One day a woman found a man.
His head lied on the moist sand while body remained in the water. Large, heavy body that she could scarcely drag out.
A long time she had been lying near him having put her head on his breast. Listening if his heart beats.
The sun was invisible, there spread a great mass of fog.
"Ta-art in black" - croaked flying by raven to another. "And a co -orpse" - answered the second.
They had been walking for many hours stumbling, getting stuck in the sand. She looked like a cursed soul, a companion of the dead on his way to hell. Black. Thin. Sinister.
The sky turned away, went to sleep having left his only spy. Through the night she had been rubbing his large muscled body with potions, whispering something, sometimes she started to mourn as if he would have died. Nobody heard. The wood was humming monotonously, was swinging and frightening the world, and the wood was afraid of himself. The moon was blushing of wind's cruel slaps. The flowers were choking in nectar, the clouds were pretending to be flowers.
There had been a medallion on the man's breast. The woman unhooked the chain and opened it. A lock of hair, nothing surprising. She wrinkled her face and threw the lock into the fire.
With hot lips she had been searching his motionless face, kissed his closed eyes. Sometimes he had whispered unknown words but still had been faint and she continued her sorcery. The wreath from thousands herbs at his pillow, the blood from finger to his temples, the wings of butterfly on his eyes, the reserved breath into his mouth. Finally he started to move and moan. The jet of turbid water poured out from his mouth . "Pauline" - the man suddenly said. "No" - said the woman abruptly and turned off the lamp.
The next day he could have eaten. He smiled to the woman, he tried to express his gratitude but she was looking at the crimson stains on his cheeks and has been shaking her head. He didn't speak about the medallion.
Since that time the things had been seemed to change for the better. However she had been still looking with anxiety at the face of the saved, she wanted to know the past and the future, and her heart had been freezing.
In a week they shared a bed. Light mixed with gloom, straight - with sinuous, human - with spectral . Their moans were crushing the forest, and the trees were rushing about in panic. The stones were crawling closer to the sea. Unsaid, unbelievable was happening in the house. "Pauline" - said the man beside himself of passion and touched woman's breast. "Yes" - said the woman in despair and clasped his hand to her cold heart.
She showed him hidden paths that led to the borders of Heaven but no one would have possessed enough time and strength to get over there, she showed him cave with the remnants of extinct giants, birds with pale-gray feathers whose red eggs contained black yolks. He was paralyzed by astonishment but pretended that he had read about this. Mysterious, frightening world without answers to its riddles.
On a shore they found remains of shipwreck and few dead bodies. Woman forbade to commit ravens' dainty to the earth. And she put her hands on his ears when they were returning back and had heard the remote cry of the lost child . "Never mess with something that is no concern of yours".
Alas, more and more often he spent his evenings at the seashore and looked into the distance. Sails appeared dimly in his mind. The sun gilded his hair trying to soothe his pain, to suppress his nostalgia. And woman has been singing inspired by her happiness in her ancient house while she has been waiting for him, while she has been forgiving him.
So it happens in human life... He had been looking for her for many years and got her. The most beautiful woman from country of Neld, which wasn't marked on the maps. And for that moment he didn't know how to escape her.
He made a boat from the remnants of the ship and slept inside it near the surf line. He hoped that the sea would be merciful and would bring him far away as if against his will, not offending woman. The cold breeze chilled his bones but he was stubborn and prayed for salvation. He knew that if he left this place the woman would find him among her people and by the laws of this country he would be hanged on the top of the highest tree of the island. So she said.
The white word freedom smells with freshness. The woman knew it and got up early to see once more how the new-born world would strive to run away from time to eternity. She released birds from their cages, she unstitched old clothes, she washed sheets and swept dust. And all this before the dawn, before the return of the man with crimson stains on his face made frenzied by waiting.
She put the plate with vegetables at the front of him and smiled. Kissed, caressed him, called him "her beloved". She allowed him forbidden, animal games. In vain.
And nevertheless... One morrow the man had seen the giant brig on the horizon. It seemed to be a mirage, a fantasy, a dream so beautiful it was. Firmly knocked of pine boards, with white sails and golden arms of a kingdom on its rostrums. There was no doubt - it had been taking his course to the island.
Grandees in luxurious garments had descended from its deck and went through by the path which led to their house. They hadn't payed any attention to cheerful greetings of a man gaunt as a sceleton. He managed to catch one from this royal suite by the lap and asked what they were doing here. "We are looking for the last woman from Neld".