Scarborough Fair

There is a small forgotten town in the depths of the woods filled with equally forgotten people; those who come never leave, and those who try will die.
Of course, they can't try unless they unlock their memories from the spell of an ancient witch cast hundreds of years ago. When a group of young adults wake up, they must unite to break the curse, but will they work together or tear each-other down?

Chapter 3

Rowan- Whispers in the Forest

by: Darsha
The quiet shroud of tranquility was descended over the forest. Sun beams penetrated the leafy canopy in singular beams, never offering much protection from the crisp chill that graced the air. Exhalations would have been visible-had anyone been breathing. Nothing was audible except the hiss of wind and the occasional warble of a clarion. Eventually the warbles connected and a song emerged. But that was irrelevant to the forest.

In the wee hours of the morning, a boy, no more than nine years old, slept on a sprinkling of leaves. His body was wrapped around a weathered marble stone that had silvery veins running through it's body. The hot winds of gossip and history have woven the legend that the silver streak that permeated the stone came from the tears of the sleeping boy but the reason for the oddity would never be confirmed. After all, there were no silver streaked stones in town.

That stone would soon mark a grave; it was the grave of someone who wasn't confirmed to be dead but absent in the same form as death, body and soul gone from the world of glassy discord.

The clarion warbled again.

And equanimity remained until the snow began to fall.
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Rowan sat still as still as a deer, high in the tree, poised to spring at a moment's notice. He held his slingshot in his left hand, waiting for a flicker of movement.

To his right, a red breasted robin strutted about on its branch, calling out a jaunty tune. The sling could have easily sent a stone hurdling in its direction, but it did not. Rowan never shot birds.

Time wore on, and the gangly boy remained unmoving, his lean muscles ready for the strike.

There it was.

A rusting in the silence. A rabbit rummaged about on the forest floor, nosing around for greens. In no more than two seconds the rock shot from it's place of rest in the sling and Rowan had somersaulted down from his branch, landing perfectly balanced to inspect his kill.

Dinner.

Sprinting back to his cave, Rowan caught sight of a patch of red mushrooms with white spots. He stooped to gather them, vowing to make the trip down from his secluded bluff and beloved forest in the morning. They would fetch a good price.

In the mist of the morning, Rowan left for town the next day. His gait was slow on purpose, taking a meandering route, avoiding the task of interacting with the townsfolk.

Rowan knew he stood out; his ragged clothes and long, messy pony tail pegged him as an outsider. The wild one who lived in uncivilized territory. Untamed. Whispers would travel quickly like water babbling its way down a brook. People would stare with wide eyes at the boy dressed in animal skins with a knife at his belt. Mothers would hustle their children inside.

What a commotion he caused for someone who never spoke.

As he entered the bustling center square, his brown eyes searched intently for the healer's shop. The sign above the shop had long since faded and Rowan was never in town enough to remember its location.

There were many other things that Rowan could not remember of the town. He had been too young at the time or he had chosen not to remember.

Memory could be a curse.

A girl of nineteen years dusted off her apron. (Rowan couldn't have been more than eighteen himself, although he never knew his birthday) She tossed her golden pleats behind her back and entered a small building. Rowan followed her. Her name was Emilia, he knew, and she was the healer who would buy his mushrooms.

"Oh! Rowan!" Emilia exclaimed when she noticed him hanging toward the back of her cluttered little shop, "I didn't see you there."

Rowan just nodded, briefly making eye contact before reaching into his satchel to retrieve the mushrooms. Emilia's face broke out into a smile when she saw them.

"I needed these," she said quickly, placing a gold coin in Rowan's hand. A coin she knew he would never use. "Many people have been coming down with a wild coughing spell and I just didn't enough of these! Thank-you so much."

Rowan shrugged.

An awkward silence fell on the room.

"Would you like to stay for lunch Rowan?" Emilia offered kindly. Rowan nodded his reply. No thanks.

Rowan had little need to stay in town after that. He didn't mind doing favors for Emilia. She was kind enough not to stare at him like he was a remote creature that had risen from the forest floor. And so he headed back to his bluff. Back to the his cave, and back to his life of seclusion. Living in a constant state of tranquility and survival with no one but the birds as his friends.

He wouldn't have it any other way.

A sparrow whistled a low tune in the distance.

And Rowan whistled back.

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