"Beyond this stood her house, in the centre of a strange forest, in which all the trees and flowers were polypi, half animals and half plants; they looked like serpents with a hundred heads growing out of the ground. The branches were long slimy arms, with fingers like flexible worms, moving limb after limb from the root to the top. All that could be reached in the sea they seized upon, and held fast, so that it never escaped from their clutches. The little mermaid was so alarmed at what she saw, that she stood still, and her heart beat with fear, and she was very nearly turning back; but she thought of the prince, and of the human soul for which she longed, and her courage returned. She fastened her long flowing hair round her head, so that the polypi might not seize hold of it. She laid her hands together across her bosom, and then she darted forward as a fish shoots through the water, between the supple arms and fingers of the ugly polypi, which were stretched out on each side of her. She saw that each held in its grasp something it had seized with its numerous little arms, as if they were iron bands. The white skeletons of human beings who had perished at sea, and had sunk down into the deep waters, skeletons of land animals, oars, rudders, and chests of ships were lying tightly grasped by their clinging arms; even a little mermaid, whom they had caught and strangled; and this seemed the most shocking of all to the little princess." – Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid
Dream: we’re making our way through a run-down girls’ orphanage - bunk beds in endless, dim corridors, the din of suffering. Distorted faces jump out from the dank mist, screaming, pulling at my clothes. I’m terrified and know that if I look at anyone here for too long, I’ll never leave. You grip me tighter, and then we’re floating up and through the walls, through the rumpled, crying ghost girls in their pajamas, and I wonder whether they can see us anymore. The clatter is muffled by your heartbeat and you say, “There is nothing here to keep you”. By the time the sun hits our faces, we’re both crying.
The illustration above is by one of my favorites, Edmond Dulac.