Perhaps it was because of the visit and rumors that had surrounded his disappearance. Maybe I was young and stupid, having listened to one more of Great-grandmother’s tales than was good for me, but I remember the morning when that deep white mist rose across all the fields – the day after the darkening in my thirteenth year.  As I circled to the village, nine silhouettes appeared. Otherworldly and unlighted, I started. The deer grazed the abandoned corn field, and a shiver worked its way up my legs, settling in my back. Further along the path the terrible awaited. It would be years before I could ignore the nagging that would follow me from that moment.  Just inside the umbrage of the forest, our shaman sprawled in a muddy puddle, bloodless eye sockets stared an empty pleading to the stripped branches of early winter trees.  My long-dead father’s amulet balanced neatly on his forehead.


muddy forest.2


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