POSTED: 21 Oct 2019 02:38
CATEGORY: Short Story
FEATURED: Yes ( banjo2 )
Oliver ran out of the building, his clothing smoldered and his arms scratched up. He glanced behind him before realizing it was a mistake. He saw shadows illuminated by the blaze, eight legged creatures whispering sounds that resembled hissing. He stumbled over, thanks to exhaustion and the fact he wasn't paying attention. He looked ahead of him, and saw distorted faces of what looked like ghosts. He assumed they died walking this same path he's facing. He pushed the thought aside and looked back towards the building, and noticed the flames were reaching higher and still burning fiercely.
He noted that some of the giant arachnids thankfully had gotten burned by the fire and immobilized, but some were on his trail with alarming speed. He tried to stand but his movements were slowed, like he was weighed down in a pool of water. he gripped his dagger and turned, slashing across the ghost's face, which he knew would reform but he had no time. He got up, running as far as his burned body would let him.
A howl echoed in the distance, and Oliver shuddered. He had found shelter in a pile of what seemed to consist of branches, leaves and ashes. A big pile sure, but not sturdy. He had to rely on brittle branches to shelter him as he regained his energy, which to him did not sound ideal.
He fought the urge to sleep, since it was likely whatever was near him would be tracking him down at this time. He reached towards his dagger and stared at it. In the foggy light he noticed there was blood on it, as if ghosts could bleed. He turned it around in his hands, searching for a plan that may work, if only just to get away from here. He set the blade down and crawled out from his shelter to look around. Suddenly everything went silent. The wind in the trees died off, allowing Oliver to become sensitive to the sounds around him.
A low growl off in the distance startled him. He turned, and was shocked to find-a wolf?-No, a coyote. A fox? He squinted at the source of the sound, which happened to be covered with shadows. He realized he had set his knife down in the shelter, and slowly he walked back towards it, keeping low. The creature sprang, and from its limbs it seemed thorns were growing, becoming solid like branches full of claws. its face was definitely fox-like, yet its features were twisted as if trying to keep the form together. It landed on Oliver, its leg thorns finding a place in his body to bury themselves in. Oliver collapsed, and the creature screeched in his face; a pleasant noise that represented screws on a chalkboard mixed with the same wailing he heard from the ghosts. He screamed in pain, though still tried for the knife. He was close enough the the branches that he could grab one and put space between him and the monster. He thrust his arms out while holding the branch, managing to push it away from him. He grabbed a second smaller branch and hit it near the eye. There didn't seem to be any response from it, but Oliver crawled away regardless. He reached the knife and turned around to find....Nothing.
His breathing labored, he stood up and looked around. The wind had started again, drowning the sounds of silence. There wasn't much besides the twisted plants and the usual smell of something rotten. He sighed and sat down heavily, trying to regain conscious. His stab wounds stung, but he was unable to deal with them. His heartbeat grew louder as he sat quietly, his vision fading. He looked around one last time before passing out, and he saw the same large shadows. His vision blurred as they began to hiss, advancing on him. He looked down at his blade and saw his reflection in the blood stains, an image of the fox creature behind him, yet he suspected nothing was there. Then he fell asleep.
His dream started as a simple memory. Young him was in bed, whining as his mother tucked him in. "I want more dinner!" His own childish voice echoed throughout his mind. His mother pat him on the head and smiled. "I'll make up a wonderful breakfast for you tomorrow." She assured him. He pouted, then turned his head away from her. "Hey," said his mother gently, "look at me."
He turned back, and saw his mother's face growing pale, turning distorted like the ghosts', screaming in endless pain. Then his dream faded to black, forever at an ending.