fantasy

An ode to the death of rats

The night was dark and gloomy. No stars were visible across the densely clouded sky. The cold wind of winter howled occasionally as it made its way across the empty streets, stirring some noises into the otherwise quiet streets. Behind the noise of the galloping wind was a tapping sound. It slowly grew stronger as it made its way through the street towards a wide bridge, where it abruptly stopped. The noise belonged to two heavy-set gentleman who were carrying a third individual with them. That individual seemed less at ease but that might be have been due to the fact that his feet were encased in cement. The two heavy-set men were about to heave the incapacitated men off the bridge and into the cold river below, when a set of quick steps echoed through the streets.

The heavy-set men stopped and looked around them to find that the quick steps belonged to a strangely clad gentleman who had was wearing a colorful red robe and a large pointy hat with the word wizzard on it, his face was decorated with a large brown beard.

The three people on the bridge forgot everything for a moment; what they were supposed to do; who they were, and just stared open-mouthed at the strange manifestation that stood in front of them.

‘I am very sorry to disturb you, but could you perhaps tell me when I am?’ asked the strange ‘wizzard’.

Noticing that his colleagues were somewhat lost in their minds, trying to make a piece that shouldn’t be there fit in their world, the encased person took the opportunity to speak and try to convey as many signs as possible to the ‘wizzard’ that he needed help urgently. The signs manifested themselves as winks, eyebrow raising, little fits of coughing and other such tricks. ‘You are in 1955… huuehuumm…’

‘Oh!’ the wizzard seemed to ponder at this and stared back at the gentleman. ‘So this might be roundworld right?’ he asked.

The incapacitated gentleman was becoming increasingly anxious. He tried everything he could think of short of crying out for help and nothing seemed to be working. ‘I guess so… I don’t know!’ He answered angrily. ‘But we could talk about it all you want over a pint?!’ he said smiling a large and nervous smile.

The wizzard stared at the gentleman and said ‘No thank you, I’ll be running away now. Thank you.’

This seemed to break the spell and the two heavy-set men finally moved from their position. Understanding that this might be his very last chance the gentleman called out ‘Aren’t you going to help me?!’

‘Oh no!’ answered the wizzard ‘I can’t risk something happening to me.’ and with that the wizzard was gone his quick steps quickly nothing more than an ancient memory.

The heavy-set men turned back to the job at hand.

‘Can’t we talk about this? I mean this was so weird, why don’t we just laugh it off in the pub?’

The men looked at each-other and silently agreed that going to the pub was a very good idea indeed. They heaved the gentleman over the edge and walked towards the nearest pub where they had a good few drinks. The gentleman’s plunge into the water was witnessed by no one except a pigeon who happened to fly by. What happened after the plunge was also witnessed by no one. Not even the pigeon. A strangely clothed person took off his pointy hat and robe and jumped into the water…

Note:

This is my little ode to Terry Pratchett whose work I admire and cherish. May you rest in peace and may death and the death of rats welcome you into their domain.

Advertisements

Chapter 3 – Scriven

The shadows had disappeared as did the school. They were standing in a green and lush meadow, filled with grass and several different sorts of plants and small flowers, a large forest lay several kilometres in front of them and behind them they could just make out the start of a mountain range. The sky was blue, with a yellow round circle of fire and there were no clouds anywhere. It looked like they were in Switzerland now or at least something similar. Anna had seen lord of the rings several times and this looked slightly like middle earth or maybe New-Zealand. It could have even been Scotland on a good rainless day, although that was harder to believe.
Anna stared at Josh he bore a large foolish grin on his face and looked as though he at least thought everything was back to normal ‘we are home’ he stated.
No we aren’t Anna wanted to answer but for some reason she didn’t. She looked around again and had to admit that it did look like home, they were somewhere else maybe even close by to where they were previously but it could just as well be somewhere further away.
Josh was still grinning; a big happy grin, Anna looked at him and almost absent minded started counting how many teeth he was showing. There were quite a few of them. As Anna stared at him a strange shift was happening to Josh’s grin, it was slowly retracting and morphing into something different in fact his whole face was morphing and contracting in fear, his eyes were not focused on her though they were staring at something in the sky. Anna followed Josh’s gaze and saw a large beast flying past, she stared open mouthed at the creature of legend, of fantasy of her very own imagination. The creature had two wings and a large tail, it had dark red scales and Anna loved them, she even had a poster of several of them in a multitude of colours hanging on one of her walls in her room. It was a dragon. The red dragon was a fire breathing dragon, Anna recalled, there were also blue dragons that breathed out ice and lived in frozen lands and there were also green dragons, although she couldn’t recall what they breathed, poison? She remembered that there were also Chinese dragons but those were very different and she wasn’t completely sure about black dragons.
It was Josh who shook her out of it, not by physically shaking her but by screaming something incoherently, it was the scream that finally made her stop staring in shock and understand that they weren’t home yet. Anna grabbed Josh by the hem of his shirt, covered his mouth to stifle his scream and pulled him down to the ground. Dragons had very good eyes although they could get really bad eyesight depending on their age. Whatever the situation it was a bad idea if a big red dragon saw you or heard you which it most likely now did.
Josh stopped screaming and was now cowering on the grass, they were relatively lucky that the grass was long and so could at least offer some protection, Anna in turn was glancing every now and again at the sky trying to see if the dragon was coming for them or not. It seemed that they were safe for the moment, the dragon flew past very quickly, it almost seemed like he was being chased but what could possibly chase after a dragon?
Flying high above them in the distance was another creature, it was this creature that was giving chase to the dragon, it was still far away and they could not see it clearly, but as it was nearing they noticed that it wasn’t just one creature it was a flock of them. They all looked alike except for the leading creature. The leading creature had the face and body of a woman but it definitely wasn’t a woman for intertwined within the arms, hairs and waist were serpents, their mouths hissing and tongues sticking out. It wore a black robe and had large black wings that carried it very swiftly through the air. The woman’s face had a cruel and ugly twist to it, it was a terrifying sight, one Anna knew she would never forget, the beast was flying very quickly and it looked as though it was catching up with the dragon, which was lucky for them, she had the feeling that if the animal would have seen them they wouldn’t be around for much longer. There were about 12 monsters of a different sort but still quite similar flying behind. They had the body of a large bird and the face of a woman, although the face didn’t really resemble any woman, for if it did it would be the ugliest woman Anna had ever seen. They were all flying in formation chasing the dragon.
It was only when the beasts and monsters were far away in the distance that Anna allowed herself to breathe a sigh of relief and remove her hand from Josh’s mouth and they both got up. ‘What was that?’ she asked Josh.
It took Josh several moments to compose himself enough to actually manage an answer. ‘You mean the dragon or the Erinyes?’ he asked.
‘The Erinyes’ she answered somewhat surprised that Josh knew something that she didn’t. For some reason it annoyed her that Josh knew the name of the second animal they had seen.
‘That’s from Greek mythology’ Josh answered and looked at Anna. She motioned for him to carry on and as he did his eyes shone with excitement ‘they are one of the worst monsters in Greek mythology they are very intelligent and vicious, I think it was responsible for the torture of the dead in Hell or at least it was something like that, I don’t really remember the details. I think they used to punish the wicked but because they were so vicious no one dared speak their name, they are bad news. They have a sort of servant I guess which work for them and those are the Harpies that flew behind them.’
Almost as if the Erinyes heard them a screech echoed through the open space and they both stopped talking and crawled quickly back onto the grass. After several moments of cowering in the grass with nothing coming after them they got back up.
‘Do you think it was chasing the dragon?’ Anna asked.
‘It could be, I don’t really know why it would but I guess a Erinyes and those Harpies could attack a Dragon. I’m not sure if they could win against them, although the Dragon was running away. Erinyes are immortal so maybe that’s why the Dragon flew away.’
‘How do you know so much about Greek mythology?’ she asked.
‘I love Greek mythology’ he answered with a shy little smile ‘Not just Greek mythology though’ he added ‘I love fantasy as well and everything from dragons to dinosaurs and I love the Neverending story…’
‘Book or movie’ Anna cut him quickly.
‘Book, definitely.’
Anna stared at Josh with new found respect, she always assumed he was just a little cry baby it took her by surprise that they shared so many common interests. Strangely it annoyed her slightly as well, that Josh knew all about the Harper or Harpy or whatever that thing was and she knew nothing at all about it. She was always proud of her knowledge on almost any fantastical subject and here was Josh who seemed to know more about it then she did. But she smiled, dragons was her subject he wouldn’t more than her when it came to dragons. ‘What about the dragon we saw?’ she said ‘Did you recognize it?’
Josh looked shyly at the ground. ‘That was an evil fire breathing dragon’
He was good she had to admit that but… ‘How many different kinds of dragons are there?’ she asked confident that she could name more dragon sorts than he could.
Josh stared at the sky in thought and finally said ‘I’m missing a few but there are red, blue, green, white, yellow, grey, purple and black coloured dragons. There are also the metallic dragons that are silver, gold, bronze and all of those and there are other ones that I’m forgetting’ Josh paused for a moment trying to remember which ones he was missing. ‘Ahh’ he cried suddenly remembering ‘There are also rainbow dragons and brown, did I say brown already? That’s all I can remember now’ he resigned.
Anna stared at him in shock he knew more about dragons than she did. She made the list in her head just previously and forgot all about the rainbow dragons, she wasn’t actually even sure they existed and she forgot about the white and black ones which she knew about but simply forgot. The metallic ones were new to her as well; in just two little answers Josh had shaken her belief to the core, from the fantasy queen she thought she was, she had descendent lower than Josh. How many others were there that she didn’t know about? She always felt that she was a loner stuck in her own imagination, much to her own pleasure but maybe she was wrong. She pushed the thought away from her mind; it would do her no good now, the only good thing the questions gave them were a few moments of peace and escape from the harsh reality they were in. It was time now to face reality again and get home. Josh probably still had the ring, so all they needed to do was use it and get out of here. She didn’t have her toy anymore so it was all up to Josh.
‘Let’s get out of here’ she said to Josh ‘do you still have the ring?’ she asked. Josh nodded. ‘Good then use it and let’s get out of here as soon as we can.’
Josh took the ring out of his pocket and put it on his finger, this time Anna grabbed hold of him, she wasn’t going to let him go and disappear on her again. Josh grabbed hold of the ring around his finger as he has done previously with one finger on the rock and one on the other side. He tried rubbing it, turning it, twitching it, but nothing seemed to work. Josh didn’t disappear and they were both still standing in the same place.
‘Let me try’ said Anna. Obediently Josh took off the ring and handed it over to Anna who put it on and tried the ring out as Josh had done. But just like before, it was clearly not working anymore. They were stuck in this alien place, with no way to go back home.
It was the monsters that they had seen that made them stop thinking about home for the moment. They needed to find somewhere safe, that was the first priority then and only ten they could try and find a way to get home. So without a too long pause for sorrow or letting depressing and sadness take root Anna said ‘Let’s get out of here before we become lunch to the next monster that passes us.’
Josh didn’t argue and just nodded his head. He didn’t question her on why she asked him all those questions previously he just followed her. This is why she felt he was spineless, it was the same in class he was always quiet afraid to say anything. This was the first time he had actually talked, or maybe he talked to other people, she never really did pay attention to him before.
Anna marched in the direction opposite to the forest. She decided that the forest would be more dangerous than the opposite although they couldn’t really say anything yet, in the horizon that could see a mountain range with what looked like snow covering the peaks but prior to the mountain range they could see nothing. Anna felt as though it was going to be a long walk indeed.
‘Anna?’ Josh hazards a question.
‘What is it Josh?’
‘Where do you think we are?’
‘Must be someplace where fantastical creatures come alive, or something like that’
‘Do you think it’s only evil creatures or do you think there are also good ones around?’
‘I guess both of them are here, but I can hardly know can I?’ she retorted.
‘Maybe we can cry for help and one of the good ones will come to save us?’ Josh said hopefully.
‘Look Josh, think about it, what did you see flying above us just now? Do you really think that if we call for help it will just arrive?’
Josh didn’t answer her; he stared at the ground slightly embarrassed. She didn’t mean to make him feel bad, but he had to face facts. They were somewhere strange and magical where several creatures from the imagination and mythology just showed up, that meant trouble. Crying out for help would only make things worse, they had to fight for themselves and get through this. If she had to carry Josh with her she would.
Without looking back, Anna started walking along the long green grass towards the mountain range. Josh said nothing and hurried after her. They walked for several miles and the mountain range seemed no closer than when they started. It was still a long way away, and although Anna decided that was the best way to go, she now was not so sure anymore. She looked up at the sky, the sun was in the middle of the sky (she couldn’t tell the difference, if indeed there was a difference, between this sun and the sun of back home), noon, normally she was having a sandwich right about now, although she wasn’t really hungry now in this weird place, it was strange how familiar certain things were and how alien at the same time.
‘Ouch!’ cried an unknown voice from beneath her.
She stopped in her tracks as did Josh. She listened carefully trying to make out another cry, but there was nothing. She looked through the grass looking for the origin or the owner of the voice when suddenly it started laughing uncontrollably.
‘That isn’t even close to the direction I was in’ it said and it was now clear that it came from behind her. Anna turned around and looked at Josh. There was no one else there except from him.
‘Where are you?’ she asked.
‘Right in front of you’ said the voice.
Anna turned to the front, but again she couldn’t see anything.
The voice laughed again ‘Not there look down’.
Anna bent and looked through the grass until she saw a little figure of about 10-30 centimetres in length. At first she thought it must be a dwarf, but it looked nothing like a dwarf. It wore an all white suite and had long green grass where hair should be. He had a large beard and his eyes were really strange too, one was blue and the other was green. Anna stared at the creature suspiciously; she turned to Josh who looked just as astonished at the creature.
‘Do you know what this is?’ she asked him.
Josh shrugged his shoulders, nodding his head. It was clear he hadn’t seen it either.
‘That was very rude!’ said the creature ‘You could have just asked me what I was. But now, I don’t think I shall tell you.’ The creature turned his back to them in contempt.
‘I’m very sorry mister, we only just arrived and we don’t know where we are, or even what this place is and we already saw a dragon and some winged woman thing…’
‘Harpies and a Erinyes’ said Josh quickly.
‘Yea those’ confirmed Anna ‘and all we really want is to go home’
‘Go home?’ asked the creature. ‘Where is home then?’ he asked.
‘Home is earth’ said Anna.
‘Earth?’ ventured the creature.
‘Yes you know, big planet with a lot of sea and cities and buildings and other things like that’ replied Anna.
‘I don’t think I have ever heard of it’ said the creature. ‘And if I have never heard of it then you must have made it up.’ The creature concluded.
‘No I promise we didn’t’ said Josh desperately. ‘We are just really lost, and we need to find a way to go home’
‘But’ said the creature ‘if you only just arrived here and you don’t know anything about this place how do you know about Harpies?!’ asked the creature. ‘If you know about them it means you are from here and you just made up a story, and I will make sure that you will be punished severely for it!’
‘No please’ cried Josh ‘we are not lying, those things are part of our mythology. We made them up a long time ago and somehow here they are real’
The creature listened to this contemplating, rubbing his chin with his small hand, finally he said ‘Tell me, is there a land on this earth of yours, where they call themselves slavic?’
Anna stared at the creature, than she turned to Josh who was staring up into the sky, deep in thought. ‘Is that related to Slovakia, or Poland?’ Josh asked.
The creature thought for a minute and smiled ‘I think it must be Poland’ he said. ‘That’s where I am originally from you know.’ he said tapping the side of his cheek. ‘They had really good fields there’ he said wistfully.
‘How did you get to be here?’ asked Josh.
‘Well the world, just sort of exploded one day.’ The creature said, he wasn’t done though as he seemed to mule this over and added ‘But not like a real explosion, more like a ripping of the world. It was like the world tore itself apart.’
‘That’s not what happened to us’ said Josh. ‘we got sucked into this world, actually it was more like we passed through one place and then found ourselves here’
‘Well if you passed through you must be able to pass back’ said the creature.
‘Yeah we tried that already’ said Anna ‘and it didn’t work.’
‘Maybe somebody made you pass through to here.’ Said the creature.
‘Yea maybe’ conceded Anna, the thought sent shivers down her spine, so she quickly continued ‘now are you going to tell us what and who you are?’
‘Oh, yes sure. I am a Polevik my name is Boris.’ He said smiling.
‘Well I am Anna and this is Josh’ she said pointing at Josh who was still standing behind her. ‘We are both human’ she added not completely sure if that was what Polevik meant. Or did he mean species? ‘Or Homo sapiens. That also works’ she added.
Boris the Polevik simply nodded to her, but Anna wasn’t sure he understood.
Josh who was quiet most of the time suddenly said ‘wait, if your world tore itself apart from ours and we have no record of it anywhere on our world, then that means you must be really really old.’
‘Well not really old’ replied Boris the Polevik ‘rather immortal.’
Both children stared at him open mouthed and gasping. Boris didn’t seem to think too much of it though. ‘Almost everyone here is immortal or very close to it. If they are not immortal than either they are very difficult to kill or they are protected by something.’
‘Protected by what?’ asked Josh when he was able to speak again.
‘Oh the usual: Amulets, rings that sort of thing’ Boris answered casually.
‘Does that mean that I can become immortal?’ asked Josh unable to contain his excitement.
‘Sure, not sure you would like it though. It sounds good at first but then when you realize you will go through every day forever, it is actually tedious. Don’t get me wrong I don’t really want to die either,’ Boris added quickly ‘but it’s just so boring here.’
Both Anna and Josh didn’t really know how to respond and so they just kept quiet. Anna decided it was best to just change the subject altogether. ‘Boris, what species are you?’
‘Species?’ asked Boris.
‘Yes, are there more Polevik or other things like it?’ asked Anna.
‘Well Polewiki are I guess part of the faeries or pixis. We don’t really get along with the others though. Most of them are too rude and quite annoying actually.’
‘Wow, faeries. Like the tooth faerie?’ asked Anna.
‘The tooth faerie?’ asked Boris.
‘Yes, you know she comes to you at night when you lose your milk teeth and if you put them under your pillow, she takes them and leaves you something nice in return. Usually money.’ Explained Anna.
‘What does she do with the teeth then?’ wondered Boris.
Anna stared at him in surprise ‘I don’t know’ she finally replied.
‘Sounds fishy to me, but it could be something faeries do. Most of the ones I know, would terrorize you, or try to manipulate you. They wouldn’t give you anything in return unless it was something cursed. I haven’t really been in contact with other faeries for about a hundred years or so, so it might be different now. But generally they are a bad bunch, can’t be trusted.’
‘That doesn’t sound like the faeries I know about.’ Said Anna.
‘Well…’ said Josh ‘I have read some stories about faeries where they are usually evil creatures that only look after themselves.’
Boris nodded in agreement ‘Now that sounds like faeries.’
‘But you just said you are a faerie.’ Called Anna.
‘I did’ said Boris smiling a big smile. ‘But don’t worry the worst I used to do was send people the wrong way. Or punish some lazy people, but that’s about it. Now I just like sitting in the fields and relax.’
‘Don’t you have a family.’ Asked Josh.
‘Sure I do,’ answered Boris ‘why do you think I’m in the field? Can’t stand being in the house the whole time. Every day the same things, go do this go do that, so instead I just stay here in the fields.’
‘Where do you sleep then?’ asked Josh
‘Here in the field, weren’t you listening?’
‘But then when do you see your family?’
‘Oh once a year.’ Replied Boris nonchalantly.
Anna and Josh both shared a look. To see your family only once a year was an insurmountable amount of time. How could you not miss them, or at least visit them in the holidays like you did your aunts and uncles? It was a difficult idea to grasp, and both had problems with it. But if you were immortal maybe things like that didn’t matter anymore. Actually maybe nothing mattered anymore when you were immortal.
Josh who was still not clear on several issues asked ‘Boris, when the world tore itself to this place, how did that exactly happen?’
Boris thought for a moment and then said ‘The world used to be a big ball, it was then broken into a separate field, there was this really big light when that happened’ Boris seemed deep in thought, going back a long time in his memory. ‘I don’t know if it was the light that split the world or that the light was just the after affect. But what I do know is that after the bright light, we were all shut off from the light. It was as though the whole world. No the universe itself, shut off. There was no light, or stars or anything in the sky, even the bigger gods and more powerful deities could do nothing but stare and wait for something to happen. Eventually something did, when the darkness passed there was another moment of brightness where the stars and the universe came back. Only there were changes, the gods could not move between realms anymore, and the people were gone. People like you, we had no idea where you all went to but you all disappeared. That meant that all the gods and creatures that lived off of souls died. All the other realms collapsed and that is it really we have been living here ever since.’ Finished Boris his history lesson.
‘What do you mean the other realms collapsed? What other realms?’ asked Josh.
‘Well places like Hell or Heaven, and all the equivalent realms that were run by all the different gods and deities, they all disappeared and the gods that ran them ended up here.’
‘Didn’t that cause a lot of problems?’ asked Josh.
‘Oh yes, there were years or centuries, I don’t really remember, either way it was a long time where everyone tried to get the upper hand. Fights broke out everywhere and that quickly escalated to all out wars. At the end the world got split into several different places of which this is one.’
‘Is now everything ok?’ asked Josh.
‘As ok as it can be, I haven’t really been part of any of it. I found it stupid to go to a full all out war between immortals. The most that you can hope to achieve is to destroy the world or trap the others. You could never really erase the others, so I just kept out of it. Luckily no one cared about the fields here, so I just stayed here and skipped the whole war thing.’
‘I have never seen a war.’ Answered Josh gravely.
‘That’s a good thing.’ Said Boris. ‘Although if I am honest about it, now there are even more problems than when there were wars. Now everyone is looking out for themselves, so they do whatever they please. It’s a good thing no one ever bothers me here, well except for you too.’
At this the two of them felt slightly ashamed. But at least now they knew a lot more about the place they arrived in. In shock Josh realized they had forgotten one important question. ‘Can I ask you one last thing?’
Boris shrugged.
‘Could you maybe tell us what the name of this world is?’ he asked.
‘It is called Scriven.’ Answered Boris.

