Monday, April 9, 2012

Fiction Draft: "Battles"

Note: I had a thought that brooked writing, and then it all essentially tumbled out of me. Here is what transpired.


The mouth of the cave yawned before her, bleak and menacing, as she trudged through the dreary forest. As she topped the final hill, she stopped to survey her surroundings, standing at the edge of the forest; the lands around her seemed as unfamiliar as ever, yet she couldn't bring herself to be surprised by the realization, just as she couldn't bring herself to be surprised by the fact that she was decked in a full suit of silvery armor, brandishing an ornate sword in one hand and a torch in the other. She did not know why she was there, but she knew that there was a reason, a purpose for her existence and location, and her curiosity got the better of her - just as it had for the past few hours - driving her forward so as to uncover the inscrutable mystery.

The woods sighed softly as she left them, moving closer to the cave's entrance. She peered inside, hoping to get a better idea of what lay ahead, but she was greeted with forbidding darkness that stood guard, valiantly preventing daylight from seeping through. Her attention was again brought to the unlit torch she held, still unaware of where she'd obtained it, she wondered if she could find something to light it with.

As if on command, something brushed against the steel toe of her boot. Leaning down to examine it, she realized that it was a matchbox. Without even stopping to ponder how it came to be, she opened the box, removing the sole matchstick it contained, and in a quick flash of light, the torch roared into life; sputtering and crackling, red and hungry, eating away at the darkness within the cave.

Reassured and confident, she soldiered on.

------------------

The sudden onset of darkness as she marched diligently inside the cave made it hard to tell how long it had been since she walked in; it might've been a few minutes or a few hours, but she knew that what she was looking - whatever that may be - lay at the heart of the stone beast she was currently trawling. She couldn't help but marvel at the immensity of the place, wondering if it was simply nature's hand that carved it; the ceilings rose to dizzying heights, while some holes opened up to cavernous wells that seemed to extend down to the Earth's core. The walls at times completely disappeared, giving way to what looked like hallways and courtyards, dead and abandoned.

And yet she could not afford to stop and examine such things, she saw them as she walked by, quickly and quietly, each step bringing her closer to her goal. It was near now, a certain hunter's instinct told her, as her prey seemed to pull her by some invisible string that refused to break or grow slack. Interestingly, she did not feel tired or exhausted, even though she had been walking for what was probably hours, in heavy armor. On the contrary, as she grew closer, she moved faster, her mind sharper and her muscles taut.

"There." She told herself, as she turned a corner and was suddenly greeted by a curious sight; it was the innermost part of the cave, and yet sunlight seemed to be filtering in through a narrow hole in the far-flung ceiling. However, the light did nothing but add an air of mystery, a curious fog hiding everything that wasn't already obscured by darkness. She edged forward carefully, the string that drew her in suddenly gone, trying to pierce the veil of fog and blackness, but to no avail.

"And who might you be?"

She froze in her tracks as a voice suddenly called out ahead of her, its tone cold, cruel and inquisitive, sending shivers down her spine. Before she could even reply, a fierce gust of wind  assailed her,killing the torch and sending her auburn curls flailing wildly. Steadying herself, she tried to pierce the darkness that had eagerly rushed in, no longer held at bay by the torch's dancing flames. Her hand ventured to the hilt of her sword, prepared should anything attempt to strike, but all she was greeted with was more silence, as the wind subsided, her heavy footfalls the only sound.

"That is close enough."

Her limbs froze, no longer obeying her orders, but those of the menacing voice ahead. She could now tell that the source was close, its commanding baritone sending her very molecules into disarray. The fog had slightly lifted, revealing an immense stone throne at the very end of the cave. The figure upon it remained obscured in darkness, only its monstrous hand, resting lazily upon the stone armrest,  revealed in the dim light.

Her prey had finally revealed itself, and now the predator had become the hapless prey.

------------------

She stood there, unable to do anything, as the creature sat upon its throne, gazing at her menacingly. She couldn't even see its eyes, but it could feel them, trained upon her, analyzing her, boring into her soul. She felt  naked, as if her entire being was under scrutiny, her choices judged and disapproved of.

Unable to bear the pressure any longer, she attempted to speak, but the words died at her lips, as the probing eyes looked elsewhere, releasing her from its invisible grip. She stumbled forward, unable to maintain her balance, and fell to her knees in a loud din. She remained there, gathering her strength, trying to piece together her thoughts, as the voice talked again..

"You're Ellie."

