The three brothers were full of war-fervour. They had left the farm with high expectations of the heroism that they would display on the battlefield. How could they, the Breoins, do anything less? Uncle Diwin never relented of regaling the tales of his own glorious exploits of the last war. Diwin, so he recalled, stood defiantly before many an onslaught, and though he had slew foes by the dozen – never received a scratch. “War,” he had said, “is the ultimate adventure.”
The three’s enthusiasm waned soon after joining the Duke’s brigade. Long hours of drilling, and constant rain coupled with sleeping on stony ground didn’t quite match the glorious picture Uncle had painted.
Then came the first battle. The right of their lines had collapsed under the weight of a cavalry charge, and panic set in. Much of the army, including the Breoins hightailed it into the forest and it took days for the remnant to regroup.
The Duke mustered his shattered army and announced that they would attempt to leave the forest and seek sanctuary in his cousin’ castle to the north. The move was anticipated by the enemy however, and an ambush was set.
As the Duke’s men approached a ford near the forest edge, they were attacked on two sides. The men fought furiously, yet almost all were slain. Andre Breoin, the eldest was pierced in the belly, and Gregor and Dawid were barley able to pull him into the cover of the trees. The three lay there until the enemy had given up the search, Andre’s life ebbing.
As the sun set, a small bluish light dappled through the branches. Gregor crawled cautiously towards it to see if any of the Duke’s men were there. What he found was the most hideous hag he had ever imagined, much less laid eyes on.
“Gregor,” the crone croaked. “Why do you tarry in the bushes?”
Taken aback, the farm boy stood.
“Come closer, my dear,” she almost hissed.
The lad of eighteen took a guarded step forward.
“I fear Andre has not long for this world,” she announced. “Unless he be given a sip of this potion I am preparing.”
“Please Lady, may I have it for him then?” the lad begged.
“Alas,” the crone said, “it lacks one small ingredient.”
“What is it? I will find it!” Gregor said excitedly.
“A kiss,” the hag said matter of factly.
Gregor looked at the opal dullness of the woman’s left eye, and the brown decaying teeth. He nonetheless stepped closer.
“Whose kiss, and where?” the lad asked.
“Your kiss to my mouth,” she said, sticking out a heavily filmed tongue.
Gregor took another step closer and the reek of her body odour and breath were nauseating.
She gave a uneven smile and then flicked her tongue at him several times.
He took one more step, and closing his eyes, he kissed the witch.
I am Padre of Padre’s Ramblings. In my life’s journey I have been a preacher, teacher, and served in the Forces. I am also an ecclesiastical historian, and theologian. I am married to my soulmate and am a father and grandfather. All have given me insights to things spiritual, and of things human. I am a public speaker as well, and have recently taken to writing poetry and short stories.