Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird was startled off his perch in the old oak tree by the approaching rider, taking off with a flutter of feathers and a disgruntled caw. The horseman was dressed all in black leather, gleaming at the seams where snow and moonlight collected. He pushed his steed hard, its breath pillowing about them like fine, spun glass.
At the crossroads the horseman abruptly reined in and the horse skidded to a stop in the middle of the intersection. Standing in his stirrups, the man turned and looked intently in all directions. All was calm to the north, west and east but behind him to the south there was an approaching darkness. The wind bore with it a low grumble, the sound of many voices raised in anguish. Hearing this, the rider spurred his horse to the west and galloped toward the lights of a small village in the distance. Continue reading