It was under a blood moon. The wind had picked up along the shore, and whistled through the village. I was upstairs, looking down on the cobbles with my spying glass. Then I saw that man – the one with a long white beard. His coat trailed upon the ground as he slumped along, dragging a sack behind him. And the sack seemed alive. He snarled.
‘Quiet, damn ye!’
He booted the sack. Then he continued a little further, and stopped just beneath a lantern light. He raised up his arms and murmured some witchery. In his hand I saw a steely knife blade. He sliced his thumb, and let it drip. Then he circled the wriggling sack.
‘May ye cause this town te’ perish,’ he cried. ‘Be among all, in all. Cease not, ’til yer Master’s work is done.’
He cut the sack wide open, and from within, came many crawlers, jumpers, wrigglers. And eagerly, they scattered – not stopping, even once. The man, his arms now folded, nodded, waited till the last was free. ‘Be blessed my brethren,’ he said. ‘Be most blessed in thy endeavours.’ Then he gathered up the sack and turned, skulked away into the night.
‘Granddad!’ I called, nearly tripping down the stairwell – ‘Did ye’ see him? Did ye’ see him? That man in the long coat?’
Granddad gazed up from his armchair, took a puff of his pipe, pulled up his evening blanket.
‘I did not,’ said he, ‘but did he have a great white beard?’
‘Aye, he did so, and a great large sack as well. Filled with wrigglers, it was.’
‘Hmmm… then we’ve grave times yet to follow, boy.’
I snuggled up close to Granddad.
‘What shall we do?’ I asked.
Granddad paused, then replied.
‘Just pray earnestly every night, and ye’ll be fine.’
He nodded, and took another puff of his pipe. We stared into the open fire, as the flames mocked and leapt around, and the wood crackled.