If you could have a death scene, what would that be... mine is braveheart
Snow: It fell quietly in large flakes from the cloud-filled sky, amidst the freezing temperatures and frigid winds, in a typical chilly November for the state of Ohio. It is around six in the morning, as a fleet of yellow buses rumble along the roadways between the many wooded areas, fields and pastures, on their way toward their destination at the Elementary, Junior High and High School, so early in the morning located in and around the town of Bellbrook.
It is outside in the open service corridor running between the two buildings, the Junior High and High School, where a sinister scene, a hazing crime, is taking place. Four students square off in a cement stairwell that leads into a side door entering the boy’s locker room, three seniors and one freshman. The stairwell is concealed by darkness as the morning encroaches on another day, but also is concealed by several bushes and three juniper trees around it.
It is here the two seniors have grabbed the freshman, and hold him as he is brutally assaulted by the third one, no doubt being punished for nothing more than his meager existence as a lower classman. A hidden crime because the student did not bow down and be respectful, or recognize them as their elder in the hall. In fact, this freshman was different, from a different place, and did belong here. He was from the west, a place where you had to fight for your existence in your own class to be acknowledged, or you would be assaulted the same way, verbally lashed, and pranked upon your person. You also could have other cruel things happen to you too that were much worse. He basically had not recognized his place, coming from a different environment, and had not understood how things worked here in the east. He had basically told them in so many four letter words to take a flying leap and now he was paying the price for his insolence.
They held him as one worked him over and delivering a series of hard punches, kicks, and jabs to the head, neck and body. He did not scream, nor did he whimper and it only infuriated the upper-classman more that by his defiance. What it was that he was cold, and partially ill with a cold, and his throat raw from coughing over the weekend so he could hardly speak about a whisper.
One more series struck the youth and this time he slipped from their grasp, but he did not run. He fell exactly on the spot he now stood, the ground splattering red by his own warm blood that now covered the ice and snow. When he was down they kicked him, but he only lay there like a literal rag doll, hardly breathing, his body beyond feeling pain right now and his breath barely visible in the frosty morning air. Now in he now morning light, they were able to see for themselves the events and what they have been doing for the last twenty-minutes, beating him literally into the ground. A pool of bright red blood now spattered the snow-covered cement area near the stair case and near the doorway.
“Wait, hold up, what the fuck did you do to him?” The senior known as Matthew asked, the sensible one of the group, “I said scare him, and ruff him up him a little not try to kill him.”
“What are you talking about?” Kenny asked. He was he prankster, and funnyman of the class. He was confused by the question, and wondered why all of a sudden that Matt actually gave a fuck, especially about a lower classman.
“Dude, I think you hurt him.” Matthew repeated, pointing at the body, the blood and the intestine that he clearly could see under the shirt of the freshman. He didn’t know his name even, and after all this, it hardly mattered. The other two looked in astonishment at the inert body, and the pool of red blood that now covered the snow, and the freshman’s clothes.
“Oh come on, that’s fake blood.” Jim commented, “Can’t you tell, I didn’t think he would stoop so low to get out of a pounding. He has a bad attitude and a filthy mouth.”
“Dude, I don’t think it is… I don’t think he deserves any more punishment.” Matt declared, “Honestly. I think he’s had enough, we need to help him to the office and we’ll simply tell him that we found him hurt after what he appeared to have slipped on the ice.”
“Principle Rhoades will never believe that, how can you say he got contusions to his face, lips and body.”
Jim leaned down to the young man who lay silently on he ground in the cold.
“You say anything to the staff, parents or anyone; we’ll do this again, four times worse than what we did this time and leave scars to remind you.” He snarled, “So keep your mouth shut!”
The freshman did not move, wince, or show emotion as he lay on the ground.
“Dude, he needs to go to the office, and an ambulance needs to be called, at least a Paramedic. He’s not going to be able to get to his class, let alone back on his feet.” Matthew pressed, and he saw Jim shake his head.
“We need to get inside. We have like five minute before class starts.” Kenny suggested, “Don’t worry about this little shit, he got his just deserves.”
“I’m not leaving him.” Matt snarled, “If you geniuses had not noticed, we ripped open something and his internal organs are hanging out.”
“I still think he’s faking it.”
“Let’s go.” Kenny told him, pulling at his arm and Matt shook his head, leaning for a moment near the freshman’s ear.
