Man of the Misty Trail
By Jon Derksen
Published by Art of Adventure at Smashwords
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The eternal mist edged through the valley seeking out every depression and every hollow with patient fingers. It hovered over a brackish stream and the broken stone of an ancient road and sifted through moss-covered ruins. After tumbling over steep plots of abandoned, boulder-strewn ground it nosed through the walls and moldy thatch of an empty peasant dwelling and rubbed dew onto prickly bunches of ichu grass before becoming hopelessly entangled in the black branches of trees; elsewhere it shifted through bamboo groves and flowering kantuta bushes. This was the mist’s domain.
The young man kneeled by a black pool of water at the edge of the stream studying his uncertain reflection—the charcoal hair and doleful eyes. Was this a new day? It must have been for it stood on the far side of another terrible night alone. Again he had had dreams in his sleep, thick, serpentine dreams which had wrapped their coils about him and tightened their hold until he had awoken gasping for air and begging for the return of reality.