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Light in the Dark

by Adrian Hayes

During their rushed exit, table manners took a second seat to survival. Most meals were eaten in the same container they arrived in. 

“Did we happen to pass a stream? We may need to get more water soon.” Biėl reached for a plant with white tips. He ground it above the fish.

“I didn’t see a stream or hear one, but I bet Vėktøv can help me find one. We can go look while you make breakfast.” Liø stretched his stiff neck. 

“Don’t bother. Vėktøv can search while we eat. Better for the two of us to stick together,” Biėl said.

Vėktøv picked at his decayed right side. A fattened beetle was extruded, which he promptly devoured. 

“Find water. Then come straight back,” Biėl ordered. 

Vėktøv had been mid swallow. He finished the meal, then gave a side eye with his screw. 

“Sorry. Please find the water then come straight back.” 

Finding this more suitable, the bird spread his wings. On the left a pencil joined with his bone. Within a few flaps, he exited through the hole in the ceiling.

The fish was served on a bed of dandelion leaves with bits of violet for color. The meal was savored as the portions were small; taking longer to eat made them less hungry. Vėktøv returned hopping on the leg of an upturned table. 

“Seems he’s found water.” Biėl put the scraps in a jar.

The three of them took to the woods behind the house’s clearing. These were more arid than the marshes and bogs they had been traversed through. With no trail laid, they weaved along weathered trunks, until a sandy stream bank appeared. 

Armed with jars, they balanced along the smooth rocks. Liø stared while bending down to the water. His tawny skin and dollop nose were a perfect reflection. Even the top of his curls could be seen. Biėl walk past, creating a doubled image.

As he filled another empty jar, a little girl with blonde hair stared back at him.  In a stumbled stagger, Liø jumped across the rocks. His lips trembled; he couldn’t find the ability to speak. His finger shook as it pointed across the stream.

 “Did you see it?” Liø asked.

 “See what?” Biėl looked around.  

“There was a girl there.” Liø’s voice turned shrill. “She was at the other bank, looking at me while I grabbed water.” 

“There’s yet to be someone around us. If a girl was that close to you, wouldn’t we have heard her?” Biėl proposed. “What about Vėktøv? If something was amiss, he’d be the first to tell us.”  

Perched along the edge of the stream near them, Vėktøv cocked his head at Liø questionably. 


Vėktøv flew towards the woods and scanned the area. The bird returned, unfruitful on anything to report.

“See? Nothing. I’m sure it was just a trick of the light.” Biėl assured him. “Grab your jars and let’s head back.


Adrian Hayes enjoys writing horror, fantasy, and adventure. His hobbies include cycling, video games, gardening, and photography. He has worked with the journalism team for Kinsman Quarterly and has future writing goals to publish his first manuscript, finish his second novel, and begin work on his own series. 

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