“I’m not going, I’m taking him to the office and getting him help.” Matt repeated, and both Jim and Ken stepped forward toward him.
“I’m Sorry.” He said. Jim held up his fist.
“Don’t worry someone will find him, probably let the office know… We have three minutes till homeroom, just leave him here. ” Pulling Matthew away, Jim and Kenny left, their footsteps padded in the snow as they ran toward he outer door, and down the hallway to reach their respective rooms.
The whole time Matthew, the respectable and reserved one of the bunch, was thinking about the blood and the damage they had caused. The person they had left out there, who would die if no one intervened. This was not what he had intended to happen, or wanted to accomplish, but this person they beat up had been a pest since his arrival for his seventh grade year and mouthing off to other upper classman. But again, he came from a different world in which he has to fight to be recognized by his own class, and his place within it. It is a fight not to be beat up by the other classes, hazing a big part of showing stature among the classes in California school systems.
Little did any of them know that the student dragged himself to his feet, despite his injuries. He has stripped off his coat, the fabric frozen to the ground by his blood, and he held his abdomen to stagger up the short stairwell, falling to the ground into the snow, before shakily walking toward the steel and plate glass doors nearby. There is no pain for the student, the pain gone, replaced with piercing cold. His shirt soaked partially with his blood, is frozen to the open wound on his body. He is cold, but he continues to walk, despite it. As he passed through the double set of plate glass doors, they are located at the end of the hall on the inside hallway near the gymnasium, a thin trail of blood dripping onto the floor marking his entry into hallway.
The hallway here is long and open and dark for a part of it, then lighted. From here one could see the far end of the hallway where a set off doors can be seen next to the far cross of the hallway connecting the new section of the campus. It is sterile white upper with a gray, green bottom color and a carnival colored granite tile making up the floor. Along the wall in the main hallways are the lockers that are occupied by the students. The hallway is currently empty of everyone, save silence except for an occasional voice from a nearby room or office.
As the freshman student staggered blindly down the hallway, he held his guts in with one hand from the gaping wound on his abdomen from an old scar that he received from an old surgery in 1985. His hand prints, covered in blood marked his progress down the hall, as they appeared on the white walls or locker doors. By the time he made it to the home-room, several minutes late, and leaving a trail of blood on the floor, the piercing cold having faded, replaced by a throbbing pain, he stood in the doorway for several minutes unnoticed outside before stepping through it. A moment later, he stood in the door and as he did so, he waited until he was acknowledged by the class or by anyone. There was a gasp, then a scream by one of his classmates.
“It’s...” They gasped, and they all stood, including Ms. Hill who had been sitting at her desk. A few came rushing toward him, as did Hill and quickly assessed the situation. In the other room, the other students in Ms. Teitelbaum’s class stood up, spying the injured person and they gasped, especially Emily Montgomery whom he waved to every morning for the last few months since beginning his freshman year. They had heard the scream and heard the commotion next door and wondered what was going on. It was pandemonium in the room.
“Sweet Jesus.” Hill had gasped, “Jennifer, go to the office and get the Vice Principal, and the Principal. Have the Office call an ambulance, right now.” The young girl, still stunned by his entry stood there for a moment, staring at the young man who leaned against the wall, “Please, right now.”
Jennifer disappeared through the door, and she ran literally down the tiled hallway, sliding around the corners and came up huffing into the main office a moment later.
“We need help in Ms. Hill’s homeroom!” Jennifer exclaimed, “A student came in covered in blood and we need an ambulance called right now.”
Ms Metzler, the Secretary of the office nodded to the young girl, picking up the phone as Stan Wenclewicz and Steven Rhoades appeared from the offices along with the nurse.
“What happened?” He asked sharply, and Jennifer shrugged, “We were in class and he showed up at the door of the homeroom covered in blood and he looked beaten up.”
They ran toward the hallway, followed by Jennifer toward Ms. Hill’s classroom. By this time, the teacher next door, Teitelbaum and Ms. Hill stood next to the student, questioning his on recent events with no response. They both nodded to the administrators who entered the classroom behind the nurse. The student, a few minutes before, had managed to stagger to his desk from the door, amidst the other students and through the desks to his own, collapsing before reaching it.
Quickly, they placed him on top, by pushing the tables together. He did not speak to anyone as the teacher questioned him on his injuries and who and what happened to him. He only closed his eyes. Steve Rhoades walked toward him, next to Stan Wenclewicz and they both leaned down next to him on the desk. They began to question him as the nurse looked him over and she shook her head silently, opening the medical kit.
