The cold fall breeze surrounded Melena Ardith as she walked to meet Owen, her beloved of many years. The leaves that blanketed the ground crunched loudly under her light footsteps, disturbing the quiet. As she wrapped her shawl tightly around her, she turned to look back at the dark, moonless path she had traveled. Erie noises seemed to emanate from every corner of the forest, making her shiver in fear. Never before had she felt such dread in coming to the river’s edge. Her only prayer was that Owen would be waiting for her and she would not have to be alone.
As she came closer to the river, the noises grew louder. It soon became clear that what she had been hearing were muffled screams. But these cries were unlike any she had ever heard before; they seemed to be coming from beneath the water.
Melena’s courage escaped her and she turned to run. Had it not been for Owen’s shout, she would have never been able to stop her terrified flight. She turned back toward the sound to see Owen standing by the river looking into its onyx depts. She rushed to him, only to be pushed back by a huge wave of hot water. The force of it slammed her into a large tree and the world went dark.
Moments later, Melena awakened and took a few precious seconds to get her bearings. Struggling to get to her feet, she hurried to where she had last seen Owen. Her heart filled with sorrow as she found his motionless body lying on the cold ground, steam still rising from around him. Knowing that there was nothing she could do to save her love, tears began to fill her eyes and she fell to her knees.
Time seemed to have lost its meaning as Melena sat at his side until a swift movement caught her attention. She turned to find a small girl sitting at Owen’s head. She appeared to be three or four years of age with large sea green and silver eyes, along with long coppery curls that framed her pale face. The child was crying silently, like she was sharing her grief with her. The expression she had begged her to take the girl and not leave her there alone. As she reached for her, the tearful child seemed to take on a silvery glow.
Melena shook her head and told herself that her mind was playing tricks on her, most likely due to her collision with the tree earlier. Blinking several times, she picked up the child and the glow began to fade. Strange, Melena thought to herself, she is completely dry. She placed the girl on her cold, damp skirt.
She began to get up when a large shadow rose from the river, showering them with bloody water. Melena could not make out what it was, nor did she truly want to know. Grateful that the beast had over looked them, she struggled to her feet with the girl still in her arms. She placed her on her hip and quickly headed back to her home, wondering what else this dark night would bring.