The chill of the morning made them both lower their chins on their chests and pick up the pace. The forest went along with them, murmuring at every step they made, preparing itself to shake off the shadows of the night.
They didn't share the trail. She was ahead of him, but her steps were not firm. They were wavering, just as her thoughts. Trying to find some peace was harder than she thought and it wore her out, although she didn't want to admit it. She touched her belly, trying to feel something there. She felt nothing but her abdomen following the movement of her legs.
He was slacking behind, not because of tiredness but because he was scared. Maybe even more than she was. He kept looking around, up and down, everywhere just not at her. As if laying his eyes on her would cause some horrible things that would destroy the fragile silence they walked in.
Suddenly, she stopped. He went stiff, eyes locked on her. She turned towards him, tears falling from her tired eyes. She closed the gap between them and hugged him. He barely moved.
"Tell me everything will be alright. Tell me that," she whispered. "Will everything be alright?" she asked looking him in the eyes trying to find some comfort in them.
"I... don't know. I've heard she knows what she's doing, so I...." His voice faltered before he stopped. "I hope so," he said finally, hugging her.
They continued their path, but this time they walked together, each trying to look tough for the other one.
Finally, they arrived at a grove where they immediately spotted the wooden hut they were told they would find once they entered the grove.
As they shyly approached the hut, a woman fully covered in rugged apparel waved them to come faster. The woman rushed inside, leaving the door open. Inside, they could see a blanket put on the floor and the woman feeding the fire with some logs. Before she entered the hut, she gave him one last glance. They both looked horrified. Whatever courage they built up walking to the grove, it faded in an instant when the finality of their choice took the shape of that old hut.
The door shut with a gentle rustle, but it was enough to make him flinch a bit. He stood there motionless and aimlessly looking at the door.
He tried to make the sign of the cross as to have a bit of relief, but a sudden sharp shriek stopped him. He froze in place. The sound came from within the hut, but he dared not enter.
A couple of hours went by, or maybe days, or was it mere minutes? He didn't know. He was now sitting beside a tree stump that was outside the hut. Battling with a febrile sleep that his tensed body seemed to have welcomed and the worries that clumped in the back of his mind, when the door opened he had no idea how much time passed. The world seemed the same. Not even the sky changed; the air was still bleak and seemed even more so than before.
The woman covered in rugged apparel approached him holding some rags that were wrapped around something.
"I was expecting it to be bigger," he said with a bit of relief in his voice.
"If it were that way, then you would've come to me for naught," the woman said coldly. "Take it. Go deep into the woods and bury it there. Don't look back and hurry!" The woman gave him the rags and gave him a little push on the back. "Come back here after you're done," was the last thing he heard from the woman.
He didn't dare to look at whatever the rags were wrapped around. He kept his path straight without making any breaks along the way. After some time, he left the beaten path and cruised along the sea of trees that he suddenly entered. He found a small open space and started to dig. He had no shovel so he did the work with his hands. He was lucky the soil was soft and damp after the rain of the last few days.
He softly put the rags in the poorly dug hole and covered it quickly. He went to a nearby tree to catch his breath. Just as he took a seat he felt like a shroud was lifted from his eyes. He just now fully realized what he buried and he gulped nervously. He cried. Loudly. Didn't feel anything but guilt when looking at the newly dug grave.
He closed his eyes in hope that the tears and guilt will disappear. That all of this will disappear. Why did it have to be him? What would the village think about him when they discover the horrible thing he did? He didn't know much about love, but why did it have to be so strict? He loved her. And she seemed to feel the same. Or did she? Was he blind to the reality around him? Did she actually hate him for doing this to her? Maybe he was so delusional that he didn't even get the subtle hate that she harbored for him.
When he raised his look from the ground, he saw a silhouette of what he thought was a woman, covered in black clothes standing right in front of the grave, looking at him. He couldn't make much of the face that stared back at him. Only pale skin and lifeless eyes, nailing him on the tree trunk behind him.
He wanted to shout, to ask for help or even mercy, but his words were stuck in his throat. He couldn't even move a muscle. A grimace of pain appeared on his face. Tears fell from his eyes.
"I'm... sorry. I didn't knew it would come to this. Please...." His voice was almost drowned by the tears.
He closed his eyes to drain his sorrow out. When he opened them, the silhouette was not there anymore. After a few moments of peace, he heard a baby cry. The little copse echoed with that baby's cry. His eyes froze on the grave.
A corpse-like hand grabbed his shoulder from behind the tree trunk and he immediately stood up, so scared that the only sound he made was hectic breathing.
"I don't forgive. There is no forgiveness here." The voice filled the air around him.
When he hit the ground the last thing he saw was a silhouette holding a baby coming towards him. Darkness began to engulf him and he tried to get rid of the dread that encompassed him. There was nothing but sorrow that expected him.
When she woke up, the fireplace was cold and the woman nowhere to be seen, nor was he. She shook the dizziness off and went outside. The bleak sky was still hovering above the world. She felt lighter and relieved. But where was the grove they came in through? She was in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees and, the only familiar thing being the hut. She went back inside to see if she missed something. While looking around she heard someone shouting her name. Immediately, her mind thought of him. When she went outside again, she saw a silhouette holding something in its arms coming out of the tree line.
They were never found, nor was the woman or her hut. The people of the village avoid that grove, saying that a baby's cry can be heard when you get close. They spit when they have to talk about it and, since then, they have had to pay attention to whom they open the door for, especially in the autumn. On early mornings, a woman covered in black apparel with a baby in her arms is seen walking around the village knocking on people's doors to ask for shelter.
The two lovers were soon thrown into oblivion by the world.