Him (Extracts from a Fire Damaged Journal – Three)

The path led deep into the forest and this time I noticed a side path off to the left I hadn’t noticed before. Funny considering I had been this way many times before. Taking the side path I found it was a harder one. There were signs that someone had taken it before but not often or recently. It was overgrown and interrupted by gnarled roots. It was hot in the August sun that still faintly filtered through the foliage above and the path wound and climbed a little. I was tired.

Tired and hot and thinking of going back, I noticed a flash of colour in the green. At first it was not easy to see what it was, but as I closed on the area I glimpsed the back of a man in an orange shirt, a large noticeable man, at what seemed like the entrance to some sort of cave or cavern. A cave between roots and bushes and one I probably wouldn’t have noticed if it weren’t for the brightly coloured shirt of the man. He certainly wasnt trying to conceal himself although quite why he was there or what he was doing didn’t seem obvious. I hadn’t paid much attention to him until now and for some reason I was shocked when it suddenly dawned on me that it was him. Quite why I was surprised I don’t know as this was after all part of his domain, but reactions were strange and blurred with him. I felt relieved that he had his back to me and wouldn’t notice I was there. That relief though was misjudged for as I felt it he, without turning to me, invited me to join him at the cave entrance.

I don’t know how deep the cave was or how far it went into the hillside as it was dark, and even standing before the small entrance, it was well shielded by twisted arms of plants and bushes and I was never toi enter that cave or as it happened ever return to that area, but that is another story and for later if at all. He just stood beside me and made some remark about me having found him before suggesting it maybe wasnt a discovery but actually me being led or summoned there. Such talk always disconcerted me and that feeling wasnt helped by  a dead deer that was lying to the left of the cave and next to him. It looked so peaceful and satisfied and showed no signs of having been there for long, but dead it definitely was however perfectly peaceful it looked and this created a palpable disturbance in the scene that was otherwise so tranquil and quiet without even the sound of birds or insects. Yet again I found myself in his company and not wanting to be there; yet again I found myself in his company and disturbed but able to extricate myself from it nor wanting to.

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