A Hike: A Cautionary Tayle
He had been warned not to venture into the woods. And thus, he did-alone. Just to show them.
Backpacking across Europe seemed like such an adventure to him. Seven months ago. But now,
reality set in: French chicks were not easy, and they stank!
Deoderant is apparently an American novelty.
With these thoughts in mind, he plodded along the dirt path that was
partially lit by the shafts of moonlight falling from the trees. Whistling
a Tom Petty tune, he stepped over a patch of bushes. Somewhere in the
depths of the forest, a twig snapped. For a moment, he froze, then took off
running down the trail. He continued, unsure if the rustling behind him was
a pursuer or his own footsteps following him. Growing tired, he scampered into the
first tree that he could get his hands on, and waited for whoever it was to show themselves.
Nothing came into sight. Not that much would in the black and silver forest
of the night. But he felt assured that danger had passed him by.
He awoke to the chill of morning invading his senses, and saw the terrifying mess
below him. There were claw marks along the trees and in the dirt: deep canyon like
gashes that had been sliced into the earth and wood with little effort.
Cursing further still at his blatant stupidity, he slid down the tree and cautiously
glanced around to see if last night's visitor was still around. Pristine-and quiet.
Taking no note of this, he happily popped a CD in his discman, and continued down the
trail. Thus, he saw rather than heard it. Just a breezy whisper betrayed
its position. This was enough to het him running. He was so frightened: he did not
even stop to pick up his fallen discman. His feet flew beneath him, more quickly than
he thought was possible. The light between the distant tree trunks could look no brighter: for
past them was freedom: the end of the forest. The thought of safety made him
run faster. His lungs ached, his heart seemed to explode with each beat.
Approaching the clearing, he leapt from the treeline, and into the lush, green sea of
grass that welcomed him. As he fell through the air, his body sagged with exhaustion,
and he could not bring himself to land on his feet, rather, collapsed upon
meeting the earth. But knowing that he had to reach the town ahead, at the far
end of the meadow, he got up.
That was when he noticed it charge through the creek toward him. It was
black. It moved fluidly, with bounding strokes of its limbs, almost seductive.
It moved like a shadow: it stole the light: tore a hole in the landscape. He expected it to roar or
snarl as it approached, but no. There was only silence.
He did not notice himself running. He had been admiring it. The sinuous
neck; the rippling muscles and the huge wings. It was so COOL. Its wings
opened in the air, and its hind legs launched it forcefully into the sky.
He kept running. It came falling from the sky, arms outstretched to grasp him.
He felt his back snap, and the teeth dig into his throat. In the waxing darkness,
he heard its triumphant, deep, grating bellow.
In the village, the Old Man awakened, and looked out the window. He could see
the trees in their ever present silence, and the morning mist clinging to
their branches. But he felt the boy's scream.
This, too is written by me. I would dearly like some 'foreign' stories, of any sort, to display here.
If you have a story you can mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Characters
ect... are completely fictional. If you think otherwise, well, power to you, but you're wrong.
No, check that, it's slightly autobiographical. But only two people in the world could possibly understand it as such,
one more than the other.
Peter sighed. Around him, the golden green expanses of the rolling hills glimmered
metallically. Despite the melodic warbles of spring birds, and the firework display of wildflowers,
the world was gray.
He was an outcast from his peers. He was no jock: girls paid no attention to him. His grades
trailed, and he had fallen into a deep depression. It was with these thoughts in his tortured mind
that he fell to the muddy earth, crying. Even what seemed miles from his house and high school,
he could feel their eyes see through him. There was no respite from society's steely talons
of conformity and the cruel natural selection that was inherent in it. Those who did not
fit the mold were ostracized, forced into submission. They never found happiness nor friend,
bled into the background: died a death of spirit, and lived as living zombies for the rest of their
pitiful lives. Death was the only escape, but cowardice, too, held him in a vise. In frustration,
he clawed at the insolent blue sky, screaming.
Something glimmered like a lighthouse beacon in the verdant sea of grass. His hand darted
to the shining treasure, and brought it forth. The shattered remains of a glass bottle. His finger
gingerly traced around the edges of it, and stopped at the point. Sharp enough. Enough to cut
What is here for me? He questioned, commanding his defiant hand to do his bidding.
It was then that he heard the music. Sweet, woody tunes that must have come from a wind instrument.
An ocarina, perhaps. The wordless song gripped him like no song had before in his life. It spoke to
him, as if someone was calling his name. The melody reached from his ears, and clutched his soul.
"Peeeter." A voice whispered. It was soft and rang sharply like a silver bell in a winter's night.
Peter inhaled sharply, and clutched the tree upon which his back rested.
"Who's-there?" He attempted to answer courageously.
"I have come to you with a most pleasing offer." it-she, he determined, breathed. The voice
had a quality to it not unlike the music: mezmerizing. Before him, the one tree that not yet burgeoned
forth with waxy new leaves moved. In one fluid movement, it transfigured itself. The gnarled branches
swept down, intertwining into ten delicately formed elongated digits, bound with crystalline flesh.
The roots rose from the ground and formed six more extensions: four legs, a tail, and a delicate
swan's neck. The patchwork bark became brittle scales, and staring at him were two baleful yellow
Peter jumped to his feet in disbelief.
"Do not deny yourself, Peter. Your eyes do not betray you. What am I?" She whispered.
"a dragon?" Peter murmured.
"I said SCREAM it." She entreatied, her tail winding its way around his back.
"Good, good my dear boy. You can bellow. You can disappear, too." Peter blushed.
"Join ussss!" She hissed. "We need another to fly with us. Now is our time for RESURECTION! There
was a time, long, long ago, when we fostered humanity: fed them knowledge. It was a time before
cathedrals and industrial revolutions and nuclear bombs. We were GODS my boy. We protected the Earth.
But 1200 years ago, that changed, and we failed in our duty. Christianity spread like locusts and
destroyed individuality, respect, and fear and hate were God. We became daemons, Peter. Join us,
Peter, and become a God and a Saint! A hope for the future: a promise for eternity."
Peter stiffened. Was it wise to do dealings with daydreams? Better to die, or succumb to insanity,
or, perhaps, reign in a world yet to be created.
Her foreclaw grasped his shoulder. "You are chosen: within you resides the ultimate power.
Rid yourself of this body: cast it away and you shall be born of the four elements. You will be
Spirit of the Water, Guardian of the Earth, Master of the Winds, and Lord of Fire. You shant suffer
the slavery of being born of a mother and father, nor the chains of mortality. You will be crafted
by pure will. Cast it away like so many old papersss!" She hissed the last line with passion.
The glass glimmered brighter still: with the brilliance of the sun itself. He clenched it, and
plunged it into his throat with determination. The pain was incredible, and if he was not drowning
in his own blood, he would have screamed. In his waning strength, he continued to batter his
fragile human body. Oh, the pain was exquisite. But even more so was the feeling as he left it,
and leapt from the green hill and into the sky, and the wind rushing over his wings as they for the
first time, spread into the wind took him higher than before. He drew breath from the sweet air, and
filled his lungs, and bellowed thunderously to his kin: entreatied them to join him in the sky.
* * *
There were more attendees than expected to Peter's funeral. Most students came to get out of
class, others genuinely had regrets. The first peus were crowded, but the little chapel was far from
full. The eulogy was generic, as were the comments said of him; for there was not much to say.
"He was such a quiet guy; I never quite knew what was going on his head. Nice, though."
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