The Clearing

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In the clearing he stumbles on a tree trunk, but he does not fall. He sees a spring, crystal, quenching, not unlike the brunette girl bending over it. She drinks, and sees him. She runs. He tries to go after her, but the only thing he catches is her shadow and the fragrant whiff of her figure.

The next day he comes back, and the girl is there too. But this time he tries to talk to her. She wants to know about her. The girl looks disconcerted, anxious, but she answers him anyway. He asks her name. “Drucille.” She looks as lovely as the first flower that blooms in the spring. He asks about her age, and she looks right at his eye, smiling sadly. “Follow me.”

He is captivated. He does as he is told. She walks really fast, he almost can’t keep up so he jogs. He remembers his mother and little sister down at the hillside, fire blaring, pot boiling, waiting for a fat deer or juicy sluggish rabbit he hunts for supper. Then he smells the air around her hair. The day is old and the branches of the trees are long sharp fingers of the Devil himself. The moon peeks from its hiding. He follows her deeper to the calm darkness.

She takes his hand in hers. He shivers. “Welcome to my home,” she breathes.

Inside of the shack is warm and balmy. Her father, mother, and two little brothers sit around an empty table. They all smile, he smiles back. “Welcome to our home.”

Drucille must be an angel. She comes from a family of angels. The shack is so warm and comfortable, and the warm chocolate drink her mother gives him makes him all giddy. The aches on his muscles disappear. He even forgets about the bleeding cut on his right forearm caused by the thorny plants he passes on the way to her house. It throbs, but his head is too light and his insides are too warm. The pillow on the table would look out of place if he was sober, but it just seems so nice to rest his head there. So he does. He doesn’t see the glint of the knife on his side, or the glint in the little brothers’ eyes, but he does notice Drucille’s sad smile. Why are you so sad and so beautiful, angel?