Love letters are usually intriguing because of unusual settings and the mysterious behaviour of the writer. I came to that conclusion after a fruitful discovery one Sunday night last month.
It was dark, almost full night, and the rich shadows danced their way across my brow. My younger brother flashed a moon-splashed grin and tiptoed beside me. He shared my curiosity, my passion for adventure. There was only so much one could do on a countryside sheep farm.
We were in stealth mode, and we watched a stranger open the door to the shed and slip inside. A familiar nightly action, one I’d detected a fortnight earlier when scuff marks, caked in red coastal mud, appeared on the floor. We were nowhere near the ocean.
The stranger, in a long black cloak and tattered boots, headed straight for the scrolled oak writing desk in the corner. A pause. A rip of paper. The snap of a soft hanging light. Most unusual. My strange guest had never done that before, typically pausing only to drop off a stack of letters and pick up a stack tied with light blue ribbon.
I saw the hood snap back, long honey-hued hair spilling across the folds. I watched her bring a black glove to her milk-bathed face, watched anguish morph her features. Grief and horror, that’s what I saw. The top letter, tied with pale red ribbon, fell from her trembling hands. Tears blurred the ink, the dusty wood, splashing like rain onto a desiccated desert land.
She stumbled back, fled headlong into Robert. Opened her mouth to emit an eerie, bone-shattering howl, “Aaaahhhhhhoooooooooo!” I’ll never forget that sound. Like a wolf, only scarier. Bloodcurdling. She disappeared around the corner, the flap of her woolen black cloak echoing long afterwards in my tender, startled ears.
We shared a glance. Descended upon the letter.
A single handwritten line. “Your life or Adam’s: you can’t have both.”
Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on Finish That Thought: