37- The Lesser Darkness

I tucked the leaf away in my pocket.

“Why are you here? Just wandering, or passing the time so idly in a place of such seeming nothingness?” I could not help but wonder how old this girl truly was, and what had brought her too to this strange inbetween place (or so I had surmised). 

“What do you mean why? I don’t have much time left. I’ve nowhere I need to be, or go. Why would I not be here?” she replied matter-of-factly.

Great, someone else who either made little sense or was speaking in riddles. I needed a different approach.                                       

“Don’t you have a family, a companion? Won’t they be worried- while you’re out here dwindling the days away in the far middle of some nameless woods?”

She laughed as though she found the question so ridiculous.                        

“I believe you already know the answer to that one mister. Why are *you*here, I would ask- but I too very well may already know.”

She paused, as though suddenly weary of her own resistance, and continued.                                             “I was praying. I don’t know if there’s really a god out there, or if he would listen to another fool and scoundrel such as myself- but it can’t hurt and I’ve nothing left but time, of which I do believe that mine draws to a near close.”

“You keep saying that, so morbid and cryptic as well. Why in the world would you think that the case? I’m sure when you find your way out of this place- if you are even lost at all- you’ve your entire life ahead of you. Or at least the rest of this one,” I quickly added, wondering if she would reveal as to if she too had lived many lives before. 

She laughed again, this time less convincingly, as though an old wound had been reopened by something I had said. 
“I’ve sure heard *that* one before. You’re right, but I don’t have the strength anymore to get to the rest of it.” 

She turned her back to me, which again drew my notice to the odd shape of her back beneath black fabric, jutting out at an unnatural angle. She must have known my wondering, as she lowered the cloak to unveil her back; looking over her shoulder at me, as though assessing my reaction

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