“A bird calls, distant and wounded. The woods are still as death. Quick steam huffs in and out of Geoff’s open mouth. We gather wood and help Tom build his fire. As I pick up spare twigs and dried bracken, I wonder how far our sounds penetrate into the black forest, and how far our shouts echo along the White Road. Anyone approaching along the road could find us here.
Supper is roasted pork we brought from the village, and warmed snow. After we have licked our fingers clean, we edge closer to the fire, heads cocked toward the whispering wind as it brushes the treetops. Night birds warble, and small creatures rustle in the snow.Tom continues, the cider giving him a pompous certainty.They say if you creep along the right valley in the dead o’ night, ’round the dark o’ the moon, you’ll hear them witches a-singin’ an’ a-chantin’.”
Yet this time when he speaks, there is something in his tone that gives us pause. There are some who believe to speak of a thing is to summon it into the world, and Tom speaks with such conviction. We become so quiet that the loudest noise is the sizzle of burning tree sap.
The darkness around us presses down, as if to listen. The music of the wind rises and falls with the swirls of the snow, the creaking of the sea of branches in the darkness above us.”