The wind sings a haunting dirge as it blows through the skeletal branches of the ash, 'neath
which I lay. My tears freeze upon my face, as I watch the blown branches obscure the moon.
Somewhere in the darkness, an unholy, yet somehow comforting chorus starts, rising in harmony
with the wind. Wolves, the Beast Children of the Night. The smell of decay burns my nostrils, I
know Death lurks close by. I remain still, hardly daring breathe for fear of discovery. Sounds of
the wolves, nearer now, seeming to cry my name. Closer, closer still. And footsteps disturb the
dry leaves. Tentative, wary, but still I hear them, through the wind and wolves. Tensing in my
leaf bed, every nerve crying out. Rustling, nearer and nearer, pause then step again. Above in
the tree, the bird of Death cries out. Black Raven. Rustle of cloth, and arm upraised. Whisper
of wind across silken black feathers as Raven takes flight. Lands on cloth. An arm or shoulder.
Footsteps stop. Listening. No sound but wind. Wolves have quieted. Time stands still. No
sound. No movement. The moon, cold in the darkened sky. Stars shining cold, secrets kept
safe. The tree, blackened, twisted, looms above. A sigh. Step closer to me. Frozen; fear.
Shadow in the corner of my eye. Closer and closer it looms, larger and larger in my vision.
Wolves again, so close. Too close. Cries pierce the night. Footsteps no hesitation. Slow, yet
purposeful. An eerie sensation; It knows where I am. Whisper in the darkness; intaken breath.
Steps closer, closer. Almost upon me. Stop. No movement now. Quiet. Breathing above me.
Rhythmic, quiet, relaxed. Almost hypnotic. In and out. In and out. Dark figure in my vision.
Obscures the moon. Looking down on me. Coldly, calmly. Remorseless, unstoppable,
indefatigable. It has chased me so far. I cannot run any more. Spent. A shudder racks my body.
Tears come again. Choking sobs. My Time has run out. I am lost. Dark figure watches
impassively. Hopelessness. Surrender. I give up. Arm outstretched to me. I take the skeletal
hand in my own, and am pulled to my feet. Raven on its shoulder cries hoarsely. Wolves mill
about our legs. Figure cloaked in ragged black. Cowl shrouds face in Shadow. Shudder, don't
want to see it. Turns and walks towards horizon. Beckons. I hesitate. Then follow. Towards
the screams of the Damned. To eternity.