Dark Story – Part 12
(Originally from October 2007)
This is a study in free flow writing. It may not make sense when it’s finished. Oh well.
**Mature content warning**
They ran. Querin quickly outdistanced her and soon disappeared amongst the cluster of houses and horrified villagers. Keena paused on the edge of the town, her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath, still unused to the old, feeble body. Her eyes swept the scene spread before her. Flames curled up into the dark night and belched out clouds of inky smoke to help block the already cloud shrouded moon.
Thunder rumbled over head, and she instinctively looked up at the boiling clouds. The smell of the coming storm was drown out by the odor of burning wood and thatch, but she could feel it neither the less.
Forcing herself to move, she reached the first house just as the heavens opened up and began to pour rain like the torrential tears of the angels trying to save what remained of the poor village. But it was too little too late, and even as the water fell all around her, Keena could see the skeletal, charred remains of most of the town still smoldering or burning with flames too stubborn to die.
In the town square she found the bodies. Three dead wolves lay in pools of blood, twisted and contorted in agony. Their stomachs were ripped opened as if something had climbed out of them and was now loosed upon the world. Fear filled her as she remembered Querin’s words about demons and gateways. There would have been a time when she would have dismissed the words as ignorant superstition but in the last two years she had seen enough to believe him.
She moved through what had every appearance of a war zone. Here and there lay the abandoned bodies of villagers, limbs torn and wounds gouged into their pale flesh. The narrow streets grew sloppy with mud, water, blood and ashes. They mixed into a substance that sucked at her feet. Thick, acrid smoke curled from fires that the rain had extinguished, choking her and stinging her eyes. She had nearly reached the site of her old home when something large and red came bearing down on her, arms waving as if swooped low on giant bat wings; a creature so completely wreathed in living flame that it seemed to be made of fire.
A scream tore from her throat and she searched vainly for a place to hide from what was most certainly one of the demons Querin had mentioned. Turning, she ran headlong down the street, her sodden skirt clenched in her hands, but it tackled her from behind, knocking her face first into the ground. Mud sprayed over her face, coated he eyelashes and filled her mouth. She sputtered and spit out the foul tasting substance. Then, she tried to stand, but the weight of the thing was too much for her to shake off.
She closed her eyes,. There was only blackness behind her eyes. With a shuddering breath, she prepared herself for impending death, but instead of pain she felt the weight suddenly lifted from her back. She blinked and slowly rolled over, gasping as she saw the thing hovering above her still, it’s large wings beating a hot wind in her upturned face.
They stared at one another, this creature whose eyes burned her soul like the heart of the sun, and what appeared to be a small, withered old woman. Finally, releasing a howling call that rent the night, the burning creature flew up and away from her and towards its brothers.
She lay in the mud, staring at the spot it had vacated, incomprehension her only accompaniment. The cold rain continued to fall, and finally it woke her from her state of semi-shock. She needed to move.
To be continued…..
(This is the story that never ends…)