Regretful Song of the Ankaranth


All away, all away,
cursed and blessed,
the ordained waters bled.
All away, all away,
the Ankaranth stand alone,
letting the gods take their lives’ daily bread.


Sinking under the land,
crying with their struggle,
contacting death as an eager friend.
Screaming with hands upright,
letting fatigue wash them over,
adrenaline powering a futile fight,
though a massacre’s blood will blend.


     It probably wasn’t normal that she wasn’t scared. Most people would be. But, for some reason, the fear just didn’t rise in Arden. As far as she could tell just one coyote had appeared. The coyote followed her down the crushed limestone trail, but every time she turned to look at it, it performed a kind of little dance. Shifty stutter steps on its hind legs. High pitched huffs and chortles that sounded like laughter came from its jaws. Its hide shimmied on its haunches as it skipped along.


     And the wood witch talked in her sleep.

     When she did so, men came from miles around to hear her words, convinced she would tell them the best time of day to hunt, the easiest way to bring in a harvest, the steps needed to enter a woman’s heart.

     Once such man, a tall and skinny farmer who the others called Lamb, went alone to see the wood witch. This had never been done before, and the others were sure Lamb would never return. Many of them began dividing up his belongings as soon as he vanished on the horizon. By the third hour of his departure, some were already spinning a new mythology, the story of Lamb the Brave, or Lamb the Imbecile. By the tenth hour, the village slept and mostly forgot Lamb until morning.