(stories from, ‘Tales of The Traveller’)
She didn’t just walk innocently into his life. No, she had surely plotted her move through the preceding months with the determination and precision of a seething terrorist with a vengeance. His mind raced. She would save him but he didn’t know that yet. He’d spent so many weeks alone he wondered if he was going mad. Another living human.
She rolled herself a smoke and a fleeting smile creased her pretty face as she remembers times past and her wet long hair steaks are clinging to her forehead and cheeks.
The Storm had taken all the day to build it’s wrath and it lingered above like it had now decided on this part of the land to punish. It was never like this before, he says to himself trying to recall exactly how perfect the weather once was, and the days when life was gold and his son didn’t die. Some thoughts need to be killed. Pain stabbed his strong lonely frightened heart like it came in on the ice Wind across that dead Ocean.
The Sky darkened down two last feeble tones of grayblack and the chill air whipped at his face as he rolled the car window down. “Hey do you need a lift?” he called to her from the driver’s seat.
She smiled with her eyes to him and nodded affirmative. “yeah sure!” she mouthed from across the street trying to animate her sullen face. Her eyes held life and they held his gaze. she stubbed her smoke on the pavement where she squatted against a wall. She climbed in beside him in his warm car. He drove and started talking about the bad weather to fill the air with something better than silence he hoped. But it was those eyes that were flashing through his mind – and that smile. His brain like a fever now.
Who was she, he wondered. Where did she come from? Why him? Then out of the dark quiet of nowhere she breaks the awkward and useless conversation silence with, “Do you know the road is a dark mystery, but then life was always like that.”
“Life is a fucking hell. What’s the point of even being alive?” he answers reflexively but flatly and without feeling or forethought.
Thunder clouds closed the sky and driving rain hit the windshield. They drove through this night, and then kept on through the next day. They felt at ease together very soon on their journey through the distant lands and forests. Trust was unknown in this place. They followed the narrow coastal road which remained above the new shore toward the Western horizon where no known towns survived into the New Era of Hope and populations were decimated in the End War.
Fierce winds pelted hard rain and the tall dark trees were losing the long fight. The forests withered and smelled of death. The Black Ocean spilled with rage at the shore of sand and rock and the remnants of fishing boats tugged at their moorings at a small wooden jetty only visible at low tide.
The small world obediently followed it’s orbit in the darkness and turned on its axis silently in a dance with the gray scarred Moon to face the Star. There was endless peace in the quiet of the void and all things were as they should be and as they had been throughout all the aeons of the Cosmos, and the Stars had always been witness.