Lyssa didn’t know why she thought there would be anything here in the old, abandoned hut. It had seemed desolate and empty when she’d found it last spring. Now snow had crept in over the floor, coming in through the broken door and the open window. Deer prints marked the floor, and there were smashed jars and open cupboards.
“It’s rather untidy,” Brother Amos’ voice said, unsteady. “Let me see if I can’t tidy up… oh… well, no I can’t.” He sounded surprised, as if he’d forgotten he wasn’t really there, at least not in body.
“You said there was some medicine here for my mother,” Lyssa tried to keep her voice from shaking. The cold, the disappointment, were both making her tremble.
“Your mother,” Brother Amos echoed. He’d forgotten again, Lyssa could tell by the way he said the words.
Outside, the wind blew a fresh flurry of snow against the hut with a sound like so many needles being flung against the stones.
“Brother Amos, what’s wrong?” Lyssa asked. “You’ve never been like this before.”
“Well, I can’t help but think,” he said. “It seems there was something off about the sage. If you don’t mind I’ll just sit down and rest my eyes for a moment.”
Sage? Lyssa opened the back page of the diary. There hadn’t been any sage. The only fresh growing thing she could find here in the dead of winter had been a sprig of potato from the cellar. The juice of its thick stem was now staining the inside of the back cover.
Potato greens. Poison.
Shaking harder, Lyssa closed the cover of the book. “Can you tell me where to find the medicine? If it were still here, where would it be? What would it look like? You said it was a root.”
There was no answer.