact the scariest things we ran into was on the trek back to our side of the woods when we ran into two Nuns that had been dispatched to retrieve us.
Our lives went on after that and of course we all wound up finding friends on that side of the woods, but never went though there while the Nuns were overlooking the site. The woods are still there and the path is still the same but a lot else has changed there, a walkway is now running through the middle of it, house are being built around it and for some reason I can’t figure out why it took us so long to walk through there on that day as on Saturday I went for a walk out there and entered the woods and emerged 2 minutes later on the Hillcrest side, I guess it is all how you perceive it.