by R. M. Guitar
A futuristic fantasy short. It does contain violence.
| The forest is massive and centuries old. Trees that are from the size of your knee to reaching the skies surround my home town. The furthest house from the colony is mine, it was built by our Seer Maggie. Once you reach the little cottage, you are surrounded by trees, herbs and crops that I grow myself in my expanded land.
I head out from my property, which is surrounded by a wooden fence, to the “no man’s land”. This land is what separates us from the other side; the human side.
Replaying of what was written in my journal, the walk starts.
When walking down the stone pathway that is assumed to once be a sidewalk, you will see all varieties of trees. Oaks, pine, willows, ash, etc.. The brush, fallen branches, uproots and all the debris from old, abandoned properties, tangle and wrap together, creating a dangerous path.
If you are not careful, have not been here for long or have no navigation senses, you could get lost or even killed. This is a place that is easy to lure, trap and kill your prey.
It’s about a day’s walk if you know where to go as well as how to get through. You may have to bribe some other forest creatures, so it is best to always have priceless, valuable things or some food. All would be better for each creature is different.
Once you get through all the rubble left, you will come upon a huge gate as tall as the trees themselves. There sits at least three or four guards on duty at all times. If the cards are played right, one could have fun with these soldiers.
There’s one in particular that I am after. He has been known to terrorize, rob and abuse the Travelers. For this, plus the traitorous thoughts of over powering and murdering his Commander, this man- no- this thing must pay for its crimes.
Now, that isn’t to say that I am one who normally plays God of Death, there’s just one ingredient needed from him to cast a very specific spell, otherwise, he’d have much worse coming.
My heart thumps hard against my chest as I approach It.
Presenting myself as an innocent, lost girl, my voice waivers, “e- excuse me, sir?”
It turns to me with a wolfish smile. “Yes?”
“I- I was wondering if you could… help me?”
“My aunt lives near here, but the map is so hard for me to really read. Could you… show me?”
Pulling the map out of my satchel, the thing takes it from me, looking over the markings. “Well, this is quite simple, how about we walk together? The area here can be a little dangerous if you’re unfamiliar with it.”
“O- okay, but uhm, Mom- Mom says that no deed is done without pay, sir. Would you like some sort of food or perhaps a-”
He shakes his head, “no. It’s not necessary.”
We head to the entrance way of the “no man’s land”, making a turn here, a turn there. The closer we get to the big hill, the closer It moves to me, despite every effort to keep a small distance.
Wrong way. I think, annoyed that he isn’t even trying to follow the map anymore.
It leads me to the hill that covers the library, which is known to those who’ve navigated faithfully through here. Other than that, the existence is a secret.
That library is the reason I first broke my wrist.
One of my explorations lead me to this area. The branch that used to be there had tripped me, causing me to go through a giant hole. The library had swallowed me up.
It was here that the maps to the old world from centuries ago were revealed. From here, that I learned that the land we stand on was once America.
“Are you alright?” It speaks after a pause of silence.
“Hm?” I look over, “yes, just a bit confused. If we’re following the map, then this isn’t-”
He pins my wrists, his demeanor changing from the gentleman he was acting to be into the real creep that he is. The monster.
I use my feet to hit his lower regions as Maliah, my mentor, showed me in a defense class. It lets go, stumbling backwards, almost dropping to its knees. Before the thing could retaliate, my hand changes from the slim, proper hand into a deadly weapon.
Nails sharp enough to break through bone develop as my hand swings towards the chest, piercing through his clothes, skin, muscle- feeling the bones cracking- to get to the heart that I rip out.
No time to react, the body just shows shock as it drops to the ground, lifeless.
The hand transforms back to normal. The heart beats its last rhythm as the blood drips down my wrist.
Finally, the last ingredient.
Maliah would kill me if she knew I’ve been wondering back and forth, she’d kill me. It’s worth it, though. All the ingredients are between here and them. The cost isn’t of any expense.
Except, maybe the life that was just taken.
“Food?” Drakion, my familiar, pops his head out of the bag.
“Eat. This jar needs to be taken back to the cottage. Don’t cause any problems while I’m gone.”
He jumps out of the bag, shifting to a larger black cat as I head towards home.
Not long after leaving, there’s a scream. Freezing up, it comes to mind that if someone had followed, had seen what happened, it could put the Colony in jeopardy.
