Ghosts in the shadow of a century old oak tree

Written: © Maxima 

The roads and footpaths intersecting the vast plain with its dark arms were being absorbed by darkness. Four long shadows hurrying towards the horizon got darker and darker and eventually vanished under a huge hundred-year-old oak tree.
– We’ll spend the night here, said Stanley loudly, as he placed his rucksack against the huge trunk. Three other guys threw their bundles all around, relieved, and sat on the ground.
A moment of silence.
Each of them longed for a piece of quiet, some time to recollect their thoughts about hours long trek behind them, to listen to the call of the crags they were heading to, to stretch their legs… The silence did not last long.
As they were watching four roads going in different directions, wondering which one to go, a bright light flashed across the sky from north, a gust of wind turned into a hoarse male voice. The four men went numb. Staring at the bright light they pressed their palms ready to pray.
What was it?
The night spoke.
– You, down there, hiding under the century old oak tree!
Can you see these four roads?
– We can, they replied, as fear spread over their pale and sunken faces.
– Four travellers will come to you down them. Bear in mind, though…
Whatever they tell you,
Whatever they ask you,
You must keep quiet. Don’t say a word!
Should you say a word, it will cut the one sitting next to you like a sword.
And none of you will ever see the light on the crag…
The voice went silent.
The light went out.
The night grew darker…