Two souls

'Dark night, moon light, shine bright.'

A rumble in the background as a train passed by the nearby ruins.

'Look left, look right, here we all come to delight.'

Pen in hand, journal laid down, he waited for a coherent sentence to be written. Rather than just the random thoughts of his nonsensical mind.

"Perhaps, another approach." An ink stained hand rubbed at tired eyes. The warm fire giving him a gentle light but also warmth on the cold october evening.

The train rumbled by on the creaky tracks behind the back of the old fort in which the writer sat. Having made a small camp for the night beneath the stars.

'Mind a whirl beneath these curls, oh how I do reflect on these dreams that were wrecked? What of the night around me? What is out there? Let it come forth.'

The train was gone now, off into the distance. A crunching of leaves under heavy feet distracted the writer from his musings. Looking around he saw a figure, passing by where a doorway once had been intact. The figure had been drawn because of the fire, and now in the gloom it was apparent this person sought shelter, for his face was wounded and his eyes had a wild look behind them. Being the soul that he was the writer extended his little camp to the stranger and offered him shelter.

"Thank you," the other said quietly, taking a blanket and wrapping it around his thin shoulders, his stomach whined loudly.

"That's alright lad, the fires warm for there is a cold chill this hallow's eve. I have some soup if you would like some?" The writer gestured to a cooking pot that sat near the fire.

"I couldn't," the other said, his dark eyes shimmered with something akin to shame. "It would feel wrong to take something without giving."

"How about this," the writer turned, a proposition clear in his mind, "could you tell me a story? I'm out here trying to write for my novel, but I have a block. Perhaps if you told me a tale it would help me get some creativity flowing."

"Oh," he paused for a moment in thought, eyes going vacant, "I do have a tale from my youth, if that is what you ask in exchange for the food, I would be grateful for it." He held out a hand, scarred and worn, in desire of the cooking pot.

"By all means," with the food pot handed over and a small spoon in hand, the younger man began to tell his tale.

"I was walking one day, along this same road behind us. As I walked I passed by two strangers. They asked me for help, for they were lost. You see they were trying to find the cottage that is rumoured to have once belonged to an ancient witch. According to these two people they looked for it due to the fact that herbs grew around that area that were rare and could be sold for a high price. I knew where this cottage was for I often gathered herbs there for teas. So I escorted them. When we arrived it seemed to get very quiet but I heard a voice call my name from within the ruins of the house. This place had long been abandoned and the wild had claimed most of it."

He stopped, looking up from the bowl in his hands, he had not touched it yet. His eyes glazed over as if transfixed by the fire.

"I saw a woman, strange was she, a clove in hand she called to me. 'Come here, I have been waiting for you. On this full moon night I need your sight, I require your living hands to carry forth my demands.' They were stealing from her, from the land, from the earth itself without even asking for the mother's permission."

An uneasy feeling came over the writer, he coughed trying to hide his nerves. The young bedraggled man continued.

"I spoke her words to them, told them they were to leave and that I should not have brought them there. They chose to ignore me, saying they could do as they wished. The plants were screaming as they were ripped from the ground, I almost felt their pain." he put down the bowl and lifted his hands, the scars seemed to glow against the fire. "Mm. Do you wish for me to continue or do my words cause you distress?"

"I wish to hear the end of this tale." He nodded solemnly.

"I couldn't do anything to stop them, so I asked for help; 'protect them mother for they are torn apart by the greed. Save them or else they will be gone, use your power and free them.' I heard shortly after they returned to the village they were struck down with an illness that could not be cured. People believe it was because not only did they steal but they killed the plants. They have not grown the same since that day. Black in colour, they give life and health to the animals and birds but they are now toxic to most humans who do not treat them with care."

The writer gently clapped his hands, "very true, most people do not respect the life around them. Now that was a tale, thank you for sharing with me. Do you not desire the food?"

"You need it more than I." he smiled, it seemed not to fit his pale face.

The writer looked down at his journal, he had taken notes on the others tale and had a question. When he looked up however, the man was gone. All that remained was the blanket and soup pot left beside a small herb bundle. He picked it up and looked it over the black leaves turned green and gave off a soft scent.