I crept drowsily into my dimly moonlit room and climbed slowly into bed. I felt as if everything else was spinning around me in a swirling haze while I looked up at the pitched ceiling above me. I knew I had been tired when I left the inn, but not like this! I closed my eyes and turned to the side with my knees tucked right under my bosom.
The breeze from outside seeped its way through and sent a strangely relaxing chill down my spine as it pierced ever so inconspicuously between my long, black hair. I finally gave in to the tempting call to sleep when I whispered to myself in the quiet dark, "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety." I started to fall asleep hearing the creaking walls and windows as the wind brushed up against them.
"I remember the days."
"The days we used to spend thinking of each other as we walked along the paths through the deep woods. We used to go to the clearest part of the woods where neither tears nor blood were shed. The place where my heart was buried along with all the memories to start again happily. The days where we only worried if we could see each other one more time. The days were we thought you had given us something to cherish. Don't you remember?"
"What I remember are the days where two ran from the pain in search for selfish gain. I remember the days where you threw it all to waste: all we had planned to accomplish. I remember the days where you had turned your back. Sadly, I don't remember the day where the one who was sought after could not be saved and brought home."
"How could you even lose two for one... As if the one was greater than the two?"
"One is greater than two when the two could be preserved longer, and in turn for the two would be planned for something greater in the end. When will you see beyond your own eyes?!"
"Greater? Don't you remember the day two hearts became one, only to be torn in half because of this? The days where none of that seemed possible, you ripped us in two. I remember the days when things were perfect for the two and I promise: Those days cannot come back."
"And yet you still foolishly thought my hands could not later mend the two into something greater beyond what they could imagine? The hands of a master never make a mistake. I am not as thoughtless as to sow mustard seeds and expect a mighty oak tree to harvest. Those days can."
"They cannot, for they are lost."
"They again can be found and won in new times."
I woke up slowly remembering voices throughout the darkened night's silence, or at least I assumed they were voices and not my plain imagination. They all came to me so vividly and real. Perhaps something would come to me later. I quickly brushed my hair looking in the mirror and came downstairs to see that Henry and John had been waiting for me to wake up on a bench near the church doors.
I sat down beside Raguel and yawned as I asked, "What are we doing today?"
"Well," Raguel went on formally, "You and John are going to the inn to visit with Eleanor and Henry while Ben and I go off for more firewood in case this storm is worse that what we expect. Though, please help John..."
John interrupted quickly, "No it's quite all right, I can carry my own things. After all it's only down the street a little ways."
I saw John clench a handle to a wooden chest that was under the bench. It was a rough and certainly weathered chest with nails still very evident and noticeable that jutted out here and there. He picked it up using a good deal amount of strength (from what I could see at least) and placed it on his lap. Though more interestingly, there were scars that showed through both sides of his wrist. After observing them more, I noticed that the other wrist was also punctured and scarred over! It looked as if someone had just nailed him fast to a wall before. Of course... the nails would have needed to be almost as thick as my thumb.
He gave a quick glance on the box one last time and then shifted his gaze directly at me. I can't believe I didn't notice it before at the inn last night, but right below his one eye and rested on the upper fringe of his cheek was a bulging scar. It wasn't necessarily large; however, it certainly was very visible face to face like this. Where had he gotten all these scars?
Noting that I had seen his scar for the first time, he (surprisingly) just ignored my intrigued nature and added, "So shall we be off then now, Angel?"
I nodded my head and gradually began looking away. I didn't want to make him feel uncomfortable anymore than what he probably was at the moment. Shyly and a little gingerly I replied more assuredly, "Yes, I just need to go get a more." I stopped and started walking back toward my room.
"A more what?" asked John with a grin.
"Oh right..." I blushed looking back with my hair falling in front of my eyes, "Well, just... more properly done hair."
John looked over to Raguel with a raised eyebrow and then asked me, "What's wrong with it?"
I swirled my hair around my index finger and tugged it forward so my eyes could see it. "It's just not," I paused and then finished, "It's just not right."
John again looked over toward Raguel, and this time the two started smirking while they tried to hold back their laughter. "Okay" remarked John with a big smile, "I can wait that little bit."
I rushed up into my room and set my hair into a fancy but not gaudy ponytail with a braid and bow. After I did my hair, I came sprinting back down to see that Raguel must have already left, and John was left sitting on the one bench alone. "That was quicker than I thought it would be," commented John rather surprised.
Casually, John then stood up with the chest in his rugged hands and we started our walk to the inn. The clouds had completely filled the sky and hid the sun from sight. Though, a serious storm was about to come? I couldn't really believe it. Everything seemed normal. The wind had still blown with a mild chill, the tree branches swayed softly with the wind, and the birds and animals still went about their business.
Curiously I asked while we walked on the narrow sidewalk, "Are you even sure that a big storm is coming? I mean I can see maybe a snow squaw, but not a blizzard."
"Yes," John said and continued, "On the bright side I have a very strong feeling that this will mark the beginning of spring. As for your query, I have seen it many times before... More than you could probably count." He ended that last thought with a small chuckle and then smoothly added, "Your hair looks nice though."
"Why thank you." I said while my face flushed with color.
Before we knew it, John and I had arrived at the inn. He leaped in front of me and opened the door for my leisure. As we both came inside and hung our jackets on a coat rack, Eleanor and Henry came to welcome us and insisted we come into the kitchen. They had just finished making some chocolate chip cookies that were lightly steaming on the stove and gave us each three cookies and a cup of milk while we talked. Naturally, I talked mostly with Eleanor, and Henry and John had to catch up on some things as well.
I dunked and submerged the cookies into the milk and after I ate the first, I found myself left with none as I had wolfed them down in no time. They were soft and sweet and felt like they melted in my mouth.
Wide-eyed Eleanor said pleasantly, "Would you care for some more?"
Although deep inside I did want them, I answered folding my hands on the table and sending Eleanor a smile, "No, I'm all right."
Curiously, I had just heard the end of Henry's sentence after I finished mine. He said enthusiastically, "Oh you brought them?" I completely had my attention drawn to their conversation now. If this didn't have anything to do with the chest that John had brought along with him, then I knew I would be sure to find out!
Answering Henry, John responded, "Why yes I did happen to bring them this time. I have them here now if you'd like to have a look?"
"Yes, very much so. I've always enjoyed your craftsmanship, so delicate and yet ruthless in the same way." Henry said in pure appreciation.
From out of the corner of my eye while I stared down at my cup of milk, I saw John grab the chest and place it on the table. It gave a deadened thump and slowly - slowly he unlatched and opened the chest. My eyes widened and it seemed my milk had shuddered in shock.