Chapter 2 – Entrance

Alright, try to think about this logically what was Josh doing just before he vanished? He was playing with her ring, the ring she got from the cereal box. He was trying to get it off when he was suddenly whisked away. Did the ring take him somewhere? If that was it then she had to find another ring like it and that would lead her to the same place. Whatever that other place was she was sure she could get him out of there, she had some money on her all she needed to do was to go to the shopping centre and find some cereal boxes that contained the ring. School was now an afterthought and she quickly left the school yard to find another ring.

It was a quick walk to the supermarket where Anna bought a pack of cereals. The pack looked the same and there was nothing there that made the pack looked different. Excited she walked out of the supermarket and sat on a bench in front of it. She opened the cereal box from the bottom of the pack instead of the top, it was a little trick her dad taught her. The toy is usually heavier than the cereals he used to say, so when the pack is moved from the factory to the supermarket it finds itself at the bottom of the pile. At the bottom of the pack she could already make out a price, she quickly opened the bag and took out the toy.

She stared at the toy in surprise it wasn’t a ring like she expected it to be but rather a small red toy car made from plastic. How was she supposed to use the car to get to where Josh was? The ring was a simple matter, at least she assumed it was an easy matter, she just had to put it on her hand and that would be that, but with the car things were more complicated. Assuming that car even worked and got her to the same place what was she supposed to do with it?

Anna closed the cereal box and put the car on the bench next to her and ran it back and forth. She stared around her hoping that perhaps something would have been different but it was all the same. The bench, the supermarket everything was the same, she hadn’t left and was still stuck in the same boring reality while Josh was lost somewhere. She tried to think about it a bit further, what would Josh do if he found himself in a strange place? He would most likely just cry or be utterly useless. He was hopeless without her, she was sure that it was her only option. She had to help him somehow she had to find a way to get to him to save him from whatever horror was assailing him right now. Secretly she was hoping he needed her, she tried to reassure herself that nothing too bad was going to happen to him but that he would be just scared enough that he would need her to save him. For that she needed to get to him however.

She got up and walked back into the supermarket, she needed to buy another pack of cereals and try to get one that had the ring in it. She entered the supermarket and was surprised to see that it was empty. She was just there and although it wasn’t very busy there were several cashiers and several costumers walking through the shop. Now she stood there on her own.

She walked through the empty supermarket, looking for costumers, workers or any at least someone that could confirm that they were just there. She sat only moments on the bench it was impossible for everyone to leave while she sat there. And why would the cashier leave? It made no sense. She passed aisles and rows of products but she could find no people anywhere. If they were here they were hiding very well. She wasn’t afraid of the sudden change only surprised. She walked to the cereal aisle, if there weren’t any people around she might be able to get the ring she needed. She went to the cereal the she ate this very morning and reached out to grab it. She gasped in horror as her hand went right through the box as though it wasn’t there. Anna stared at her hand in shock and when she was reassured that her hand was really there she stared at the cereal box, it looked just like any other cereal box. It was blue with a large white bowl on the cover and a slogan in red and the price in every box caption.

When the fear had settled a little and she was now sure that nothing would attack her and that she was more or less safe for the moment at least she reached out for the cereal box again. Again her hand passed right through it, as though it stopped existing on this plane of existence, or maybe there was something else going on. She tried to touch other things in the supermarket but she couldn’t. Everything was rooted to its place and she could touch nothing.           Fear slowly crept back into her heart like a leech tugging at her, what could she do now? What would she eat or drink? She couldn’t hold a book in her hands anymore, or play videogames or even use the toilet.

Maybe it was a joke? She thought hopefully. Yes that must be it why else would there be no one around. The whole shop or aisle at least must be a hologram or something. Maybe a projection of some kind aimed to trick me.

‘Ha good try! But I got you now’ she called out to no one in particular expecting people to jump out from behind hidden areas in the shop and shout surprise or something. Although it wasn’t her birthday and she was now actually breaking the rules by not going to school, her little break was now no longer a little break but rather skipping class…

She waited several more moments until she decided to give up on waiting for someone to jump out of his or hers hiding place. If they didn’t do so already it meant that whatever was happening to her was most likely real. Another thought occurred to her, what if the things that happened around her weren’t actually happening to the things but rather to her? Maybe she was now where Josh was? If that’s the case then she needed to get her toy back, the little red car, she left it on the bench outside. She had a nagging suspicion that it was too late though.

Outside the world was still, the wind, birds, cars and all manner of sounds and smells were incredulously absent. She did let it get to her and continued to walk towards the bench, she saw the pack of cereal sitting there and next to it was the little red car.

She bit her lip and reached out to hold the car in her hand. Her hand slipped right through it. How stupid could she be? She just lost her only way back out of this… whatever this was.

When Josh vanished she was jealous of him, she thought he must have disappeared to a miraculous place filled with wondrous animals, beasts and many other rarities only available in her own imagination. But now that she was here she couldn’t help but feel somewhat disappointed. There was nothing of what she wished for, and worse still she was all alone without the ability to interact with anything and the strangest part of all was the people. Where did they all run off to? Why couldn’t she see them or interact with them at least?

She clutched her head in frustration, how could I have been so stupid? She cried. She wasn’t alone Josh went to this strange place too right? So he must be somewhere next to the school, or maybe he went home when he couldn’t find anyone, she decided not to think about it and headed out to the school.

It was eerie the way the streets were empty of all the people. It wasn’t just the people though, there was nothing alive anywhere, no animals or at least no pets and birds, she didn’t check the zoo but she assumed that they were similarly empty. As she continued down the street to her school she realized that the absence of people and animals was only one part of the strangeness around her. She didn’t notice it before but as she was walking she noticed that there was no air around her, it wasn’t the wind that just stopped blowing but rather the air itself that was strangely still. She tried to take a deep breath expecting to hear the suction of air into her lungs but when she took a deep breath she noticed that no air was coming into her lungs. There was no air for her to breath. She wasn’t dead though she was sure of that and even if she was dead then where were all the other dead people? She didn’t know how many people died, but she knew that history was only about people that died, so the streets should be packed with people and not empty.

It was the same with sounds. There were always sounds around, from cars driving around and the people chatting or walking or listening to music but now it was as though all the air and noise was sucked away and she was walking through a plastic replica of her world.

There were other things as well that kept nagging her, things that were not normal but she couldn’t tell what they were. One of them though clarified when she looked up, she didn’t notice it at first because she hardly ever looked at the sky anymore, not like when she was younger, she used to love looking at the sky then she could spend days doing nothing else. For a moment the sky seemed normal she could see clouds and a big ball of fire and light above it slightly blinding her, on closer inspection though the sky seemed very different. The normally white or grey clouds weren’t white at all they were dark black and the sun was a strange mixture of colours. It looked like there was some brown and black there but also some dark green or blue, she couldn’t really tell but it hurt her eyes to look at it too long which made it at least a little similar to the normal sun. She knew now without a shadow of a doubt that she wasn’t home anymore, that this wasn’t her world but a mirror image of it.

When she reached the school she first went to the back of the school to where she and Josh sat down when he vanished. The place was empty, no sign Josh was ever there.

Alright she thought if I was Josh where would I go? Her first thought was actually where is that good for nothing fool, but she then thought that that wasn’t very nice and that she had quite a fright herself when it first happened to her. Although Josh was now much longer here then she was so maybe he lost hope of ever going out, or maybe he put the ring on and off again and got out of this place, leaving her stranded here. She pinched herself painfully in her arm for allowing herself to think that way and went back to the front of the school.

From the corner of her eye she thought she saw something move, she turned to look at it, but there was nothing there. She shrugged and walked into the school. She walked up the stairs and straight to her classroom, she walked quickly and got to her classroom in no time. She opened the door and looked inside. The room was empty, it was a strange sight she never saw the classroom empty before. There was always someone there when she arrived at school it was scary to see the class ready for a lesson but without pupils to fill the chairs or a teacher to stand in front of it.

Anna quickly closed the door and walked down the hallway, could she have missed Josh? Was she now stuck here forever? The thought never entered her mind but now she had nothing to hold on to. She hated to admit it but she had put her hope on Josh, he was supposed to be here, he was supposed to be the one to take her back, so where was he? Did he go back already when she went to get the car from the supermarket? If that’s what happened then this was it, her life was over.

She broke down and sat on the floor in the middle of the hallway, tears were now running down her face she couldn’t control them and they fell in large puddles on the floor. Her thoughts swirled between her family and the few good friends she had, now forever lost, which only increased the flow of the falling tears that were now accompanied by all out crying.

She suddenly stopped, there was something wrong. Fear came over her again and she quickly got up, something made her stop a noise or a movement of some king. She listened carefully and heard a clinking coming from somewhere in front of her. She walked slowly but steadily to the origin of the sound. She stopped in front of a maintenance cupboard and slowly opened the door. Inside cowering in the corner sat Josh, his head held down his body rolled into a ball. Anna’s emotions ran from happy to pity to simple confusion in seconds.

‘Josh?!’

Josh slowly lifter his head and stared surprised at Anna. ‘Anna?’ he ventured.

‘Yes silly. What are you doing in the maintenance cupboard?’ she asked.

He looked at her closely and asked ‘were you crying?’

‘No I wasn’t’ she said a little too quickly and tried to wipe away the remainder of the tears that were still there. ‘More importantly what are you doing?’

Josh suddenly shook himself as though he forgot something important and grabbed hold of Anna. He pulled her into the cupboard.

‘Hey what do you think your doing?’ she called angrily.

Josh motioned for her to be quiet. ‘Did you see the shadows yet?’ he asked.

‘What shadows?’ she asked. It was then that she realized what had been disturbing her this whole time. There were no shadows, although the trees and buildings were all there as well as a fake sky, they cast no shadows, it was only now when Josh had mentioned it that she noticed that they were strangely missing, there were no shadows anywhere.

‘The shadows move here, at first I thought there were no shadows but that’s not true there are shadows you just notice them at first’

Anna looked at Josh he seemed so sad so fragile. ‘What happened to you?’ she asked.

Josh looked at her and then past her to a place only he could see. ‘I was sitting on the bench and then I was here. I thought it was a trick or something but when you didn’t come back I headed back to class but I found no one there. I thought maybe I would just wait for my dad to come and pick me up that’s the first time I noticed the shadows. At first they follow you from the corner of your eye keeping just out of sight almost like they are studying you. But then they stop following you and try to attack you, several of the shadows chased me down the building until I found this maintenance closet and hid in it’.

‘Don’t worry Josh’ Anna said ‘they won’t attack the both of us right?’ she asked trying to reassure him.

He looked doubtful ‘I don’t think that’s how it works’

‘More importantly, do you still have the ring?’ she asked him.

Josh looked at her blankly.

‘The ring you took from me!’ she said angrily losing her calm.

Josh seemed to remember and reached with his right hand into his jeans pocket and pulled out the ring, silently he handed it over to Anna.

Anna looked at the ring pleased with herself. Now they could both get out of this strange place. She opened the closet door and got out.

‘Wait’ called Josh ‘it’s dangerous out there’

‘Don’t worry with the ring we can go back home now!’ Anna said smugly.

‘Really?’ asked Josh a glimmer of hope returned to his eyes.

Anna put the ring on her finger, now all she had to do was rub, or hold the ring like Josh did and she would be back home. But what about Josh, she had to take him with her somehow. Suddenly from the corner of her eye she saw something move, she turned to face it and saw a shadow move quickly towards her. This was what Josh had been talking about; she pushed the fear down and swallowed hard, if only she could get the ring to work for both of them they would be out of there. Shadows were now visibly moving out of their own accord towards her she stared for a moment in pure shock, she was surrounded by shadows that started walking or crawling or gliding towards her. Next to her Josh was shaking visibly.

Anna grabbed Josh with one hand and told him to grab hold of her. Josh very slowly as though he was dazed grabbed her arm.

