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Trip, Stumble, Fall

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:42 pm    Post subject: Trip, Stumble, Fall Reply with quote

Trip, Stumble, Fall

The thief ran through the night clutching a scroll tightly to his chest, the old man had said he would pay dearly for such a thing and to get it was no simple task, the library was said to have many protections, ghosts, and spirits, tricks and traps, guards and watchers a risk he wouldn't usually take but the price was right. The thief just couldn't shake the feeling that it all seemed to go so smoothly, bypassing the guards, hiding oneself from the sight of the things within, he was sure one of the beasts saw him as he made his getaway with the scroll in hand, yet no alarm was raised, no shout or cry echoed in the night, still the thief ran as if such were right behind him.
He had agreed to meet the old man in the nearby forest, far away from prying eyes to make their exchange and finalise their deal, it was the middle of winter and this night was still and especially frigid, the old man's fire would be a welcome reprieve.
Suddenly the thief lost his footing and fell backward into the snow and dirt, more surprised at himself than anything he gracefully flipped back onto his feet, he had many years of experience in worse situations running in the dark, how had he lost his footing? Maybe an icy puddle he did not see?
An unbidden thought came to his mind.

“When you stumble in the dark”
“And there's nothing there”
“did you just lose your footing?”

Odd, the thief muttered to himself, he glanced at his surroundings and admonished himself for not being more careful or aware, he was meant to be well past simple mistakes like these, still he was alone, no guards were chasing him, he could afford to slow down and proceed more carefully.
The trees rustled around him, an owl the thief thought as he proceeded at a slower yet still brisk pace.

“When there's no wind in the air”
“But the leaves still shiver”
“What makes you think it was a bird?”

Another unbidden thought, the thief took a moment to collect himself, obviously still shaken from his recent fall, he brushed it off.

Not far to go now, the thief continued, best to be done with this night and be back home a much richer man, the old man would be in the clearing with the three large trees at its centre, not far, not far, and true enough after some further trudging the light of a nearby fire could be seen, the clearing was a popular location with the monks who would go there to meditate upon natures splendor in more comfortable times, few if any however come this far into the forest in this season without good reason.
True to his word the thief could make out the hunched figure of the old man near the campfire awaiting him patiently, with a sigh of relief, the thief made his approach, yet something seemed odd, the old man seemed so...still, something was wrong the thief could see, but he had come so far now he could not leave empty handed though his caution told him very much otherwise, creeping through the darkness the thief inched closer and closer until he could see him clearly, the old man his skin was darker than should be, his eyes sunken, frost clung to him and his clothes, so still he had clearly frozen to death as if left exposed to the worst of winter unprotected, yet next to a fire he remained, a shiver ran throughout the thief's body and his eyes widened with fear.

“When you feel a chill”
“And you don't know why”
“As if something just ran down your spine”
“What makes you think it didn't?”

The invasive thought once again, the thief knew it wasn't his, there was something else here but he couldn't see it.

“When the moon makes trees cast shadows on the grass”
“And you think there might be more than there were before”
“Count the trees”
“Then count the shadows”

Trembling with fear, the thief counted out aloud, “One....two.....three”, he paused he breathed deeply and through every part of his body wanted him to flee as fast as he could as far as he could, terror kept him locked firmly in place.
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