I've missed Anne Marie. She whispers to me at night, it's time to let her out for a while.
My offering for Master Class Monday at Our Write Side
Anne Marie listened intently for a repetition of the cracking of leaves behind her. Though she heard no new sound, she silently circled back. The iron broadsword in her grip hummed in anticipation. She sniffed the air; was that a hint of fresh blood on the breeze?
From tree to tree she crept forward, homing in on the scent. As she neared her target she heard the whisper of soft breaths. And something else…rhythmic tapping, so soft she almost missed it.
Anne Marie stopped, a memory tickled at her. A thing forgotten, a thing she needed to know.
She tested the breeze again. The blood odor was thicker and foul. And another smell...sulfur. Her eyebrows rose as well as the hair at the nape of her neck.
With only the old iron blade, did she dare to confront the thing lying in wait? For it was certainly waiting for her.
Still soft, the tapping continued, insistent and no longer just ahead but all around.
‘Too late to turn back,’ she told herself, ‘she knows I’m here.’
Anne Marie stood straight and sheathed the sword.
Three more steps brought her into the circle. Its guardian smiled a welcome as it beckoned her to the center most spot.
She smirked back at the daemon; it wouldn’t be the first time she'd stood at the crossroad to oblivion. Nor would it be the last.