‘This should work…’ She said out loud trying to comfort herself as much as Josh but Josh wasn’t looking at her his gaze was focused on one thing only a large shadow that looked like it was standing in front of them. Anna then held the ring like she saw Josh do and pulled it slightly…

The cereal adventure

Chapter 1 – The ring

“Look at this” exclaimed Nora “there is a ring in the cereal box!” She was sitting at the table in the kitchen filling a bowl with cereal when the ring fell out.

“Yes, honey. There should be” replied her father. He was facing the kitchen sink and didn’t turn around “it says so on the box, price in every box, right?” 

Nora looked at the box. It did say that in big bold letters A Price in every box. She wasn’t sure they meant this though. The ring she held in her hands had a metallic yellow-silver like colour to it. It shone and gleamed when light hit it, it had a little rock in it or was it a mineral, she didn’t really understand the difference between the two her mother even referred to the diamond in her ring as a rock so they were most likely the same thing anyway. The rock was golden it looked like molten honey had hardened on it and she thought that if she focused on it properly enough she could make out a few darker things. She thought it was beautiful. She put the ring carefully in her pocket and poured milk into her cereal bowl. When she finished eating she headed out the door took the bus and arrived at school.

She wasn’t late, well that wasn’t true she was hardly late when she arrived at school. The teacher had just closed the door by the time she got there, she tried to sneak in unnoticed but that couldn’t really work, as soon as she opened the door the teacher noticed her and she got scolded by her teacher and distraught sat down in her seat at the back of the class next to the window. It was a long lecture about something, it started with numbers and variables and she quickly lost interest. Whenever that happened she would start drifting to her favourite place in the world. Her imagination, it was the only place that was truly hers and whenever she felt like the world was uninteresting she would go for a walk there. There was nothing in her imagination that she couldn’t do and there was nowhere that was out of bounds for her. Her inspiration was always a mixed bag of graphic novels, books and television, although it could really be anything at all. 

***

“Dr Richard reeves?”

“Yes” answered a man wearing a large white coat without looking up from his big wooden desk.

“I am Anna your new secretary; you hired me several days ago. Today is my first day” said a timid woman wearing a short skirt and a vest.

“Oh yes” he looked up from his desk and got up with a hand extended. “Nice to see you again I’ll show you to your desk. Its right down here” he said and started walking down the corridor expecting Anna to follow. He took her to a desk and motioned her to sit, I already linked computer up to the network actually the technical service did that. It should all be ready for use” he stated looking deep into her big brown eyes. She was mesmerizing; her large eyes sucked him in as though they were incredible passageways into a secret and beautiful place. He had to hold himself in check as he noticed he was inching closer to her in order to kiss her. “If you have any questions I will be in my office” he added and walked away.

Anna sat behind her desk looking at her screen she didn’t move for several moments, did she just imagine or did Dr Reeves just try to kiss her. Just the thought made her blush, he was a well respected man but more than that he was good looking and she felt very much attracted to him. Maybe she should just try and chat him up, but something told her that if he really wanted to he would have kissed her when he had the chance. So she figured the best way to play it is by just letting it go and do her work to the best of capabilities. She turned back to her screen and looked at the screen, Dr Reeves was a very busy man, and his calendar was something of a challenge as there were no spaces in it at all and many people were sending emails with requests to have a meeting, it took her quite some time to get them sorted.

The sound of the phone put that on hold. It was Dr Warner who called to ask if Dr Reeves had left the results of a certain patient with her; she replied that he hadn’t and that Dr Reeves would be back in half an hour.

***

“Anna?”

“Hmm?”

“Anna…”Anna slowly opened her eyes and looked up. The teacher was standing next to her desk looking down, an expression of earnest anger on his face. “What did I tell about falling asleep during my class?” he asked his voice clearly angry.

Anna looked down ashamed “I’m sorry Dr. Reeves I promise it won’t happen again”

“Dr Reeves?” he asked looking at her in confusion.

“I mean Mr. Reeves” she corrected herself quickly blushing slightly.

“Very well, just pay attention from now on alright?”

She nodded vigorously. He left her desk and walked back to the front of the class.

“Alright where were we…” he asked rhetorically and continued explaining a certain formula he had drawn on the blackboard.

Anna breathed a sigh of relief and tried to focus her attention on the lesson, a task that was very difficult to her. She hated math and although she did like Mr Reeves, math was just boring to her, all those numbers never made any sense and at the end even if she had understood how to solve a formula she still couldn’t apply it to her question correctly without forgetting some step along the way. The worst part of it was that she actually did try, she wanted to be good at math but it seemed like a forlorn dream to her, a dream that had long passed. She would be happy enough just passing the exam.

“Psst, anna” whispered a voice from her right.

She turned to face Josh who was sitting at his desk next to her. He was a scruffy looking boy and she didn’t care for him much, he was always trying to talk to her though. “Yes?”

“Do you know what he is talking about?” he asked pointing at the teacher.

She sighed didn’t he just notice what happened? He seemed to be even more of a space cadet than me she thought. “Of course I don’t”

“Oh. That’s a shame. I thought you could explain it to me after school maybe” he looked slightly ashamed. Was he asking her out? She didn’t reply and just went back to focusing on the lesson with occasional pauses to look out of the window.

Outside it seemed like the world was infinitely more interesting than the real world, outside the world was breathing, there was action adventure and suspense everywhere. There were so many things to do, so many things to see, but hear in the real world you had to sit through boring math classes. Outside even a fallen leaf had his adventure struggling to stay afloat so that it wouldn’t feel any pain when it eventually landed on the ground, only to be whisked away by the wind to an unknown destination. Everything outside seemed so much more interesting then the classroom that she didn’t mind even switching places with a tree leaf. The only nice thing about the class was Mr. Reeves. She didn’t much like the other boys in her class they were all so childish but Mr. Reeves was different, he was a real gentleman. She could tell by the way he spoke that he was nice and gentle man, he could be stern but he would never raise his voice. He had a commandeering timber in his voice that would lead everyone around him to just forget all about challenging him. It wasn’t fear or anything like that it was a sort of respect. She thought it was the combination of his voice and his eyes the timber in his low brisk voice and his dark green eyes that pierced you through with their gaze that did the trick. Or maybe it was something else, he had so many good qualities it was hard to chose something that made him so formidable.

When the long lesson was finally over, she sneaked outside for a quick breath of fresh air. She walked out the front doors of the school and headed to the back where there were several trees some bushes and a few benches located in a neat corner. She headed straight for the bench in the middle where she could see the trees and sat down; she took several deep breaths when a voice startled her.

“Hi Anna, what are you doing?”

She quickly turned around and only marginally calmed down when she saw that it was Josh. “Hello Josh, what do you want? Did you follow me?” She asked him bluntly.

He smiled cheekily and nodded.

She could get angry with him for following her but what would be the point he was clearly a  foolish boy so she resigned and said “You can sit on that bench over there” she said motioning to the bench in front of her.

His smile beamed at her and he quickly sat in front of her happy and content. Josh was staring at her, as if he was expecting her to do some tricks for him. He looked just like a puppy she thought his brain probably worked like one too. The way he was staring at her made her uncomfortable and to distract herself from it she put her hand in her pocket and fiddled with the ring she got from the cereal pack. Josh continued to stare smiling although he was now also looking at the hand that was hidden in her pocket.

“It’s a ring I found in a cereal pack” she muttered taking out the ring. Why was she explaining this to him?

Josh looked at it closely “Can I hold it?” he asked.

Carefully she handed the ring over to him. He stared at it fascinated and then without waiting for her permission he put the ring over his finger.

“Wow this is neat” he said.

“I didn’t tell you that you could put it on your finger did I?!” she called angrily.

“I’m sorry I just thought it was a cool ring. I’ll take it off if you want” he quickly put a finger on the rock and another on the other side so that he could pull it off. “I promise, I didn’t mean to upset you I…” Josh couldn’t finish his sentence because he wasn’t there anymore.

Anna stared in shock but there was no one there. In a moment Josh just disappeared, he was standing right there in front of her and now he was gone. It must be a trick, she looked around trying to locate him somewhere “Josh this isn’t funny. Where are you?” she screamed, but there was no response, Josh vanished from the face of the earth.

Alright, try to think about this logically what was Josh doing just before he vanished? He was playing with her ring, the ring she got from the cereal box. He was trying to get it off when he was suddenly whisked away. Did the ring take him somewhere? If that was it then she had to find another ring like it and that would lead her to the same place. Whatever that other place was she was sure she could get him out of there, she had some money on her all she needed to do was to go to the shopping centre and find some cereal boxes that contained the ring. School was now an afterthought and she quickly left the school yard to find another ring. 

Images of night part 5 – The storyteller

5 – The Storyteller
Part I
There are columns surrounding me. I am lost among the thousands maybe millions of the white bricked pillars. There are exactly 5 steps that separate me from one pillar to the next. I can see no ending to them; they are to my left, to my right, in front of me and even behind me. The floor is made of the same white brick, or marble I am unsure, and even though I can not see where the light is coming from it is there none the less. I begin to run, hoping to find some kind of door to exit this place, but there is nothing.
I sit down on the stoned floor and listen, trying to find a noise that will tell me where I am and what I am to do here. But there is nothing, no noise, no change in the light, nothing to steer me one way or the other. The temperature does not shift and stays at a comfortable room temperature, although I see nothing to regulate it.
An echo resonates through the strange room or hall it is that I am in. I quickly get up and try to hide behind one of the many pillars, for although I know not what has caused the sound it fills me with fear.
The noise is closer to me now it is a growl, a beastly roar that lacks any sign of humanity. I shudder at the thought of what it might be. I try to hide somewhere but there is no such place, and so I cower closer to one of the pillars waiting for the inevitable to come.
The growl sounds as though it mocks me, as if it is more a snarl than a growl, it is now so close that I dare not breath for fear of it hearing me. My heart beats are so strong that I imagine it can hear them, and that is when I finally see it. Two large legs covered in fur step just ahead of one of the pillars, I can see their hooves and as they move forwards they remind of the hind legs from a bull, it is then that I see the torso. Like the legs it is covered in fur it has large muscular arms and three large fingers, resembling an animal’s paw more than a human hand. The large chest then moves forward to reveal the face. I am rooted to the floor with fear, for the face I see before me is the face of the devil. Two large black horns protrude from a large dense skull resembling a cross between a human and a bull. It has a large nose with two large holes that seem to breathe out steam instead of air, as if the heat in the creature I see before me is too hot, thus turning the water it stores into steam which is let out through the incredibly large nostrils. Its mouth remains slightly open as it can not close for all the sharp teeth that grow from the creatures massive jaws.
The creature stares right at me and I can do nothing but stare back at him. He opens his mouth and cries to the heavens, a cry that sounds like a terrible rumble that starts low in the stomach and boils into the mouth with a deafening blow. It lifts one leg up and starts shuffling it as in preparation to charge at me.
Without another sign he springs forward towards me and the movement even though I expect it catches me in surprise in its speed and ferocity. I manage to stumble out of the way at the last moment as the beast comes crashing into the pillar his horns in front blocking his eyes from seeing me stumble away. The power and strength behind the horns is magnificent, with a trash and a shake of the beasts head the pillar tumbles down to rubble, it is almost as though the pillars are made of chalk and not marble. If I hadn’t touched the pillars myself I would have doubted my own eyes.
I stumble on to the next pillar and then the next trying to put as much distant between me and the beast as I can, hoping that by doing so the beast will crash into more pillars which might somehow daze him. Although the hope of that is stretched remarkably thin in view of how little the last pillar affected the beast.
A roar warns me that the beast is upon me again and that it is ready to charge, I try to remember the story how did the hero slay the beast and I look down to see nothing but a short skirt and sandals. No weapon of any kind and nothing resembling a chance.
I turn to watch the monster dash at me the horns are much closer then I had anticipated… too close, I misjudged the distance of the roar, the beast is almost upon me and all I can do is stare at the horrible big horns in front of me. A flash of movement flickers and I see something fluttering in the background behind one of the pillars, but I have no time to reflect on what I have seen with a gut wrenching movement one of the horns tears through my body cutting through my stomach and intestines as though they were nothing more than paper. The horn is stuck into the pillar and I feel the life gushing out of me, I become light headed and the pain that started as an overbearing feeling fades into nothingness. I lack the strength to hold my head up high and my last sight is that of my blood splashing downward along the white horn and onto the white marble floor. Flash

Part II
I walk through what always appears to me to be the endless streets of the city, the corridors of life, the veins and arteries that supply the city with the much needed sustenance. The rows of streets seem endless and at first I am but one of the many in the crowd that walk it. There are literally hundreds of people walking up and down the busy roads, each person most likely with a destination and a story to tell. I am at ease and the walking rhythm that guides all the people in the street at a specific pace takes me along with it. It takes me to known locations, easy to find places that I know and have always known until inevitably I reach my destination. I think of all the people I pass the face that stare at the ground or dead ahead and even some that stare at others. As I walk onwards lost in my thoughts I forget all about the way and bump hard into a person in front of me. I mumble an apology as the person turns around, his face flashing in anger his jaw locked firm and I swallow hard as I think of the inevitable punch I am about to receive. Surprisingly though the person does not punch me. He turns his eyes look straight at me but pass on as though I was not even there. After a few more stares he gives up finding the person who bumped into him lets out an irritated grunt and walks onwards. I stare dumbstruck after him and look at all the other people around me. It is then that I notice that the people are automatically walking around me as if there was some sort of barrier erected around me. Something causes them to walk around me without actually seeing me.
I decide to put my theory to the test and start taping people on the shoulder and talking to them. Interestingly, their reactions are very similar. Most turn and look for the person who tapped them on the shoulder and fail to hear or see me, while others turn make a swatting like movement as though I was a fly and quickly go on their way. No one however sees me, hears me, or even registers that I exist. I am no more.
I walk lost in thought trying to find an answer to this problem but I am lost who can I ask if I cannot communicate with anyone? Who can I rely on to help me solve my problem? I decide that the only way I can find the answers is by going to people that I know. There should be some evidence there that I have at least existed, or they should at the very least know about me, if they cannot see or hear me.
I decide to take more drastic measures and decide that the next person to pass next to me will not get a pet on the shoulder but rather a harder hit, maybe a punch. The next person that passes me gets a hard shove in the back that sends him flying forwards much to my amusement. He fails however to see me, and after apologizing to his fellow passerbyers and all those he has hit he quickly gets up and walks away. I decide to try something similar again as it seems that I can hit people and my touch does not pass through them as it would a ghost and thus it affects them even though they cannot see me or hear me. Another larger fellow passes close to me and I push him lightly on his shoulder. He immediately turns to look, but when he sees nothing he walks away, glaring backwards. I shout as loud as I can to him, but without any reaction. Nothing happens no one acknowledges my existence I am gone. Maybe this is not just here but rather a foreboding that I am gone, erased from existence all together. I decide to put this theory to the test and am still rather calm and conserved. I stop at the house of my best friend and walk to the door I ring the bell and wait. Paul should be home by now it the afternoon and we were supposed to meet at his place to go for lunch. The door opens and Paul stares outside looking for the person that rang the bell. He sees no one.
‘Rotten kids’ he mutters and shuts the door.
I quickly slip in just before the door closes and walk into the living room where there should be at least several pictures of me with Paul and other friends at our numerous nights out. There I should have my evidence. I smile triumphantly as I walk to the desk and look at the picture that I know so well. There it is Paul standing at the left a large beer in his hand and a foolish smile on his face and there is me. Just as I have always been, standing with my big wide grin and a pint of beer in my hand. So if I am not gone, what has happened? Why can’t anyone see me?
Paul is staring at his watch, he knows I am late. He takes out his phone and sends me a message. The phone is in my pocket but it does not ring or vibrate or do anything much. I take it out and stare at the blank screen it seems that the things associated with me are just as invisible and useless as me. Maybe I can write him a message to tell him something about what is happening to me. I try to grab a piece of paper and my hand glides through it. I stare at it shocked, I am becoming invisible or rather I am no longer able to touch or influence the objects around me. I look at the things in the room around me and try to push pull and hit anything and everything around me. But it’s useless the progression although gradual has been steady I am now unable to interact with anything or anyone and they can no longer interact with me. Paul mutters something, but I pay no heed I walk out the door without even realizing that it is closed, and go outside in a daze. My mind stumbling and it is only then that I realize that my life is over. I have no more life, I can’t work can’t interact with anyone other than stare at them my skills are just about useless. Ergo my life is over… I walk through the crowds and don’t even notice that as I walk through them some evade me and others just continue on their way, and continue their meaningful existence.
It is then that I notice a figure looking at me. Not through me like all the others but actually at me. He wears a long black robe that looks as though it would be more at place at a medieval gathering then at the busy streets. He grins at me, and I walk towards him but before I can reach him he shouts something at me that I can’t understand and my world becomes a white ball of fire. My eyes feel as though they are ablaze and a white flash burns my retina to nothing… Flash

