Ghost Story - Part Four

II – A Darkness at Kamicircle

For long hours I trudged below a giant piece of bark that loomed high above my head. I was still dragging the wounded stranger with me when I spied saw a dark opening ahead. You can’t imagine how much I praised Jena in that moment for such a gift. Finally I had found shelter against the storm. Beyond the opening there was a cavern and not only was it large enough to build a sickbed for the stranger but to also care for his wounds without the wind and the rain raging around me. I gladly accepted the gift without hesitation and stayed.

Days went by in which the storm raged unabated and the state of the stranger remained unchanged. He had been unconscious when we entered the cavern and, although I had done everything I could for him, he hadn’t woken up yet.

On the morning of the fourth day in the cavern the storm ended. I left the cavern to find out where we were, but was unable to find any landmark known to me. This was a place where I had never been before. Slightly concerned I went back into the cavern and find the stranger awake. I hurried to his side.

"You’re awake?" I asked, most certainly the dumbest question in my whole life.

"Who are you?" I got no answer.

Instead the stranger just stared at me. I continued to speak to him while I checked his bandages, but he just kept looking at me mutely. It was not until I returned to the cavern's entrance to take another look out at the dim, surrounding forest that I heard his voice behind me.

"A Matis helping one of us is a noble act which should not go unrewarded." He spoke with an astonishingly strong voice for one who had been unconscious just moments before. His voice carried a strange accent that was unknown to me.

"So hear my warning!"

I had turned around when I first heard him and was heading back to his side, but what I saw froze me in place. The stranger was standing in front of his sickbed just as if he hadn´t been nearer to death than life just moments before and his wound was gone.

"Beware the Soulsnatcher!" he continued.

At first I was thinking that I was hallucinating, but when his voice began to fade and I had trouble understanding him, I realized that what I was seeing was real. The stranger's body slowly began to vanish.

"He´s on the hunt again. So be wary, or he will get your soul as well." The stranger's voice was not more than a whisper now and his body could hardly be seen.

"What? How? Who?" I babbled when the stranger was gone.

"Beware!" the voice sounded once more from the thin air. "Beware the Snatcher!" Then all was silent.

Beside me the bandages on the sickbed were untouched and unused, just as if I had put them there for no reason.

Ciosso paused to let the words sink in. He took another drink from his cup and gestured toward the innkeeper to bring him more. Telling tales tends to make one's throat dry.

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