A Couple's Hunger

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This is a true story in so far as related to the geographic location. Concerning the events, my memory remains a bit faulty with regard to the peculiar goings on. The accuracy of the telling I leave among yourselves to decide.

Laughter floated in the air. The brilliant sunshine had melted the evening's frost and was well on the way to drying the grass. The waiting energy of pre-Spring was coiled in tension, carrying its subtle smell in the air.

In the middle of an isolated hanging valley, beneath towering peaks, a rustic house was to be found. Built from local materials of wood and stone, its foundation rested upon the most ancient of bedrock.

The surrounding landscape had survived for uncounted millennia of ice glacier grinding to bring into existence the lower valley depths, severing the upper valley in twain. The continuity remnant, now a sister valley, was resigned to be forever separated across the gulf, below the distant ridge. Once the massif was a single mountain. In that epoch, the valley pairs were a single grand mass, formed from the silting up of an antediluvian lake, supported upon the bedrock. Now, it was in the gap below that a lake was filled. Its depths had been scored deep, revealed after the glacier's retreat. Each year's melt of winter snow replenished what the prior year had taken.

There was a forest on the shore receding across the moraine. It was a forest as deep, as black and impenetrably foreboding as the waters at its gnarled feet. Sunlight did not illuminate the floor of tangled roots. Mushrooms grew in abundance on the detritus rain from the trees above. This was a realm where fungi thrived.

At the lonely house, on the patio relaxing in the sun gifted warmth, were Jessica and Charles. They were a couple appearing in their middle age. With them, laughing at a joke forgotten before it was told, were two preteen boys, Janz and Pesho. They sat together, as though a family, around a picnic table. There were breakfast remnants on the table: Heal of a loaf of bread. Soft boiled egg shells emptied of their golden contents, each still perched upon their respective throne. Butter that had gone soft in the sun. Small glass bowls emptied of jam. Cups for coffee, and cocoa, that had also been emptied; they remained in want of a refilling that had yet to occur.

Janz and Pesho were still smiling as though the echo of that funny joke had yet to pass. The stress to appease had the boys' attention. They were oblivious to the countenance of Jessica and Charles, who looked to each other, exchanging a secret thought. The expression on their face was this: satisfaction borne from a surety of what was to pass.

Jessica and Charles had recently returned home from traveling abroad in the Eastern countries. The goal of the trip, depart home as two, return as four, was the acquisition of feral strays- two only. These trips had occurred numerous times. Before this particular journey, fresh documents had been reacquired; the former had become too dated or otherwise mangled to reasonably suffice any longer. The young boy passports the couple carried were the shopping list to be fulfilled, specifying a match of bone and flesh to ink and paper. From this, candidates were reviewed until the selection was made. The process was not a lengthy one. It never was.

The day arrived when the two empty small suitcases were filled and the return passage was booked. The couple had been excited by the prospects of this excursion's bounty: Janz and Pesho were a match beyond specification, appropriate to complete the series.

The boys settled into their new habits of luxury. Each with their own room: full of clothes and distractions. The clothes, though not new, were pressed and folded neat. Each dresser was filled. Coats were hung in a shared armoire above a rack of shoes. Game sets were stacked on shelves; the organization was according to some esoteric strategy.

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