by Anna Kubiak
She walks. The darkness looms beyond and yet she walks. If she wanted company she would ask for it, or at least that is what the townspeople say. She walks on, the rocks giving-way to nothing as they slip away from the cliff she teeters on. It is with dignity that she wobbles though she never falls. The wind takes her cloak in its robust arms as though it is its own, sending it dancing in the wake of the girl who walks before it. The sea breeze is no longer welcoming, it has become a thief. Turned by the shallows, concealed by the darkness, it is her thief, for it steals from her more than the eyes can see. The waves thrash as if begging to be set free from their sandy prison. Their white spray clings to its prey like a bullet ceasing to release its victims.
She walks. Unafraid, or so the townspeople say. She is clothed in the darkness that surrounds her, no longer fighting to find the light. She has become the shadows. Was it her choice? The townspeople can’t decide. Though who would choose a life confined to sorrow? Was she broken? She must be, or that is what the townspeople say. Nevertheless, she walks on, beyond the boundaries of what the townspeople know. Her hair, a flowing mane of ebony flies behind her, as a native flag would over a war ridden country. Her eyes are as dark as the eyes that stare out at the children from the faces of monsters that lurk under the bed to scare them when the lights go out. The hooves of her horse echo through the empty streets like the beating of a drum as they fly by, moving so fast they are one, lost in the blur of motion.
Her name is the Wanderer, or that is what the townspeople call her. For she comes, but never stays and leaves, but never goes. Through the whispers and cries the Wanderer rides, unfazed by the pain she crosses, unconcerned by the joy she disrupts. Is she good? The townspeople wonder as they stare into her pale face, watching her cold eyes as though she can see beneath their skin. Is she bad? The townspeople wonder as they watch the stone sword dangle carelessly from her slim fingers. The Wanderer never answers. The Wanderer simply wanders leaving behind a web of questions she shall never answer. It gives her pleasure to leave a cloud of unease in her wake, or that is how the townspeople describe it. And how does the Wanderer describe her life, filled with the solitude of an outcast, the duty of a soldier, and the darkness of a broken heart? The townspeople never ask.
And so it is that the Wanderer wanders and the townspeople wonder. Until the end of time the balance is never disturbed for fear that darkness is only made of darkness. Because the Wanderer is made of darkness, or at least that is what the townspeople believe.