Isn’t Halloween the best? Yes, it is! Throughout October I will be featuring Guest Posts that have a Halloweenish bent to them. Check out October Is Coming for details. I’m pleased to feature today a haunting piece by the lovely and ethereal uncaged. You may have known her once as joycemildred, but she likes to go scorched earth now and again, to burn and start over. She’s been a bit quiet of late, so maybe we can fire her up again by revisiting her piece from Waltoween I, which I find pleasantly dreary.
The Weary Traveler
In the dead of winter, two barren trees with gnarled thin branches, lifeless, stand apart, alone on a flat frozen grave – a grave of despair and loneliness, infinitely vast, stretching beyond where cold blue sky meets icy dirt.
The open space is heavy with hopelessness and beckons a wayward traveler. He walks closer, drawn by the comfort of death. He feels the wet wind blow through his bones. Under a lonely tree he sits, legs curled, one beneath the other to warm his cold feet. He tucks his arms and curls his body in a feeble attempt to cradle his empty heart. His dead beating heart. He seeks rest beneath the frozen tree, his nameless gravestone. He is cold. He is tired. He writhes in pain.
Something dark approaches, draped black as night, with a shadowed face as pale as powder, with eyes of onyx. It extends a sympathetic hand with fingers as gnarled as the branches above; a hand that lends consolation, rest. The weary traveler submits. His heart stops; he is shocked by pain beyond pain, despair beyond despair. He is led from his chosen grave. His frozen feet numb, he floats behind the shadowy figure, nonexistent; he is led far from his gravestone to an icy hole in the ground. He is planted upright, his numb feet buried in the infertile soil. His skin is pierced by misery that grows inside him and extends outward against the stinging wet wind like twisted branches of stone. He remains, lost and forgotten amid the open space of hopelessness. Frozen in sorrow and unrest in a landscape of eternal lucid death.
A traveler approaches and sits at his feet, back to his trunk, tucked and curled in a feeble attempt to comfort himself; a companion of heartache in the desolate land.
A familiar dark figure approaches, lends a sympathetic hand, and leads the weary traveler out of sight.