The Merchant

The suns last rays illuminated the darkening clouds like a dagger through flesh, as the growing darkness engulfed the already gloomy wood. Within the ancient and withering trees, hide nor hair could be seen of any animals, it was said that there was an evil in the place which they knew all to well and had the sense to avoid.
On this particular night a lone figure draped in the garb of a merchant made his way under the decaying canopy, his feet making soft imprints in the mossy ground. A silent being on a familiar journey, his horse trailing closely behind him carrying his load. As the sun sank below the distant, unseen horizon and darkness ensued only too suddenly, the merchant reached into robes and brought out a small lamp. A mumble of words ensued as he struck the match on a rock. Once, twice, three times. The match flared causing the merchants scarred face to glow in an orange light. With a quick flick of his wrist the lamp was lit allowing the merchant to see what, for want of a better word could only be called a path beneath his feet. With an intake of air the merchant made a sharp clicking noise in the back of his throat and his steed, which had wandered away in search of edible grass turned, and continued in its endless pursuit of its master.
The being awakened. It was time now, it was dark. The hunt was on. He rose from the bow upon which he slept and deftly jumped to another tree. The smell of the human was rank, its perspiration clearly audible among the other smells of the wood; he could smell the burning fuel from its lamp. His swift eye's latched upon the light some distance away. He leapt from this tree landing perfectly upon the next as it broke into a sprint. It continued, tree to tree to tree. Always following the light, always focused on the soft tracks of the merchant and the heavier tracks made by the horse.
The merchant became uneasy. Raising his lamp above him he peered into the pitch black of the wood beyond. The horse behind him made a choking, forced whiney. In a flash he whipped round, just in time to see it keel over, its guts spilling beneath it. In a panic he dropped the lamp and began to run. On the edge of his hearing he could hear a patter of feet following him. He knew it was only steps behind. He stumbled and lay in the mossy undergrowth. All was still, he lay his breathing still heavy from the exertion of the preceding moments. Finally, he rose to a crouch, peering intently into the darkness surrounding him.
From above he dropped, knife below him. His weight crushing the merchant's neck, killing him before the dagger drove into his kidney causing the acidic urea to spill through his vital organs. The being rose taking a silver pendant from around the merchant's neck. Placing it upon his own he vaulted upwards as fast as he had dropped and was gone into the darkness of the boughs.