Lighting bugs flickered from leaf to leaf. The dying fire crackled sending forth jaded wisps of smoke. Monk lay on his old blanket that smelt of egg sandwiches, staring into the cobalt blue sky, trying to catch stars with his mind’s eye. Unclear thoughts kept distracting him.
He shook his head from side to side, to clear his brain and tried to concentrate.
The ugly woman watched him with interest, her face partially concealed behind her limp and long hair. Her eyes shone bright red.
“What was the poem again? If I can memorize it perhaps I’ll be able to catch the stars,” Monk informed her.
She recited in her deep and soothing voice,
Fear grips like fire drops
On delicate skin so smooth
As she walks a tight rope
Balanced over a storm
Or an orange fire warm”
Monk turned to look at her with a foolish smile on his face. “I love hearing you recite. ‘The Dark’ leaves me when you are here. Perhaps, we can get married and I won’t ever have to bother with stars. Will that be too hard? Please consider it and tell your folk” he pleaded.
The ugly woman didn’t move. “You know that is impossible. I can only visit. Now try again, I’ll recite for you.”
Monk sighed and went back to staring at the sky. The ugly woman began to recite in a sonorous tone.
Monk’s head began to nod, his body relaxed as the stars began to greet him. Some silver ones danced around his head while gold stars shimmered close to his two eyes.
“Bliss” Monk murmured.
The Dark waited with a glum smile across his shattered face, not too far from the ugly woman.
The ugly woman kept on with her recital, Monk seemed ecstatic and The Dark glum as ever with his lanky arms swinging to the poetic rhythm.
The ugly woman lowered her voice as if to put Monk to sleep and The Dark began to take mincing steps towards Monk.
He crept close, looked at the Ugly woman and winked. She stopped the recital, a little sad but resigned. The Dark loomed over Monk who began to shake and closed his eyes tight. The Dark reached out and touched Monk’s forehead with a blackened finger. Monk shivered and began to cry. The Dark began to rest all six fingers on Monk’s face, one by one slowly.
A chill seeped into Monk’s body.
Monk sobbed harder but finally opened his eyes. The Dark stood tall and firm over Monk’s old blanket that smelt of egg sandwiches. Monk shrieked and tried to price The Dark’s fingers off his face.
The ugly woman wept near the fire, or Monk imagined so.
The Dark tightened his grip, closing his hand over Monk’s nose and mouth. Monk struggled, unable to voice his pain, his body went limp.
The Dark looked at the body, melancholy, resentful, angry and filled with terror.
The ugly woman emerged from beyond the dying fire to touch The Dark’s shoulder. He put his arm in hers.
The two of them walked over Monk’s fire to look for his sister.