“And there you are, the Michael Anderson Special!” I rolled my eyes as Micheal set the plate in front of me. Three years of dating and almost one year of marriage, and one-eyed jacks were still the only thing Michael could cook. He kissed the top of my head and sat down across the table from me. I picked up my fork and started to cut the toast and eat it in small slow bites. Normally, I am hungry for breakfast. I didn’t know if it was all the weird dreams lately, or eggs, again, that had me gagging down my breakfast.
“Thanks, Paul.” Jack exhaled slowly, and rubbed his temple, non-existent wrinkles on his face slowly coming into being. Not that Jack minded too much. He was finally starting to look like he was in his late twenties. At some point though, the stress was going to stop beneficially aging him and just make him look worn out.
Replacing the filter in the coffee pot, I stumbled to the sink and rinsed the pot out before filling it with water. I started it, and pulled a cup out from the cabinet. The cup was lined with rabbit fur, and in my shock, I dropped it on the floor. Instead of the familiar clattering sound and ceramic shards I was expecting, when the cup hit the floor it crawled away.
It was the first storm of the season. He would have to harvest his garden tonight. Although the small plot had little left to be gathered, his cellar and pantry were full of vegetables that he had been picking all summer and fall. The sentinel looked up and saw the storms approaching, dark and menacing over the canopy of the forest. His basket and house could only hold so much, and he filled the basket deftly with the rest of the carrots.
“What an unappreciative lot of bullocks,” he muttered as he hobbled to his post. “Not that there ever was any glamour or fortune to volunteer work.” His post was, incidentally, a job he made up and volunteered for without discussion with anyone outside of himself. A completely made-up need, and one he felt particularly obliged to fill. The bridge was the only connection to the world outside the village that was no longer routinely patrolled. The road across it ended in the woods, a forgotten path long laid in silence.