Brother Aden had lived alone for so long that he had lost count of the years. He knew time had passed because he had aged. He could see it in his hands; brown with too much sun, wrinkled and dry with not enough washing and too much hard work. He could feel it in his body; back bent, slower footsteps, pain in his knees and arms.
His hut was in the middle of the forest, far from everywhere else and that was how he had come to like it. When he had arrived and spotted the two room wooden building through the trees, he had gone in and discovered it abandoned. He had made it his shelter though he couldn’t escape the horrors of the night that had caused him to flee here.
Even now, when the winter nights were dark and wild with storm, his faded memory would show him events of the past. He was an young monk learning to read and copy the scriptures. He was attending four prayer services a day and more on Sunday. He was looking after animals and crops. It was a hard life but he understand the Calling.
Midnight, the danger bell was ringing and the Abbey being stormed by The Cursed knights. There was fire, blood and bodies everywhere. Brother Aden had grabbed whatever he could; books, relics, supplies and fled away. He had selfishly only been thinking about his survival. He hadn’t know that then, had not been thinking clearly in the chaos all round. He had just wanted to live and not die by magical sliver and gold swords.
Fleeing into the winter night, snow melting on his hot face, the forest had seemed to welcome him. The trees sheltered his senses from the battle and he had stumbled onwards till morning. It sometime afterwards that he found the hut.
In the days that followed, he had time to think and decided. Brother Aden realised he could never return to the Abbey, he would be exiled for his actions. He had left the Abbey without permission or proper cause, he had removed relics and books, stolen food and had gone into hiding like a coward. And all that was if there was even an Abbey and Brothers to go back too.
So, he had decided to stay and allow the forest to provide for him. The guilt, emotions and wondering about what had happened haunted him all the time in those first few years. Slowly, that had faded as he tried to survive day to day, season to season. He had grown use and comfy to things. The desire to try and return to the Abbey or anywhere else vanished.
This was his life now.
(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/09/10/weekly-writing-prompt-158 with thanks).