|The ring of the wood cutter’s axe splits through the air. The winter’s thick silence is cleaved by his blade. For now, the sound is reassuring. As long as the blade sings, he is unaware of me, creeping through this hellish half acre.
A wave of apprehension slides down my spine. I dart from one skeletal tree to another, trying to stay hidden in the misty shadows. The heavy snow muffles my steps, but I would be an easy follow.
I should not have taken the shortcut.
Half way there, I pause to watch his massive shoulders lift and fall. I almost feel sorry for the cursed wretch, locked here in this wood. He stops swinging and turns, as if he senses my eyes upon him. I freeze, and hold my breath to prevent the icy exhalation from betraying me. His eyes bore the darkness, searching. Finally, he turns back to his wood.
I carefully slide my back to the next trunk, and try not to gasp. The growing quiet makes me uneasy.
I take in a slow, measured breath. Mid breath, the woodsman’s corded forearms flash around the tree, and a hickory handle crosses my throat. Choking, I reach up to curl my fingers around it, fighting for air. The tattoo on the back of my hand glows red.
The giant woodcutter spies the tattoo and drops the handle. He rocks back on his heels, and lets out a barking laugh.
“You’re the conclave destined? What a joke of a prophecy. You’re not even big enough to carry a twig, get on with you.”
I scramble for the edge of the wood. Conclave destined? That must be a mistake.
Behind me, once again, the axe sings out.
© Copyright 2011 Silonch (UN: silonch at Writing.Com).
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