Home > Uncategorized > At Home In Heinz Hollow – #3

At Home In Heinz Hollow – #3

Sepp could feel his neighbor’s eyes following him as he strode away from the old house, into the growing darkness and heading for home. He inhaled the clean cool air gratefully, and the peace that usually came with solitude infused his body with a quiet pleasure. Once he was under the cover of trees, he slowed down. There was no hurry, no one waiting at home for his return. When he came to the fork in the road, he ignored the way home and instead, headed off toward the small woodland he had played in as a boy. The moon glowed with a silvery brilliance, nearly full, and the black shadows beckoned. There was a rustling somewhere on the ground among the ancient trees. The shadow shape of an owl in flight covered the moon for one startling second, and then it was gone again. His pace quickened. A strange energy propelled him along almost without conscious thought and he let the cold magic of the moonlight have its way with him.

His steps grew more urgent still, drawing him deeper into the darkness under the gnarled trees. Deep in his soul a longing for escape sprang forth, denied until now and almost terrifyingly vivid. In a waking dream he knew suddenly that he was embarked on an odyssey. Was this what it would feel like to be plucked from the dreary path he trod, to see wonders and learn of life’s mysteries? His body was strong and his mind was ready for this test of his will and courage. Tales of arrogant foreign gods and proud heroes played through his mind, stories of war, of fierce enemies and of kings striving for the most beautiful of women. He would play his part, struggle valiantly against adversity, and had faith that eventually he would find himself at home with his own wife who would wait for him over the lonely years, faithful and lovely.

A picture of her rose in his mind, her long golden hair pulled back in a modest bun and covered by a small cap.  Yearning filled him… He had been alone for so long… Would he ever see his home again or was his destiny to wander for the rest of his life under the blazing sun, friendless and despairing? Thirst and hunger drove him on as he fought despair over his hopeless plight…

He staggered as a stray rock underfoot threw him off balance and his ankle twisted painfully. Sepp shook his head and stood still, breathing heavily, and waited until the odd fantasy lifted. He was out on the road by the Partou family’s hillside pasture, with the bright moon illuminating the dark huddled shapes of cattle. Wide-awake, he had been captured by a fantastical dream. Such a thing had never happened to him before and even now he was shaking disjointed mental pictures out of his brain and trying to recall what he really was. Inhaling, he wondered how much time had passed, since he was now over a mile from home. He glanced around carefully, but no one was in sight to witness his odd behavior. He sighed and turned around, feeling foolish and pathetic. A sudden flush heated his cheek as he realized that the face of his fantasy wife had been that of Elizabeth Millar. It was time, no, long past time for him to be at home, he thought, now deeply ashamed.

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