My try at horror. This is an updated one. thanks for all the feedback.
| Zaireth bore down the moon lit path with a frantic pace. Whatever it was, it was faster than him. He had been trailing it for almost 10 minutes, but felt like he was falling further behind. The air was frigid and gnawed at his face and hands. The trail broke off into trees and thickets. It was a dark lane littered with shattered branches and splintered bark. He noticed the same trail of groves scratched on the ground. He had never seen anything like it before tonight. No tracks, no footprints. All it left was torn earth. Zaireth rolled his fingers across the deep etched gouges. Not only was it faster than him, it was far stronger too.
Zaireth was no warrior. He was a priest. He had been asked to look into the disappearances in these woods for a long time. However, as a priest and scholar of the order of Jourum, his duties kept him busy. When a servant of the royal house disappeared, and the Duke could find no free knights, it fell to him as a scholar to investigate. Zaireth was a dedicated man, but not consistent. He was wise, yet inexperienced. He was passionate, but not strong. Zaireth was no knight.
Moving was difficult. The moon was hardly illuminating, and the lantern barely gave him 6 feet of light. Rocks, roots, small dips, and holes were a continual nuisance. Zaireth skidded down a bank and into a rough gully. He could smell it now. The odor was thick oaky and wet. The fumes burned the inside of his nostrils. The smell was foul, but oddly the smell had a feel. The smell felt wrong. It felt perverse and desecrating, a shrill taboo that only could be described as sin. Zaireth continued further down the gully as the odor grew more powerful. His feet began to stumble.
He tripped not once, but twice, then tumbled to the dirt. Zaireth stood back up and pushed the dust and dirt from his cloak. He noticed small patches of water on his cloak. He scraped the fabric hard to shake the wet drops from him. In the poor lit lantern light he noticed the drops were now smears. His eyes narrowed. Water didn’t smear. Zaireth‘s face melted with sober understanding as he turned to see what he had tripped over.
The lantern’s soft orange glow split the night, revealing gaping hunks of pink flesh spewing liquids into shallow puddles of carnage. He gagged and spat a cough as he pulled away. Breathless and sick, Zaireth knelt, taking hesitating breaths, so he wouldn’t puke. A shrill truth began to seep into the crooks of his mind. This stuff he knelt in was once a person. No, not necessarily, he reasoned, it could have been an animal. With every deep ghastly breath he choked down, his fragile reasoning faded. The smell told him everything. This goop was once a person.
Zaireth felt an empty black flutter. It felt cold and depraved. He was not alone. There was something there with him. Something could see him. Something was waiting. Not something hungry or angry, but something twisted. It saw him shiver. It could see the sweat soak his cloths. It felt the trembles in his swampy breaths. It saw every wrinkle of horror and disdain split across his face. It saw, and it liked it.
He glanced at the gore around him A frozen quiver clawed its way up Zaireth‘s spine and then leapt into his chest. He shouldn’t be here, this was no beast. This was a display. It left them here like this. It wanted him to find them. This was on purpose. It needed him to see this. He could see the person struggle in his mind. He felt it pulling, tearing, and ripping at them. It was peeling and unstitching their skin like lose bark. He heard them helplessly sob and scream as it devoured their insides in front of their eyes. He could see it grinning as it chewed them into dull pink bits. But why leave this here for him to find. Why show him this? His stomach churned as the answer set in. He was next.
Zaireth erupted into panicking frenzy. He scrambled and scurried up the steep gully. When he reached the top of the gully he heard it. He heard a desperate heaving wet pant. He turned his head slowly and peered into the bottom of the black gully only to see nothing, there was nothing but a black abyss. Then two glowing eyes opened one after the other. Zaireth‘s heart let out a silent scream of mortal panic as he bolted through trees and brush. A low guttural roar rent the air. A sound so powerful he swore he could feel it on his skin. He ran.
It was close he knew. Heavy branches and trees behind him squealed and cracked as they ruptured into pieces. Zaireth flew on. He moved tightly through small spaces of tree, dirt and stone hoping to slow the beast down. In vain, he heard the animal growl in protest as it blitzed through even the tightest spaces. He had to get to the cemetery his gods watched over it. He would be safe. Raw earthy thumps, pounded louder as the beasts rhythmic pace grew nearer.
Zaireth tore through the path and towards the cemetery gate. As a priest he would be protected, or so he told himself. He knew it was at his heels, but he did not dare look back. The panting told him everything. The girth of warm air behind him told him something terrible was about to happen. Zaireth slid through the stone arch of the cemetery. The animal’s claws dug deep into the earth skidding it to a sudden halt. Mighty jaws lunged for him only to fall short. The air echoed with a loud snap of teeth.
It was then he saw the beast. It was enormous over, 7ft tall. Part wolf and part man, it was a gruesome display of power and twisted magic. Its skin was covered in a burly brown coat of sharp hair. Its legs and arms bulked with savagery. Its eyes beamed bright and wide only dimmed by its slit pupils. Fire burned with in its eyes. Not a fire of anger or passion, but with the primal malice of hell itself.
With a stone shaking scream it roared in protest. Its fangs and claws were stained in a black crimson. It made a second attempt. It lashed out Zaireth. Its slender freakish fingers seized at him. A quick burst of light cut through the dark followed by a searing sizzle. The werewolf howled in agony as it retracted its smoking hand. Zaireth slowly rose to his feet. The monster’s hellish eyes seethed with rage. They moved from its tender wound and locked on to the young priest.
“This is hallowed ground creature. It is protected by Jourum. You cannot prevail.” Zaireth stuttered, still quivering with terror.
The werewolf eyed the arch spitefully. The monster retorted with a deep foggy huff, and then retreated into the night.
His books had been right about werewolves they were indeed creatures of darkness not science. However, werewolves were a kind of beast, and beasts didn’t kill for sport, nor do they indulge in fear or pain. This monster did. Were the books wrong? If not, was this monster something different? Zaireth let out a sigh of relief as his small frame stopped quaking. He knew what had to be done. Would anyone believe him, or cast him out for being mad? Perhaps he was mad. Either way the Duke had to know.