Lucy closed her eyes and shuffled over to the old stuffed chair that he had loved and spent most of his last hours. She stared at it sadly. Funerals could be so depressing. Only a few neighbors attended the graveside service. More out of curiosity than sympathy. No flowers, no words of sympathy. Even the vicar seemed lost for words. A plain wooden coffin buried in what would soon be an unmarked grave.
Erik and I kept to ourselves.
Nosiness and human nature. An annoying fact of life here.
Every bone and muscle in her body ached. She gazed down at her gnarly fingers and sighed.
How have I gotten so old?
She strengthened her resolve. I must go on. What I need is a cup of tea.
After filling the kettle, she lit the old wood stove that had served them for what seemed ages. She pulled a chipped china cup from the shelf and reached for the jar of herbs she had collected and dried the past summer. She took a whiff of the flowery aroma, still powerful and invigorating. A spoonful is all I need.
She sat down in his chair and cradled the cup in her arthritic hands and thought of their years together. Leaving this life would not be a hardship. She reminisced over his last days in this house. Juniper tea had been his last request. He had considered his decision carefully. The pain would be minimal.
This house had been their home for decades, but she knew living here without him would be too painful.
The clock struck eleven. The first quarter moon touched the western horizon and set. Darkness would cover her departure from the prying eyes of those who had not really known her yet feared her nonetheless. She wrapped her shawl more tightly around her skeletal frame.
She scanned the room that had served as her sanctuary. What should I take with me?
Her eyes settled on the bundles of herbs that hung from the rafters. She shook her head.
I can always find more.
The loom in the corner where she wove the shroud she had wrapped Erik in? She pondered the thought for mere moments.
No. I need nothing from here.
Tiredness overwhelmed her. She set the cup down and let her eyes close. Not much longer.
A noise from outside woke her. Only the wind? She glanced at the old clock on the wall. Nearly midnight.
She smiled and shook the stiffness from her limbs. The potion had done its work. The spell had broken.
She stood and went to the door. Throwing it open, she let the wind caress her reborn body. Dropping the shawl to the floor, she waited for him.
Out of the darkness, he approached. Strong, vigorous. Just as she remembered him so long ago.
He took the shroud from his shoulders and wrapped them both in it. He kissed her; the action of a young lover meeting his beloved after too long a separation. Her passion rekindled; her disguise of years dropped away.
“Where should we go?” he asked, his hands caressing her raven locks.
“I don’t care. As long as we’re together.”
M.A. Moore lives in the Pocono Mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania surrounded by trees, ‘possums, deer, birds and the occasional black bear. She’s traveled to six of the world’s seven continents, and believes her journeys have vastly expanded her view of the planet Earth and the people that inhabit it. Conservation is a theme in many of her paranormal adventure novels, and she volunteers her time at a local environmental education center.