Part III
The forest is dense, and the humidity in the air causes everything to smell damp. I walk casually forwards not knowing where I am or where I am going. A clearing up ahead reveals a small wooden house with smoke coming out of its chimney. I walk up to the door and knock. A beautiful woman opens the door. Her hair is braided and has the colour of leaves in the autumn her clear green eyes shine with a glee and a spark that seems unquenchable, she is taller then I am and her body is athletic.
‘Is there anything I can do for you’ she asks
‘I’ve been lost in the forest’ I say ‘could you perhaps show some kindness to a passing stranger?’
The woman does not reply but grabs me by my shirt and pulls me into the house. She sits me in front of the fire and goes somewhere inside the house. I take off my coat and put it close to the fire.
‘my husband should be home at any minute if you will like you could join us for dinner we have more than enough and we very rarely have any company’
‘I would love to’ I reply
‘Wonderful, just make yourself at home and sooth your bones, I shall call when dinner is ready’
I thank her for her kindness and continue to take off my shoes and socks both of which are soaking wet. My feet are really starting to ache and blisters are already visible.
‘Who are you’ asks a small red headed child of about 10 years
‘I am your guest’ I reply
‘I didn’t know we had a guest, will you be staying for dinner?’ he asks
‘Yes, I believe that I will’
He looks at me closely as if judging me and says ‘me and my brother are going to be the strongest men alive, just like our father!’ his voice is filled with pried
‘The strongest man alive?’ I ask amused
‘Yes my father is the strongest man who has ever lived!’
I thought this to be an exaggeration and so humoured the child without getting into too many details. Rapidly the child gets bored with me and leaves me alone in the living room where I must have dosed off, for a moment later the beautiful woman calls me over for dinner.
I sit down at a large wooden table where two red headed children sit on both sides of me the one on my right I had already met, he was the eldest the other is somewhat shy and about 3-4 years younger.
‘Where is your husband?’ I ask feeling slightly awkward sitting between the two children.
‘Oh, he will be along soon enough. He lives on his stomach, nothing can make him skip a meal’ she says a mischievous smile on her lips and almost as on cue a rumble sounds and the front door opens. An incredibly large and muscular man enters the house; his body is that of someone who has seen endless trials, his face however is sweet gentle and loving. There is kindness in his eyes and an innocence I thought inappropriate almost for someone such as he. My doubts as to the Childs claims are somewhat shaken, I could easily believe that the strong giant of a man standing before me is indeed the strongest man in the world.
‘Wife! Kids! I have returned and I bring you gifts!’ his voice echoes through the house and the kids quickly leave the table and run towards their dad. The giant puts a large bag filled with toys down on the floor, which got no attention from either one of the children. They both jump on their dad and he easily lifts them up into the air much to their delight. The woman also walks towards her husband and while still holding both children high up in the air the with one hand the man lifts the woman as though she was nothing but a cloth with the other, and gives her a long strong kiss. Once everyone calms down somewhat the attention is switched towards me and the large man comes to sit by my side.
‘Hello stranger’ says the large man ‘I hope you haven’t been too uncomfortable sitting all alone for a while’ he adds smiling
‘Not at all, I very much appreciate the hospitality!’
‘Think nothing of it!’ He then gives his wife a meaningful look and calls ‘and now we eat!’
The meal we ate was fit for a legion of men, and the giant ate it all easily and his company was priceless. He had many stories about wars and fights and strange creatures and quests and all the while he talked food kept coming. It was a joyous and wondrous occasion. When we were finally finished we walked out into the yard where there was a bench at the back of the house we sat down just me and the big man. He was a real treat to talk to, he was incredibly chatty, and his stories were some of the most magnificent I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. For a moment though my eyes are distracted. At the corner of my eye I see something pass through the bushes, something shiny, but it disappears almost as soon as I spot it.
The giant must have noticed something was up because he stops talking and looks at me.
‘What is it? Something wrong with your eyes?’ he asks
‘No I just thought I saw something’ I answer
The giant turns around and stares at the direction I was gazing at just a moment before. Suddenly a flash appears and the giant roars with anger and rage, he jumps to his feet and yells ‘Get away from me you evil twisted goddess’.
The giant is shaking his body flailing; the lightning shines once more strongly and then disappears as though it was never there in the first place. The giant is calm again; I walk to him to ask if he is alright but before I can do so the giant turns to face me. His eyes stare at some place in the distance, there is something wrong, gone is the spark he had, his eyes now seem to lack all joy, and the sparkle is out. A fear then creeps over me as he lowers his face and stares at me, his eyes cold and dark. Without a single word he lashes out with his right arm quicker then I can see or react to and sends me flying backwards. I hit the ground hard gasping for air as it is completely knocked out of my lung. My ears are beeping from the hit. I lay there on the ground for several seconds fearing the worst, and try to get my aching body back under then control, when I realize nothing is coming. I slowly try to get up, but my feet buckle underneath me and I fall flat on the floor. I can see the giant no longer, but the beeping slowly recedes and I can now hear what I could not see. Within seconds I wish my hearing was impaired again, for what I hear makes my guy curl. The giant has entered the house and from it all I can hear are screams. Agonizing gut wrenching screams. My imagination runs wild as I realize that the giant has become mad. The light had somehow changed him, turned him into a senseless monster and he was now exacting a revenge on his family. The screams continued and I force myself to get up on to my feet and try to help them. I get to the house as quickly as I possibly can but by now the screams are faint, mere echoes of what they were and slowly even that fades and the noise is gone completely.
I finally reach the house and enter it, inside blood and tissue covers the walls of the wooden house, the scene is one of extreme horror. I feel mortified and disgusted, the food I had only just eaten comes back up and I vomit. From the back door, enters the giant, he is covered in blood and what looks like pieces of bone and tissue that are glued onto him. His eyes are still without a spark, he is still not himself. I grab a bloody pot from the floor and hit the giant as hard as I can with it. It has no effect on him at all. The giant simply turns and looks at me as though I was an ant. He hits me on the shoulder so hard and so quickly that I it sends me flying, my back hitting the wooden wall. I can feel my torn shoulder being literally torn to pieces. The giant calmly walks towards me and lifts me from where I lay on the floor. He punches me in my stomach once hard and lets me go. I was never hit so hard in my life, blood gushed through my mouth, and my ribs feel like small fragile sticks that are now shattered. My internal organs feel as though they were ripped apart.
He drops me onto the floor, I think I scream the whole time, but I do not know for sure. The pain is the only thing I notice. I land in a broken heap unable to do anything. My head is tilted to such an angle that I can see out of the window. The house is incredibly quiet, and then a gut wrenching shriek is heard I cannot see but I believe it belongs to the giant. He must have woken up and is now looking at what he has done in his crazed mind. The screams echo through the house, joined by occasional weeps and cries of rage. From my point on the floor I can see a figure standing at the window looking at me. He is wearing a black robe and he is screaming, my head starts to spin, I feel like I can’t hold out any longer and I… Flash

Part IV
The forest is quiet and empty as I walk slowly through the dark trees slightly bored. It is a cold and miserable day the winds tear through the trees and start to pick up a sharpness that was previously absent. A slight drizzle starts and I look around for some shelter. I have no umbrella with me and I am unfortunately rather under dressed. I am wearing a t-shirt and jeans, cloths not fit for your typical winter weather.
The slight drizzle starts to pick up and I am still without a place to hide. I leave the pathway and walk on to try and find some cover under some of the larger trees. I walk towards a rather large tree that appears to shade over a large part of the ground around it. Once there I realize the tree has left the ground somewhat. There are large roots coming up from the ground and they twist and twirl around above ground. They look like they are playing a game with one another. In the midst of the roots there is a small hole, it almost looks like a cavern, I decide to go close to it as it is the only way I can get away from the rain that is now continuously pouring, soaking me to the bone. The wind is blistering cold now and I am shivering uncontrollably, I have but one solution to delve ever deeper into the crevice between the roots.
It works slightly it dries me a little but I am still getting soaked and so I go deeper into the crevice between the roots. I push myself in and find that the crevice actually deepens and becomes a small cavern that is nice and dry and offers me the exact protection from the rain and wind that I need.
I wait patiently for the rain to stop, it is dark and damp in the cave and I don’t want to go too deeply into it without at least an idea of what is there; it is also not very high. I manage to crawl into it easily enough though.
Light starts to fade and in the darkness of the cave I see something glowing, at first I think I must have imagined it, but when I look closely I realize it is still there. There is a fluorescent light in the darkest part of the cave. I carefully head towards it and look at the fluorescent light that it emits, and realize it must be a glow worm. I continue on into the cave in search for others, if there is one there must be others.
A short crawl forwards and I reach the end of the cave. But it is not an end I had thought. Instead of the ground I had expected I am touching something metallic. I follow it with my hands and notice that I can now stand; I find a handle and pull it.
Light floods over me and I am in the middle of a small narrow paved street. The street looks like a Middle Ages city; everything is made with small white bricks that look like murmur. The walls are filled with signs for shops and handymen the text though is in a language I don’t understand.
I walk carefully through the streets eyeing the shops and the many goods with curiosity. A tug pulls me from my sightseeing and I turn to look at who pulled me. It is an older gentleman he wears cloths that look like rags to me he says something in a language I have never heard before and I have no idea what it is that he wants. Through a lot of pulling at my cloths I realize he is questioning my cloths, the t-shirt and jeans. I don’t know how to answer him and decide to leave him and continue on, but the person is shouting now I don’t know what it is that he wants but something must have aggravated him.
I walk quickly onwards and reach a cross-road of sorts with many small pathways going in every direction. There are also many large doors everywhere I decide to try one of those and find myself in a patch that is setup as a small garden with flowers and plants everywhere. A path lies around it and heads to the buildings that tower over the garden like giants. A woman walks out of the building and looks at me closely, she asks something but again I can’t understand. I motion that I can’t speak to her, and she leaves by the same door I entered. I follow her out.

There is a commotion in the street in front of me that catches my eye, but the fact that I don’t understand the language puts me in a disadvantage so instead of going to look I go the other way. The other path leads to a large river with several bridges over it. The light that flooded the city when I entered it is now fading and oil lamps are being lit along the river, giving rise to shadows. I walk closer to the river, there is a paved path running along it and I walk leisurely on it.
The darkness is now complete and the only visibility is from the oil lamps. It is a nice evening that is suddenly hampered by the arrival of a man dressed in black. Or at least it appears black in the shadows cast by the lamps. He hits me in the back and continues running forward, he turns to face me and I see that the guy is an older man wearing a cape he gives me a strange smile. As he runs he bumps into other people that are on the path. He disappears quickly into the night, I continue walking along the path and see a few of the people the person in black hit lying on the path. I look down at them and notice something trickling to the floor. I reach for it, it is sticky I try to make out what it is when I suddenly realize its blood. I quickly push the person on to his back. A large knife wound has cut him up. I quickly run from the one to the other and find that every person is dead.
Something gleaming catches my eye and I reach to hold it. As I grab it I realize it’s a knife. Shouts and whistles from behind me alert me that something is happening. I turn and see people running towards me, they wear a uniform and I deduce that they are police officers. With the knife in my hand I realize that they are after me. I dump the knife into the river and with a panic start running; I don’t know what else to do. Although I am innocent how can I explain anything to them? I run as quickly as my legs can carry me but it is of little use the people behind me are quickly gaining on me.
Suddenly a loud noise reaches my ears and a sharp pain pulses through my gut. I stop as the pain gets too much to bear and the air burns in my lungs. I put my hands where the pain irradiates from and find that my hands are sticky with what I assume is blood. It is dripping to the pavement in what appears like a constant stream. I try to apply pressure to the wound but before I manage to do so I am hit over the back of the head. I fall hard to the floor and feel my consciousness fading. The pain is too much to take and I lose control. I feel more hits landing on me, fists kicks and an overwhelming pain that takes over any other emotion.
In the distance I hear something that sounds like Help Me, but it fades with ringing in my ears.

Part V
The darkness is all around me, as though I am stuck in a dark whole and staring at the abyss. There is nothing, no wind no air it is then that I notice that I am not even breathing. Suddenly the darkness parts in a gigantic explosion and a immense wave of energy disappears away from me. As the wave disappears into the distance I can see pieces of round marbles everywhere, it is only upon closer inspection that I notice these are in fact planets. But instead of viewing their formation I am seeing their destruction. I try to understand with my limited knowledge of astrophysics what is happening around me.
If the explosion was the big bang then I should be seeing the creation of the world not the end of it. More lights blink on and off in rapid succession and as more of these lights blink on and off I notice that there is something moving between the planets. I hone in on the planets like a spirit or ghost of some kind I fly closer to look at what is moving and notice that there are tiny holes everywhere. Next to each one of the holes I can see a planet with water and greens and what looks like little stations flying in an orbit around it. I stare closer at the hole and notice that there are things that are flying through these holes, things that resemble spaceships. The holes suddenly disappear and the planet that was until recently colonized is now an empty shell of dust, I fly to a different planet and realize that the hole there disappeared as well and just like the other planet it is now a planet that looks like a icy blue one. This proves that what I am witnessing is time reversal.
I move backwards, it is not flying really as I do not feel as though I am really moving. It is more as though I am witnessing an event on an immense screen and I am now zooming in and out of it. I go to an area that looks like it still has something going on there and I see that planets rapidly disappear everywhere, the lights are going out and I am back in darkness. A large wave of light comes closer to me and smashes into something that causes an immense light to irradiate from it leaving me blinded. When I finally manage to open my eyes I am back in the dark I was at the beginning.
Suddenly I hear a rasp whisper it says “help me” it is soft and I can’t tell where it is coming from. But I feel it is close to me. I turn around several times in an effort to locate the source of the voice but find nothing, just when I am about to give up on it I hear it again this time it sounds slightly louder and not as helpless as it was just previously “help me”. Again I try to locate the person who speaks, but I cannot, there is no one I can see. The voice is now louder still and it is close to my ear where it now shouts “HELP” I reach backwards expecting to grab hold of him but I find nothing. Chills run down my spine and I feel frightened, the darkness creeps me out and the fact that my eyes nose and just about every sense other than my ears is useless, leaves vulnerable and afraid.
The explosion occurs again just as it did previously and the show that I just saw repeats itself. I try to focus on something else, locate the voice but it isn’t there. I wait for the inevitable end and the beginning of the whispering. Sure enough a moment later when the bang is swallowed by the darkness the whispering starts, this time I do not try to grab hold of the person as I already found that to be futile instead I try to just focus on my ears. As those are the only things that seem to work with the whispering, maybe there is something else I could hear that would help. I try to focus but there is nothing there, when it finally arrives it is the same way it has previously arrived as only a distinctly creepy whisper.
I decide to find the planet earth as perhaps the person whispering is there and I might find him on that planet, it is a stretch though and it takes me a long time and cycles upon cycles of following the black holes towards their final place earth. As cycles pass I try to locate the source of the voice but I have only a very short gap when there are people present at all but suddenly in between the cycles I notice a figure standing. Time and matter pass through him as though he is not there, no one sees him and he seems to be watching. He seems familiar somehow he is wearing a black robe and unlike everyone else that is going backwards and disappears with the rest of humanity he stays there. Unmoving, unflinching at the pass of time, it is only when everything returns to darkness that I notice the figure is now slightly moving towards me his lips form words and I hear a distinct whisper.
“Help me”
I don’t know how I can help, so at first I just stare maybe I can get more details, but except for the three whispers of help nothing happens. However in all the cycles of the universe ending and beginning the figure is a constant, a watcher, the only time he shows any movement at all is when he is asking me for help. I try to reach out to him when he is asking me to help him but I go right through him as though he doesn’t exist. A thought suddenly strikes me, what if I can only interact with him when he watches the universe? If that is the case I need to wait for another cycle to start and then reach out to him.
A new cycle of ending starts and I reach for the watcher but this also doesn’t work, I assume that it is because if anyone would be able to interact with the watcher it would have been done already, therefore there must be something else I can do. I wait for another cycle to end and the darkness to descend, a shadow of the figure is still present and I reach out to him my hand slips through him as he turns to face me and again the whispering starts but there is something different now. I feel as though my energy is being sucked away and I realize the figure is now no longer immobile but is actively grabbing my arm. My energy is draining and with it my strength to pull away from the figure. A sharp cry that sounds like the shriek of a bird makes me recoil in fear, with horror I realize the shriek originates from the figure standing in front of me it is not a shriek but rather laughter, a laughter that echoes not through the darkness of the end or beginning but through my mind.
A new cycle starts and I notice I am alone everything passes through me as I watch another cycle commence. Although the figure in black is now gone I can still feel its presence, it makes my hair stand on and shortly after I hear his voice.
“I have waited for this moment for a very long time. The role of watcher is now finally gone from my hands. I will enjoy the life of a god while you will be trapped watching this endless destruction to creation of the universe forever” The voice erupts in laughter and I am trapped. Time moves on and I can do nothing but watch the cycle repeat itself in its meaningless never-ending turn.

