The Crimson Man

The Crimson Man lives in a cave in the birchwood grove where the sun is always setting and the season is always autumn. He has crimson eyes that can see for miles and a crimson cloak that warms him as well as any fire. When hunger pulls at his stomach with its long-boned fingers he buries it with mouthfuls of mud. When hateful crows spiral down and peck at his sleep-deprived eyelids he flails and he swats and he presses their left behind feathers into his crimson bones. The coat of stolen feathers will never be enough to let him fly away but they catch and slice the wind, making crimson flakes that sail away into the twilight. You can catch them on your tongue, but they will never melt.

The Crimson Man walks in circles and the insects scatter before his crimson shadow. They know not fear, but are forced away as surely as the ground will rise to meet a body in freefall. But the Crimson Man is not in freefall. He is the rising ground.

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