Anneli and Castor eventually reached the edge of the forest. The river continued through the field and towards the mountain range far across the land.
The field was covered in short grass and buds of daffodils waiting for spring. The fields had once been cultivated for grain and vegetables but the soil was now too nutrient poor after many years of farming. In the distance a steam of white smoke reached to the sky from a nearby village.
A kite in the sky watched curiously as the odd pair crosses the field. Anneli felt scared and exposed, he had never crossed such a wide open field during the daytime before.
“Is that the hill?” asked Castor pointing into the distance.
“What is that on top of it?”
“Just a big rock the villagers placed a few years ago. I think it must help them tell the way or directions.” replied Anneli.
Castor smiled and patted Anneli on the head. Anneli did not understand his actions. Castor walked forward towards the hill.
In the sunlight Castor see me to glow almost ethereally to Anneli. He felt something he did not.know what to call or how to deal with. It was a fluttering inside of him that at this moment he chose to ignore.
“What’s wrong?” asked Castor, turning around to Anneli. Anneli was at the edge of the forest but was too scared to go out in the open.
Anneli did not move. He did not speak. Castor walked back to Anneli. Anneli felt the fluttering but he chose to ignore it.
“I have never been out in the open before. What if someone sees me?”
For the first time in the sunlight, Anneli saw the sparkling in Castor’s black obsidian eyes and gentle expression on his face that the darkness of the forest had obscured.
“Don’t worry Anneli,” whispered Castor and held Anneli’s hand. Anneli found it fascinating how the palms of his hands were fair while the rest of his skin was a dark brown. Anneli’s hands were leathery, black and clawed.
Castor gently lead Anneli towards the hill, out in the sunlight. Anneli felt something inside of him that had been empty for so long begin to fill.
It felt warm and right.