He wakes up and wonders what his third grade teacher was doing in his dream. He feels frightened and cold and he can’t shake the feeling that his teacher was somehow guiding him through a dream, but the memory quickly fades into the recesses of his mind and he turns and rapidly falls asleep.

Notes:
Images of night… 5 – the Storyteller (2012) – (2014)
This is a short long story, and yes I know it makes no sense but if you’ve read it you must realize that it is a nightmare to write while retaining the same feel to it. The story is actually divided into 5 parts, all of which intertwine with the storyteller who provides the story for each set like a theater play, and lets the actors act out their parts. It is this idea that is the long story because it took me a long time to realize and come to grips with the idea in my head before putting it on to the paper. The first part of the story is also the first one I came up with and it was a very long time ago (back in 1995) the rest came much much later…
Part I – The maze sequence is my mineator impression of being stuck in the maze and dying ofcourse. This wasn’t written in 1995 (well it was but that version has been out of existence for quite some time so I rewrote it in 2012).
Part II – I always dreaded feeling lost or losing touch and that is what this story tried to portray (2013)
Part III – big spoiler if you didn’t realize who the giant was… Hercules and still sticking to the greek theme. Well in two of the stories anyway. (started in 2013 and finished in 2014,
I actually wrote parts II,III and IV back in 2012 but the file got corrupted and I had to rewrite them which I eventually did in 2013-2014…)
Part IV – This is my impression of medieval Lyon in France. I was there a few years ago and was in awe of all the small allies and doors that lead to or houses or to secret restaurants and disco’s. I thought it would be a fun idea if someone would be stuck in such a place without the ability to speak to anyone or understand anyone which is a feeling everyone who has traveled to distant places where English is not spoken must have felt.
Part V – Big bang backwards need I say more?

Under appreciated horror

The internet is filled with these types of lists. But I thought I’d put in my two dime worth of thoughts because I disagree with many of the lists out there. I divided my list into sections so it makes it easier to see the category. There will be no best of in here, meaning no psycho or shinning or the exorcist. Specifically because those movies are on every list, so instead I’ll put movies that I thought were good but do not get the attention they should. So here is my little contribution in no particular order:

Gore/Comedy

Braindead/Dead-again – This is an amazing tour of a film. It is filled with gore, horror, comedy and pays tribute to many movies out there. It is one of the best gore movies ever! The fact that it was directed by Peter Jackson is just an added bonus! If you haven’t seen this yet and you are a fan of horror movies you don’t know what you’re missing.

Image

Supernatural/Comdy

The Frightners – Another little gem from Peter Jackson this time attacking the supernatural. It has a great cast (with some great cameos of the best in horror) and I must admit there are some great moments. It has elements of horror, comedy and because it was one of my favourite movies growing up it deserves to be here.

Image

Supernatural

The Omen – This movie is usually in the lists of best of, but for some reason not a lot of people have actually seen it (at least not the newer generation). In case there is any doubt I’m talking about the original 1976 version. So this is for you, go check this movie out I still remember the first time I saw the glass scene it caught me completely by surprise the first time round, in its brutality.

Image

Ringu/Ringu 2 – This I added for one specific reason ringu 2. The first many will know or at least know the American version (which is far inferior to the Japanese version. I still don’t get the whole stupid horse scene, why the hell was that in the American version of the movie?!) the second however is not really considered as a good movie, which I beg to differ. I love the second one even more then the first one and I am not afraid to admit it.

Image

Ju-on – Another great ghost curse movie from the Japanese. It is one of the more well known movies but my list wouldn’t be complete without it. Something about children I guess really is creepy. That and putting long dark hair over your face…

Image

Pulse/kairo – For some reason this is a little less known but I can assure you that it is just as good as the other entries here if not better.

Image  

Whispering corridors – This south-Korean movie is a great exercise in atmosphere creation and good introduction to Korean film making.

Image

Extreme French

Inside – One of the best extreme French cinema movies out there. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then here is the short version. The French have made several movies considered to be extremely graphic, violent and disturbing. They are filled with blood, terror and mayhem and it is the sheer quantity of those factors that makes the movie extreme. You could argue that it is similar to hostel and all of those but you would be wrong. While those types of movies are just there to make you grind your teeth in anticipation of the next killing, the French movies make you curl into ball and bite your nail off without realizing that is what you are doing. I mean that they suck you into the story and cause you to actually care about the characters. That makes the punches you receive that much more painful. Plus there is a genuine story which is always a plus. I have included only one of the so called French extreme movies but if you like the one you will like all the others. So try out Martyrs, High tension and They as a start you won’t be disappointed.

Image

A tale of two sisters – Another South-Korean entry on the list, this time something a little different but as disturbing as ever. This in a way is the some of the best South-Korean horror although there are other movies that pack more of a punch (like I saw the devil) this one is one of the first I saw and it has a great feel to it.

Image

Slasher/Comedy

Behind the mask: The rise of leslie Vernon – I loved this movie. Truth be told I have had enough of the slasher genre simply because there is only so much running and hiding you can do and let’s face it Jason and Michael will never be replaced with a next best thing. This movie though looks at things from a different perspective (I still smirk thinking about this movie cardio line). Namely the killer. This is a unique twist because here we have everything the killer needs to prepare to become the next Jason or Michael (or for some reason Freddy…) which is a lot!

Image

Slasher/suspense

Youre next – This is another slasher movie that takes what you know and delivers exactly that until you realize it actually isn’t. It is a smart little movie that has many things going for it. If you missed it by any chance go check it out.

Image

Japanese extreme

Ichi the killer – I had to add this movie simply because it is the Japanese equivalent to the extreme French genre with one big difference. It has a much more gruesome sexual tint to it that isn’t present in such a way in the French movies. I can’t explain it better then that without giving away some of the key (and let’s face it disgusting) scenes.  

Image

Science fiction

Event horizon – What would happen if you came back from a black hole? Hell ofcrouse! Event horizon is great and more people should appreciate it. It starts with a bang and never let’s go until the credits role. Action horror suspense and science fiction what else do you want? Oh yea and Sam Neil who is one of the most famous horror movie actors out there. Why do I say that well because he plays in: Omen 3, in the mouth of madness, possession, Snow white: A tale of terror. I know he plays in many other movies but he has this coldness to his manner that just means evil things will happen. Maybe it’s just me.

Image

The Fly – Jeff Goldblum at his best, a creepy scientist that becomes a fly. What could be more gruesome, disgusting and entertaining?

Image

Fantasy

Nightbreed – The only clive barker entry in my list (yes I know shame on me, but that is more because the others are so well known that I didn’t see the point of putting those in) and one of the best. Based on his book Cable (which is a terrific read in case you haven’t read it) that recounts a typical barker like world filled with monsters that aren’t the real monsters.

Image

Pet cemetery – The only Stephen king entry on this list. I nearly put It on this list but to be honest although I love the first part of it the second part to me is just annoying and the ending is so mundane and stupid that I couldn’t in my right mind put it here. Why couldn’t pennywise be the killer?! He was so awesome why bring in a spider? Anyway, Pet cemetery is a great movie and a great book too. It is one of the only Stephen king books I enjoyed the ending of. The mist was a close contender…

Image

In the mouth of madness – My only john carpenter on the list. It’s a great story though a writer that enters his story or does the story enter him? Either way it leads to a hell of a movie too bad about the ending though.

Image

And there you have it my little list of movies that every horror loving person should watch. I know I have left out many movies that are personal favorites and I skipped through subgenres like zombies, vampires and all of that because let’s face it there are too many of those movies around anyway. Maybe just an honor mention to Shaun of the dead as a zombie movie.

Images of night pt II – The witch

The voices rush to me, they call for my help. I am in small brick house containing nothing personal, nothing to identify its owner or inhabitant… nothing to identify me.

I strain to remember what is going on. Slowly the memories come back to me they flood my mind and gradually a picture is formed. I know now what must be done; I know why the voices call for me. They call for something I alone can and must do; something that I have avoided for centuries has finally come to greet me.

 

When I was but a child my parents taught me the world had two layers. One layer was the physical one which had strict rules and laws that had to be obeyed. The more one understood that layer the more one could progress in it, and ultimately understand it. However, by doing this one would also distance oneself from the second layer, the metaphysical. Here no strict laws can induce understanding, but rather distinct minds are necessary to interact and ultimately manipulate the metaphysical layer. My parents were devoted to teaching me all they knew about the metaphysical layer and how it might be used in the physical layer we were occupying. By manipulating the metaphysical layer directly consequences could be ensued in the physical layer. They taught me all that they knew and with their teachings I have received their greatest gift of all. An inner fire that burned with a desire to know more than my parents, to overcome the flaws lurking in the edges of their teaching to reach new heights and become a master in ones own right. This was my ambition…

I left my parents when I was nearing my 12th cycle, and began my life long quest to continue to explore the teachings of my parents. I spend many years wondering the world trying desperately to find masters that could teach me more about the metaphysical layer. Gradually I understood the truth, that there were no others like me.

There were individuals that exhibited some generic forms of metaphysical manipulation however, they were seldom aware they were doing so and could offer no knowledge to me. These individuals, through mere saps from the metaphysical, could very briefly, and under great personal risk, see into time. Others could influence the properties of electrons and induce higher energy states which they’ve learned themselves under extreme circumstances. They did not know how or why they could do this, they merely learned as a form of intuition to condition their bodies (and the electrons there in) to induce electromagnetic fields. Not all I met could do this, others could induce kinetic fields while others yet could through touch induce local and under rare occasions systemic responses in the individuals they touched. To me these were children’s toys; I had learned these things when I was but an infant from my parents and assumed that there were others like me that had been taught at an early age. However, if there were I did not find them.

How could I then learn more? How could I surpass my parents? How could I become one with the universe?

My path had reached a dead end and I saw no way out. I could not see any way in which I could enrich myself. I felt sorry for myself. After seven sun sets had passed I have had enough. My mind was turning into a shallow and hollow reflection of what it used to be and my body was turning into a gluten rich bear ready for winter. In my despair I had let my body and mind deteriorate into the state they were now in. A wave of energy assailed me; I had not come all this way to give up. And so I set out anew this time not searching for a master but searching for a way to better my self.

I walked without stop for two sun sets and came face to face with the fruits of war. The gravel road I walked on was scarred and most of the bricks were broken. Dark black ash covered the bricks and a sharp smell of smoke was floating through the air. I continued on, following the broken brick road up a mountain where it abruptly ended. In front of me the smoldering remains of what I assumed to be buildings rose from the ground, a thick black ash surrounded everything and piles of shattered bricks were scattered everywhere. All plants and wild life were gone and apart from the smoke that was steadily rising from the remains nothing was visible. I ran down the mountain shouting for survivors to make a sound, stumbling and falling across the many uneven bricks that lay scattered I finally reached the ruins. The smoke burned my eyes and nose, and covering both of them with my scarf I continued to find my way through the destroyed city.

I saw bodies everywhere either buried under the rubble or burned beyond recognition. The worst still were the pieces I saw. Moving pieces of rock in an effort to find anyone alive I would on occasion find burned limbs, the stench of which haunts me to this day. I could not understand what the purpose of the destruction I saw was. How could war ever justify the destruction I witnessed?

After what seemed like forever I gave up. I was alone searching for some sign of life where obviously there was nothing but death. I got up from where I was digging and walked on north. I was surprised to notice it had turned dark. I continued walking on all throughout the night, hoping to keep the scene of destruction behind me. However, the destruction seemed to go on for ever and it was only after I had walked for 3 more sun sets that I had reached the last of the burning city. It was there, just outside what I thought of as the city border line, where I made camp. I hadn’t slept in 5 sun sets and I was becoming delusional, dizzy and reckless. I had to sleep.

During the night I was startled awake following a noise I heard. I was so used to the quiet lifelessness of the last sun sets that this quiet noise was enough to render me completely awake. I quickly got to my feet and strained to hear where the noise was coming from. I followed it back in to the city, seeking its origin. In a small craven surrounded with rubble I heard something that sounded like weeping. I called out to it. The weeping stopped immediately, I tried coaxing it to come out but it had the opposite effect. I stared at the opening which was surrounded by three large stones that collapsed there; they were leaning on to one another in angels that seemed very unstable. I crawled into the small cavern, continually uttering calming words, to try and sooth however was in it. In the corner huddling his knees to him was a small child. I beckoned the child to me, but he or she was too afraid to come near me. Dust or sand was falling from the ceiling of the unnatural cavern towards the floor. We had to leave this place as quickly as possible; the child however was far too frightened to do anything. A loud creak echoed from above us and the three large blocks forming the cavern were breaking down. I had no time to get out of the cavern, so I closed my eyes and opened a fissure to the other realm, letting just a small amount of energy to come out.

Energy from the metaphysical has to be cultured immediately into something or it will become an immense heat that will ultimately fade into the atmosphere. I cultured the energy around to me and raised one of my hands up, I then released the energy in a pulse shooting upwards to the sky. All the rocks around us flew upwards, then sideways and eventually landed in a large crash around us, leaving me and the child unharmed.

The child was staring at me; all trace of fear was gone from his face and was replaced with amazement. It was then that I noticed it was a girl. I picked her up and together we left the scene of devastation behind us. 

I continued my journey with the child with me. I decided to take her to be my apprentice. She was still young and her mind was still open, nothing was rooted to law and although she had seen many horrors she could still be taught about the world beyond. It took a long time for her to leave the horrors behind her, and I know now that she never really did. Back then I noticed nothing of what was to come. She was bright and understood quickly, she was like a sponge drawing in all knowledge I could bestow upon her and using it almost immediately. She grew up quickly and I came to think of her as my own, one day however changed all that.

Our journey had led us to a new place. A large towered city surrounded by a large wall. We arrived at one of the gates and I asked if I could enter. The guards discussed this at length and eventually permitted me to enter with my child. She was now a teenager, and constantly asking questions. This was no different; as we were waiting she asked me why I waited, I could have easily used the metaphysical to enter if I pleased. I tried as best I could to teach her that one could not use the metaphysical to solve every problem. By solving one problem using our knowledge others undoubtedly would be direct created as direct consequences. Furthermore, by using the metaphysical only on rare occasions we would not be subject to the side-effects.

I thought that would end the matter. I was wrong it was the start of where we grew apart. She looked at me as I said this with disdain. You fear the metaphysical she asked. I looked her straight in the eyes and said you would be very wise to fear it. If you lack fear you will come to harm from it. She did not answer but did not look convinced.

We entered the city and stayed at a small inn. That day I decided to stop our practical teachings and focus on the philosophical teachings. This did not go well. It was the first time I have ever seen her angry. I tried to discern the reason for her anger but accept for spiteful words she said nothing. That night she went to bed with no supper, as part of her punishment.

In the morning she was gone. She took some cloth and left without a word. Her room was empty, her bed messy and her other belongings left behind. I spend the entire day searching for her asking anyone if they had seen her, but alas no one had. That night I ended up in a small inn where I drank to my hearts desire. I thought forgiveness in the drink, forgiveness for what I do not know all I wanted was for her to come back. Maybe I did something wrong, maybe I was too harsh.

I continued to dwell in self pity until my ear had caught a conversation between two guards. They were arguing loudly about a girl that passed their gate that afternoon. The guard blocked her path and told her she was not allowed to leave the city without a chaperone. The guard did not understand what happened then but he was suddenly launched several feet into the air and came crashing down. The girl had by then disappeared. I quickly ran towards the inn I stayed in and packed my things. I rushed out of town and followed the path that the child has taken, my child, my little girl.

She had a large lead over me and I had not caught up to her that night. I followed her trail until my fatigue got the better of me and I had to stop to rest. I resumed my search in the early hours of the morning which led me to a small town. Several structures were destroyed, and remains of energy were still being evaporated into the air. She was here and for some reason she had destroyed parts of this city.

Two people stopped me from entering. I told them I might be able to help if anyone was hurt. They refused my help and told me that the damage was caused by a girl that passed through the town. She stole some food from the market and when the merchant stopped her the whole market was suddenly burned to a crisp. When the girl tried to leave the city several guards tried to detain her. They were all severely hurt. 

I left the city and tried to find out where she had gone to, but I could find nothing. No clue, no evidence where she had gone to and so the most tedious and lonesome part of my journey began going from one city to the next searching for a trace of her. Each city she passed through was either in turmoil or destroyed.

Years passed and I was no closer in finding her. The cities that had heard of her recoiled in fear, other cities were reduced to rubble. She was becoming more and more ferocious, spinning more and more out of control. The only pattern I could see in her behavior was in the destruction I witnessed in the cities I passed through, a destruction pattern that had become more extensive. She was causing increasingly more damage and most likely grew more unstable.

It took me four more years of endless searching to find her. She was in a big town, where she was feared and lived like a queen. She was a lot bigger then what I remembered, and I nearly did not recognize her, were it not for the large amount of energy she radiated from her body. She was all grown up, arrogant and cold hearted. She was given everything she wanted from the people in exchange to the eminent destruction she promised.

When she saw me, she laughed. And without a second word she opened a gateway to the metaphysical layer and threw a large ball of fire at me. I quickly took a very small amount of energy from the ball itself and send it flying into the air.