“Son, what happened to you, who did this to you?” The same question asked by Mr. Rhoades, was also asked by Ms. Hill standing nearby a few minutes earlier and both question were met with the same answer, silence. He glanced up at the clock.
Around them, other students were stunned as they helplessly looked on in silence. Some wept, some stood astonished, hardly able to speak. All seemed to sense there was a violent end in the happening for their classmate, and there was nothing they could do about it. A low murmur rippled through the class.
“Stan, go out front and coordinate the police fire and ambulance when they get here, and have all teachers report to the hallways. We better inform them of this incident.”
“You got it.” He nodded and walked trough the nearby door and down the hall toward the main office at the front of the building. Sirens blaring, the Sheriff arrived first, followed by the Paramedics and finally by the Ambulance.
The student now lay in a fairly big pool of his blood that pooled on the surface of the desks and dripped onto the floor. He barely was conscious as the pain was intolerable and the nurse stood at his side, only holding his hand, a look of frustration on her face.
“Come on… uh…” She paused looking at Ms. Hill, who nodded looked over at the staff nurse in response.
“Nathaniel…” she continued her sentence, “Someone did this to you and we need to know who it was. You will be taken care of soon, but you are hurt very badly, and could die.”
“So be it…” He murmured with a hoarse whisper, and he frowned wondering if they heard him.
There was a gasp by Melinda Morris, Scot Patison, Jason Mincer, Doug Lehman, Dennis Penfield, Amy Panstigle and Katie Lehman, among the many others in the home room who had heard him utter those words.
Dennis and his classmate had not been on good terms after an incident the previous year, after flipping off the teacher and trying to get out of it by trying to include him in his stupidity. There was bad blood between them, but even then, those very words had surprised him. Doug and Katie Lehman stood nearby watching in silence as the nurse worked feverishly on their classmate, packing the wound on his abdomen with gauze to keep the blood from flowing freely from it.
Just then, the Vice Principal entered, leading the Fireman, Paramedics, Sheriff and local Police to the room. They began working on him, taking blood, checking his vitals, his heart rate beeping rapidly.
“Why Miller?” Dennis had to ask, “Why do you have to be an ass?”
“Where I am going, it does not matter. C-check the stairwell near the door to the men’s locker room and t-that is where you will get your answer.” He whispered, and he closed his eyes and he paused. Steve Rhoades glanced surprised at his second in command and he nodded, motioning to the door. Stan Wenclewicz stood up, and with a radio in hand, that he and a deputy Sheriff exited the room to find the blood trail which they followed to the stairwell outside. It was light enough out to see clearly the frozen blood and his frozen jacket frozen in the snow and ice.
“My God in heaven…” The deputy whispered, “Hoss, we found what we thought we’d find, there is blood everywhere and a frozen jacket and a few papers belonging to that student in that room right now.”
“Alright, seal it off. It is evidence and a crime scene.” Came the reply and the Deputy pulled out the yellow tape. The Vice Principal walked to the office, remembering one more thing he had to perform this morning… that the staff had to know about this incident. As he walked in, his hands were still covered in the student’s blood after digging away the fresh snow to uncover the blood layer underneath, discovering the dark secret that they found.
Washing his hands quickly in the sink in the office, he moved to the P.A system on the desk cattycorner from Karen Metzler’s desk, the Office Secretary and took a seat.
Even six three and about two fifty, the Vice Principal, Stan Wenclewicz is a big man, dwarfing the chair he sat in. He took up the microphone and he hit the switch on the console.
“Attention all teachers, will you please report to the hallways outside your classrooms in five minutes.” He said, “Please report to the outside hallways from your classrooms in five minutes. Thank you.”
In the rooms there was a look of question at the speaker on the wall and a brief look at the clock. It gave the Vice Principal a few minutes to high tail it back to the middle hallway and designate the information to the teachers of the incident that had happened this morning. They had a right to know and had to plan accordingly what to tell the students, especially the Freshman Class who was not directly involved or had seen the incident when it had walked into the classroom on this cold morning.
He sighed, as he got up from the desk, glancing at the Secretary who had watched him make the announcement. Now he was off to do, what they sensed was a very hard deed, but no harder than any other task he had performed as Vice in the past. He exited the door and turned to the left and at the office to the Teacher’s Lounge he made an abrupt left, then a right, walking quickly down the hall to the empty hallway.
