Day 12 and a few more words, though I am going to have to try to go to bed a decent hour tonight.
An address provides no direction to a stranger unfamiliar with a land. The creature knew enough that he would have to leave one country for another, that he was now in Germany and that the Geneva in the address he owned was in Switzerland, but he did not know where one lay in relation to the other, nor how to differentiate them. There were certainly no instructions in the journals he carried, their geography being strictly of the biological. And sign posts, when they did exist, were only for the most local points of interest. Nothing said Germany ends here or ends just over there; Switzerland coming. He meandered a great many weeks sometimes going this way and sometimes that, but managed somehow to go the right way more than wrong. The journey was not a pleasant one, it was cold and he still had only his original costume, augmented by a found cloak. His spirit was even less pleasant and he spent many a night howling at his misfortunate lot. This distemper could not be maintained however, and somewhere in the midst of his quest, surrounded by countryside sometimes pretty, sometimes stark, but always majestic, his dark mood lightened and the snow became less bothersome and more magical, the harshness of the wind merely an observation, not a complaint. He began to appreciate the body that had been bestowed him, grotesque as it was, for it endured all manner of hardship and required little to sustain it.
When he grew tired of not knowing where he was he ventured closer to civilization. He encountered a group of children whom he chased away with a roar, but no mob came to find and torment him. He ventured even closer still. A blind, old man had been kind to him in the past. He thought to find another person with the same sightless affliction and see if they could assist in some way. Within a few days of deciding on this course he came across a large woman sitting on a stool in the front of a disheveled cottage nimbly peeling potatoes, her face held up to the warming sun while she worked. As he could see no one else present to abuse him he approached her and asked where he was. She replied with the name of the village and laughed when he asked if this was in Germany.
“You are in Bavaria.”
She laughed even louder when he explained he wanted Switzerland and then scolded him for attempting such a trip with winter approaching. But sightless or not she seemed know the direction he should be travelling. She pointed in the general direction of the border with no indication of its distance and then offered some bread for the journey, laughing yet again at his folly. He gratefully accepted.
He came across another group of children whom he chased away with his roar. They dropped the sticks they were collecting and ran, but the joviality of his earlier provider seemed to infect her entire hamlet, for their screams turned into laughter and then they stopped in conference in front of him. With no chase to continue, he stopped also and observed them as, in unison, they all looked over to him and charged. He ran, laughing a deep baritone laugh, impressed with the bravery held in such small packaging. When he went beyond what they obviously thought their territory, the pack slowed and returned to the job of collecting kindling. He gave a cordial wave and walked on, diverting his route only slightly, listening to their fading conversations and laughing to himself. The last of his darkness lifted and as evening approached he found himself humming one of Mr. DeLacey’s old tunes. He was flat, but no matter.