No Good Deed

A young woman walking in the mountains one day, taking photos with her vintage camera of whatever caught her fancy, came across the ghost of a knight sitting glumly by a river. When she asked the ghost what the matter was, he told her that he had died in the cave just beyond the river many many years ago and that he was unable to move on into the afterlife because he had tripped in the darkness of the cave and lost his shield in there somewhere. And since it was the place that he died, he could not enter it, and therefore could not retrieve his shield and so was doomed to be a ghost until he could be reunited with his shield.

Being a kind girl and feeling bad for the ghostly knight’s plight, she offered to retrieve his shield from the cave and return it to him, thus allowing the knight to sally forth to whatever the future might hold for him. The knight thanked the girl profusely, and eagerly watched her enter the cave just beyond the river. But in her rush to help the knight, she tripped over some rocks in the entrance of the cave and fell to the cold wet ground. As she did so, her camera strap that held the camera in place around her neck snapped and her camera went skittering across the floor of the cave, coming to rest with a gentle thunk against the old metal shield of the ghostly knight. She reached for the shield, thinking to herself how very easy this all was to help someone in need, but as she had made such a racket coming into the cave and reached so very suddenly for the shield, it was so much more than the anxious snake that lived in that cave could take and he lashed out the only way he knew how, biting the girl hard on her wrist as she reached across him for the shield. It only took a moment for the rapidly spreading poison to stop her heart, and she perished, arm outstretched, almost, but not quite, touching the knight’s shield, and her camera beside it.

Back outside, the ghost of the girl sat down next to the ghost of the knight with a heavy sigh, and they both glumly stared in to the water of the river, hoping it wouldn’t be too many more years before someone else happened by.

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