A voice rang out, “Bellllbrooooooook!” He frowned.
In Ms. Hill’s classroom, the student lay dying on the table had his hands raised in defiance and he yelled out a single word. He would not report them, he would not be a snitch, and he would not endue another beating again because it was too late, he was not going to make it and knew he only had a few hours, hence a few minutes to live. This would be is answer to their questions and he would die, never betraying those who had hurt them.
Around him the others in his classroom were astonished staring at their classmate in silence as he raised his hands, shouting out in defiance against those people whom he had assaulted him this morning, and who had taken his life. He had made a decision, that it was over, and he could not go on any further, having already bled out most of his blood before he was able to drag himself into the interior warmth and seek help by the staff. Everyone noted that the spot on his abdomen had become a dark red spot as the scar opened the rest of the way, allowing his innards to be exposed now to the open air under his shirt. He breathed outward, focusing on the pain as he dropped his hands. He reached out and turned his head. His hand pointed at Emily who looked on in the same astonishment as the teachers, staff, authorities, and classmates who watched him fade before their eyes.
In another room, Matthew heard the solitary shout and he gasped, closing his eyes in silence as he silently uttered a prayer.
“It is done.” Nathaniel murmured, as he lay on the desks, the pool of blood larger and now pouring off the desk and onto the floor.
He turned his head to the young woman in the other classroom, and here he pointed at Emily, holding up one finger, the index finger, then four fingers, then three fingers. As he held up each series of fingers, the injured student mouthed the words I L-O-V-E Y-O-U as he completed them, and at the end he whispered her name. After he was done, he met the silent look of astonishment with a nod, and the look of horror on her face as he saw her break down and began to bawl her eyes out. Nathaniel lay back and closed his eyes, his hand falling abruptly limp as he died before their very eyes.
There was a loud gasp by the students around him as they shook their heads. They were still stunned that what had transpired here this morning. They were stunned that their classmate had been injured in this manner and had come in this condition to class, and had not told the staff anything of who had done the deed to him. They were stunned that he had yelled out his defiance, dying before their eyes.
“Oh my god… No!” Melinda said finally with a sob, realizing what had just happened, that her friend was now dead. Others began to realize it too. Amy followed suit, as Scot held her, weeping hysterically.
“Come on, Nathaniel.” Dennis coached, stepping forward to touch his shoulder. The nudge made him open his eyes one last time and Nathaniel only nodded, “I-I’m sorry…” and he let out his last breath with a long heaving sigh.
Around him, there was a cruel silence by his fellow classmates by the words spoken. After a moment, most of the young women had broken down in tears, as others had looked away, fighting emotion to stay strong. They did not understand who had done this to him, or why he did not report the culprits were that had hurt him. Even Nathaniel knew he was too far gone when he had drug himself through the door and down the hall, knowing full well that he would be dead in a matter of a few minutes, even if the paramedics or they could get him to the hospital. The senior classman had done their deed and had succeeded.
The Paramedics and Fireman worked on Nathaniel for fifteen minutes, zapping his heart many times, but with the lack of blood in his system it was difficult to start something with no fluids in his systems. They covered him with a blanket. Steve Rhoades stood astonished like the other teachers beside him and he motioned to them, leading them outside. Outside the teachers waited from the other classrooms in the hallway from this part of the school. Similarly, on the other hall the same type of meeting was being made by Stan Wenclewicz, the Vice Principal.
“There was an incident in which a student of the Freshman Class was found injured severely, after what appeared to have been a hazing incident, later to have died of his wounds. You can report it to your class, but we rather you waited until the official report after we report it to the parents which we are currently trying to get a hold of at this very moment. For all who knew him, there will be a memorial service for the entire school in two days time, replacing the PEP rally. There will be an announcement by the end of today or by tomorrow morning regarding this incident.”
Many questions assaulted both Rhoads and Wenclewicz but they only shrugged their shoulders, both not knowing what to do, until they got a response out of the district and the parents. The counselors Yux, Martin were already on the scene, talking to the classes who had watched the grisly scene of their classmate’s death, and had watched the body of their friend wheeled out on a gurney after being placed in a body bag. They had, with the other counselors, offered their services to be a friendly ear to listen if anyone needed to talk.
