There was no other light available besides what little streamed down from the sky.

I picked it up and took it with me. I didn't think anybody would miss it.

Travel for me would be much easier with something to light my way, rather than being forced to fumble around in the dark. At least natural obstacles would be less of a threat, though I knew my light might attract other types of attention.

I knew my way around a sword, so that concerned me less. And I had little of value worth stealing, besides what I myself had stolen from others.

What comes around goes around.

I hadn't seen spirits in years, but I was relatively new to the area. I didn't know what I should have been expecting. Only that I was going to make my way to the coast.

There was something about the light from the lantern that was mesmerizing. Watching the flame dance inside drew me away from the events of the past week. Everything seemed to center itself around the glow held in my left hand.

Something cold was coming though. I could feel it. At first I thought it was the wind, but no, it was a part of the night. I couldn't really see anything but I sensed the presence of smoke. Fast, winding smoke. Slithering towards me like ethereal serpents.

It never made it into my field of view though. The lantern appeared to be holding it back.

I quickened my pace down the road. I probably should've made it a higher priority to reach a town before dusk. It was too late to regret that decision now.

Something was definitely chasing me. I could feel it, and almost even see it, but just as it entered the sphere of light around me, it dissolved.

I decided I couldn't let the lantern go out, but did not know what more I could do to protect it or myself. I suspected my sword was going to be useless. What started as a leisurely walk had turned into a determined jog, one where I focused on maintaining the stability of the lantern.

I glanced at the colors lit on my forearm. I wanted to call to them for help. It was then that I noticed something changing within the lantern. A dark and tiny figure appeared to form within the flame. I wasn't sure if I was seeing things or if it was a trick of the light.

The lantern seemed to fuse with my left arm, moving together in unison and perfect balance. Droplets of flame and sparks were dripping from the lantern now, and I was swinging it around myself. Or maybe it was swinging itself around me.

Flames flew off into the distance all around me, and I hurried along my original path. I felt calmer. I no longer felt like I was being chased, but my left arm still appeared to be on fire, though it felt only slightly warm. It was comforting though I had no rational reasons to feel that way.

It seemed I was gripping the lantern as much as it was holding on to me. We were travel companions now, at least for the night, something I believed I needed, and if the lantern had a will of its own, perhaps something it wanted as well. I couldn't really communicate with what appeared to be an inanimate object, but somehow through the interface of my arm, we had become part of the same whole.

Hours later, we reached a town. Not my final destination but a good resting location. The lantern loosened its grip on my hand. And then the connection was gone. It was just another object once more, among all the other lights of the town.

I felt an urge to set it down by a doorway. Maybe it was trying to tell me something. Our shared journey was over. Perhaps it was home. Or perhaps it was waiting for someone else to take it on the next leg of its own journey, wherever it was going.

"Thank you." I did not say that aloud.

Only crazy people talk to inanimate objects.

But I think it understood me. I wanted it to anyway. "If we meet again in the future, I won't be able to tell you apart from any other lantern," I thought, but I had a feeling it would be able to make itself known to me if it really wanted to.

It seemed the dark figure within the lantern's flame was waving a goodbye, but maybe I was imagining things.

"Goodbye. May you also find what you're looking for."

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