A lone girl stood at the edge of my vision, hidden between the trees and disguised in shadows. At a second glance, she looked more like a woman, maybe late teens or early twenties. She was dressed for the night, her face and red hair contrasting with the black of her clothes.
She seemed to be waiting for something, though I couldn't say what; her expression was a mix of worry and concentration. It melted into relief, however, as a tall figure emerged from the trees and walked toward her.
I frowned. My visions were usually clearer than this. How come I could only see them out of the corner of my eye? If I looked at them directly, their bodies shimmered in and out of visibility, blending into the shadows. But as soon as I looked away, their mysterious dark figures reappeared. And how come they were so small?
I watched as the woman's white hands reached up to the man's face, pulling it down to her level. I looked right at them, focusing on watching the shadows mix and move; looking away only made it clearer, and they were in the middle of a dark forest at midnight for a reason.
The woman turned so I saw her in profile she was pregnant. The hooded man seemed to be trying to calm her, his hands cupping her cheeks. She gestured wildly, waving her hand towards the thick forest where the man came from.
Like in all my visions, I couldn't hear anything, but it was clear they were arguing. I couldn't read their lips or move closer, so I still had no clue what was going on.
The man pulled off his hood and ran pale fingers through long blonde hair. He turned as well, and I frowned. The man had long, fine features, his eyes light in the moon's glow and his pale skin standing out even more so against the night. But even more strangely, his ears seemed to be pointed. I looked straight at them, then out of the corner of my eye, but his ears stayed the same. I noted that the girl had normal ears and facial features. What was he?
The sky was lightening, dark blue shades fading to light pinks and blues. The couple noticed and separated, the man walking swiftly away and the woman frowning suddenly and looking at her stomach. She cried out, crumpling to her knees, and I jumped as a faint echo of her cry reached my ears. What? Why and how could I hear this woman?
The man ran back toward her and knelt. I averted my gaze as the echoes in my ears increased in volume and frequency, until eventually a new set emerged.
Turning around, I noticed that the glamour that hid the couple in the shadows was gone, vanished with the night, and that I could move closer. I got as close as possible and knelt by the pointy-eared man, both of us staring at the newborn in the woman's arms. She smiled through her pain at the child, a baby boy, and passed him to the man.
The similarities of the man and boy jumped to my attention as the man held the wailing child. Their pale complexions, eyes, and strangely, ears were the same. Another cry from the new mother drew my confused gaze to her. She was sitting against a tree and holding the child again, but her face was twisted with pain. She clutched her son to her chest, folding her head down over the child.
The woman's arms and face went slack.
Both myself and the man realized what had happened at the same time. He knelt again over the woman's body and held the boy to his chest. I averted my gaze as he said his goodbyes, but couldn't help but watch as he positioned the woman with her hands overlapping on her stomach, closed her eyelids, and smoothed her hair.
When he finished, he took his child in his arms and wrapped the dark cloak around the baby.
I watched him walk back the way he came with a deep sadness in his movements, the image of a man only functioning for the survival of his child. His happiness had died with the woman, it seemed.
And then the vision faded into white.