Shelter

Knock. Knock.

Soon after a woman opened the door and looked at the practically half dead traveler. 

"My goodness! What are you doing out here!?!" she said in shock.

"...Please..." he responded with difficulty. “I need... refuge..." 

"Well of course. Please come in." Almost embarrass that she didn't ask this first. 

She took him inside, gave him some dry clothes, and invited him to her meal. The transition from the harsh weather to the comfortable indoors uplifted him. The feeling of the cold snow had disappeared as if it was just a terrible dream.

"I hope our hospitality has suited you well, sir." She said as she guided him to a seat at the dining table.

 "Oh, most definitely," in a cheerful mood. "But did you say 'Our hospitality'?" 

"Oh pardon me! You haven't met my son." She turned and called out to her son. "Faldo! Dinner! And tonight we have a guest."

"I'm almost done cooking the deer." Faldo called back from within the kitchen.

"I'm sure he won’t be long Mr...." her voice withered to a pause.” Goodness me! I don't think we made a proper introduction. My name is Prisca Hingui; and you are...?"

"Letto. You can just call me Letto."

"Well Letto, what brings you all the way out here? The nearest town is at least three miles, and you must have come here for some important reason. Why else would you go risk your life in this storm?"

"To tell you the truth," Letto started as he took a sip from his cup of tea. "I'm looking for a certain flower that only blooms in this region and at this time of the year. Do you know of what I speak?"

"...Yes. The 'Deception Flower'. Even though I have lived in these mountains with my husband for twelve years; I have only seen it bloom once. The plant resides at a much higher altitude than here, and few that travel ever achieve to return."

"Well rumor has it that this flower could lift the curse that has been bestowed upon me. It’s not very strong, but painful none the less."

"Dear. What kind of curse is it?"

"Not sure, but the pain that it unleashes varies depending on where I travel."

"Sorry for the delay." Faldo said as he entered the dining room with a large plate of cooked deer, steamed rice, bread and wine. The aroma itself was able to fool Letto into believing that he had died and gone to heaven. 

"Faldo this is Letto, our guest." Prisca said. 

"The pleasure to meet you. Now please, eat" Faldo asked of Letto. 

"Don't mind if I do." Letto responded as dug into the plate. 

"By the way Mother," Faldo was starting to say as he sat down at the table. "It's almost been a month now. Do you know when father will be back from his trip?"

Prisca took a breath and started to stroke her son’s dark hair. "Your father will be back very soon, Faldo. I promise."

Suddenly their side conversation was interrupted when they heard the sound of their guest falling on to the floor, screaming in pain. Letto's hands tightly covered his ears, while he shrieked a cry so agonizing that no human could bear to hear.

The End

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