“Is something wrong?” Asked a kind and humming voice from the back of the room.
“Hm?” Continued the man, standing tall in the door frame. A small, but heart-warming smile spread across the lips of the man. He walked leisurely over to the young Aaron, who was eyeing the fire from the limestone fireplace. He sat down besides Aaron, but he was still a head’s height taller than the young boy.
“Is there really a world on the other side of the ocean?” Aaron asked, but with a sadness who was almost tearing his lungs up like cat-claws. “One day, you’ll find out. You’ll travel all the way across the blue ocean, but I can’t ensure you it’ll be pleasant.” Aaron looked puzzled. “Why isn’t it going to be pleasant?” The man lost his smile to a rather saddened expression. “Too high hopes, perhaps?” Aaron eyes glittered by the light of the fire, as it danced across every single detail of his face. After a moment of silence, Aaron lifted his blond eye brows, as if he found-out something important. “Will you come with me when I cross the ocean?” The man sighed, and traces of tears filled the his eyes, though Aaron couldn’t notice through the thick penumbra. Another smile, a sad smile, spread across the man’s bearded face.
“I’ll be there alright. But I probably won’t be able to accompany you over the ocean.”
Aaron looked even more puzzled. And didn’t understand why not. “I’m not sure if the journey will bring joy to your heart Aaron.” Continued he. “W-why so?” Stuttered Aaron, and the man stood up again. “When the time is right Aaron, when the time is right…” He replied bewildering, as he walked back out the door. Feeling Aaron’s sorrowful and confused gaze carving painful scars in his back.
“Are you ready to leave tomorrow, Isaac?” asked a dry voice, as the man approached Isaac on the terrace. The man was hooded, covering half of his face in a shadow. Isaac was silent for a few moment, pressing two fingers against his nose-bridge, to relief the headache. The hooded man was patient, and respected Isaac’s need of silence. Isaac sighed from the nether of his lungs. “I’ll never be fully ready to leave a kid like Aaron. But it can’t be avoided, even though the sacrifice is a little too much.” The hooded man could understand Isaac’s pain, anything else would be inhumane.
“Are you sure we are here for a purpose?” Asked Isaac, with his voice trembling and almost drowning in his grief. The man walked a little closer to Isaac, letting more light in beneath his brown hood. “You can’t stay among the Rabbits forever, you are a Wolf after all.” “But why can’t I take Aaron with me?” Responded Isaac, with a touch of desperation in his voice.
“You already know the answer, he’s a Rabbit. And not only that; good old Balkan is also keeping a keen eye on him, finding him rather… Fascinating.” Isaac’s eyes grew thin, as he lowered his voice to a whispering level. “How do you know that” With a slight of pride on his lips, the man grinned. “The walls have ears: My ears” A sparkle of despise crossed Isaac’s eye, as he tried to find the man’s eye beneath the hood. “Do you really think that this war will bring any good?” Isaac asked to change the topic away from Aaron. “Nope, Not at all. But it’ll be fun anyway.” He looked like he was about to burst into laugher. “Fun? You find this whole thing fun?! You heartless son of a-” “Hey, hey. Easy. It’s wasn’t meant like that.” The hooded man interrupted with a sorry tone. Isaac stared at him for a couple of seconds, burning hexing words into his skull with his eyes.
‘Arsehole’ Isaac thought to himself, as he turned his head towards the small forest town before his eyes.
The hooded man opened his mouth again, with Isaac preparing himself to raise his voice again if necessary. “As much as you don’t want to, the much it is a necessity. I’m sorry to put this much pressure on your ageing back, but our land depends on you.” The hooded man seemed to had changed his tone of voice a little from his past hoarse amused grin, to a dry, but mild voice with a connotation of concern. Isaac still didn’t look at him, though his attempt to sound less vile made him loosen his facial expression a little.
Isaac once again sighed, before opening his mouth again. “Sometimes, I question if ‘our’ country is even worth fighting for.”
The man muttered and flung his head to the side in wonder. “It’s not like there’s anything else to fight for in this world, is there?”
Isaac looked up, stared blankly into the air before the darkening town. He looked lost in thought for a second, before turning around to face the house behind him.
“I would say that Aaron is worth everything. But…” Isaac stopped mid-sentence, and took his hand against his face in frustration. “But I don’t have any choice, do I?”
“We are running around in the same question, which you already hold the answer to.”
Again there was a little pause, to let his words reach Isaac’s ears, before he continued:
“I’ll depart now. I hope to see you in one piece tomorrow night… Both physically, and mentally” He made strangely solemn bow before turning around, leaving Isaac to his dead-end decision.
Breathing was hard that night, though the air was clean and the never-changing sky were undistorted by clouds. The tall pine trees blocked off the horizon, and it felt strangely cosy being surrounded by an ocean of trees. It was like the forest was guarding the small haven.
‘Unfortunately not good enough’ Isaac thought, and pushed his body off the wooden railing. He walked toward the door, looking down as his feet were dragging across the dark wooden board which made the terrace.
Slowly pushing the door open, he entered the room again. Aaron was sleeping on the fur-rug, with the fire now struggling to keep itself alive on the scarce pieces of charcoal left on the bottom of the brick fireplace. His lips broke into a tired smile, as he saw Aaron in all his tranquillity, lying down whilst being consumed by the surrounding shadows.
“I’m sorry to break my promise Aaron… I’m really sorry” He whispered to the slumbering Aaron on the floor. He lifted him up, carrying him toward his room, putting him in his bed.
He sat in the small chair next to Aaron’s bed, watching the darkness, consuming the noises outside the window. He sat there for hours, but he didn’t care, he was more of a night owl anyway. The soon as the sunrise broke the heavenly constellations, he too fell asleep…