Saturday, December 6, 2014

12-6-14 Writing Warm-up
7:31 PM

12-6-14 Writing Warm-up

12-6-14 Writing Warm-up
Artwork © Nikonov Aleksandr, All Rights Reserved -
Characters and Story © Brannon Hollingsworth, All Rights Reserved
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”

Dry, bleached stalks of brush raked across her calves as she trudged through the ever-undulating snow drifts. In places, the wind-blown snow was nearly as deep as her waist, dropping out beneath her with a suddenness that seemed almost perversely malicious. In others, the frigid powder barely covered the cold, packed earth of the Black Forest's sparse floor. The hem of her thick, winter over-skirt dripped with slush that stuck to her like clammy palms of dead men. She could not let these elements of the land slow her pace. She had to get out of the dark boughs as quickly as possible.

This was not a good place to be once the moon rose.

Her lantern sputtered feebly. Even the barest shutter over the lamp would have done so much to aid in keeping the flame intact. It did not matter. It had to be this would be over soon enough, she supposed.

Almost as if on cue, she heard the howl split the freezing cold wind. No, this was no mere howl. She had grown up hearing howls. This sound was far more than just a call by some hungry forest predator. It was as though someone was disemboweling the wind itself: a shriek that turned even her guts to water and threatened to give her leave of all her senses. There was a latent madness wound up in that howl; it was a horrific sound from somewhere Beyond. It held a distinct quality that began unraveling the very reality into which the discordant intonation had been thrust.

She quickened her pace, her footfalls crunching through the flimsy ice which coated the deeper snow. She stumbled, thinking how her crunching steps mimicked the thing's arrival. It had broken through the flimsy Curtain that separated her world from it's own dark demesne.

Her quick, gasping breaths trailed behind her in long white streamers caught upon a pale wind. She knew what was out there. She'd heard the stories. She knew what hunted her this night.

A deep growl trickled and rippled over her shoulder, slipping into her ear like wet, wiry wool. It itched and tickled and dampened every other sound all at the same time. She turned, lifting her pitiful lantern. Again, almost as if preordained by some Higher Power, at that exact moment, a shaft of brumal moonlight stabbed through the leaf-stripped branches.

The moon's pallid glow joined with the flickering flame of her beacon, casting an odd mixture of fire and ice upon the creature that towered above her. If it had been able to stand to its full height, four times her own height and more it would have soared, but its musculature and physical structure denied it that privilege. It was not by any means a lesser creature, however, with limbs as thick as hundred-year-old oaks, weight greater than a massive stone bridge, and shoulders as wide as most barns were long. There could be little doubt that the vlkčlověk**** before her was a lord over all it encountered. She would not be surprised that the furred and fanged horror might even be the One True Lord of its own Kin in all the known worlds, so titanic and terrible was its form and might.

Again came the deep rumble that made her own teeth rattle. The resound was followed by words, spoken in English, old of form. "Thou hast chosen poorly, she-chattle. Thou hast lost thy way in my wood this eventide. Think thee not that I wilt spare thee merely for being a Daughter of Eve. Thine blood will slake my thirst, and thy flesh will ease my hunger, doltish wench!"

The massive wolf-demon lunged for her with a slavering, blood-curdling howl.

It was in that moment that Roksana let her ruse drop and whipped Scythe, her sliver-edged shamshir from beneath her peasant disguise into a wide, pain-dealing arc before her. In a voice empowered by the Eternal Foe of her Enemy, she trumpeted, "Tak pojďte! Dine a pak navždy spát, bestie."***

*** - From Czech: "Come then! Dine and then forever sleep, beast!"
**** - From Czech: wolf-man


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