|that he grew uneasy and pulled in his net and headed back to shore.
Manor continued to return the following nights. He even embraced the youth while he was sleeping. Indeed, now and then Har was overcome by sleep, until Manor arrived. He would awaken and be in his arms. Every time, Manor's lips would explore the tender mound above his heart. At daybreak Har began to notice a tiny drop of blood seeping through his left nipple. He would wipe it away with his shirt. Sometimes he would find the little drop already on his shirt. He appeared only when it was not a night of the full moon.
The dead are often driven by an uncontrollable yearning to visit some of their beloved survivors. The drive can be so powerful that they leave their graves at night to visit them. For, it is an ancient belief that Urda, who possesses strange demonic powers, is responsible for the short span of life bestowed upon the living dead. Urda is especially concerned with people whose life has been snatched away by a bitter death at an early age. It is said that an overwhelming need for life and warmth fills the hearts of those who return. They thrive on the blood of the living and, like a beloved, long for their embrace. But their yearning causes everyone nothing but grief.
Such was the case in this instance. Har was tormented the whole day long and pined. But he waited impatiently for night to come and yearned for the blissful thrill of the midnight embrace.
Twelve days passed.
Lara said, "You're as white as a ghost. What's the matter, Har?"
"Nothing, mother," he moaned.
She said, "You're so quiet."
In a little house on the edge of the village lived a wise old woman who practiced witchcraft. Har's mother, overcome by worry, went to visit her. The old woman threw sticks that had runic writing on them.
"He is being visited by the dead," she said.
"The dead?" Lara questioned.
The wise woman replied, "Yes, during the night, and someone will die if something's not done soon to prevent it."
Perplexed, Lara returned home.
"Is it true, Har," she asked, "that you are being visited by the dead?"
His eyes fell to the floor. "It's Manor," he whispered, and dried his tears on her breast.
"May the gods have mercy on you," she said.
"The gods," he said, "Pfui, they mean nothing to me. When he was clinging wildly to the plank, then, oh, then was the time to