He glanced down at the unfolded paper and scoffed. In spiderwebby scrawl it said, “You’re next”. That was all.
He leaned back on the bench and crossed his knee. The brook’s song was noticeable now, and the occasional breeze had slightly increased. Dark edged closer, but dusk’s gray remained.
An amused smile crossed his lips. Sure, some people might be frightened here, at the edge of night with a strange message that came from who knew where, a paper that smelled slightly musty, and words written by what appeared to be a decrepit hand. He wasn’t some people. Everyone knew the stories weren’t true. Anyway, he came because of his annoying dreams. That was different.
He’d stay a little longer just to show it didn’t matter. He was comfortable here – truly comfortable now that he thought about it. In fact, if he wanted to, he would find no trouble in spending the night sleeping on the bench.
His eyes grew heavy, his head bobbed, and he slid down, resting himself on the bench. His breathing slowed. The moon rose higher, the stream sang, and a stronger breeze rustled through his hair. His eyes suddenly opened, grew wide, then closed. The paper slipped from his hand and was swallowed in the weeds. And he dreamed no more.
It is said that as the moon peeks through the leaves of a gnarled tree near an old stone bench, its light signals a nearby brook which raises its voice to call the invisible spirits dwelling there. The spirits have no patience for those who believe they are always right, who confuse opinion with fact, and who indoctrinate those who don’t know better. Those who believe the unknown and unseen exist steer clear of its call because they understand people, even very smart, sophisticated people, perceive life through a limited lens. Those folks, the ones who rewrite truth to suit themselves, who think the old stories are rubbish . . . discover they were wrong.