Melinda heard none of it, absolutely numb like many in her class. She walked alone down the hallway to the next class, hardly talking to anyone, the same like the others in her homeroom. The only contact were the others in her first class of the day, including Dennis and Scot who were just as stunned by the loss than anyone. There were so many questions and no answers.
An announcement in each class was made, and there was absolute astonishment by all the classes, especially by the trio who had left him lie and had ran to class, ignoring the protests of one of their friend who had helped ruff up the student, but had not hurt him unlike Jim had. Matt had only told the small group there was a problem, they had hurt him and they needed to get help for him. But he had been overruled.
Jim had laughed when he had heard the solitary voice, like many now there was stunned silence. Sitting at his desk, the senior had been astonished, and had gasped, realizing what he had done. He had really hurt the lower classman who had not been faking with fake blood. The blood had been real, and the innards sticking from his body was real. He wondered if he should have listened to Matt who had warned him and Kenny of the lower classman’s condition. If they would have got him help that he could have not died the way he did. But they had not listened and decided to leave him where he lay. A stupid move on his part, he should have listened to Matt who was always sensible about such things. He left the room and made his way down the busy hallway, everyone glancing at him as he made his way to his locker, preparing for the next class of the day.
“Murderer.” Kenny said jokingly, as they approached him at his locker. Matthew shot him a look, it was not a negative one, but the comment certainly wasn’t too far off for the death of the student at hand. Jim glanced at the others who had overheard the comment, at their surprised looks, and questioning glances. It was the classic “What did he mean by that comment?” look. Jim glared at them and at Kenny who laughed it off.
“Oh, ha, ha, fat stuff. Don’t call me that, I didn’t kill him.” Jim said indignantly, his voice a whisper, “It was an accident on the ice.”
“Whatever… murderer…” Ken replied coolly, and he turned to leave. Matthew followed.
Jim snarled at Ken, and balled up a fist, rage passing on his face. “I told you not to call me that, Lard Butt.”
“See how you like to have a little name calling.”
“It goes with your murderous attitude and dark behaviors.” Ken shot back, and turned to leave. Around him the other students looked on at the exchange, muttering between themselves, wondering what this whole exchange was about.
“It doesn’t matter, what’s done is done.”
“Matt, you know it was an accident right?” He asked, here he turned his head, putting some thought into the question. After a moment, he shook his head.
“I warned you, that when he went down that he needed help.” Matt said, “You and Ken overruled me, and let him lie and now the young man is dead.”
Jim made a decision, to pound Kenny who stood there, murmuring “Murderer… Murderer…”
He lunged at the large man, taking a swing to intersect with his face, quickly blocked by Ken, and Jim grabbed his shirt. Both struggled for a moment, as whistles and the chant ‘Fight Fight.’ erupted in the hall for a moment. It, however, was quickly replace with silence as everyone stopped, including Ken and Jim to regard the stranger who now among them.
A figure had appeared out of nowhere, and now knelt before a key locker, usually given to the upper class and in his hand he held a Long sword blade as he knelt, his eyes closed as he appeared to be praying. Jim stared at the figure in silence. Others began to notice this stranger among the other classes too. He was clad in a simple gray cloak, held together by a clasp made of gold and silver at the throat. Under it they could see the hint of a green and gray garb, with boots and belt to match. They could not see his face and head, as it is obscured with the thick gray hood of the wool cloak he wore about him.
“Who is that?” A voice muttered, and there was a low muter throughout the hallway as everyone stared at the stranger who ignored everyone around him and continued to pray, his blade in his hand in the swordsman way. The blade they could see, glistened in the low light, and the handle is hand carved made from ivory.
Melinda was walking to her locker when she saw him, and gasped. She had cast a glance to the silent hall where Ms. Long and Ms. Bender who were talking with each other, both turning to watch the strangely clad individual. What would be strange was his appearance, fading in unnoticed before the classes released for lunch, and strangely no one noticed him until just now.
“Who is that?” a voice asked, and Melinda shot a look at the speaker, to Kathy Lewis who stood beside Stacey Warner and Bill Wheeler.
A low murmur rippled through the hallway among the class of 1991 and 1990. It had moved to the upper classman too, especially to the hallway nearest to the locker where this stranger stood.
“I don’t know.” Melinda murmured, speaking to them for the first time today and they turned their heads alarmed for a second before smiling.
The cloaked figure, realizing he was on display stood up, sliding his blade back in its sheath, and he pulled the key to unlock and open the locker before him. He pushed back the hood of his cloak, revealing his fair features, his gray eyes that twinkled brightly in the dim light, and his long brown hair that cascaded to his shoulders.
