I had finished making camp for the night when I heard a voice hail me from the woods, asking if they could approach. I answered they could and kept my knife close at hand. My ammunition was precariously low.
The stranger entered the small clearing and smiled. He was older than me and clad in the attire of an Indian from the West. His speech was fluid and strong, and when he was only a few feet from me, he stopped and asked if he could join me for my meal. He had food of his own, and he was willing to share.
“Company,” he told me, “is hard to come by at times.”
I nodded my agreement and made a fire so we might warm ourselves.
Soon the flames stood high and beat back the oncoming darkness as the sun set in the Hollow. I took out what little food I had, and he did the same. Wordlessly, we prepared a fine meal, and we ate it quickly. When we finished, I banked the fire and asked the man his name.
He smiled at me.
“I am He Who Walks, and I am your brother.”
“How is our mother?” I asked him.
He shook his head. “Not mother, but father. Your mother has no love for me, and she hunts for me when she can.”
My brother leaned forward and asked, “Is it true that you killed her when you were a boy?”
“For the most part. I wish she would have stayed dead.”
He chuckled and nodded. “So do we all.”
“How long have you been here?”
He shrugged. “A thousand years? Maybe more, perhaps less. I do not know. It is hard to tell.”
“What do you do in the Hollow?”
My brother smiled. “Answer me this. What would you do if you were forever in the Hollow?”
“I’d kill my mother,” I replied.
“That is what I do,” he confided.
“How many have you killed?”
“Not nearly enough,” he answered.
I nodded. It could never be enough.
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