A lesson from horror
I didn't intend to write a short story that straddles the blurry boundary between fantasy and horror, but that's the direction it took.
As I write this story, I am being reminded of how powerful language is and how important finding the right word is.
"Gnarled" evokes a darker feeling than "old." "Silence" carries more weight than "quiet."
It's worth the extra time to find the best words.