There was a low murmur through the hallways. Another staff member appeared from the door that is brightly lit from the windows near where the stranger stood and it is that of Ms. Martin, the Counselor of this institution of learning. She gasped seeing the stranger, and peered down the hallway to where Long and Bender are standing in silence. They moved to intercept the stranger, but paused when he entered the locker, assuming it was a relative a brother or sibling to gather the belongings of the dead student. They had no idea it was someone else, a good friend that he had made from an encounter in the woods.
Here the stranger unzipped the bag that the student used for P.E and he withdrew the shirt. Taking his dagger, he cut the strip of the decal from it and in his other hand tied it to a blade that he pulled from the locker. Checking the blade, he closed the locker, and he saw the astonished, but understanding looks given to him by the class of 1991 and the staff who were on hand. They saw the blade in his hand, and they did not comment or react to the dagger at the side of the stranger, attached to his belt under the gray cloak.
The stranger then turned, regarding them all with panning a quick look to each of them and with that he silently nodded his head. Walking toward the far door and the hallway near the new section of the inside hallway, the stranger made his way past the many people until he reached the secondary cross of the hallway. On his left was the new section of the school, the right was the hallway leading to the front toward the office and cafeteria and he stood before a set of plate glass doors. He held the blade in his hand belonging to the student, his friend. Turning he regarded the questioning glances of the Freshman Class, most of it, the upper classman, and a few of the Sophomore Class who now stood here. Along with them were many of the others followed along behind them in the hallway. Strangely, most of the class from Hill and Teitelbaum’s class were together at this moment, as if to gain strength from each other’s presence. They looked on in silence at the stranger, who seemed very familiar to them.
Jim, Kenny, and Matthew studied the face of the stranger, and they thought at first it was the person they had injured today, here to razz them and play a prank. They then remembered the announcement had happened, and a memorial was being planned in two days time in which they would say good bye to a classmate of their school. The students who had seen the classmate wheeled out on the gurney almost could say it was their friend standing before them, but the resemblance was only slightly, than definitely.
“You all befriended Nathaniel when he arrived at Bellbrook, and he never forgot your friendship. Now come with me to say goodbye.” The stranger said, is voice thick with a strange accent and barely loud enough to carry over the noise around him. There were saddened looks among many of the students who had been in close contact as a fellow student in the same classes that he had and knew him best. They heard his statement, as did the staff and their looks said it all.
They remembered their classmate was not easy to deal with. He was mouthy, arrogant, and sometimes strange, also quite immature. But then again he was also fourteen. He was also caring, generous, smart, and when he wanted to be strong in many way, not just physically. He was strong in will, and spirit, He is the only one that charged an accident scene and attempted and succeeded to lift a table single handedly after it fell on Doug Woolard just enough to allow him to get free partially. He had done things without malice or with out regard to harm to himself for others. The thoughts made them smile.
After a moment the stranger pushed open the doors, drawing the blade from its scabbard, and he ran across an open area a few feet. Inside people watched and partially came out from the doors, including teachers. The stranger stood in the middle of an open area as the sky seemed to billow and the clouds seemed to churn. Raising the blade he motioned, easing his body back to throw. A battle cry erupted on his lips…
“NNNNNNNAAAAATTTTTHHHHAAAAANNNNIIIIEEEL!!!!” The elf screamed, and he flung the blade, letting it fly from his hands. The students watched in silence, especially from Ms. Hill’s class, a few of the class of 1991 who was in the hall with a few class of 90, 89, and 88. They all had come out and watched as the blade spun and tumble.
“Nathaniel… Nathaniel…!” Nathaniel…!” The crowd chanted and then cheered as it struck the ground straight up, buffeting in the wind. A bolt of lighting hit the sword, making it crackle and there was a scream. They glanced at the stranger who stood a distance from them and gasped aloud as he smiled, bowed and disappeared into thin air like he had never been there.
“He’s gone!” A voice stammered, and they ran partially to the spot where he stood and only a sharp cold wind hit them in the face as flakes of snow began to fall upon them. They stood out in the snow for only a moment, staring in wonder as the only thing that remained of the stranger was a stiff cold wind that whipped through the open area. The blade, however, continued to buffet in the wind, a reminder of a lost comrade and friend who had been lost on this day.