In the late fall morning of frost and fog, they came. Many without even their coats. Little ones in borrowed rubber boots. Women still in nightclothes. None could put to words the why of it. Each were surprised by chance meetings with fellow walkers, as their ranks grew. All had a sense of quickening excitement.
They knew to gather at the tumble-down wall of stone, built by men in ages beyond their memory. At seven of the clock, with the warming sun beginning its climb, they heard one who spoke to all. In his words, they were called good. The ones who had kept faith. Now, they were to prepare, for they were to be saved. Five days after the first snow, they must send a messenger to the Wide Wood, to speak of their readiness and hear what they must do.
There were three sisters who lived apart in the land. They were known for their mercy to the poor, and for their tending to the sick. In a meeting of the townsfolk, they were chosen to be the messengers. The first snow came and stayed, and, in the time left, they went about to the houses of home, helping with what was needed, and blessing the people.
On the day appointed, Ilona travelled long by bicycle.
Irina and Ingrid walked apace, for they were close to the wood. They had never strayed long into the forest, and were in fear of being lost in the gloaming, when they heard Ilona’s voice calling along the cool evening air.
By a standing stone, evening-lit in a mushroomy glow, the sisters were well met at last. At seven of the clock this November night, they held each other’s hand, and put their faces to the stars. They sang a song of readiness, their steamy breath rising in the lime light. Their angel was revealed, and sung to them of surety, of the sadness of the world, and the madness. On the morrow, they would receive a sign.
paintings by Aron Wiesenfeld