As I thought, the number 13 is neither unlucky nor lucky. It’s still one of my favorite numbers. I have a thing for prime numbers for some odd reason. HA! No pun intended. It says something that I started laughing when I realized what I had written. I’m so stupid. And I love every second of it!
You know what’s sad is that it took me every day since my last post (including that day) to get this segment written. I wasn’t feeling it and I wasn’t sure what should happen. I knew something had to happen to move things along. You can’t write about walking 5 leagues. Something has to happen.
And, yes, I originally wrote the distance as 10 leagues. She covered half the first day.
======== The Path of Moonlight ========
When my belly was full of the blessed liquid, I noticed a small cave created by the cluster of large rocks. It was a shallow cave, large enough to give me shelter and the comfort that goes with it but not much bigger than that. Perhaps I should have worried about other animals seeing the same thing. Perhaps I should have wondered why I could see inside it at all, but I was too tired and I was grateful to have any kind of shelter.
The next morning I awoke to bright sunshine and the quiet gurgle of water falling on rocks. There were no birds chirping, no animals scuffling around; just myself peeking out of the cave and listening to the absence of everything but the water. It came from higher up in the rocks and gurgled down into a little stream that fed the pond. I was curious but not curious enough to look for the source before I had drunk another belly-full of water.
When I had appeased my body as much as I could, I looked at the spring coming from higher up the rocks. Try as I might, I couldn’t detect the source of the water because it disappeared into the rocks where I couldn’t follow. It didn’t make sense to me but I didn’t waste time caring about it. Water was water and this water tasted clean and fresh. I wasn’t going to question it.
It felt wrong to spoil the pond by washing myself in it so I left still dirty. When I had finished squeezing out from the boulders, I looked around and was confronted with a new problem – which way was I headed? As it did the day before, everything looked the same but now I had veered off course and couldn’t be sure in which direction the town lay.
I had no choice but to pick a direction and start walking. My feet and legs hurt and I was hungry but at least I was no longer thirsty for the time and the night’s sleep along with the water had renewed my energy. My pace was faster than the day before and I hoped to reach some sign of civilization that day.
I did, but it wasn’t a town. It was a road. A dirt road barely more than a track. The grass had thinned so the path was easy to spot when I drew near it. I had perhaps been walking another hour when I saw the house. It was more like a glorified cabin stuck in the middle of an empty field. There was what looked like a garden next to it and a goat roamed free. As I approached, it didn’t run but lifted its head to gaze disinterestedly at me before going back to its grazing. The cabin had a thatched roof and the wood was unpainted. It looked old and worn but sturdy, as if it had survived harsh storms before and would continue to do so long after its inhabitants were gone.
The road continued on past it but I could see that there was a foot-worn path leading to the front door. A few paces from the road were short stone pillars marking either side of the path. Perhaps the remains of a front gate.
I stopped, wondering if I should knock on the door or continue onward. I thought finding work was the best option for me, but I didn’t know how much longer it would take to reach the town or if I’d be able to find anything there. Or if I was indeed heading in the right direction. My stomach rumbled and twisted and, as I stood there debating, the door opened with a very ordinary creak and a very ordinary old woman stepped out.
She was beginning to hunch forward from an excess of years, many of them most likely spent bent over projects and chores. Her greasy, ratted hair was grey but it didn’t appear to be thinning. The majority of it was tied back but more than a few thick tangles had freed themselves and hung in lank groups around her face and neck. Her clothes were, like the man’s, different from mine. She appeared to be wearing an old-fashioned sort of dress. If it had had color when it was new, it had long since faded and was now nondescript and stained with age.
“Welcome,” the old woman said. I had expected a voice that came from a face full of wrinkles to be rough like sandpaper or creaky like the woman’s door, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t the light voice of a young woman, but it was strong and full and deep. It held power and knowledge.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” she said.
======== End of 14th Installment ========
I’m not altogether happy with what I have for today, but I’ve thought and thought and can’t see a way to get around it. It feels like filler but stuff like this always feels like filler to me. I mean, you can’t just bounce around from action to action without saying how you got there. I can argue with myself till kingdom come so I’ve left it as is.
I’m getting an idea that maybe when I’m done with this, I may go back and do a rewrite. Edit and rewrite then self-publish if it’s good enough and there’s a large enough following of those who would want it.