She opened a larger gateway and a surge of energy was released. She sent a fire wave at me, which would have burned the skin from my bones. However, the gateway she opened was too big and the energy she had used was just a small part of what came from it the rest of the energy that remained unutilized was immediately converted to a surge of heat which burned her instantly. With her gone, the control over the energy she was using dissipated and the energy was converted to heat. I quickly used a small amount of energy and used it to lift the brick way up in front of the heat wave. The heat wave quickly dissipated into the air. My journey was at an end; my daughter was dead and emotionally so was I.

I stayed in that city for many more years, until the day I learned of someone else being able to open a gate to the metaphysical layer. The rumors started about 15 years after I had killed my daughter. A teenage girl was threatened by a merchant and that merchant ended with several broken limbs. That was the first one; the second involved a landlord that got burned to death. Several witnesses claimed they saw him arguing with a girl just before he died.

Today I have to face her, just like I faced her mother before her. The town’s people have come to get me. I walk towards the meeting place, a large wave of energy surrounds me, I look up and there she is flying through the air, her face a replica of her mother’s.

I close my eyes and create a barrier around me. I look at her and fly up to meet her.

She looks at me and very carefully asks if I killed her mother.

I reply that I did that she did not leave any choice in the matter and that she was like a daughter to me.

She laughs and lifts her arms, two people from the crowd below us fly up. She looks at me they are all worthless she says and the two people fall to their deaths.

I scream for her to stop but she just carries on laughing and I realize she is crazy, not calculated and ruthless like her mother before her and for the first time I am not sure I can win. A rain of ice hits me and I lose my balance. The shield protects me from the ice but the people beneath me are getting hurt. I try to extend the shield as much as I can to provide cover for the people. At that moment she hits me directly with a gust of wind and I lose my balance. I fall down the building racing upwards to meet me…

 

He tumbles from the bed and hits the carpeted floor. He curses and gets back up and into his bed, rubbing against his thighs which hit the carpet first. He fluffs his pillow and tries to get back to sleep.

Notes:

When I was younger I always had dreams that I could fly and after I told that to several people I realized that almost everyone dreams of flying at one point or other in their life. This manifested itself in one of my dreams, from which this story grew. After spending a lot of time scuba-diving the flying dreams slowly dissipated, and now I never dream of flying anymore.

2009

The Gravel Road

            He looked at her, her fragile body sitting in the wooden chair, rocking back and forth. She sat outside catching the few last rays of the setting sun. She was planning something again, she was always planning. He made her the way she was and she in her turn made him. How he hated her… He knew there was only one option left, she made sure of that.

He looked up at the sky the sun was slowly dying away, the last sunrays vanishing beyond the horizon leaving the ground to the dark night. If only he could die just like her, that would be better but he couldn’t. things could never be that bad. He sighed and sat back on his wooden chair. Their houses looked like replicas in front of one another stuck in an endless struggle a struggle he was now losing, why he was losing he did not know. The centuries long fight was finally setting the end stage it was time to end it.

He looked down, at the desert road between their houses. A swift wind blew some dried out bushes on the desert road there was only one thing now he had to be ready…

           

The ground shook, Richard had to grab hold of the wall next to him to stop from falling.

“What the hell is going on?” he cried.

“It’s an earthquake dude, can’t you tell??” answered Michael.

They ran out of the house and looked at the street. Everything was shaking, the ground seemed alive, about to devour everything and everyone.

“This must be at least an 8.5!!” called Richard.

“No way man, I felt an 8.5 once and it wasn’t like this at all. It was a lot worse. Half the houses were breaking and me and Lisa were running as far away as we could…”

“You were with Lisa?!” Richard interrupted looking at Michael in disbelief “You lucky dog”

“Lucky?? I finally get a date with Lisa and there’s a fucking earthquake!!! And you call me lucky?”

Richard smiled. They watched their house shake. The shaking stopped as abruptly as it began. Car alarms sounded all along the streets. They waited a few more minutes before they went back in the house.

“Well that was exciting” said Richard as they walked towards the sofa.

“Yeah right” answered Michael sitting down.

“So how come I never heard about that date with Lisa?!” asked Richard, sounding somewhat annoyed

“If I would have told you anything, you probably would have shown up at the door and ruin my date” answered Michael knowingly.

“Yeah well, you had an earthquake, so there are other forces at work here to stop you from dating that hot chick” Richard said smugly.

“I have a date with her on Tuesday so how’s that?!” He said, regretting saying that as soon as the words came out of his mouth. Richards face was worth it though. He looked shocked, for the first time words failed him which was a big thing with Richey.

“You have a date with her Tuesday?” he said finally in disbelief.

“Yeah, she said I was an old style knight with the way I protected her against the earthquake” Michael said proud of himself.

Richard burst into laughter. “That’s really what she said? Man, I thought she was hot I guess she is also as dumb as a shoe” he said laughing.

Michael’s face turned red. “It was romantic you idiot. She’s very smart, she has all these imagination games she likes to play and I was the only one who didn’t just try to get into her pants so there!” Michael said with conviction.

“Just so you know, if a girl actually says that, she means you are a loser and you will never get into her pants” Richard returned.

Michael looked at him angrily. “You are just jealous; you always were a sore loser”

“A loser?! me?! I don’t remember ever fighting over her or even trying to pick her up”

“Just forget about it, I had enough arguing about it.” Michael shouted and went to the kitchen.

He returned with two beers, one in each hand.

“Here” he said and handed a beer over to Richard.

“Just so you don’t get too pissed at me, here is too a good date between the both of you” Richard called lifting his bottle in the air.

“Thanks mate, appreciate it” Michael answered lifting his bottle in turn, hitting his friends bottle gently.

They both took a big gulp of beer.

“Just for the record, not that I’m jealous or anything, what did you plan with her?” Richard asked eyeing Michael curiously.

“Well, I didn’t really plan anything just a romantic kind of get together nothing else really”

“Don’t tell me you don’t want to get into her pants!! I can’t believe that, she’s so fucking hot!!” Richard said loudly nearly screaming.

Michael stared at the floor. “It’s not that I don’t want her, it’s just that it feels good. I don’t have to have her. At first when I saw her I really thought she would turn out to be stupid and I would just bone her and that’s it. But it was great, we talked really talked and I had a lot of fun” he paused contemplating “I never even thought of sex” he added.

“Bullshit!” interrupted Richard. “I don’t believe any of this drivel, how the hell can you sit here next to me and lie?!”

“I’m not lying” Michael replied somewhat annoyed, looking straight at his friend.

Richard looked back at Michael and sighed. “Ok maybe not. I’m happy for you, don’t look at me like that, I am… really”

Michael eyed Richard somewhat suspiciously, waiting for Richard to make some kind of comment, but he said nothing being uncharacteristically quiet.

They spent the rest of the day sitting on the sofa drinking, until the early evening when Michael got a call from Richard’s mother telling him send Richard home. Richard left and promised to come back some time later.

            Michael sat bored at home by himself. His parents divorced a long time ago. He lived with his mom who worked about 10 hours a day, leaving him to do whatever he liked for most of the day hours. This usually wasn’t much. He looked at the time; it was nearing 22:00. He wondered if he should call Lisa, their date was in 2 days, but he really couldn’t wait to hear her voice. After picking up the phone and putting it down again a few times. He cursed for his nervousness and quickly dialed the number before his courage could fail him. He was just about to hang up again when a feminine voice spoke on the other line.

“Lisa?” Michael inquired, not completely sure he recognized the voice. Lisa and her mother had very similar voices over the phone.

“Yes, who is this?” she asked.

“It’s Michael” he answered.

“Oh, hi Michael I was just thinking about you” she said laughing.

“Cool” he said smiling, then realizing she couldn’t see him he laughed awkwardly.

“Thing is, my mom just told me there is some kind of air show in the army base next to here and she already bought the tickets”

“Oh…” She was going to cancel the date. Michael thought and felt his world slowly cave in.

“Wow you sound bad, what’s wrong?!” she said with concern.

“Nothing, I… I just thought we had a date and…”

“Silly I didn’t say the show was in 2 days did I?” she said amused.

“I eh… assumed it was” he said feeling stupid.

“It’s tomorrow, and I thought you might like to go with me” she said.

“oh… Oh? OH!!“ It took Michael some time to realize she was asking him to come with her. He was in the game now, Richard and his stupid ideas.

“What’s with all that moaning? Are you coming?” Lisa sounded impatient.

“Yea, of course I am!!” as soon as the words came out he regretted them. He sounded too anxious, he should play it cool. That’s what Richard told him. He thought about it and changed his mind it was Richard who got him in this mess in the first place.

“Great, I thought you might have something else to do, Mary told me the soccer team had practice”

They did have practice but Michael quit the team last week because of a big argument he had with the coach. But Lisa didn’t have to know that.

“I would prefer you over practice any day” Richard said.

Lisa burst out in laughter. “Trying to be smooth?” she said still laughing.

“No, I was being honest…” He was surprised to realize he really was.

“I’m sorry, but it sounded like a line from a movie. I didn’t mean to laugh. So I’ll meet you at my place?” she asked.

“Sure, when?”

“Come at 14:00, mom will be at work and the show starts at 16:00”

“Ok, great I’ll see you then” Michael hung up and jumped in the air. Not only did she ask him out she also wanted him to come early! That could only mean one thing; they were going to make out or maybe even something better if he was lucky. Michael jumped around the room and stopped only when he crashed on the sofa and fell on the floor. But he hardly took notice of it. Everything was going along great.

 

The wind was slowly picking up. She was definitely planning something, shaping things to suit her needs. She had to move quickly she was almost out of time.

A man of average height, and age, sat in an armchair, looking at the wooden house across the street. The sun was shining brightly. It was always shining so that you could always pay attention. The man smiled. There was no joy or happiness in his eyes, they were cold. Very cold, as though the life that once flowed within them was sucked out leaving the cold lifeless stare of a corpse.

He could feel things slowly taking shape; she was too busy to notice he changed something as well. Let her go on; let her have the benefit of the doubt. Ultimately she will fail.

The wind blew dried out bushes on to the empty desert road.

 

Michael looked at his reflection in the mirror, scrutinizing for any faults.

Richard looked at Michael his face contorted into disgust. “Damn man, it looks good, will you stop already”

Michael put a hair back in place and said “I have to look good man; I don’t want to be all messy and stuff”

“Look at yourself! Your putting every single hair back in place, I mean enough is enough go already”

Michael gave the mirror one more look and turned to face Richard

 “ok I’m ready, let’s go”

“Finally”

            Richard brought his car, so he could drive Michael to Lisa’s place. Richard had already passed his test a year earlier, while Michael still needed to pass his. When they finally arrived, Michael got out and went to Lisa’s house. “Good luck” called Richard from the car. “Call me when your back… I want to know everything” he added. Michael smiled and set out for the business at hand. He stood in front of the door a few moments building up his courage and rang the door bell.

The door opened and Lisa stood in the entrance “Hi Michael” she called “Come in”

Michael obediently stepped into the house. It was a big place very different from where he lived. He walked into a spacious living room. At the right side of the room was a big sofa with a 50 inch TV in front of it. On his left was the kitchen. In front of him were steps leading to a second floor. Lisa led him up the stairs to her room. The second floor was a hallway with some closed doors. Lisa opened one of them and they entered.

“This is my room” she exclaimed “maybe this time there won’t be an earthquake” she said smiling.

“With our luck we will have some weird fire storm or something” Michael said smiling.

Lisa’s room was a typical girl room, or at least that’s what Michael thought. The leading color in the room was pink. A vast amount of items was all colored in various shades of pink. The curtains, the bed cover were all pinkish. The funniest however was the small TV. It had a fur like cover surrounding it also in pink.

“Your room is eh… very pink” Michael managed finally.

Lisa smiled “You don’t like it?” she asked.

“Yes of course I do, it’s really nice…”

Lisa burst out in laughter “its ok you don’t need to lie, you don’t like it do you?!”

“Well eh… no” Michael admitted “It’s really way too… pink”

“Do you want to continue talking about the room or should I show you what we will see tonight?” she asked.

“Sure”

            Lisa took a big flyer from her desk in the corner of the room and came to sit next to him.

“Here you have a map of the army base and the aerial show they have planned. There is also some lunch they provide for us and there are also tours of the base” Lisa stopped and looked at him waiting for some reply.

“Cool” It was the only thing he could come up with. Lisa seemed a bit disappointed. Richard told him that if she seemed to expect something it usually was a kiss. Thinking of this Michael moved his head closer to Lisa’s. He pressed his lips together and slowly moved with his head forward closing his eyes.

“What the hell are you doing?” Lisa demanded.

“I… I wanted to kiss you” Michael said and lowered his head in embarrassment.

Lisa lifted his head looking straight at him. “If you want to kiss me why don’t you just do it?” she asked.

“Never mind just forget it” Michael muttered

Lisa looked at him amused. “Haven’t you ever kissed a girl before?” she asked.

“Of course I have I’m not 12” he answered angrily.

“So what is the big deal? It’s only a kiss”

“What do you mean it’s only a kiss?”

“Well you know everyone kisses, it happens like all the time”

“Yea well, It’s only because you’re so beautiful and it makes me nervous” It escaped his lips before he really noticed. Great. He had better success when there was an earthquake. He turned his head away from her. Her hand reached out for his and grabbed it firmly. He looked up at her. She was smiling.

“You know” she started “You are the first guy I’ve met that’s not afraid to say what he thinks and feels”

She grabbed hold of his head with her other hand and pushed it towards her. She kissed him hard on the mouth and let go.

“We can practice again later” she said winking. “We have to go if we want to get there in time”

Michael’s head was spinning “Go where?” he asked.

“To the show silly, remember?”

“Oh yea, right” he replied feeling somewhat disoriented.

They went out, Lisa locking the house behind her. The Army base was a 25 min walk from Lisa’s house in an area just outside of the small village. The village of Knowringle was so small you could cross it from one side to the other in about an hour walk, although nobody really walked anymore, why walk when you can drive? There weren’t any other cities in the area, just mountains. This was probably why the army chose this area from the beginning. It was isolated, there were no neighbors who could complain, just a natural mountain range stretched far into the distance adding an extra plus for survival exercises that the army regularly preformed.

Michael and Lisa chatted happily while walking on the road towards the base. The day was perfect for a hike. The heat wasn’t too bad and a cool wind blew every now and then. They were absorbed in their conversation until suddenly a strong gust of wind thrust them backwards a few steps.

“What the hell was that?” asked Michael

“I don’t know, sometimes the winds can pick up from one second to the other” the words were not sooner said, or another gust of wind hit them, this time bringing sand and dust with it. The wind slowly swiveled and turned becoming stronger and stronger.

Dust blew inside of their eyes causing them to be temporarily blind. The noise of wind became increasingly loud; they couldn’t hear one another and were stumbling blindly. Michael grabbed hold of Lisa when the wind had picked up, but he lost her when her hand was swept away from his when the wind suddenly picked up. He couldn’t see where she was, the dust was burning his eyes. He screamed Lisa’s name but it was no use, he could barely hear his own voice, it was drowned by the endless winds surrounding him. His shoe hit something hard and he fell forward hard on his face. The air was knocked out of him, the dust burning his lungs, he felt as if his throat was on fire, his lungs burning with an excruciating pain. He felt his mind drift away into unconsciousness. He tried to fight it but he could hardly even breathe let alone get up. Darkness slowly surrounded him, and he drifted away…

 

Michael felt a searing pain in his eyes. He blinked a few times to get the dust from his eyes; he could breathe although he was coughing a lot, the taste of sand lingering in his mouth. He could see a desert seemingly going on forever. All sign of the road he walked on was gone. He looked around; Lisa was nowhere to be found. He called her name a few times, but no one responded. He was alone, with nothing but sand to keep him company. It was then he noticed the mountain range had also disappeared. No wind could have pushed him that far away he thought bitterly. The mountain range was visible for about 100 miles all around Knowringle. Wherever he had arrived it was far away from home. He checked his pockets looking for his cell phone. It was gone; it had probably fallen out of his pocket when he was tossed around by the wind. He was pondering what the best thing to do was when a distant cry made him literally jump. He turned towards where he thought the sound was coming from and slowly walked in its direction. It could be Lisa he thought and broke into a run. Images swept his mind, Lisa hurt, tortured, maybe even killed. The anger combined with fear made him run faster.

After about 10 minutes he could see some shapes in the distant. It was hard to make out what they were. The desert heat, which was considerably hotter than in the afternoon, made everything look as though it was on fire. Circular lines faded in and out in the distance making it very hard to see anything clearly. As he got closer he could see the shapes were actually two wooden houses facing one another. A gravel road appeared a few steps before the two houses and created a way between them. The strange thing was that that same gravel road disappear some steps after the houses. Why would anyone make a gravel road for just a few meters? Michael pushed the thought out of his mind and carefully walked towards the house on the right.

