It feels like I’ve been going for ages, but I know I’m probably no more than ten miles from my home, if even that. I have no idea whether the strange priest is coming after me, but I’m definetly not planning to stay and find out. If only I wasn’t so tired…
I stumble on a root and nearly fall flat on my face. I sit on the ground and try to catch my breath. The day will be over soon enough and I have to find some place to sleep. The forest is so thick here that I can’t see the sky at all. What’s even worse, I’m not sure where I am. I went through the woods and avoided every path that I knew of. I even walked in a small creek that I found, hoping it would hide my trail in case I’m being followed.
My stomach aches, reminding me that I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday morning. Now that the adrenalin has worn off I just want to curl up and fall asleep. However, I force myself to stand up and go on. I wince with every step, since my soles are scratched and bleeding. I should’ve remembered to put some shoes on before I ran.
As the night grows closer and I stumble onward, I wonder if I made the right decision by leaving. The only reason I disliked and feared the priest in the first place was because of the strange voice in my head. But what if I’m crazy and the voice is only a trick of my mind? I mean, the priest could’ve hurt me when we were by the Dark Lake, but he didn’t. He even offered me food.
But if Brian was truthful, then it wasn’t him who saved me. And that talk about exorcism… I shudder. I thought the days of with-hunting and killing demons were long gone.
When I was five, my mother taught me to read, and after her death her books passed on to me, since my father can’t read and he wasn’t interested in learning it. Among those books was “A History of Faith” which described how the priests tried to eliminate anything that they considered unnatural. I only read it halfway, and had nightmares for weeks after that.
I rub my hands, trying to fend off the chills. The air is getting colder by the minute, and it won’t be long before it’s completely dark. I know I should pick up the pace, but putting one foot in front of the other is all I can manage at the moment.
Just as I begin to feel very sorry for myself, I reach a small clearing in the woods. For a second I think I’m imagining it, but no! There’s a small house on the other side of the small meadow. The Gods must still be with me. This is more than I expected to find. Way more.
I allow myself a small smile as I near the cottage. I try the door and it’s open. I sigh with happiness and enter. The place looks like it’s habited, but at the moment there’s no one here. If the owner returns, I’ll explain my presence. Now… to sleep! I search the small cottage and find a single bed in the back room. I crawl under the covers and fall into a dreamless sleep.