The hours passed, afternoon turned to evening and the breeze became crisp. Peter observed Giles from afar, guilt creeping up on him for his sudden departure and the subsequent reaction from Giles. He had let time pass easily – too easily. Evening was the time of day that he couldn’t be seen and he had realised too late that he needed to be gone much sooner. Instead, he was still here, forced to remain through his very nature. No one could see him like this. The few that had still avoided him to this day, such was Peter’s condition. His whole way of life would change from morning to evening. He led two lives, each distinct and forcibly separate due to the necessity to keep his night-self secluded from view.
Peter’s condition had been made known to him since youth. His parents were born and had lived in the Old-Ways Reserve. His birth had changed everything for them. Born under the Full Moon in a circular clearing, surrounded by toadstools, changed his very essence. “He has been chosen” were the words of the local druid, the only person left in the Reserve who would have anything to do with him or his parents. Nothing would persuade the other cult leaders or their fellow habitants in the Reserve that everything was well with him. If he was to be estranged, then so would his parents – if this had happened once, it could happen again and it could and would not be permitted in their society. The druid explained that this would happen wherever they took him, so he proposed that Peter be left with him on the first day of his 18th month and that his parents requested to transfer to a city.
The only life he had know after that was the seclusion to the druid’s community where he was accepted by day and kept within the confines of the man’s own patch of land. His only mentor and teacher had been the druid – though most of the learning he did was though his own experiences, as was the druid’s own way life led by learning through experience. Anything that had been specifically taught was for Peter’s own good – such as why he should keep hidden after dusk or the reasoning behind “being chosen”. While the former had been taken as a given at the time, the latter had been a source of many heated discussions during which Peter would often exclaim phrases like “Chosen? For what? Suffering?” or “It’s more a curse than a gift!”
Then, one day in April, the druid passed away – Peter’s only true friend, who cared and accepted him, was no longer with him. In his grief, he blamed the old man for everything, including his loneliness and many of the teachings were put into question, including why he had to remain hidden until next morning. It only took 3 attempts for other community members his age to convince him to stay with them after-hours. It had only happened once, but that was all it took to ruin the life he had led until then. He was shunned. No one would look at him again with the same eyes and word spread from his community to the next and from there to each of the others in turn. They were only rumours to those who had not seen, but rumours spread like wildfire and this one would not let go for a long time.
Life continued in this state of affairs until he had grown of age. At the first opportunity to leave the community he did, except he never returned. He left and though not being a well regarded member of the group, his disappearance led to a fruitless search that was soon followed by an announcement that he was missing, presumed dead. He was dead to them and that was enough.
His new life was beginning now.
End of Part V