The face starred back.
Empty look from gray eyes, no emotions on pale skin and the stench.
Others seemed to suddenly be aware of the stench that was poisoning the air in the center.
The mother was looking at him, like every mother would look at her suffering child. Not dead child, suffering one, when one would wish that it could die and be free of pain. If mother could ever say that aloud?
This woman had it chiseled in her face. Her son didn't have anything in his face. Like if there was no person behind those features. Just an empty smile, sometimes it looked toward me, as if he was laughing over the situation.
Don grabbed my arm. That hurt me and I instantly looked at him.
"WHAT is this soul Mar?" there was horror in his eyes.
"I've seen this other kid." I asked him what kid he talked about, "The one that went into the water. He just walked in there, repeatedly saying he is hungry, and he never came out of the water. I thought he was dead, but then I saw him few days after in the forest. Nose high in the air, like the hunting beasts, following the pray. He was swollen and some skin was missing."
Don also told me that he already talked to the elders and that they know about it all. "The ones that would not die", called them the tribe.
And how did I miss all that?
As everyone arrived, Dagda, the speaker, said that strange things occur in the deep forest.
The tribe should be ready by the dawn. We will move toward south, where the trees are higher and the underground caves are easier to access from few hidden entrances.
Those caves were our hiding place for generations. Nobody really knew what is in some corridors, and some were well known. We called it nest, and that it was. But those parts of the valley were also less passable and one could easily get trapped among huge bushes.
"The tribe will send out herbalists to stock up on rare herbs, which do not grow in dark forest and they should try to find the cure for the disease, that this boy has. Prepare well my children, travel fast and quiet and carry just most necessary tools."
I was called with few others to meeting with the elders after the speech and we were directed on how to act, and what to do.
They expected us to leave this boy here, tied where he was, and if we don't sense any danger around to come back and try feeding him different herbs. Aiona objected to that decision and said that the boy was possessed by an evil spirit, no herbs will heal him.
"Yes, my child, so it seems. But you have to try, for all of us. If we don't come back before the end of Lughnasadh, we will hunger and many will die. Our winters are not tender when we're out of food. There's no food in the dark forest. May the Mother be with you!"
He kissed the forehead of each one of us, which was sort of blessing in our tribe, and then sent us to get prepared.
The coming evening was remembered as darkness full of pressure, among the tribe. People were packing their belongings quietly, horrified.
Just the mother of the boy was sitting next to her son, with few things tied in an old wrapping and looking at him. She was absent, just as him. Lack of tears or screams was, what made the evening even heavier.
We mourned with her, and mourned over those, who will never reach the nest. Somehow, we knew that some wouldn't.