The houses looked just like the ones in the old western movies did. They were made from a dark colored wood and had a big porch with an armchair on it. At least that meant people lived there, Michael thought. As he got closer to them he noticed they both looked exactly alike. They were both of same height and color. Even the armchair looked the same. Michael noticed there was but one window in the houses and it overlooked not the desert but the house in front of it. Whoever lived here was very strange, all alone in the middle of nowhere with a window towards one another.

Michael decided to just knock and enter the house on the right. If Lisa was anywhere the people here could probably help him. They might even have a phone or something he thought, although no power lines were visible anywhere. Maybe they were underground he wondered. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door. To his surprise it opened immediately and he very nearly fell in. In front of him stood a black woman, he couldn’t tell what her age was. She seemed old but there was something young about her as well, she stood straight and kept her hands at her side. Her blue eyes watched him closely like a hawk studying its prey. It made him feel uneasy; her eyes seemed old somehow, as if she had seen many things. She must have been very beautiful once he thought. Her eyes, although they were still blue seemed to lose a bit of their color, as if for a split second her eyes rebelled, soon however the color was the same as it was and Michael doubted seeing it.

“Hello Michael, I was expecting you” She said and pulled Michael inside.

Michael was so surprised that everything he planned to say just flew away from his mind.

“I’m sorry, this must be quite a shock to you, but there is no time to explain. Falcner has Lisa and he will use her to his own benefit. It’s all my fault but that can’t be helped now. I don’t have much time left” She stopped and looked at Michael. She sighed.

Michael was caught off guard only thing he could think about was Lisa. This woman knows where Lisa is. But before he could ask anything the woman already answered. “Yes I know where Lisa is, I told you Falcner has her, if you want to save her you need to trick him into letting her go. I guess I have to explain although we really don’t have much time” She took 2 chairs and sat herself in one of them. Michael sat in the other one.

“You arrived at the gateway between times. We are the last keepers of this way. Don’t look so surprised” she added seeing Michael frown “there are many things that exist not only in legend. Falcner thinks this is a competition he has forgotten his true self. He only wants to win he doesn’t understand that to win, one must first lose. It doesn’t matter. I’m dying I am nearly gone already” The woman looked down at her hands and gritted her teeth in disgust; she quickly regained her posture however and continued.

“I thought I could persuade someone to take over. You see, this gateway is always open. Sometimes people from many different times reach it. We keep this way closed to them. One cannot move through this way without causing another way to close. You see this gateway could transport you in time, but there is a catch. It is based on laws that exist in this world. One of the laws states that there is always a loophole, meaning a way out. But to use this loophole is to undue everything that has been done. I know it’s hard to understand” she said looking at the perplexed look on Michael’s face “I am the last of the first guardians. I was here when this gate first opened because of someone’s thought. There were two of us” Her voice broke off and it looked like she was struggling with something. “Time flows differently here. Minutes are hours and hours are minutes. One day someone broke the code and arrived here. He was surprisingly quick; he realized what we were and understood what needed to be done in order to go through the gateway. He killed Shar who with me was the first. We learned to read thoughts, emotions and Shar had to end his life in order to keep the gate closed before everything was undone. You see death is an end and a beginning and with a sacrifice must come hope. It was enough for a new guardian to appear from a different time and to send the one who broke the code back to wherever he came from. The new guardian Falcner slowly lost his mind. He thinks I tricked him and that when I die I will win. I thought nothing of it and sent for a new guardian”

“How can you send for a new guardian when that other guy had to die to get one?” Michael asked. This story was bull, she was lying. Who could every believe anything like this?!

“I… “The woman looked embarrassed “Cheated. I called on a new guardian by moving time around”

“Of course” Michael said sarcastically “Forget this, just tell me where Lisa is and how I get out of here”

“Falcner who lives in that other house, has Lisa. I don’t know of any way to leave the gateway when you haven’t broken the code”

Michael was losing his patience. Anger rose within him, he had had enough. He walked out of the door without looking back. His eyes were temporarily blinded by the sharp light. He went straight towards the other house and without knocking went in. The house was empty from the looks of it no one had lived there for a very long time. He turned around in anger the old woman was playing some very sick game with him. The door to her house was still open; he walked in and saw to his surprise a man. He quickly walked in “What the hell is going on here?!” he screamed. The man turned around. He had grey hair and was white, this was too weird. “Who the fuck are you” he shouted back at him.

“Where is Lisa?” Michael demanded

“Who?” The old man replied.

“Don’t play dumb, the old woman told me she was here”

“Then I’m very sorry to say that she lied. Stupid bitch wouldn’t know anything anyway. Thinks all these weird things all the time, but she won’t win I won’t let her” The old man was whispering, it appeared as if he had forgotten all about Michael being there. He continued whispering Michael only got little bits and pieces. “I will manage… Wait and see… Sun all the time…”

“Are you Falcner?” Michael asked finally

The old man turned to Michael and seemed surprised to see someone standing there. Then slowly his face registered recognition. “Yes, I am my boy. Are you my grandson?”

“No, my name is Michael I’m searching for Lisa…” Michael replied his voice breaking, despair slowly drowned him. He had no idea where he was, Lisa could be anywhere as far as he knew, and no one could help him.

“Do you mean that young blond girl?” Falcner asked.

“Yes” Michael answered a flicker of life returning to him.

“I’m sorry my boy but I threw her in the gate”

“What?” Michael’s head started to throb. All this talk of gates just went pass him. He couldn’t understand anything anymore.

“Yes, it was the only way to save her. You see Dianova was going to use her for a mind switch. That would mean she could be free and be able to go into the world. I couldn’t let that happen, I had to do something” the old man seemed sincere.

Michael straightened his posture and looked at the old man. “Tell me your story Falcner, I need to figure out what the truth is” he said.

“If that is what you want, have a seat my boy. You see we are at the gate to the world…”

“The world? We already are in the world” Michael interrupted.

The old man smiled a sad smile. “If only it was that simple. The world as you know it is incomplete. There are fragments of it moving in and out of time. Some times centuries separate it; this is a gateway that connects time together. A long time ago someone tried to change the flow of time. That someone was me… I was young in those days and I thought I could combine time into a singular level. Let’s just say it didn’t work. I’ve been trying to undo what I’ve done; you see time shifted even worse when I tried to get it back on track. I had a young assistant to help me. He at the end stabbed me in the back; he got the secret of time from me and opened a gateway. He was going to control time, but that is impossible. Time cannot be controlled, he would have destroyed time. I managed to separate the area before the gate from the regular flow of time. It should have worked perfectly but it didn’t. Simon my assistant managed to trap me at that same area as well. Only difference was, Time changed. I was stuck in a slow time pocket and Simon in a fast time pocket. This means he gets older a lot faster then I do. He already created 2 time changes. In the first one a black woman called Dianova arrived here. He used her and was able to switch minds with her. He had to do that because he was close to death. Same as now, only this time I pushed the girl into the gateway before he could use her. You on the other hand, I don’t know. What did he, I mean she tell you?”

“She said she was expecting me and that I had to go and save Lisa from you. Then she talked about guardians and stuff, I didn’t really understand any of it” Michael stopped abruptly “There was one weird thing though. I walked to this house and it was empty then I turned back to the other house and you were there”

“What?” A look of shock appeared on the old man’s face. “He tricked me, it’s over” The old man put his head between his hands.

“What? I don’t understand what’s wrong?” Michael asked. The shock on the old man’s face couldn’t be good news.

“Simon switched times; he used you to turn time against himself”

Michael looked at the old man. After a few seconds he said “I still don’t get what you’re talking about”

“I told you I set this area off as an out of time area. This means you can’t come to this place unless you manipulate time. You and Lisa were manipulated to come here. I thought he would use Lisa to do another mind switch, but as it turns out that’s what he wanted me to think. He needed to break the time barrier in order to be free and he just did that. He used you, you walked through the gateway and came back in, so the gate was momentarily open and he could have gone wherever he wanted”

“That’s bull; I didn’t pass through any gate. I only walked from his house to yours.”

“Look out of the window and tell me what you see”

Michael walked towards the window and stared. The desert had disappeared behind a moving transparent wave like substance. It looked like a little like water, the only difference being the changing background. It seemed as if nothing could make up its mind. Everything morphed into different things never staying always changing.

“It’s like there is an ocean or something and behind it there is like things changing. I can see parts of the desert changing into sky or something. It’s really weird”

“Then it is as I feared. He succeeded in freeing himself, thus breaking the time pocket I created” Falcner looked as if he had suffered the worst defeat. He sat on the chair his head lolling down towards the floor.

“There must be some way we can stop this, I mean can’t you make another force thingy or just change things back?” Michael asked. He felt his head throb when he tried thinking about what was going on around him.

Falcner looked up from his seat. “I can’t just create a pocket like that; I don’t even remember how to manipulate time. I’ve been here for so many years; I nearly forgot my name at times. The only thing I lived for was preventing Simon from getting his will and now I failed” the old man seemed broken; the sparkle he had in his eyes gave way for despair. Michael felt pity for this man, this weird old guy. Slowly the pity subsided and anger rose. This was entirely his fault in the first place!

 

Michael felt anger mount within him. Everything was out of his control slipping from his grasp. This morning the only thought he had was kissing Lisa, and now? Everything was in danger because some idiot was playing with time. Everything he knew would be gone. Lisa would be gone. Richard…

Well there must be something he could do! Something this old guy could do.

“There has to be something we can do! I mean this is just too absurd. You are supposed to be this great time expert and your assistant beats you?! How pathetic is that!” Michael screamed. He didn’t know what he was saying anymore, he just wanted something to happen, for someone to take control of the situation and do something about it.

“Look at me, I’m too old. I’ve been here for so very long. I just want it to end” Falcner said, he lifted his face and looked at Michael. His eyes were sad, thick lines encircling them.

“Ok, fine then show me what I can do”

The old man smiled a sad smile. “Wish I had you as my assistant, maybe then things wouldn’t have turned out the way they did” he said.

“Well science was never my strong side” Michael muttered. He was still too angry to except any compliment. He had enough of the fantastic tales he had heard. All he wanted was for things to go back to the way they were.

“There is one thing I still have to tell you. I’m not sure you will understand it now, but when you will you will be able to… let’s just say your limits will not be the same” Michael muttered something under his breath. Falcner heard nothing of it and continued. “You live in a place that thinks time is just another phenomenon, and moves forward as a constant. This isn’t the case. Time is dynamic, it can expand and retract, it moves differently, in impulses we don’t really understand yet. As soon as you realize time is not a constant you will be able to see the different forms of time in a manner of speaking…”

“Yea man, whatever” Michael interrupted “Why don’t you tell me something useful like how to freeze time or something?”

“I can’t, you have to understand it that’s the only way” Falcner opened his mouth to continue his explanation but closed it again. There was no use. He could only hope that when time would be right Michael would at least be able to do something. “Good luck” he said. The sad smile returned to his face. “But what am I supposed to do?!” screamed Michael “how do I get Lisa back how do I do anything?”

“I’m sorry, the only thing I can tell you is that the only way to help your friend is to go through the gate and stop Simon”

“But how can I stop her, him whatever the fuck he is!!”

“Go through the gate I will try to help you from here” Falcner turned his back to Michael and stared out the window.

            Michael walked out the door and towards the end of the gravel road. The light flashed in his eyes once more, blinding him temporarily. He had the strangest feeling of Déjà vu, walking on the same gravel road again, with the wooden houses on either side. As he reached the end of the road, he felt a slight fear creeping up from inside of him, slowly making its way up from his stomach to his mind.

Michael shook his head and quickly walked the last steps the fear turning into anger.

            A dazzling light shone into his eyes. His step faltered, he nearly lost his balance for the ground seemed to slip from beneath him. It wasn’t the hard gravel road anymore, it was moving as if alive, Shaking like a big jelly being from one side to the other. He tried to see where he was but the light was too strong to make anything out, he continued walking forward careful not to lose his footing.

            As the light slowly resided he could make out his surroundings for the first time. Lines of gold surrounded him, tracing the strange kind of hallway he saw in front of him. It was a strange feeling, looking at all these strange gold lines running through and around everything. On both sides he could see some kind of glass structure going as far as he could see. It seemed like a big looking glass cracked in many different places, all of which had their own story, but somehow still connected to this one massive piece of glass. In certain glass pieces he could see people at others landscapes. Some were with strange animals and others with animals he recognized.

            Michael had the feeling of walking through a museum of some kind. He had actually expected the different things in each glass to move, but they were all frozen. It was then he noticed how silent it all was. There was no noise of any kind, and he had the strange feeling of walking not through a museum but rather through a tomb. He looked down at the red jelly like floor which was the only moving thing. A shiver ran through him. He turned around. The strange hallway like place seemed to continue on without an end in sight.

            Falcner hadn’t told him anything about this. What was he supposed to do now? Walk through this endless place?! Not knowing what to do, he continued walking occasionally looking to his sides at the strange picture like things.  A flicker of movement on his left caught his attention.

            On the glass in front of him stood a picture like the million others he saw all around. But something was different. He looked at the picture closely, another flicker. Some things in the picture were moving. He felt an urge to touch it, grab hold of something real in this deserted place. A gasp came out of his lips as he moved his hand forward in order to touch the glass. His hand went right through the glass as if it didn’t exist. He quickly pulled his hand back staring at it in disbelief. He tried touching a different picture but that didn’t work. The glass was cold and uninviting stopping his hand from reaching the picture. He thought for a second. He tried a few more pictures all with the same result. The only place he could enter was the picture that had some movement in it. He stood in front of the moving picture. This was the only way back into time he thought because this is the only moving picture moving. Does this mean there are many time lines? Or does it mean that everything is frozen except for one instant? It was no use thinking about the different things the only option he had was going through the picture. Everything was better then walking aimlessly through this quiet hallway. Michael took a deep breath and walked forward through the picture.

            Colors from every spectrum flashed around him. It was such a strong contrast to what he had just come from that he stumbled a few steps blinded. He noticed that the further he walked the more colors appeared. There were reds, blues, and yellows all around him. The combination of so many colors made everything seem black or sharp white. It made his eyes water forcing him to blink a couple dozen times in an effort to block out the colors. The colors disappeared just as sudden as they appeared.

            Michael stood in a vast grey landscape. He could see people around him but they were all frozen, stuck in whatever they were doing that moment. He walked towards a big guy and experimentally waved his hand in front of his eyes. The guy continued to stare straight in front of him his mouth open as though he was talking, presumably to the girl standing next to him.

            Michael looked around trying to locate the movement he had seen before he entered. Slowly as his eyes got used to the grey frozen picture around him he could see long thin golden lines. They looked like small rays of light. The same ones he had seen in the hallway. This is time he thought. I can see these threads because time is frozen. But how can I make it go again? As he was thinking his hand absent mindedly went up and down through the air, the fingers fumbling the dead air around him causing thin golden threads to swirl and turn. Sound, very slowly moved away from him carried on waves through the air. He abruptly stopped moving his hand, trying to focus on the origin of the sound which was now fading. He stared at the small fading golden threads noticing them now for the first time. Michael moved his hand in an effort to recreate the threads and saw to his great surprise that new golden lines moved away from him. As he was slowly realizing what was going on he felt a tug, as if something was pulling the picture. He moved clumsily forward, learning as he goes how to move in the awkward environment. He could now feel where the push came from, this must also be where time was being forced to except something he realized. He ran and at the corner of his eye saw a guy he assumed to be Simon, holding Lisa.

“Stop!” Michael shouted, regretting almost immediately he had done so.

Simon turned towards him, a big smile showing a row of teeth, covering his face “Well well, if it isn’t the little idiot. Come to stop me have you? That’s a laugh” The guy laughed loudly at his own words.

“I will stop you if you don’t stop right now!” Michael retorted. It was an idle threat but it might buy him some time.

“Foolish boy, have fun with this while I take care of some business” With a quick move of his hand circles of light appeared and came racing towards Michael.

Michael, more out of reflex than anything else, moved his hand in a circular motion. A golden circle appeared swallowing the created riffs. Simon looked surprised and stopped to appraise Michael a new. “How did you do that?” he asked after a short pause.

“None of your business” he answered “Now let Lisa go!”

“What for? There is nothing you can do for her” Simon let go of Lisa and Michael saw she was the same grey lifeless image everything was.

“Free her!” Michael shouted

At this Simon laughed. “I can see you have no idea what you are doing I guess it was a lucky shot what you just did. Let me explain something to you. I can manipulate time by giving it memories. If I give it memories I can flex areas of time involving myself. The more memories I have the more control I can exert. I can tell by the look on your face that you have no idea what I’m talking about, so why don’t you go back to where you came from and get lost.”

Michael stared around him there must be something he could do.

Take mine echoed a familiar voice inside Michael head. He turned around trying to find where the voice came from. Simon in the meantime started moving his hand again in a complicated movement. He had to buy some time. “What did you do to the body of Dianova?” he asked. This seemed to stop Simon.

“Let’s just say she is gone, she was just a shell anyway” he retorted, he seemed cautious however.

