“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
The woman got up from her knees and nodded to the youth. “That’s all right,” she offered a sad smile. “I was just tidying up a bit.”
She nodded at the bunch of flowers in the youth’s fist. “Are those for him?”
“Um,” the youth looked at the posy as if he had no idea how he came to be holding it. “Yes. Is that all right?”
“It’s fine. It’s very kind of you. He gets a lot of flowers. People from all over. Most of them never met him but they make the journey.”
“He was a popular man.”
The youth glanced around at the clearing. “But why here? Why not in the churchyard?”
“This is where the arrow landed. Don’t you know the story? He shot an arrow from his death bed and said where it lands is where he should be buried.”
“Oh, yes! And this is it, eh? It’s hard to believe he’s really gone, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Well,” said the woman, adjusting her wimple, “I ought to be off. Thank you for coming, er…”
“Wolfric. It’s very kind of you, really.”
She slipped away between the trees, hastening to the hideaway via a circuitous route in case she was followed.
She gave the secret knock and was admitted.
“We have to be more careful, my love,” she called to Robin in the shadows. “The sheriff’s sent his nephew snooping around, thought I wouldn’t recognise him.”
But Robin didn’t answer. He lay stock still in his casket, unblinking and waiting. Waiting for the time when England would need him again, when injustice was rife throughout the land and the poor would need defending against the rich.