Beyond The Woods 9

I passed by the cabin she resided in, hoping to see the chimney active, but it never was. Mrs. Darwin visited her a few times a week to make sure she was well, but, Lucy didn’t come out of her stupor. She sat in the dark while stared out the window.

“All she does is sit on her wheelchair,” Mrs. Darwin told me a few days later. “I tried to encourage her to get up from her chair, but she won’t. Poor girl. I feel for her. She has lost so much.”

“Does she say anything?” I ask her.

“Lately, she refuses to say much,” Mrs. Darwin said. “She’s been through a lot. She lost her fiancé to the war, you know. That’s why she moved out here to get away from the memories.”

“I didn’t know that,” I said, realizing I knew very little of Lucy’s past.

“Nevertheless, her eyes light up when I mention your name,” Mrs. Darwin said.

“She never wants to see me,” I said.

“I know,” sighed Mrs. Darwin. “She doesn’t want you to see her in such a state… without a leg. She’s ashamed. I tell her you wouldn’t care, but she doesn’t believe me… I try convincing her otherwise.”

I thanked Mrs. Darwin for helping Lucy and I go on my way. Days have passed that nobody has seen Muja. I worry his fate might be death if he is ever seen. However, another threat came to overshadow those of Muja and Samuel’s whereabouts when a stranger was seen about the woods. He was a rather tall, burly man, dressed in black boots and pants, a red shirt, wrapped in a leather cape. He wore a black slouch hat that masked his face, often revealing an unfriendly one with a patch on his left eye and red hair that hung unkkept to his shoulders. Mrs. Darwin had seen him a few times coming out of Lucy’s cabin.

“What did he want?” Mrs. Darwin would ask Lucy.

“A place to warm up,” Lucy would respond.

Mrs. Darwin was worried of Lucy that she informed me about the stranger.

“I didn’t think much about it,” Mrs. Darwin told me. “But, lately he’s been coming and going from her cabin. He has even refused to let me see her when he’s there. I only visit when I see him go.”

“I can’t really get involved if Lucy is welcoming him in,” I said.

“That man is menacing,” Mrs. Darwin continues. “Many times before he hides her wheelchair from her. I’m afraid he might hurt her.”

I promised I would look into it, but for now I had other pressing matters. I get a radio call that Samuel had been spotted by the river a mile to where Lucy’s cabin once stood. I quickly head over there and to my surprise I see him through a thicket of trees.

“Samuel,” I call out. “Everybody’s looking for you.”

Samuel doesn’t respond.

“I need to bring you in,” I say to him.

“No,” Samuel says. “No!”

Before I can say anything else, Samuel begins to run away. I go after him.

“Samuel, Stop,” I plead with him.