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Title: The Wanderer Part 3

by October-rain from Shropshire | in writing, fiction, novels

The young man roused himself from his thoughts. How long had he been daydreaming?
He did not know. Night had fallen, and in the cover of darkness it made him harder to detect. But it also made it harder for him to detect them. He sighed deeply before rising to his feet, it was time to go home.
The moon shone brilliantly white, lighting the whole forest in blinding light. He walked slowly, still nervous about his pursuers, were they hiding amid the bushes?
Were they concealed in the trees?
He hoped not.
He followed the winding path downwards, his eyes straining to remember if he was going the right way and absent mindedly he walked back. He walked for what felt like hours, days until he knew he was near his home. He smiled inwardly knowing all his troubles would seem unimportant when he saw his family.
Suddenly he came to a halt. Something wasn't right.
His eyes narrowed. His nostrils flared. Smoke billowed high above the treetops, circling slowly around and around.
Every hair on his body stood on end.
For the second time that night the man ran, ran faster than his legs could carry him. Through the forest and across the bridge until he came to the source of the smoke.
His house.
The flames twisted, raged out of control, swirling and burning brightly, brighter than the stars in the skies. “FIRE!!! PLEASE HELP FIRE!!!” he screamed desperately
His heart was in his mouth. he screamed louder and louder until his voice was hoarse. The acrid smoke filled his lungs, choking him. A crowd gathered, the men threw buckets of water but it never stopped the inferno. The heat smouldered his skin, pain ravaged his body.
Time seemed to stop, everything froze except his racing heart and the ever growing flames. He wanted to run, run straight into the flames but they held him back. He struggled helplessly but they were too strong.
They fought the inferno throughout the night and eventually the beast waned.
By morning all that was left of his humble home, the place that held so many memories was a blackened wreckage.
He fell to the charred earth below. Bitter words filled his head, dancing around with the darkened thoughts.
The book.
The book and his actions had killed them.
It her was revenge.
And his fault.
He lay on the dusty earth for sometime, not caring what the spectators thought, they hadn't just lost their wives and children, the grief bore him down to the lowest depths. All of a sudden he rose, his weary bones creaked under the immense pressure and walked slowly, mournfully to the house.
The villagers stood and bowed their heads as he wandered amid the rubble, everything was black, crumbled, he wandered heartbroken through the remains for some time, looking, hoping to find something, anything that belonged to them. Crows called out overhead, their shrill cries cutting through his mind, Scarring his reasoning.
Why didn't he break away from the crowd and run inside, fight them to let him free? why didn't he try to save them?
Even if he had perished in the flames at least he would have tried, at least he wouldn't have stood helpless as the flames destroyed his life.
A glint of gold caught his eye amid the piles of ash.
He bent down to the earth below and held out a grimy hand, sweeping the ash away.
A ring.
Her ring.
He clasped it in the palm of his hand, gently sweeping the dirt from it. He paused holding back those tears. Why? Why? That was the only thing that filled his aching mind.
He rose from the spot, still clutching the precious ring he looked down at the identical one on his hand. “Till death do us part....”

The young man looked around desperately trying to picture the way it used to be, clutching at the shards of his life. He saw the kitchen she used to cook meals in, singing as she worked away, her heavenly voice gliding around the house, he saw the living room they would sit in, listening to his stories of adventure, bravery and mystery, their faces filled with childlike innocence and enthusiasm.
All gone.
His original fears faded into unimportance, all that was left was a dark, foreboding loneliness that drowned him amid the wreckage.
The tears ran freely now, stinging his red rimmed eyes and blistered face before falling to the ash below.

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