Alice liked to go for walks in the morning. She had learned that, even in the spring and summer months, the best of the sun was often early in the day and if she missed those bright beautiful hours, she would always regret her languor. As soon as the spring beckoned she would start getting up earlier to enjoy the sunshine before she had to get ready to go to work. Even if the sun offered more light than heat, and she had to bundle up in layers of fleece and quilting to keep the cold from chilling her bones, she relished those bright moments.

It was one of those early spring days when the sun was just about gaining enough strength to be able to cut through the chill in the air. It was not yet warm enough for most to feel comfortable to wear their summer clothes even if many of them would feel compelled to do so regardless. The breeze was still biting and the shade offered a reminder of winter but when the sun was on her face, Alice could feel the summer coming and it lightened her heart and put a spring in her step.

The early spring is a delicious time. Alice loved to look out for each new sign of the burgeoning explosion of life that would soon paint the world in colour. Each new flower that opened and each new tree or shrub that burst into blossom gave her a deep sense of pleasure and well-being. She would savour every moment, knowing from experience how fleeting this time would be and quickly the world would be cast back into the dark, bleak death of winter.

She took the same path each day, meandering along the lanes near to her home. The woodlands and the fields alike offered something new for her as the seasons gradually turned. Rabbits, as yet unwary of the coming human invasion of the daylight hours, would still be feeding on grasses and would only dart away as her steps came too near. She listened to the bird song, trying to discern each individual melody in the symphony that was being played from the trees.

Alice would have told you that she knew every leaf on every shrub of that walk which was why she was surprised when she saw an opening in the undergrowth that formed a part of the boundary of a densely forested area which covered miles of land at the furthest point of her circuit. She had never seen it before. Never even considered attempting to explore the mysterious world under the trees.

There was no evidence that this gateway into the forest had not always been there. There was no disturbance in the earth that would indicate the uprooting of one of the plants, nor was there any indication that any kind of saw of other implement had been used. There was simply a hole, where there had not been a hole before. She stepped towards it with a frown on her face and her head tilted on one side. She peered in cautiously, as if approaching an open door, unsure as to what she might find on the other side. The opening appeared to lead to a path among the ferns and grasses. At the end of the path, in the middle of a clearing in the trees was a clump of daffodils.

With the boldness that only curiosity can bestow, Alice made her way along the path toward the daffodils. So intent was she on her target, that she did not notice the opening in the shrubs closing up behind her. Nor did she see that every step she took, the forest grew a little more dense in her wake, until there was no way that human feet would ever be able to carry her back the road she knew.

When she reached the clump of bright flowers, she smiled. She loved daffodils. Daffodils were her favourite. As much as she wanted to love crocuses for their early showings of colour, it was the exuberance and quirkiness of the daffodil that really won her heart. She crouched down to take a closer look and to inhale their delicate honey fragrance.

‘I knew you’d like them.’ He said.

For a moment Alice wasn’t sure if anyone had spoken at all. The voice seemed so much a part of that place, it could have been the creaking of branches. She looked up. He had a mess of straw coloured hair and his eyes were the most striking shade of green.

‘I made them grow just for you.’ He held out his hand to help her to her feet.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Alice knew that even grown women should not to talk to strangers, let alone take their hand. But that part of her seemed awfully far away. Just like the well travelled road back to her home and the familiar routine of her existence.

He smiled and all she saw was his eyes and she took his hand and allowed herself to be lead into forgetfulness.