The four of them walked down the stone laid path in the crisp autumn moors. A priest, a condemner, a guard, and the girl. The priest, a well-rounded figure, draped in silk robe that skimmed the ground with his wide girth, took his lead ahead of the group singing his old hymns of safety and warding off the spirits of the woods as they now entered.   The condemner walked a yard’s footsteps behind the priest, his wool coat lay heavy and thick upon his shrinking broad frame.  Sturdy and tall he walked clinging to his Law Book, reciting his biblical verses that were the Miranda rights before she would be exiled into the beyond.  Just behind him walked the girl, a petite figure clothed in simple white sheet, barely enough to protect her frail form from the coming winter. Long strands of white cascaded down in ripples across her angel breathe face, encircling the wide cyan hues of innocence set barely into her face. The burly guard huffed along quietly behind the girl, making sure she kept on walking with the priest and the condemner.   As their steps glided along the path, and their warm breathes hit the cool air, they were a vision of a proceeding train steaming into the distance.

Soon, as the sun had begun to set into the horizon, they stopped in front of a black iron gate.  From the look of this tall door set into a crumbling, ivy covered stone wall it was meant more for keeping something out than something in.  The priest stood aside the gate, as the condemner walked forward and placed a rusted iron key inside the keyhole. Jingling the set of keys as he twisted and turned until there was a rather loud clicking and eerie creaking of the hinges upon opening the door.  The condemner’s long, cold fingers wrapped around the girl’s arm and quickly threw her inside the gate.  The force of his blow gave her feet unsteady footing upon the ground, and tripped her.  Shutting with a heavy clunk, and again with the jingling of keys and a soft click, she was on the outside.

“You have been damned to the beyond for your crimes.” With a snuff, and growl, the condemner turned and started walking away leaving the poor girl there.  The priest looked in one last time, and bowed his head, “May God pardon you child.”  With that, the condemner, the priest, and the guard left her on the outside looking in.

The girl looked up, softly the tears rolled down over the ripened peachy hills of her cheeks, to the valleys upon her chin and neck.  She huddled in the cold, hands and arms wrapped around her delicate frame as she sobbed in the silence.  Softly the wind blew, whistling through the emptiness in the darkness of the dead forest.

With rustling of the leaves, a stick broke in the distance, echoing a chilling noise.  The girl looked up quickly, with her hair blowing in the wind, and a look of fright upon her face.  She rose and flew with great swiftness in her limbs from the spot.  Slowly around her, the forest grew and became filled with life.  In her run, wherever her feet and tears touched autumn turned to spring, and the trees bent in the wind trying to reach out for that touch of life and hold on.  The girl’s heart hammered in her chest as she ran.  Roots of trees sprang to life from beneath the cold, harden earth to try to wrap around her ankles.  Creatures’ eyes lightened and watched from within the darkness, watching as she so desperately ran from her hunter.

As she ran her shadow grew and grew until it had no true shape or form. Darkness crept after her, over the limbs and leaves and fallen logs.  Ice encased all it touched, and once more brought death to where her tears had given life.  In her fleeting tempt to escape; vines entangled her legs bringing her down upon a bed of autumn leaves.  Quickly in her panic, her child like hands reached up hiding her face, to hide from the Darkness.

Quiet. Complete and utter silence fell.  Leaves stopped their rusting in the whistling wind; the creatures of the forest stopped their chattering.  The girl’s heart steadily thumped rather audibly in the silence, as she breathed hard.  Slowly she removed her hands.  A long pale face, only inches away from hers, stared back with its gray eyes.  Warmth seeped from these gray eyes, as a pale hand reached forth and stroked the tears away from her face.  Black hair, tucked and tied back behind this creatures pointed ears, fell out in places encircling his gray hues that lost the girl and she stilled. “Peace, be still” his words whispered gently in the breeze to her ears. His lips caressed away the tears once more.

“Until we meet again my child.”