The Walking-Stick Forest was dark, but the darkness is subdued a bit by the lyrical imagery this story is littered with. There are lots of terrible things hidden behind pretty words.
This didn't feel as much like a story to me as it did a series of inter-connecting scenes.
The beginning of the story tells the history of Farquar and his forest, and how his walking sticks came to be highly sought after. And then there was insta-love, completely out of nowhere. Then there was a revenge plot. And then there was...cringe-worthy death and mutilation while the main character drinks tea?
There's a note at the start of the short that reads:
Like some other stories published on Tor.com, “The Walking-Stick Forest” contains scenes and situations some readers will find upsetting and/or repellent. [—The Editors]
You don't scare me, story!
...actually, I'm kind of surprised I didn't cringe at the end. The descriptions got kind of intense.