The Crying Stranger) Short Story

A luminous glow radiated around the silent figure. Her white skin untainted by the sun’s harsh touch, as her eyes twinkled like fiery green emeralds. Her straight, calf length auburn hair flowed around her like a red veil. Her naturally crimson lips moved as she sang to herself. The song seemed so right on this dark dreary night.

She walked through the darkness unafraid of anything around her. She had no worries. The millions of stars burned brightly above her small head. Her feet, bare amongst the new spring grass, made her feel almost alive. She stopped. Bending her head slightly to the left, she listened. The small night sounds were so crisp to her elfin ears. She listened through the sounds until she heard it. The call.

Turning, she let her feet guide her to the town of Naveret. It had been weeks since she had visited the small town, but knew the way in the pitch darkness that surrounded her. She quickened her pace. The foul smell hit her almost immediately after entering the town. Her small pointy nose wrinkled as she drew closer to the smell of death.

She stopped in front of a small, rickety cottage and looked inside the window. The thin pale curtains were open enough so she could peer inside. She saw the sick man dying in bed. His time had finally come, and the urge to cry made her vibrate where she stood.

A small hand touched her back. She turned. Her tattered, earth brown dress swirled around her. A small, brown haired child looked up at her with curious hazel eyes.

“You have come for papa?” she asked, with a small touch of sadness in her voice.

The stranger had forgotten children could see her. They still believed in fairy magic.

“I have,” she said, her voice sounded as any other human woman, yet she wasn’t.

“Will papa feel better?”

“Soon he will.” She didn’t lie; she always told the truth.

The child nodded. “I hate to see papa so sick. Can I talk to him before you cry?” The stranger felt a twinge of regret. Why had she been placed in this job? She was not as cruel as the folklores implied. She nodded, watching the child run inside. The stranger peered back into the dusty window. The child sat talking to her father, as her mother silently wept by the bedside. The feeling to cry came. She struggled to push it back down into the pit of her stomach.

The child stopped talking and looked at her through the window. She gave the stranger a small smile, but held her father’s hand. Forgive me, the stranger thought. Her mouth opened. A hum, so quiet at first, started and then grew and grew until it became a shrill, shriek that filled the night air. Large tears ran down her pale cheeks as she watched the child kiss her father’s lifeless hand. The cry, loud and piercing, continued on.

Finally, when she was sure his spirit had flown, she closed her mouth. The night became quiet again. She turned. Away from the window, away from the child. She walked silently but swiftly from the town. Another death needed to be announced. She hoped it would be of old age. Those were easy to deal with because their time was up. They knew it too and were ready to leave this world. It had always been the deaths of the sick or the young which affected her the most.

The stranger disappeared into the forest, her bare feet guiding her to the next town. She needed no map or light. Even the light her body gave off was not needed. The dying called. The long night weighed heavily on her as her melancholy cry sounded.

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