Have you heard of the Knotwood? No? Oh, you really must go sometime.
Well, no, I’ve not been myself. I mean, not literally. But you shouldn’t ever go there literally. I’m not even sure where it is, exactly.
But it’s where we go when we dream. Well, one of the places we can go. There’s spots all over the world that seem to attract the slumbering mind. Strange places that reflect the curious qualities of sleep, at least their own dreaming incarnations do. Why, there’s a city in Canada that, when it dreams, roams the worlds of sleep drinking up…right, sorry. You’ve probably been to some of these places without realising; just because you don’t know them by name doesn’t mean you haven’t felt their pull.
But the Knotwood is different. You would know if you’d been there. It a dense forest of rapidly growing pine trees, that you could swear sway and flex in the wind, though no wind ever blows there. No weather at all actually, I’m not sure there’s even a sky there, if you could even see the sky through the canopy. It’s amazing to just walk through that place; saplings burst from the ground and worm their way up, building into grand little trees and growing ever higher until they contribute their own obstacle to the ever-twisting forest.
But there’s a reason so many people go there. Why it’s such a favourite of those who find themselves wandering the sleeping realms, sleepless. Whisper a secret, any secret, to a Knotwood sapling and watch it grow. Whatever awful thing you just imbued it with, whatever horrible treachery or impossible truth you imposed upon the young thing, will twist the tree, deform and change it. It grows erratically, jerking up and down as it stretches, tying itself in ever more complicated knots and patterns as it extrudes further from the ground. Throughout the night you’ll see the tree containing whatever dark thing you entrusted it with grow into a tall and grand thing, twisted and knotted like old string but sturdy and unyielding too.
And there your secret will be safe. No longer will it interrupt your nights, haunting you on the precipice of rest. It too resides in the slumbering lands, and there you can rest safe in the knowledge that your secret is guarded with the life of an ageless thing.
That’s why you must never visit the Knotwood in your waking hours, though. To observe your secret, the intricate pattern of deceptions you wove maintaining that living thing during its first night would destroy it. The tree would crumble into nothingness, and you would be left alone with your actions once more; darkened by their time in the company of other deeds. Some do, of course. Secrets that no longer haunt your nights can still make themselves known in the day, and some secrets will out no matter how deeply you bury them.
But still, there is solace to be found in the Knotwood. If you’re careful. You’ve honestly never been? You really should go sometime.