“Wonders of day, wonders of night, let me see through my familiar’s sight.”
A girl stands before him, accusingly. “Who are you?”
“I am a creature of the forest.”
“What have you done?”
“Nothing wrong. I am only trying to eat.”
“You can’t eat him!”
“Why? I only eat the untrue.”
Taking a breath, a wave of relief washes over at the knowledge that he won’t hurt her. She’s an innocent.
The others laugh about it, but none of them really understand the importance of survival. They don’t understand that causing an innocent any sort of harm could cause ill fate to befall our Colony.
At home, my already gathered things await me in a line on the floor. The herbs boil in the cauldron filling the air with an earthy, flowery scent. It’s as if the garden has come into the house.
I place the jar at the end of the line and observe the other containers.
A hornet’s nest, long abandoned; a queen bee ready to lay, frozen in time; a dragon’s nail, cut fresh; and finally, the heart, cut from a tainted soul.
Once the full moon rises, the spell could be cast to plunge the world into a reign of darkness.
Hours pass since Drakion has left. Once more, the spell from earlier falls from my lips.
That girl is protecting the body, “I’m not leaving him! Do what you want, monster, but my brother will come with me!”
“You try my patience,” he flicks his tail, irritated, “it’s only what I was told to do, and it will satisfy my hunger.”
“I’m not leaving him!”
“Go!” He breathes hot air, the stream of smoke protrudes out of his nostrils, aiming towards her.
It misses as she ducks behind some stone wall. “I will not leave until I have my brother!”
Annoyance sweeps over me. “Must I go help?”
“Mistress!” The beast turns into his smaller cat form, jumping on my shoulder as I draw near. “This human won’t let me enjoy my meal!”
“Really now?” Raising an eyebrow, I go to the girl as she tries to drag its body away. “Best to leave it here. You’ll never make it on foot.”
“‘It’? He deserves better than this! Better than to be eaten by some monster who ‘only eats the untrue’!” Those dark eyes that remind me of the blue kyanite stone, stare angrily at us, “what the hell does that even mean? And who are you to say?”
“He means your brother was a traitor in all sorts of ways.” Stroking Drakion’s fur, I study the girl. “As for me, well, you could follow, and you’ll be enlightened.”
She backs away. Her aura is strange as it swirls from one light, sparkling color to the next.
Usually someone would have a main aura that defines the core personality and one outer layer that shows your strongest emotion. Hers, however, is everchanging.
The other weird thing is that she wasn’t following them earlier. So how did this little sprite find this boy as quick as she did?
She drops the body, “You- You’re from the other side, aren’t you?” She backs away more. “W- with those evil beings?”
“Evil beings?” I exchange a look with my beast, “she must mean the Dark Casters.”
“So, you are!”
“What did you do to him?”
“Oh, that thing. Right. I ripped his heart out.”
Just then, Drakion complains, “Still hungry, Mistress!”
He jumps to the ground, turning into a wolf and begins to tear at the flesh.
Her face goes from determined defiance to disgusted fright in seconds. She sprints towards him, the intent to attack clear. Yet, she fails at this, tripping over a branch that popped out of the ground.
Amusement fills my being, “It seems the forest has claimed him now, meaning he’s officially fair game. Now, who exactly are you?”
Suddenly, a flash of light bursts from her hands as her aura shifts from the light shimmer to a dark, grey. The blast blows my familiar from his meal and causes me to stumble back.
There. There it is. The reasoning behind her strange aura.
The power she has is too pure with the ability to destroy. That is what should be used for the spell. It will help in the long run.
Drakion hides behind me, “did you see that? She through a light ball at me!”
Confusion crosses her face.
“I- I don’t.. don’t understand… H- how?”
The beast takes the opportunity to feast once again.
The memory of a book I once read comes to mind. “You may have Caster blood in you. There’s stories of our kind mating with your kind.”
“No. No way. That- that can’t be!”
Drakion stops picking at the body, looking up. The blood drips down from his teeth, reddened from the liquid, staining his fur. He tilts his head, studying her just the same as I.
It would be nice to study her more. “Come back with us, Maliah could teach you a lot.”
She cowers down from us, mumbling under her breath, throwing something at the carcass then running off.
She’ll be back.