Chapter 37 troubled 

Anneli woke up late the next morning to the sound of a galloping horse. Without hesitation Anneli ran and hid behind a nearby tree and carefully watched what would happen. The fire had burned out through the night and now was just a pile of ash. Two men on horses came up to Castor who was just about waking up. Castor was still only half dressed and his hair was a mess. He would have been embarrassed of the state he was in if he was not so annoyed at being rudely awoken.

“Foreigner!” shouted one of the men on horseback, “What are you doing here?”

Castor glared at them for a moment but did not respond. He ignored the two men and proceeded to pick up his dried clothing and dress slowly.

“Foreigner I am talking! What are you doing here?” shouted the man again. He was furious and red in the face after being ignored.

“What do you want?” asked Castor in a sweet sarcastic tone.

“I want to know what you are doing out in the open near our village!” shouted the man. Castor was beginning to suspect he could only communicate through shouting demands. The other man on horseback was silent. Unlike his younger red faced companion he was older with a large beard and gentle demeanour.

“My companion and I are travelling to the northern mountains,” replied Castor as politely as he could.

“Where is your companion?” asked the red faced man. He seemed suspicious of Castor as most people were of foreigners. Castor looked around; he had not realized Anneli had gone missing.

“He must be around here somewhere,” said Castor. I must look suspicious thought Castor.  “We have been walking through the swamp all day yesterday and we were resting for a while.” Castor thought that if he could explain himself the men would leave his alone.

“The SWAMP?” shouted the red faced man seeming genuinely astonished. “No one goes through the swamp.”
“We managed,” replied Castor growing increasingly annoyed.

“What about the monsters?” asked the older man who had been quiet until then. Castor did not know how to respond to this. Should he admit that he was attacked by ghouls and saw walking corpses in the fog? The red faced man turned to his companion and whispered something while occasionally glancing at Castor. The younger man led his horse closer and the two men surrounded Castor.

“What are you doing?” asked Castor, realizing he was in a dire situation.

“You are going to have to come with us,” said the older man, not really answering Castor.

“Why?” demanded Castor getting more and more upset.

“It would be better if you come quietly.”

Anneli watched from a safe distance. He was scared, confused and unsure of what he should do next.

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