“Don’t look back. Don’t ever look back.” The old man gripped her shoulders with long, thin, gnarled fingers. His sunken eyes were tired, but a spark still shone deep within their black depths.
Aimee nodded and bit her lip. She didn’t want to leave McLellan, but she knew it was time. It seemed just yesterday when she had come seeking his wisdom. Now she had to leave the comfort of his home and the surety of his teaching.
She also knew the darkness would soon wash over him the same as it did everything. That’s why she had to go. His knowledge could not be lost in the black tide. It had to continue to spread east, as far as she could manage.
Aimee was the oracle now. It was a gut twisting thought, but she took a deep breath and pushed down her fear. She stood, clapped her hands around McLellan’s neck, and kissed his forehead.
“I will always remember you.” She whispered.
“Good,” the old man laughed. “You’ll remember to make as many oracles as I did, then. Yes?”
Aimee stepped out of the sod hut and into the warm light of day. The horizon glowed with brilliance of yellows, pinks, and oranges. She took the first step toward it and her feet began to move mechanically at first, but purposefully with each progressive step.
The wind began to howl behind her. She knew that sound and it froze her blood. It was coming. Oh, McLellan, she thought. But, no. She wouldn’t look back. Eyes on the horizon. Always on the horizon.
And her feet moved forward again.
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