Monday, March 4, 2013

The Crone, the end. (No. "The Crone's End.")

Toa awoke at dawn, and startled upright, bones grinding softly: there was a Crone, huddled under a caul made of glowing spiderwebs. In the dark of the cave, Toa could not make out the crone's face, and she did not glow like her dead, but glowed none the less.

"Excuse me, hello?" Toa asked.

"Hello, love."

"Do I know you?"

The crone laughed and tossed four buffalo innards flasks, which sloshed and stayed shut, brushed the ash from Toa's ankles. "Water." The Crone hummed. "It should be enough. Give it freely and with love and keep your skin your wet and your own and you will find what you're looking for."

"How do you know?"

"Because if you give up now, everything ends."

"Am I dead?" Toa asked. The thought did not frighten her, but the glowing caul and the cryptic old woman were making her question herself.

"No, love, you're not dead. If you feel like a fired tree or a lopped larvae, then you're still feeling, aren't you?"

"I suppose." Toa answered. "I have a question. Can I ask you a question, crone?"

The Crone laughed. "Certainly." It cackled.

"I'm heading to the crater. I want to know what's in it. There's something pulling me to it. I want to know --"

The Crone rolled its head and stood. "How should I know what's in the crater? Ignorant, ignorant, love. Go and see for yourself. Even if I told you what I'd seen, by know!" More cackling, "By now, who knows what it looks like in there?"

"Four flasks?"

"All I could find." The Crone sniffed, and with that sniff, the crone was humble, a jumbled sound came from further into the cave and Toa realized she didn't know how far back it actually went.

"I drag --"

"I Know. I know how you got here, love. Shut up and go." The crone slid an unreasonably long spear out from under its caul. "Take this; it isn't aphrodisiac sappy, but I don't think you'll need that, now, eh? EH?" The Crone cackled again.

"How did you know I would --"

"Go, before I eat you!" The Crone shouted, stretching to Toa's height. It stamped its feet and the cave shook, deep red dirt pittering from the ceiling.

Toa peered into the shadows under the Caul's hood but could see nothing. She thanked the Crone for the water and the spear and drank a whole half of a bladder before setting out into the Ashen Forest.