A tall, dark-haired man watched those two troublemakers who were on his land again as they were leaving. He got a strange feeling from them as if he knew one of them. The short-haired one seemed to be familiar. And then he heard the name Stiles. At that moment he recalled everything. Of course he knew him. It was Stiles, the boy without a mom. Derek closed his eyes for a moment to be able to recall that night.
He had been ten when he had been wandering in a forest at night because Laura had teased him and hadn't wanted to let him be. So he changed into a wolf and ran away for couple hours. He knew his parents wouldn't look for him; they weren't worried about him. They had never been. Derek wasn't an ordinary boy; he was a young wolf, who could have taken care of himself more than anyone else.
Suddenly he saw the night right in front of him again.
He had just been running not far from the road, when he had heard something. He stopped and sniffed. He was sure there was someone else with him a human, probably a child. He was a little curious and so he decided to follow the smell. At first he was afraid but as soon as he noticed the tiny body dressed in a washed-out jeans and red sweatshirt, he felt relieved. He watched the person from behind the bush where he was completely safe. The boy definitely couldn't see him. Derek didn't want to be seen, his parent had taught him not to show himself in his animal form. He looked like a young wolf but he knew that even he, just like the rest of his family, wouldn't look like a wolf for much longer and would be more like a hybrid, who he actually was.
He heard a quiet sob which made him sharpen his senses. He gazed at the boy's face which was flooded by tears and suddenly felt a wave of sadness. He knew it wasn't his sadness; it was the boy's in red sweatshirt. Laura had always said he's something like a wolf empath.
He was thinking what to do for a while, whether to stay in safety of his cover or show himself. The decision didn't take much time and he was slowly getting closer to the scared kid who put a scared face on when he noticed him. He would have liked to slap himself now if he could have, he hadn't thought about the possibility of frightening the kid at all. He quickly bended his head down to show him that he didn't want to hurt him. Nothing happened for a while but in the end, the boy who could have been hardly six held out his hand and sadly smiled.
Are you alone, too, dog?" he asked with his childish, quiet voice. Derek usually hated when someone called him dog, it was an insult, but he was aware that the boy didn't mean it in a bad way and was too small to recognize a dog from a wolf. He decided to let the name be and reached the kid.
My name is Stiles, what's your name?" the boy in red continued. Derek wanted to tell him his name, but he couldn't, he couldn't change himself, he simply mustn't and that's why he only quietly growled and lay on the boy's feet, He was sure he was cold.
"It's a pity you can't talk," small Stiles spoke again. "It would be so funny. But even though you can't talk and probably don't understand, I can talk to you, can't I?" he asked. Derek, to show agreement, nudged him with his muzzle which made the boy smile a bit. "Dad is probably looking for me and I'm just making him worry," Stiles quietly whispered. "And he has so much work, with mom's funeral " As soon as Stiles finished his sentence, he heard a quiet whine which was strange and so he scratched the dog lying on his feet behind the ears. "But I'm lost," he continued. "I went too far in the forest. I don't know which way to go back " There was hopelessness in his voice, he was starting to panic and Derek noticed. He stood up on his four paws and pulled the boy's sleeve to let him know he would guide him home.
Derek opened his eyes again. He almost forgot the night. That was the night he had met Stiles' father, who had been looking for his boy almost crazy from fear in the forest and his first reflex, when he saw the small boy in a wolf's company, was to aim the gun at the animal. But the boy in a red sweatshirt had stood in front of him as he was about to protect him with his own body. He smiled weakly at that memory and turned to the direction where both young men were leaving. It's a pity you don't know who I am, Stiles, he thought and sign of pain appeared on his face. At that time, you were something like my friend. The only one I had beside my family. And now you're gone, just like them
She wasn't sure when she first realized this. When the bitter thought had slipped itself into the back of her head as a carefully guided needle to helpless little balloon. It may have been when she was old enough to wobble unsteadily on her own bare feet. Back then, her and her mother had been on some remote planetshe couldn't even remember why or the name of itonly that her mother worked hard. Worked honestly. There were other twi'leks with them and she played often in warm sun and the fresh tilled earth worked by her mother and many others. There was planting. There was singing. There was laughter. Half-formed memories of childhood they were; things that during her darkest hours she would reach out with her minds eye and cradle them to her for comfort.
In the beginning, her mother smiled and laughed too. She could almost remember the way her mothers eyes would crinkle when she did. She remembered her mothers stories of her home planetRyloth her mother would say with a sigh and a sad smile that bespoke of missing pieces. For hours she would toil in planting, hands dirty and smelling of new growing things: she'd weave stories about the Bright Lands and about the crystals that grew where no light touched. But one day a man came. He darkened the doorstep to their simple home, a long, lean shadow across the floor that looked more like a clawed hand reaching to devour than anything else. Something about that idea....or vision stuck with her more than the warm laughter of that forgotten planet. Something about that devouring hand haunted her nightmares more than anything. And the man who belonged to that hand, Javoran Davis, haunted longer still.
