Where the River Ends, the Sea Begins

The winter crystal is a far-off trace of light as the old man nears the sea. Icy waves rock and fall along frosted sands and shores. He staggers to the place where the river ends and the sea begins.

A nightingale’s melody warms the air from the thickets beyond the pale. Her restive song dances through the hoarfrost branches and woodlands of yore. He walks to the brown bird, drops to one knee, reaches through his black robe to reveal sleeted and cadaverous hands.

The nightingale takes to the air for just a moment, disappearing behind olive branches and then landing just beyond the old man’s reach. She sings a fractious song, beckoning him to follow.

He feels the chill of the gathering wind that burns his timeworn bones. In the wind is a fissured voice, “Bloodstained winds reap the souls of fools marked by the winter crystal’s light.”

He covers his face and turns back to the seashore, but the allure of the nightingale’s tune remains and pierces the blackness of night. He turns around slowly to follow her.

View this story's 8 comments.