GENRE: Dark Fantasy
They walked single-file and surefooted through the dark woods, their bare feet moving lightly over the damp carpet of earth and leaf and needle, their shifts knotted above their knees so as to clear the brush just coming into blossom. It had been a bitter winter and a rain-filled spring, but now the sky was clear and filled with stars so dense as to cast a glow on the new green leaves. The moon was high and small and when again she could let herself remember that night Elisabeth would realize that it was a sickle, unusually narrow and bright: a tool for reaping, and she should have taken it for a sign.
But that night there had been no thought of signs or much else; there had only been their brisk movement up the hill towards the lake, the soles of their feet black with soil and their calves flashing white from beneath their yellowed, wrinkled shifts, and Mary singing at their head:
Ombra mai fu
cara ed amabile
Sweet and clear, a pure contralto her sister’s voice, the Italian curling from her lips to cling to the very air, caught in the breeze and echoing faintly in the valley that fell away beneath them; and Elisabeth found herself humming along, feeling her own soul rising towards the black outlines of oak and elm as if to embrace them.