Little Time Left
By Martha Ostout
She’s traveled far, her shoes long since worn out and her coat in tatters. Her hair was matted and dirty, stray leaves and even a few twigs caught in the mess. Her face, once fair and almost translucent was smudged with dirt and sun-burned.
She hugged the small swaddled from in her arms closer to her chest and was grateful that the infant was a deep sleeper once more.
She didn’t know if she’d be able to do this if her young one had been awake.
But maybe she’d have been able to push forward anyway. She had learned that she could be strong when she had to be even if Marin had never believed it of her in the past.
Illiana did not sigh, she didn’t have the breath for it.
She only had until the new moon to finish her preparations before her time was up.
The village ahead was a welcome sight and not just because of the threatening clouds overhead. Illiana hurried to the small house that she recognized from so many years in the past and prayed that her dear friend was still living. The door creeped open and Illiana did sigh this time, though in relief.
The older woman on the other side looked surprised. “Illiana, what are you doing here?”
Illiana tightened her hands on the bundle in her arms before asking quietly if she could enter.
Marin didn’t respond, just stood back and held the wooden door open. The downtrodden woman on the outside hurried in, but didn’t accept the mug of warm tea or anything else. She simply held the bundle out to her old friend and said nothing until the woman took the child and peered down at his sleeping face.
“He’s gorgeous, Illiana.” Marin cooed before glancing up to where her friend was.
Only to see nothing, no sign other than the baby that Illiana had ever been there.
This was supposed to go somewhere else, but once it was written it was written…