The Forest

Zarek’s eyes were wide with interest while the soldier told his tale. It was like a rehearsed script, as if he’d told the story so many times that it was now second nature. The two sat around a warm fire.

“Terrible things happen there, boy. The darkness itself is an entity that can swallow you whole.”

“How did you survive?” Zarek ventured curiously.

“I found a city, lad. A magnificent city! Magic filled the air… it was a heavenly place. Sometimes I wish I had stayed there…”

There was a fog in his crystal blue eyes. The silence that followed his last words sent a chill down the boy’s spine.

“I should be getting to bed, as should you, boy.”
Zarek frowned in disopproval, “Can’t I listen to more of your stories?”
The soldier smiled, “That’s all I have to tell, lad. It’s time for your story to begin. Someone has to be around to tell stories when I’m gone, lad.”
With that, the soldier said goodnight and headed to bed.

Before dawn the next morning, the platoon had left the village.

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