Samhainís Promise
by Teri

      Vincent stared out into the moon-dappled park, his eyes glittering darkly from the sanctuary of the shadowed tunnel entrance.  Samhain, the night spirits walked the earth, when the walls between the worlds grew thin.  Surely on a such a night he could move safely among them?
      His mind told him one thing, but something deeper, something darker, held him back, his footsteps hesitating at the threshold.  Restricted to one, yet captivated by the other, Vincent was ever drawn to this place, ever drawn to what was denied him.  Must he always crave that which could never be his?
      The night breeze blew and leaves rustled eerily, swept hither and yon by invisible tendrils of autumnís breath.  He drew in the smell, his eyes closing as the scent filled him, clean and fresh, yet pungent as well, as though the leaves in their transition from green to gold and rust were becoming something else entirely, some precious mineral of loamy gold.  The snow would come soon, covering the crunchy bed beneath its blanketing weight, and by spring the decayed remnants would be of the earth.
      He liked that thought, imaging that they would be of both worlds, this one and his own.  Yes, he could well picture them slowly sinking into the ground, blending with the rocks below to infuse the cold stone with the very stuff of life itself.
      Spring, the herald of new life, of rebirth and renewal.  He wondered what it would bring to him.  Would his life be the same as it was at this moment, as it had been for the thirty-two years which had preceded it?  Would there ever be something more for him, something that was his alone?
       He sighed, his heart heavy with longing, and yet even as he did he sensed something different, a touch of lightness that melted the sorrow away.  Warmth trickled through him, filling him with a tiny thread of hope.  His heart pounded, blood strumming through his ears as he felt a growing sense of excitement, and beneath even that, an inexplicable tinge of urgency wrapped in stillness, as though it waited only to flower into being with the coming spring.  Something was out there, waiting, even as he did now.  It was tied to his heart, a part of him.  The familiarity simply was.  It brooked no argument.  He shuddered, then sank back into the darkness.  He would walk there, on the hilly slopes and wild expanse, not now, not tonight, but soon.  And perhaps, a whisper emerged from deep inside, just perhaps he would not walk alone.