“I don’t believe you, I think she was regaining control, I don’t think you can just perform a mind switch, you can only push her back and like a leech try to suck her dry, but she was fighting back wasn’t she?“

I will meld with you, and I am not alone together we can win the voice this time it seemed like two voices a female voice that was cold and angry, and another old voice. Falcner? Michael wondered. And Dianova. Prepare yourself.

The voices disappeared and Michael’s mind was flooded by memories. Thoughts of two people were now mixed with his own. He immediately saw all the patterns of time, millions of lines intertwined with one another.

Michael fell to the ground the weight of all the new memories literally pulling him down. Michael fought for breath as an amazing amount of memories surged through him, filling everything, lives went past, years, centuries, as slowly everything began to reside he knew where the memories had come from, he knew what he had to do. “You always were too obsessed” Michael said in a calm voice.

Simon was startled and with a few quick moves pushed a spiral of gold towards Michael. Michael lifted his hand and with a few circular motions let go of an exact replica of Simon’s spiral.

Simon smiled in triumph “I knew you had no idea what you were doing” he laughed “now you just added your memories to increase the strength of mine”

The two spirals now stood fully in front of one another, circling around one another. Simon’s spiral started to swallow Michael’s spiral sucking more and more from it, instead of stopping however Michael continued releasing more spirals creating a line of spirals that were all slowly consumed by Simon’s spiral.  Simon looked at the continually increasing size of his spiral and a look of doubt crossed his face. “What are you doing?” he asked

Michael didn’t reply he continued his movements, creating more and more spirals. It was now so big it easily topped the world’s highest building and still it looked like there was no stopping it. It increased into the air soaring like a pillar from the heavens and still it grew taller, its edges flowing through the atmosphere. Fear washed Simon, a moment ago he had complete control, he was about to devour all the memories and body of a young girl. He could now easily defeat even Falcner, what was going wrong?

The spiral reached the edge of space where it appeared to be stuck, there it grew in width until everything looked unstable, time shook violently and cracks started to appear on the until now dead image. Simon screamed in agony as he was sucked into the spiral. Michael felt his body growing weaker and weaker. This was the final moment he knew; he had to break Simon’s hold over time. He had to break time itself in order to set it free to roam as an entity by itself, uncontrollable from any outside interference.

He had nearly nothing left, he felt torn, his last feelings, thoughts, ideas sucked out of him, leaving him with a dreadful nothing. An empty shadow of what he once was a broken shell. His knees started to shake, his body as young and agile as it was, was still human and although bendable still sustainable only as a human.

Dizzy he stared around him and saw he had nothing left, he would fail.

A figure slowly stood up and stumbled towards him. “I am here, let me help” said a female voice, Michael knew but couldn’t place anymore, a beautiful voice filled with color and light. Gentle hands held him and he felt something of what he was come back to him. With the last power he could muster he gave one final push and collapsed on the floor. His eyes shutting…

“Michael? Stay with me please…” a voice soft and frail, tinted with a heart wrenching sadness, beckoned to him.

He looked at the figure that was now cradling him, his eyes were open but he could see nothing.

Fractures appeared around him, the spiral was destroying the picture, sending shards to every direction shattering every image on its way. Time slowly moved again and each movement, his own.

Well done my boy echoed a familiar voice in his mind I could have never done any better.

“What will happen now?” Michael asked his body unwilling to move.

Time will go on moving, and because all my and Simon’s memories are gone there are no strings attached, time is free in its own way.

“So what will happen to me then?”

You need to make friends with time…

The voice faded away. “Wait what about me, what will happen to me?” called Michael

“Michael? Are you alright” asked a worried female voice.

Michael looked up to see Lisa holding him in her arms. He was lying on the flood in some strange place, he struggled to get up. “Are you alright?” he asked looking at her with concern. “Yes I think so, but what happened? And where are we?”

Michael looked around and saw millions of colorful pictures all around him. You are outside time. The words echoed silently in his mind, he remembered where he was.

He looked at Lisa she was beautiful. What could he say to her?

“Lisa I’m sorry for all of this” voice trailed off. He couldn’t face her, he stared at the floor. Hands lifted his head up. He was surprised to see Lisa was smiling. “It’s not your fault. So why don’t we find a way out of here”

Michael smiled and held Lisa in his arms. “Well for that we need to make friends first”

 Notes: The gravel road (2007)

I had a picture in my head, way before I set out to write anything, of two small barn like houses facing each other, placed in the middle of a deserted gravel road. This image haunted me for a while and I kept seeing it over and over in my mind. Somehow these two houses were alone, and together they possessed some power as if they were the center for some event, or a doorway perhaps. I could see all this quite clearly but I had no story to attach all this to, so I came up with this story all so I could get rid of that image from my mind.

Part I

Note: 

A long time ago I had an idea to combine a large array of different nightmares and/or dreams into one big landscape. This landscape was set as one night following someone’s dreams. I wrote each dream as a short story and so spanned into a long time frame. Every time I had an interesting idea for a dream or nightmare I would write it in here.

Several of the stories were in my mind a long time before I came up with this scenario and when I finally came up with this they fitted in perfectly. Now for some facts: Each person dreams roughly between 100-250 dreams a night out of which only about 7 are remembered (if at all). The interesting bit is that dreams a lot of times are seen as fragments of many different images, emotions and other flashes from either out imagination or our memory. This gave me a very broad canvas in which to develop my stories. And I thought it might be fun to combine many different things to it. In my 2 month vacation/PhD position search I wrote the first three stories and a rough sketch of the 10th story.

 

Images of night… story 1 – the adventure (2008)

The first story the adventure was actually based on the very first nightmare I could remember. I was about 6 at the time, and the nightmare I had was so vivid that it never left. It was slightly different then the story in here but the general idea and the cave are taken directly from it. 

Introduction

Night crawled onto the world like a snail leaving a thick and gluey trail behind it as it passed slowly across the skies removing the last bits of light from it. For most people the time of night is when fatigue slowly takes over and lets the mind drift up to the point where mind and body are asleep. Sleep is in most cases a necessary and important part of life and although dreams are an essential part of a good night sleep they not only are poorly understood but are very hard to control. In certain situation however controlling ones dreams becomes a necessity that is hard to ignore.  

           

He lay in bed tossing and turning, he knew he should get some sleep or he wouldn’t be able to properly do his job but this thought was useless at the moment. His mind was tired, he felt fatigued but for some reason his body wasn’t. He felt as if he could run a marathon at the moment which was ridiculous because he needed to sleep! His thoughts slowly turned in circles going over what he had to do tomorrow and what he had actually prepared today. He had so much to do and he really needed to get a good night sleep. He closed his eyes and tried to count sheep. Although this stupid technique never worked for him as a kid it just might work now.

1… 2…

He envisioned the place where all the sheep were kept. A huge farm with thousands of sheep running around everywhere, so many sheep that he couldn’t keep track which sheep he counted already and which he hadn’t. What a waste of time…

 

1 – The adventure

A big light is shining in my face. It blinds me. I blink a few times and slowly my eyes get accustomed to it. I’m standing on the balcony of my castle. Underneath me the eyes of my people beckon. They wait for my words, they wait for my command. I take a few deep breathes and start my speech.

“The people of Encore, My people, I regretfully inform you all that the marriage between me and the princess of Slova has been postponed.”

I stop and look at the people. They mutter, some are shocked and stare up at me with their mouths open, some shake their heads in disapproval; some are talking to their neighbors. I wait a few more moments before I continue.

“My princess and your future queen was kidnapped by our hated enemies from the land of Gillard.”

I wait once more. The crowd is now angry I can hear its restlessness, feel their eagerness to do something about this terrible deed.

“I have chosen a party of men led directly by me to bring my wife back. I believe that we will return victorious, in the time of my absence my brother will temporarily take on my duties, I take only a few well trained men with me for we alone have better chances of success”

The crowd is restless they want to join in, but I cannot risk all out war, I know the men are not prepared for it. I pray they may never need to but this they do not need to hear.

“However when the time comes we have to be ready, we have to be prepared to fight, we will not be conquered and let our enemies take us lightly! We will not be subdued! We will fight! And we will win!”

The crowd cheers. Hands rise from the crowd, my heart warms from their support.

“My brother will start recruiting people for the barracks, I want everyone who can to join and help protect the land of our forefathers. Together we will survive; together we will destroy our enemies!”

I leave the balcony with the cheering crowd behind me. Tonight will be the most important night of my life. Tonight I will get my wife back. I lost my wife for a mistake I shall not make again. I left her for but a moment, alone in the bedroom, and in that moment I heard her scream, a noise that will hunt me forever; a cry from my beloved, a cry for help that was not there, a cry that was left unanswered. By the time I reached the room she was gone with nothing but the faint scent of smoke to indicate a spell was used. I know how it was done and I know who is responsible: the wizard Lorak. The teleportation spell is one Lorak has used often. A spell he has learned in my court, the same court he left as soon as he thought himself stron enough. He now serves the land of Gillard and he will be punished for his treachery.

I summon my group. Five men stand before me. The first is a young man thinly built; he has a big grin on his face and a spark in his eyes. His sharp nose and slightly narrow forehead make him look almost like a hawk. Kira the magnificent is how he calls himself; I call him Kira the thief. He has escaped from my dungeon 12 times the last time he did so in one hour. If there is a way to get into Gillard he will find it. I have known Kira since he was a child a good kid but always loved to get into trouble and although he does get arrested on a regular basis he finds it the greatest challenge in breaking free. His one fault is his arrogance in himself.

The second man is an older man he is the strongest man I have ever met. His size is impressive for all that survey him. He is strongly built and the largest and tallest man in our group. He is very calm and quiet and has a heart as big as his body. His black hair has streaks of grey in it. His compassion and gentleness are his greatest strength and the biggest weakness. He is known as Ali the giant.

The third man is shrouded and slightly bent forward. He wears a large black robe and leans on a wooden staff. He is very sharp and extremely intelligent. He understands the ways of men and his understandings in magic are of the highest order. He is our only hope against Lorak. He never says a word and usually keeps to himself, but during my years as king I have learned to rely on his advice and have asked continually for his ideas. He calls himself Jourbayeff.

The fourth person has the eyes of a hawk, he carries a bow with him and can see as clearly at night as the shining day. His stamina is unprecedented and his tactical intuitions have proven themselves time and again on the battlefield. He is called Statislav.

The fifth is no man. This brash and often irrational woman is my sister Wilalma. She sometimes plays too much with men to my liking but her skill with the sword is equal to my own if it has not surpassed it by now. She is sometimes reckless but I am very proud of her. She can hold her ground in front of any man; she has not yet met the man who could beat her and although brass she is courageous and skilled as no other.

This group of five and me will enter Gillard and free my princess from captivity.

I do not need to speak to this group we have been talking about our plan ever since my wife was taken. We will be transported by Jourbayeff to the border of our lands as close as we dare without being seen, after which Statislav and Kira will take the head, behind them I will stand together with Wilalma and bringing the rear will be Joubayeff and Ali the giant.

That night when all is ready we set off. Joubayeff quickly takes us to the border using an ancient incantation. Darkness surrounds us and small damp bushes scrape against our legs as we set out. Statislav quickly goes forward leading us together with Kira. We quickly reach a small patrol of three men, the patrol carries small charms that will make a terrible noise if these are activated we need to take them out quietly and efficiently.

Joubayeff casts a sleeping spell and the patrol falls asleep. Kira after a quick search of the men finds a pair of keys which he places into one of his many pockets. We continue on our way, in the distance Statislav announces is the castle we are not far from it, we need be very cautious here. Kira together with Statislav go forward to gather information while we remain hidden in the damp bushes. We freeze as we hear a couple of guards talking just in front of us.

“Think the princess will really become the queen now?” we hear one guard ask another

“I don’t know, I hope not, she’s not even from here. I heard she came from Encore!”

“Really?! How come I’m always the last one to hear about these things?”

“That’s because you never listen to anyone you just talk all the time”

I fight the urge to hit the guards and clench my teeth to keep from charging at them.

The voices slowly fade away and we breathe a sigh of relief. A moment later Kira and Statislav are back, they tell us there are few guard patrols walking the grounds but nothing that will pose as a serious threat, they believe the princes to be locked in the dungeon  located somewhere near the castle, although they can not confirm this as none of the soldiers on patrol knew. We decide to go on and try to locate the dungeon.

We head out in formation once again slowly crawling forward until the first of the towers become visible in front of us. We stop and Joubayeff closes his eyes and uses his staff to draw something on the ground, he mutters something that I do not understand and small dots appear on the ground.

“What is this?” I ask

“This is a map of the castle and all its dungeons, the dots represent the living creatures stuck in these dungeons” Joubayeff answers.

I stare at the dots, there are 4 dots I can see. “Does this mean there are 4 separate dungeons?” I ask.

“Indeed, we are momentarily here” states Joubayeff pointing his staff at an area of the map that isn’t lit. A dungeon can be seen to the left of it, 2 in front (most likely under the castle) and one to the right.

We decide to split up I ask Joubayeff to cast a communication spell which will allow us to keep in contact with one another. Joubayeff and Ali the giant go towards the dungeon to the right of us, located under a separate tower, where according to Joubayeff Lorak is located. Statislav and Kira go towards the castle as they are our best chance to go unheard and unnoticed. Wilalma and I take the dungeon to our left, which is the closest one.

We walk slowly towards the entrance of the dungeon when my foot steps on something hollow. We stop and I remove the leaves and bushes. Underneath concealed we see a wooden door leading to some kind of cellar or possibly jail or dungeon. I look at the latch and pry the door open with my sword by moving the bolts out of the hole. The latch opens with a creek and I decide to enter. Wilalma stands guard outside and communicates our progress. The other teams have not yet reached their targets. I slowly go down a cold metal ladder that descends into darkness.

I reach the floor and the smell of damp and wet rot assails my nose. I try to block the scents by holding my hand over my nose. A feeling of claustrophobia and unknown terror binds me to the floor. I sit down on the ground my feet unable to move and my hands and knees shaking not from the cold but from fear.

A whisper from above wakes me from my shock. “Are you alright?” echoes the concerned voice of Wilalma.

“I’m fine it’s just very dark in here I need to wait a moment for my eyes to adjust to the dark”

“Just hurry, I don’t like staying here like this. It feels like a trap”

I stare into the darkness in front of me and slowly I manage to move forward one slow step at a time. I can now make out something on the wall to my right; I walk towards it and reach out my hand to grab hold of it. My fingers touch something slightly damp made of wood. It’s a torch!

I reach for a match in my bag and after a few tries a small beam of light shines.

I now make out a stone wall to my right and metal bars on the left, and realize I’m standing in a jail. I walk forward trying to see into the cells, I make out some shapes that seem to be moving but I can’t be sure, the light from the torch flickers and it is hard to see what is real and what a figment of my imagination.

I slowly move forward not knowing what I will find. Then a breeze of cold air hits me bringing a strong smell of damp rot. I shiver fearing what I will see. The walls seem to close in on me and I almost fall to floor in a fit of panicked fear. I struggle forward and notice I am reaching the end of this cave, on the left I notice to my horror that the cell at the end is open. My fear is nearly overwhelming me I cannot hold my torch anymore without shaking, causing the light to flicker erratically. As I near the last cell I suddenly hear a whisper that I can not make out, it sends shivers down my spine none the less and I can not move. It is only then that I realize I am in front of the open cell. I look to the left into the cell, I can see nothing but shadows, and it appears to be empty. Suddenly I hear the whisper closer and shadows moving towards me. I shake in fear the smell of rotting flesh is overwhelming and I stumble backwards in panic until my back hits the grounded wall. Panic sets over me and I turn towards the cave’s entrance. The torch falls to the ground as I run to get away from whatever it is that resides in the last open cell. Darkness is immediate, I can just make out the ladder and I jump to it trying to climb as fast as I can. I am free; I quickly climb up the ladder no longer caring what noise I make. A whisper then reaches me and to my horror I realize I recognize it.

“Don’t leave me…”

Something cold grips my foot and I let out a scream as I notice the door above me is shut and I’m trapped inside.

 

Sweat covers his face as he jumps up from his bed. The memory still vivid and real in his mind, already however the details become blurry. He quickly touches his leg expecting to feel a cold mark. All he feels however are the drops of sweat that cover his warm leg. He lets go of his leg, not sure why he was reaching for it in the first place, the feelings and memories slide back into his unconscious. The amazing sensation of fear is dissipating with the knowledge of what made him scare fading into the recesses of his mind. The names, smells and all that was become a blurry mash where nothing is coherent and all is turbulent.

He lies back down and wipes the sweat from his forehead and slowly slides back into sleep.

Circle of eight

While life passes before out eyes

We are stuck doing things we don’t want

Stars our destination, when we are locked

Forever in turmoil of our own omnipotence

The circle of eight moving on to a destination

Blinded forever for one’s own importance

Living and dying in a blink,

Dumping the fears in the sink.

(17/02/2006)

Note: The circle of eight refers to a group of eight wizards, which are supposedly incredibly powerful.