A gentle breeze rustles the leaves of the giant Catalpa Tree above their heads, its branches reaching out protectively. The observer can see the two figures beneath, standing now for almost 5 minutes, silently looking down, reading the names etched into the granite at their feet:
Tinie-Kay “TK” Danforth
“It seems like yesterday, said the woman with the dark chiseled bob, charcoal grey trench coat wrapped around her small body, tears streaming down her pale face “and are we to never know? Am I to be stranded in this desert of grief?
“Uncle Jack, why? Why? Where are they?“
“Ah Sarah, I don’t know,” his hand resting on her shoulder, as he wiped tears from his eyes with the back of the other.
That stone at their feet was all that was left. It was all that was left of those seven who had vanished that night, now ten years on. They had disappeared so completely that not one single clue, sighting, anything, had ever appeared to point the police to what had happened.
The story of that fateful night is almost more a fiction today, then it is fact. Fantastical stories have been born, and grown with each telling, and the truth is lost in the collective forgetting (if the night is spoken of at all). It has become merely the local version of the campfire horror story that one told to raise the hackles, and scare your friends on dark summer nights.
But there was one who knew. One who had been there, start to finish. One who was a lot more than what they presented. Though truthfully, the most powerful always are.
Hidden behind their masks of weakness, behind their poverty of power, underneath, perhaps, their freckled skin, this guardian (or spiritwalker, as they termed themselves, just so you know) housed a portion of the ancient soul of the earth. Crafted? Drafted? Cursed? To guard, protect and…and… whatever else their purpose, only they could know. So it was, and ever will be.
Standing across the road, hands crossed in front of their belly, one atop the other, quietly looking on as the pair underneath the tree slowly turned, making their way back through the meadow of wildflowers that grew out around the tree; back toward the dark sedan that was parked at the edge of the gravel road. A look of stoicism crossed their kind eyes. Then looking up into the sky, they turn, and disappear into the dark forest that rimmed the meadow, that encircled that Village, like a protective barrier, was that wall of woods.
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