A side story that takes place during the story of Slen.
|Reece wiped his brow after setting down his load of firewood. With his father now assigned to the town guard the duties of caring for the family feel to him. At least that’s what his father had told him. Reece spotted his little sister peeking at him from the other side their house, so he puffed out his twelve year old chest and went back to get another load of firewood. His father had also told him to be the example for little Resa, Reece’s eight year old little sister.
The sun was beginning to fall from its high peak when it was covered by dark clouds. Reece took this as a sign of an incoming storm, so he began to prepare for the rain. Resa came to him and begged to let her help him as he was closing the wooden shudders of the house. So he held her up so she could unfasten the latches and swing them closed. Reece made a mental note to come back later and latch them back down properly.
Their mother came outside during this and looked up and the sky. She chided them for taking to long and told Resa to come inside and let Reece finish up outside. She also reminded Reece to check the animals before the storm hit.
Reece nodded and waited for them both to go inside before going back and latching the shudders. He picked up some tools that had been left in the yard and set them up against the house before going out to the shed to check on their few goats and the one horse left, as Reece’s father had ridden the other one into town. The wind had begun to blow from the north, which Reece thought was very unusual and might be a bad omen for the storm. What he found in the shed made him worried, as only one goat was in the barn, and it was hiding in the corner and was shaking as if it had run from a wild animal, yet he could find no marks on it’s body the suggest that. But the other animals were still missing, and it was getting darker by the minute, so he hurried out into their little pasture to find the rest. After several minutes of frantic searching he found a hole in the fence, and it looked like the animals had busted through and ran south towards the town. His heart sang, he loved riding the horse, which he had named Star. He hoped someone would see her and catch her.
As Reece turned to head back toward the house, a gust of wind hit him and knocked him off his feet into the broken fence, causing a piece of wood to slice into the palm his left hand. He screamed in pain and felt the tears fall down his face. He lay there for a few minutes as the wind blew over him, carrying bits of dirt and sticks with it. Reece realized the storm was getting worse and he needed to get to the house, so he stood up and braced against the wind, prepared for it this time. He walked as carefully as he could back to the shelter of the shed and the trees around the house. He rested a moment in the shed and took a closer look at his hand. It was then he heard it, a sound he knew he would never forget, a scream that pierced his ear and made his blood run cold. He took off running for the house, the wind now partially blocked by the trees.
However, before reaching the house, he heard a loud commotion on the road, noises of several horses with riders riding at full speed toward the town. He watched as one rider flashed by and another and another. They had the appearance of soldiers. The fourth horse and rider crashed through the hedgerow and the rider collapsed onto the ground as the horse scrambled back to its feet and took off the the south. Reece ran to the man and another horseman raced by on the road.
When he reached the man on the ground, he recognized the armor and colors of the Herfortson soldier. In a panic he realized the nation to the north must be attacking them, and he began to run toward the house.
“Wait!” Said the man on the ground, and he pulled a dagger from his belt as he struggled to his feet. Reece remained in placed and the soldier stumbled toward him, and knelt in front of him, dagger still in hand. The soldier put an hand on his shoulder,
“Is that your house?” He asked, he sounded hoarse and tired.
Reece meekly replied, “yes”
“Do you have family in there?” He asked.
“Yes”, Reece replied, still scared but with all the courage he could muster up he started to tell the man to not hurt his sister and mother, but he never got the chance. The scream he heard earlier once again split his ears and the soldier jumped to his feet.
“Here!!” The soldier pressed the hilt off the dagger into Reece’s hand, “Take your family and run! Tell everyone to run!” He pushes Reece to the house and Reece saw the door was open and his mother was standing there, and Resa was beside her. Reece took off running towards the house, and he heard the soldier pull his sword behind him.
“Run!!” Reece heard the man yell. Another rider raced pass on the road, this one missing his right arm.
Reece’s mother was carrying Resa and she meet him on the path to the house. Resa was clutching her favorite toy, the doll her father had gotten her, made of wood and cloth, with rocks for eyes and fingers.
His mother grabbed his hand and guided him toward the road.
“No matter keep running toward the town” she said, “find your father”
Now on the road Reece ran as fast as he could, his mother right behind him with Resa. Reece thought maybe he could hear the sounds of wings in the air above him, but he couldn’t see anything in the darkness. But he did hear what sounded like feet, lots of feet, when he also heard a yell from the Herfortson soldier behind them. Reece found he could run faster.
The feet sounded like they were close, and terror truly seized Reece. He heard his mother scream and he looked back. She had fallen, but she pushed Resa toward Reece and yelled to keep running.
Reece saw yellow eyes behind his mother and grabbed Resa as his mother screamed again, pierced by the claws of the creature, it’s long and gangly body was unlike anything Reece has ever seen before. He grasped the dagger in his hand and ran towards his mother, leaving Resa behind. His side exploded in pain, and he looked at his blood on the dirt and rock below him, and the head of the creature that had bitten him, it’s hairless skin covered in dirt and blood, both wet and dry. Reece closed his eyes and slashed with the dagger and the creature let go. Resa screamed behind him and he looked back and saw her doll on the ground, the only remainder of her as a long reptilian creature spit out a shoe.
Reece coughed, and looked down at the claws that went through his chest. “I’m scared” he whispered as he fell over, life fading from his eyes.
Duncord paused on the side of the road, his armor still shining in spite of the damage and blood on it. His men kept marching beside him, onward toward the north. Duncord noticed something at his feet, and bent down to pick up a wooden doll, with rocks for eyes and fingers though several of them were missing. He sighed and put the doll up against a rock, where it could sit and watch the armies go by, the help that came too late for a little girl and her brother.
Duncord straightened back up, it was time for Mankind to take back what had been destroyed. He continued marching with his men, onward to the north, to the Misty Pass, onward to certain death.