Marai: The Long Dark
Kol's Arms Shall Embrace Me
The fire blazes in the hearth, but I am still cold. Like the animals I once hunted, I can sense the end. I am prepared. I have never feared death, but was only concerned I would not finish the tasks that needed doing.
Jogaila signed with a good captain and will be on the fishing boat for many weeks. I did not tell him that I will soon die. Then he would not have gone. Kol knows the boy needs more out of life than caring for me. I promised Melva I would look after the children but there is only so much I can do. They are now grown and must find their own way. At least Annelise has a good husband. I don’t know about Jogaila. He just drifts about and doesn’t accomplish much.
That’s why I never told him about my past. It would only make things worse if he had to live up to my deeds. All I have for him now is this red headband. I’ll make sure to leave it somewhere he can find it. Too bad I never finished learning to write. Then I could leave him a message.
I always hoped I would meet Akra or Kala again. Even though I have known for many years it would not be, I could always fool myself. Now the reality seems harsh. Life and friends are fleeting. I hope that I have made Jogaila tough enough to face whatever comes. I taught him what I know of hunting, fishing, and the sword.
The olds wounds hurt as I rise to fetch my coat, boots, and hat. Too many scars. But I earned each one.
I make sure the door is shut tight. I wouldn’t want Jogaila coming home to a house full of snow. I will tell Hennett that I am going to check my animal traps. I know they will look for me. I can’t help that. Like the old animals, I want a quiet spot to end my days in my own way. I know more than one place where I won’t be found.
I look over Tanno one last time. Every detail is sharp. But it’s time to go. I never liked putting off what needs doing. This is no time to change a good habit.
I see Hennett and wave. He waits for me as I walk over to him.