The story continues.
|Erin laid curled up beneath the window, the old man’s coat draped over her body to help keep her warm. Her breathing was weak, her skin pale and cold. The old man knew he had to get her to help, but he knew it wasn’t safe on a night like this. Day break is when he would have to move her, even then he knew it would be dangerous, but it was the only hope if there was any hope at all.
The old man pulled a silver plated tobacco pipe out from a pocket in his pants and put it to his lips. Smoke soon started to wither out from the pipe; the old man peered out the window into the storm, then up at the orange moon. “About five hours till daybreak. Hang in there girl.” He said.
He decided it best he try to get some rest too, he had a long day of travel ahead of him. He slid his pipe back into his pants and took a seat next to Erin. He unlaced his boots and took them off to give his feet a rest. He closed his dreary eyes and drifted off into the world of dreams.
The old man found himself in a room that seemed oddly familiar, but he couldn’t figure out why. He sat at a long narrow table, which looked as if it were meant for a king. All of his favorite foods littered the table. His wine glass looked as if it were made out of pure diamond, and was filled with his favorite drink; the plates and silverware were gold plated and decorated quite peculiarly.
He began stuffing his face diligently; first with the roasted pig, the pig cooked to perfection, the meat chewed like a dream and tasted ten times better than that. He continued to stuff his face with pig, rolls, mashed potatoes covered in gravy, and sweet corn.
It wasn’t until he reached out to grab a drink of wine before he realized there was something aloof with the dream, something was wrong. The hand that grasped the cup wasn’t his, it was much too small and feminine like. When his eyes drifted downward he noticed that he had breasts. He realized this wasn’t his dream, but somehow he had found his way into Erin’s dream, he was experiencing what she was experiencing; yet, he had no control.
Through Erin’s eyes he began to notice more things about in the room that Erin had neglected to see. There were three large black cats resting by the fire place; their heads larger than the biggest melons he’d ever seen. On the opposite end of the table sat a man in a dark cloak, where his eyes were seemed empty.
The old man recognized him immediately, Akkar. “It can't be, there's no way he's strong enough to be here so soon, we need more time!” He knew he would be lurking around but he didn’t think he would be strong enough yet to find them. He over calculated the time they had, he should have moved her hours ago. It was too late now though, Akkar was close.
There was a loud crackling noise and the hallway erupted into flames. The old man’s dream came to a crashing halt and he was ripped back to reality. Fire lined the walls and ceiling; at the other end of the hallway opposite of them stood the cloaked figure, Akkar. He lifted his head and started sniffing the air vigorously; then his head snapped down with his eyes focused solely on the unconscious girl, Erin. The old man hurried to his feet.
“What do you want demon?” The old man shouted.
The cloaked figure said nothing.
“What do you want demon?” He shouted again.
“You know what I want, OLD MAN.”
“You can’t have her. You can try to take her if you’d like, but we both know you aren’t strong enough yet.” Sweat was rolling down the old man’s forehead; he knew he stood little chance against Akkar.
The cloaked figure started to laugh maniacally; “You’re way past your prime, OLD MAN.
When he spoke his voice seemed like it came from everywhere, echoing down the hallways; the walls trembled, the fire roared, windows shattered.
“I said you can’t have her.” The old man shouted.
“You have a choice: you can give her to me and keep your life, or I take them both. It’s your choice old man.”
The old man was trembling on the inside; he knew that he didn’t stand a chance. I’ve waited my whole life for this night, and now the night is here and I’ve screwed up. I’ve doomed us all, I’m sorry Erin. He thought to himself. He was reluctant to speak but finally said, “Then I guess you’ll have to kill me demon.”
Akkar lifted his right hand; the flames that lined the walls started to shift then started to move slowly toward Akkar, picking up more and more speed as it moved. The fire made its way into the palm of Akkar’s hand until none of it was visible. Then in a sudden burst a stream of fire shot from his hand making its way directly for the old man and Erin. The old man acted instinctively, he dropped to one knee, took a deep breath and reached out with his arms. Both palms turned toward the stream of flame making its way toward them. As the flames reached the old man the fire turned to water water, the water still came with great power and it hit him directly in the chest, hard enough to knock him backward into Erin.
The old man stumbled to get up, he had no strength left. Doing what he just did to block the flames took every ounce of energy he had inside of him. He managed to get to one knee but no further, his body buckled and fell; he landed on Erin.
Akkar began to laugh; “This is where you die old man.”
The old man had no strength to move, no strength to save them; on the other end of the hallway fire started to build up all around Akkar, slowly whirling through the air in circular patterns all around him; through his legs, around his neck, and over his head. He flung both arms forward as if directing the flames towards them again. The flames obeyed.
Erin finished off the last of her meal and instinctively glanced forward so that she could ask to be excused, a trait her mom instilled in her at a very young age. Realizing who sat at the other end of the table she screamed in horror. It was the cloaked figure she had met earlier, the one who said his name was Akkar. She started to slowly take in her surroundings. She scanned the room. ‘Not a single window, that’s odd. Every room in our house had a window, even the bathroom.’ She thought. She looked left, and then right, and then behind her. ‘Not even a door? How in the hell did I get in here? Better yet, how in the hell do I get out?’ Her eyes darted to the fireplace; she almost screamed when she realized human skulls littered the inside of it. Sitting in front of the fireplace were three large black cats that frightened her even more than the human skulls; her guess was that they were panthers, like the ones in the stories her mother read to her when she was young girl. They chewed on the remains of something, or someone.
“Don’t pay them any attention young lady, they’ve already had a big meal and won’t be hungry again for another few hours.” Akkar said.
“Sir, I really must be going, I have a friend waiting for me.”
“Going? But the night just began, and I have a lot planned for us.” He said with a smile.
“No, I really should be going. My friend will be worried about me.”
Akkar began to laugh. “If by friend you mean the old man, then I wouldn’t be too worried about him; he’ll be dead shortly, and your death will follow.”
Erin froze in shock; her mind raced. She had to find a way to get out of here, but how? The room was without doors or windows, the fireplace seemed to be the only option and it was guarded by three large cats, not to mention Akkar would surely stop her from leaving. She was trapped. She started to retrace her steps, and then she remembered: ‘The man with the white hair, he came to me then said something about needing to eat, and after that things went fuzzy. Why can’t I remember anything else? Oh shit! Because I blacked out, I must be sleeping!’ She thought. ‘And if I’m sleeping, then I might be able to end this dream, and if I can’t I can at least transfer my energy into a new dream!’ This was something else her mother taught her when she was a child. She taught it to her because she often had nightmares, nightmares about the end of the world. She taught her how to control her dreams to do what she wanted. Erin smiled.
Akkar was taken back by the smile. “Do you want to die girl?”
“Only if you think you can get the job done.” Erin said with a laugh.
“As you wish then girl…”
A stream of flame shot from the fireplace; it slowly built up all around Akkar and then he flung his arms forward directing the flames toward Erin. The flames obeyed.
Erin nonchalantly smiled and winked at Akkar, closed her eyes and spoke the words her mom taught to her: “yawa em ekat.” She never questioned what the words meant, but they always came through for her. This time was no different.
Erin woke to find the old man lying on top of her, he wasn’t unconscious but his strength was so little he could barely manage to keep his eyes open. He noticed that Erin was coming around and softly whispered into her right ear. “Run.” And then he collapsed completely, he was unconscious. Erin peaked down the hallway and saw the flames speeding towards them. Instead of taking the old man’s advice, Erin closed her eyes, wrapped her arms around the old man, and once again spoke, “yawa em ekat.”