1. The call of cold water
2. Finding a way back home
3. The mysterious sound of silence
Coldwater was a small, backwards town by the foot of Mount Edssegan, near to the border of Kelwith and Drammel Counties; yet it paid no dues to either.
Hemmed in as it was by the two rivers, Tally and Flynn, it survived by its trade with nearby villages and sending ground flour and other foodstuffs along the rivers to places further away. It used to be called a lost town.
However, this story is not about Coldwater.
I was lost, and fearful of ever finding a way back home. I had foolishly set off with little in the way of provisions and wearing light Summer clothing, when the Autumn chill at night was likely to reach right inside and leach the strength from an unseasoned rookie out for adventure.
They said at school that I was destined for failure – well, at least I remember something from my schooldays – I never liked Geography, and Surviving in the Wild hadn’t been on the syllabus then.
I lay on the ground coated in leaves where I had fallen. My breath was shallow and fluttering. I might not last the night.
All the creatures had settled down for their nocturnal slumbers – even the cicadas – and there was I listening to the mysterious sound that has enveloped me… the sound of silence. Difficult to grasp at nothing, but there it was. Not a leaf rustling, nor a twig snapping, but I knew that I was being followed deeper and deeper into the darkness. Some being was shadowing my path, staying at a constant distance, and waiting.
I was waiting, too; but, from the other side of the equation. My loss would be another’s gain – my departure the ending that I deserved, and my body would be disposed of in one of many unimaginable (or imaginable) ways.
Waking from the deepest of sleeps, I yawned and rubbed at my bleary eyes. Last night’s sleep had been filled with vivid dreams, that, all too often, verged on the border of nightmares. I always woke feeling drained and with a sense of onerous misgiving from these sorts of image-laden nights.
I arose and walked unsteadily to the door of my room. Upon opening the door I was confronted by a shape the size of a small garden shed. Amorphous to say the least, it was probably just a foreshadowing of the dreads that the day would bring me.
“Coffee! I need coffee!” I spoke.
The amorphous shape followed me to the kitchen – I bet it was ‘hungry’, too.
I sipped the freshly percolated brew, caffeine firing up the synapses to bring my brain online.
The amorphous shape – I shall call him ‘Syd’ – hovered fractionally above the ground; silent, thoughtful, brooding.
Syd looked at me as if to say, ‘Get a life!’. I could but agree. How is it that the truth spoken by others is easier to accept than the truth you yourself try to voice. But, yes, Syd was right. I did need to get a life.
The morning passed. Syd and I stared at each other. The world carried on beyond these four walls. Sentences became phrases. Words dissolved into l o n e l e t t e r s.