Joined: 05 Sep 2005
|Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:06 am Post subject: Rise of Shadows. Prologue.
|Rise of Shadows.
Sean hesitated. “Sara, I don’t think…”
“Come on scaredy cat!” Sara’s voice was half amusement, half contempt. “You promised!”
“But the caves… the stories…”
“Well, it wouldn’t be fun if there were no ghosts now, would it?” She pulled at his hand, and despite the fact that he was twelve and she was only ten, and much slimmer of build, he let himself be dragged forward.
The two kids crept towards the opening, the black of the entrance seemed even darker than the surrounding night sky.
Sean glanced up. He missed the presence of the moons, but tonight was the ‘longest night,’ the one night of the year the satellites were not in the sky and, incidentally, the night when the spirits were supposed to walk with the living.
“It’s pretty spooky isn’t it?” asked Sara, the gap where one tooth still hadn’t come through marring the otherwise bright smile.
“Yeah, let’s go back.”
She laughed. “Oh don’t be silly! What’s the point of getting into trouble if we haven’t done anything worth getting into trouble for? Come on!”
She pulled on his hand again, and once more they moved forward. Sean could feel a cold wind emanating from the cave. He frowned. Surely that wasn’t right? He forgot about it as Sara turned on her light, and flashed the beam ahead of them. Somehow it made the surrounding dark even blacker.
“Here we go!” The girl walked steadily over the rocky ground and in to the entrance.
Looking around, Sean realized that he would be left alone in the dark if he didn’t follow. He stumbled after her, shivering as the wind moaned around him.
“See? That wasn’t hard was it?” Asked Sara as he drew up beside her.
Her voice seemed to echo off the walls. The light flashed about as the girl pointed it towards the throat of the cave. Sean gulped. Sara had always seemed totally fearless, it wasn’t fair. How could a ten year old girl not be scared?
“Let’s go further in,” she said. Not waiting for him, she picked her way towards the tunnel, the stones underfoot clinking together eerily in the silence of the night.
Sean stumbled slightly as he tried to keep up with her, desperately wishing he’d brought his own flashlight.
“Look. There’s a hole here, it leads straight down,” Sara exclaimed as she scrabbled about.
“Hold that light still! I can’t see anything.”
“Just follow my voice,” Sara said, her silhouette outlined as she used the light to peer down into the hole. “Aw! It’s not very deep.”
Sean breathed in relief. She would no doubt have wanted to climb down if it had been.
“There’s something here though!” Sean heard grunting noises as she tugged at her find. “Come here and help me.”
Sighing, Sean made his way over, trying not to look at the dark maw ahead. He knelt down next to her. “Where?”
“Just there, can you see it?” She directed the illumination.
Sean frowned. “It’s just an old root.”
“No, it’s too straight for that. Pull it out. Come on.”
Scowling, Sean reached down, winding his hand into the hole, which seemed to be uncommonly cold. He brushed against something and yelled, yanking his arm out and rolling onto his back.
Sara laughed. “What are you doing?”
“Something touched me!”
“It’s only a Wul spider! Look.” She reached in and pulled out the brown bodied arachnid, which scurried about in her cupped palm.
Sean breathed hard, his heart beating fast in his chest. He wasn’t too keen on spiders either.
“Are you going to get this or not? How badly do you want me to come to the party with you? I can go with Thomas you know. He wouldn’t be a scaredy cat.”
Trying to suppress his shivers, Sean crawled forward and, giving her a Look before lowering his hand in again. This time he reached the thing. His skin crawled as he felt the smooth stick, which was icy cold.
“That’s it! Pull! You have it!”
“Hold that light still! I can’t see,” complained Sean, who was nearly wetting his pants with terror.
He tugged at it, feeling as if something was watching his back, but daring not to turn around and look.
“It’s coming, try again.”
Gritting his teeth, Sean yanked again. If he could get this thing, then he could get out of there.
The wind moaned again, ruffling his hair, almost caressing it. His teeth chattered.
I can see you.
“What? What did you say?” Sean asked, wiggling the stick to loosen it.
“I never said anything. Hurry up, I’m cold.”
Sean almost ran screaming there and then, but he channeled his terror into an almighty wrench, which succeeded in pulling the thing free so suddenly he let it go, causing it to fly through the air to land with a clatter a little way away.
“You got it!” Squealed Sara, and scrambled over to examine her prize.
Sean was trembling. He examined his hand, which now sported a long scratch, though he couldn’t see it clearly in the dark.
“Sara, come on. Let’s go.” He pulled himself back to rest against the wall.
Sara was crouching over the find, the light in front of her casting shadows on the roof of the cave. “It’s a hand.” She said.
“What?” Sean was distracted by the slick feel of ice under his touch. Ice? It wasn’t that cold.
“My Hand.” Sara’s voice seemed hollow and deeper than it should.
I can see you.
“Of course you can, you have the light.” Sean stood up shakily, trying not to look about at the darkness, which seemed to be closing in. He stepped over to Sara, who was still squatting down, not moving.
As he closed she stood slowly, smoothly, still facing away from him.
“Sara?” Sean paused. Ice was forming on the floor, in a circle around his friend.
I can see you.
She swiveled about, facing him. The item was clutched close to her chest, and he could now see it was a strange skeletal hand.
“Wh…” he began, then stopped. Sara was looking at him. Her face, usually pale, was slowly clouding, as if a gray shadow was creeping across it. Her eyes were a blank white.
I can see you clearly now.
“Wha… what…?” Sean’s words stuck in his throat and he turned to run. He slipped on the floor, which was now covered in a thin layer of ice. The wind howled about him, plucking at his skin and draining the warmth from his body.
I can see everything!
Sean whimpered, closing his eyes tightly and huddling into the fetal position as light footsteps approached. They stopped by his head.
Look at me Sean.
Sean put his arms to his face.
Something touched him, as cold as death itself. I said, look at me!
Against his will, Sean opened his eyes and looked up. Sara’s face looked down at him, a shadow against the light that filtered over from the now abandoned torch. She smiled, the gap in her teeth a miniature representation of the cave throat. Slowly she leaned down, bringing her face close to his, and with it the cold.
He struggled desperately, but Sara held him down effortlessly. Cold spread up his arms as she gripped them, leeching away his body heat.
“Noooo!” He cried.
Sean screamed and managed to pull free, rolling away. With a crack his arms broke off, splintering at the elbows, to fall and shatter on the rocky floor as he ran blindly into the night.
Behind him, the wind howled.
Just the prologue there folks! Chapter one to follow soon!