Resurrection by Ness Ayton

A short piece that first appeared in "The Chronicles of Sherwood" many moons ago.

The arrow flew silently over the heads of the waiting Normans and into the trees. It was further than he had ever shot before, but the seemingly aimless path it wove had purpose He was about to die. He knew it, the Sheriff knew it. The long hunt was finally over, the quarry trapped and at bay. But who had won? In his heart he knew that, if the arrow found its target, then he had won. But what if it hadn't? He pushed the thought from his mind, he could not let doubts in now.

Overhead a merlin screamed. It was finished. His work was over. It was time for another to take up the mantle. Let the Sheriff think that it was he who had won, but a small smile escaped just the same. As the bow came crashing down across his thigh the pain cleared his mind and he saw that the arrow had found its mark.

"Herne, protect him," he thought, bowing his head; but it was Marion's face that was in front of him as he died.

Leaves rustled and whispered. He stood and listened to the murmurings of the forest, pausing for a moment on his journey along its winding paths. A merlin's shriek drew his eyes to the tops of the trees as an arrow plummeted through and came to rest at his feet. Filled with curiosity, he bent and picked it up. It was an ordinary arrow, fletched with white, but it felt strangely familiar.

Suddenly a dull pain thudded through him, making his senses reel. He stood transfixed as his body was racked by waves of pain that seemed to penetrate to his very soul. Then, all at once, he heard a voice.

"Nothing's forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten."

The trees echoed it until the whole forest seemed to resound with the words and he fell to his knees with a gasp. Gradually he came to realise that he no longer felt the arrow-like pains and rose slowly to his feet. As if in a dream, he walked through the forest, unaware of his surroundings, clutching the arrow to him as if his very life depended upon it, until at last he awoke and, in waking, found himself on the edge of a lake.