The Thorn in Your Paw

Henry was cursed seventeen years ago and until now, the curse has lain domant. Just when everyone had begun to relax, a serious of murders occur on and around town, forcing the town to call a Witch Hunt and soon Henry will figure out why he was never liked in town and what the big secret his mother has been keeping from him is.

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2. 17 years on

Henry walked briskly out of the forest with his arms full of fire wood and saw his mother long before she noticed him.  She was bent low in their small garden; pulling up weeds, the dead remains of plants and turning the soil.  It was hard work as the ground was frozen solid with the frost but then again, Henry's mother was never one to turn away from a hard task. 

 

His eyes drifted past his mother to their home as he made his way slowly through the crunching snow towards it.  It was no bigger than a serf's hovel but it was home.  It contained little more than two rooms: his mother's and the main room, which held no more than a small hearth in the centre of the room, a chipped wooden table with chairs and a pile of rags that Henry usually slept on.  The walls needed more mud to help trap the heat and the straw that lined the floor would need to be replaced come Spring but at least the walls were still standing and at least the roof was still in good shape. 

 

"Henry!" exclaimed his mother when she finally looked up from her work. 

 

He kicked the gate open and dropped his load beside the door, before hugging his mother.  When she released him, he went inside and boiled water for himself.  He washed himself with an old cloth, once the water was warm enough.  Once he was finished, he scrubed the sweat and dirt from his outer-clothes and hung them over the blazing fire in the hearth.  While he waited, he withdrew the sword Hode had given him to repair and begun sharpening it.  The repetitive motion of swiping the wheat-stone against the blade calmed him like a lullaby calms a child.

 

He would have to go to town tomorrow and return Hode the sword.  Hopefully Hode would have another lined up and after he had cleaned Hode's workshop, Henry would be able to purchase some wool to repair his fishing net.  He would have to stop by the butcher's and buy some salted meat for the next week or so, also.  As he compiled this list, his eyes grew heavier.  His rattling emptiness inside of him grew numb and soon, Henry didn't feel it at all.  He was so exhausted he didn't even note his mother going to her room for the night. 

 

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"Henry!" screamed a voice from behind him.  "Henry!" 

He spun around in circles but he could see nothing besides a few trees that were within the small pool of light that surrounded him. 

"Henry!"

Something was hissing and shifting between the trees around him, hiding in the pool of darkness. 

"Henry!"

His breath was coming out in small puffs in front of his face and his feet sunk deeper and deeper into the snow with each step.

"HENRY!"

Suddenly his next step sunk all the way down into the snow, it swallowed him.  All around him; choking, sufficating and squeezing him.  Dark laughter filed his ears while he made guttering and breathless noises. 

 

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