Fandom: Original Fiction
Summary: They say the Wanderer was handsome once.
Author's Notes: For the writerverse "Campfire Tales" challenge. Happy Halloween!
They say the Wanderer was handsome once, those who remember when the poor man had a face.
The manner of handsome is lost now, four decades gone with nothing left but the kinds of stories whispered in the dark. "One Halloween night…" they begin, or "On the first full moon after his true love died…" The tales vary, but they all concur in how things ended. Besieged by grief and despair, the Wanderer clawed his skin until he was more beast than man and even his mother would scarcely have known him.
His shadow hides between the trees of the forest, and slips through the fog on the moors. His voice rides on the wind, distant and misheard and then suddenly soft and close and terrible, there behind you. Misery and woe will follow, should he ever speak your name.
Whatever could he want? the foolish few are sure to ask. He is ash and earth now, dead and buried. Nothing shall ever change that.
Travelers often carry torches, even in daylight, hoping to keep the Wanderer at bay. Still, he hunts and roams, in search of something to make him whole.
Those unlucky enough to meet his barren-bone gaze soon discover all too horribly what it is he seeks.