The Sun Hath Dried Us Black

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The Birch Wood

“What’s on your mind, Arthur?” Henry said without turning his attention away from the book open on the table before him.

“Why the hell are you even still a Doctor? Do we even need a Doctor anymore?” Arthur shot at him. He was pacing back and forth in the front room of Henry’s house, his footsteps making hollow knocks on the wooden floor below his boots. Henry calmly closed the book and turned around in his chair to see Arthurs face, wet with tears and filled with anger. After a short beat Henry spoke to Arthur as if a father would to a child having a tantrum.

“Don’t pretend you’re mad at me.” Henry said and then slowly stood up walking towards the dining table. He very carefully picked up a small handkerchief so as not to spill its contents and walked over to Arthur whose face was now painted with regret after being scolded by Henry.

“After looking at Charlie I noticed something different about his wound.” Arthurs eyes dashed towards the handkerchief nervously as Henry continued.

“There were long pieces of wood within his wound Arthur, as if he were impaled by a tree.” Henry said revealing the small blood stained pieces of wood that lined handkerchief’s creases. Arthur examined them with a perplexed look on his face and after a moment Arthur carefully took the handkerchief from Henry’s hand. He peered at it closer and after second picked a small piece up between his thumb and forefinger and held it a few inches from his face.

“I know this wood.” He said almost dismissively, “it’s Birchwood and the nearest birch trees are a half hour walk from here.”

“It’s something.” Said Henry quietly.

“It’s something.” Arthur said agreeably. He stood there with the wood in his fingertips, rolling the thin splinter between his thumb and forefinger while he thought. He thought on the horror they had been privy too over the past few months, the death, the fear; the overwhelming sadness that has plagued their small town and with a confident nod he said, “I’ll be back later.”

Henry saw the pain in Arthurs eyes and the drive hidden behind them and simply spoke to him.

“You won’t have much time….” Henry said nervously. After a beat he turned around and grabbed something of the desk behind him, “Here. Just in case.” Henry handed him a small crude blade, which Arthur took.

“I’ll be fine.” Arthur said as he flew out of the house and began running into the woods.

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