She looked up sharply. The voice cackled in undisguised malice.

"You didn't think I'd know you? Come now, I know you better than anyone. Now then, what are you doing here?"

"I'm here to defeat you. To erase you from being, once and for all."


This time, the voice laughed; a cruel, unrelenting laugh that again sent her very being into disarray. She managed to stand up and draw her sword, glinting dimly in the dark cave.

"Oh my, she has a sword. How very, very frightening."

The monstrous hand flicked a clawed finger, and the sword went flying out of Ellie's shaking hand, embedding itself with inimitable force into the stone wall. She looked back in shock, unable to comprehend how she could possibly bring herself to face a beast so powerful.

It also nagged at her that she wasn't completely aware of what was happening; the words had tumbled out of her automatically, without the slightest bit of thought or reasoning. She went along with it, wondering where it will lead.

"You poor girl, do you think you're the first to attempt this? Or the second? Or the third?"

The voice chuckled again.

"People - of all ages, I might add - have been trying to be rid of me for thousands of years now. They all come here, and - with varying degrees of success - realize that it is futile."

Ellie tugged on the sword, trying to focus on the task ahead, ignoring the condescending tone and mocking words of the beast behind her.

"No, really. It is a useless thing, trying to fight or defeat me. I've been around for a while, and I know what I'm talking about."

She closed her eyes, wishing she could close her ears as well. The voice chuckled.

"You don't even know who I am, do you?"

Her hands froze upon the hilt of the sword, having failed to even move it slightly.

"Come now, look at me. I won't bite."

She turned slowly, against her own will, towards the throne. The seated figure remained wreathed in fog, but now she could discern a bit more of it...him, it seemed. A gigantic figure, bedecked in armor, dwarfing her in size and power. She wondered how she even thought it possible to face him, and why she'd even wanted to fight him in the first place. She didn't even know who that man was.

"Well? Any ideas? It shouldn't be so hard to recognize me."

She peered at him curiously, wracking her brain, but it resolutely refused to offer an answer.

"Interesting. This must be more deeply rooted than I initially thought, but...no worries, it happens. Let me help you."

The figure raised a hand, and Ellie completely froze, this time of her own accord, as she anticipated a vicious blow. However, the man simply snapped his fingers. In an instant, all the fog about him dissipated, the light above exploding in brightness and intensity. Everything was thrown into sharp relief; as the shadows retreated into crevices and cracks in the wall. Ellie's armor glinted brightly in the light, almost blinding her, but she completely disregarded the searing pain.

In fact, she'd lost awareness of everything about her, as she looked at the man's face in sheer horror. He looked at her, eyes sharply glinting in the light, his lips twisted in a knowing smile.

"Recognize me now, sweetheart?"

And without waiting for an answer, he tossed her head back in a resounding laugh that seemed to shake the whole cave about her. Ellie felt as if she was shrinking before the already monstrous figure before her. She kept getting smaller and smaller, the world around her spinning madly out of control, shadows emerging from their hiding places and assaulting her vision, a monstrous darkness suddenly overtook her, obscuring everything.

Ellie screamed.

------------------

...

"Ellie? Ellie! Ellie!"

A voice called incessantly at her, but she was still wreathed in darkness, and she couldn't move. Something restrained her.

"Ellie! Are you okay, sweetheart?"

The words and the voice brought her out of her dark reverie, she opened her eyes suddenly..

..and looked directly into the eyes of the beast.

She shrieked and tried to back away from him, but couldn't. Why?

"Ellie, what's wrong? It's me, sweetheart! Daddy's here. Don't be afraid."

Her eyes went back to him, and she froze as everything suddenly made sense. She looked down, and realized that she was in her own bed, the sheets and her own nightgown tangled beyond recognition. Her legs were stuck in the tangled mess, no doubt from all the thrashing about.

Ellie turned her eyes again to the man before her. It was her father, no doubt about that. Why was she so scared of him? She couldn't remember. There was something about a beast...and, someone laughing. It was fading into the comfortable obscurity of dreams.

She threw her arms around him, and started sobbing uncontrollably. His own immediately wrapped around her, patting her back reassuringly.

"Sweetheart? Did you have a bad dream?"

Still sobbing, Ellie gave the faintest of nods. He hugged her tightly, his expression remaining one of sympathy and worry...





...and perhaps, a very faint smile.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting! I want to know what happens next! :D

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    Replies
    1. I'm not entirely sure if there's going to be a continuation to this! :)

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