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I ran into what appeared to be an alleyway; a long stretch which was open and clean from brush and debris. It was unclear at first where I was heading, but as I continued I knew of this place. The shadow lights from the moon came clearly now; the wretched view of something once unseen, clearly provoked an ominous sight.
I was now in the Land of the Great Oaks.
My father had warned me to never enter during the night hours; it would be unsafe, and a most perilous journey. But I could not go back; for what awaited me there was certain and procured death.
They were searching for me; in haunt of me.
But this place had a hollow soul; a spirit picked out from the body of this scene, and left nothing more then drenching fear.
I walked alone; the trees stretching even higher than before; crossing one another in a maze of limbs and branches.
Still, the moon watched me.
I walked forward; my eyes pulled out from their sockets; my senses alert; the silence beckoned for any sound; anything.
But nothing appeared; only the lifeless stream of shadows, empty trees, dust, chill, and a harsh winter night.
I began to run; the silence remained. But fear has an instinct of its own, and I knew something within awaited me; watching me with its evil intent and shallow eyes.
“Heavenly Father,” I prayed; taking all into view, “protect me…”
The silence was disturbed.
Something was coming; coming for me.
Footsteps, then slide; drag and thump; drag, footsteps; thump; slide.
I remembered this.
It came again: drag, footsteps; thump, drag; slide and footsteps.
It was Jingles Doehn.
There was a pause; a lift, then I could hear the sounds of a horse ride to my rear; to my sides; to my front; it was everywhere. That hollow echo into this night rattled my fears into total terror.
I began to run; anywhere; somewhere where safety lived.
Not in this place; not in this night. This was to be my grave.
The soft trots to this steed hastened now into a slight gallop.
I spun about; my breath was hard and cold like the air.
“Landon Hampshire!” I heard his hideous voice only to confirm his presence was not my imagination, but very real, “I will find you!”
“The Lord is my shepherd…” I began to pray and run all in the same motion, “I shall not want…”
“Hampshire!” he voice curdled like sour milk, “I know you are here!”
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures…” I moved into the bed of a thick-thatch and heavy clump of red oak trees.
“Come out!” The gallop was stronger now; and closer.
“He leads me beside the still waters…” I closed my eyes and I felt through the heavy branches of those trees; my breath was harsh, cold and burning my throat and lungs.
“You can’t escape!” Doehn returned; his hatred more pronounced.
“He restores my soul…” I bent behind one massive trunk.
“There is nothing to save you now!” This gallop stalled, as if he and the horse were looking about for me.
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness,” I leaned my head to the back of this tree; looking skyward and directly into the moon, “For His name’s sake…”
“Come to me young Landon Hampshire!” He was turning down the alleyway I had just escaped from.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” the full Psalm was now becoming most clear into my memory now.
“Let’s be quick about this!” His voice, trot and smell all came ever closer; I could hear him prepare his pistol for fire.
“I will fear no evil…”
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