He'd been a tall man back then with thick, long, prestigious lekku marked sharply with pride. His skin was a beautiful rust-orange and his eyes were almost exotically tilted. They were the deepest unsettling ruby color--and they skipped over Jahnya as if she did not exist and settled on her mother. He'd smiled back then. Lips that were too plump on his face at ease stretched into a grin that never met his eyes and always looked as if two hooks had forced it upward. Something she could not explain back thenan instinct as strong as a hand in her bellyinstilled immediate distrust and fear. Wordlessly, she'd cried out and her mother's head turned to her child. She then saw the man
It was difficult to explain these feelings as a youngling. When the world was big and unending and the only words you had were sacred things like mother, love and home.
When Javoran came, the stories stopped. When Javoran came, everything changed.
Her mother stopped smiling. It was not immediate at first, but as the days passed and the man spent more time in their homeJahnya's mother began to change. Her eyes turned from her daughter and the fields, from the hard work and the soil. Her eyes turned glassy sometimes when Javoran would stay. And sometimes they would turn hard and cold and to the stars above as the man filled her head with talk of the universe; riches untold and the fame that just waited for Jahnya's mother out there. Like a quivering lover holding its breath.
Like a lie wrapped in sweetest promise. Everyone had their price.
For Jahnya's mother, it was love. But the price would someday become too steep.
My current background story featuring my pink (YES PINK) Twi'lek, Jahnya, based in the lore and game Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The above screen shot is from the Bioware game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. The NDA has been lifted, and screen shots may now be posted, and while I make no claims of ownership obviously of the screen shot--permission to use it via the NDA lift has been granted.
If you find spelling mistakes, grammar issues or have suggestions please do not hesitate to ask. This close to Christmas my D.A. paid subscription has run out so I don't have one--that's why I can't "officially" ask for them--doesn't mean I don't want them still!
A song about the courtship and mating rituals of orb weaver spiders. The verses (the middle part) are from an acrostic poem I wrote for a friend (Nathanael Eagle) a long time ago (can you see his name spelled out?).
Yes, I know that arachnids comprise many cool critters (like scorpions!), not just spiders, but "arachnid love" sounds cooler than "spider love".
Sorry, I didn't make a recording of this yet. When I make one, I will post it so you can hear the song.
See more of my songs in my featured gallery: [link]
A new song I started composing on the road yesterday. I'm working on more verses. I didn't have Sarah/Jareth in mind when I first came up with this song, but I later realized it kind of fits their relationship...
Hear the song here, set to a Jareth/Sarah Labyrinth slideshow: [link]
Note: The last bridge is not in the recording because I just added it.
(Verse 1) I watch you dance from afar with people watching, people laughing Why do I keep thinking about you when I don't even know who you are?
(Bridge 1) Ablaze from a vision so enchanting I can't sleep---your feet tiptoe through all of my nightmares All night I torture myself with sweet impossibilities 'til I'm too weak to fight for the truth
(Chorus) Is it a crime? Fascination with someone you've only seen twice? Infatuation with someone you've only seen three times? Is it a crime that I want to press your lips to mine?
(Verse 2) You waste your beauty on the weak, on the common, the unworthy If you could see what I could give you I hope that you would change your mind
(Bridge 2) I'd sacrifice it all to have you Throw my life away to start one with you We'd both be free from this hell if you would just come willingly and succumb to the unholy truth
(Verse 3) Why do I wake whispering your name? I'll never know you, never hold you Yet I have failed to put out the flames that burn and burn for you
(Bridge 3) Another day, another lifetime... Our hearts would meld together like they were made to There's an inferno in my mind that's come so close to killing me with the poison that lies in the truth
A song about twisted, obsessive, delusional infatuation...
I started writing this song years ago (when I was about 14). Originally, it was just about a crush that I had on a male librarian (don't ask).
When I started this DA account, I came across this old song and wanted to change it. So I decided to draw heavily upon a relationship in one of my favorite novels, Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo. I wanted to capture in a song the obsession that Claude Frollo has for Esmeralda.
'Arthur.. please be okay..' You thought with a tear running down your left cheek, leaning against the wall outside of the ICU. You clutched your arms around you, tightly closing your eyes, trying to control yourself from crying.
"11:23 P.M." You overheard the doctor and you clearly knew what it meant.
"Arthur!" You yelled barging in the room and already breaking into tears.
"I'm afraid to tell you that he had j-" The straight forward doctor stopped and hurriedly help you as you collapsed on the hospital floor. In a second, you were surrounded by nurses.
"Give her air!"
"Move out of the way! She needs air!"
You hear their voices fading away as you felt the darkness swallow you.
You woke up gasping and lying on your bed. Your head started to ache as you sat up and looked around. Everything seems to be in order. 'Was that.. a dream?'
Arthur peeked into your room and saw that you were already awake. "Oh! Glad you're awake, love! I just finished making breakfast."
You jumped off the bed immediately and leaned on his chest. He backed up a bit, but gained balance and wrapped his strong arms around you. A little confused, he held your head with his right hand and the other rubbed your back. "Is something the matter, love?" He asked with a worried tone.
You looked at him with eyes full of tears saying. "I-I.. thought you.. died.."
He wiped your warm tears away saying, "I'm here, aren't I?"
You smiled. "Y-yeah.. it was all a-"
"Nightmare." Arthur unexpectedly finished your sentence. You wondered why but you shrugged the thought. It was kinda creepy of him to do that though.
"Come, let's eat." He said holding your hand. He opened a chair, offering you to sit on it. You giggled and sat as he pushed it a little forward.
"I made waffles." He said serving you waffles. The scent was alluring. He then asks, "Do you want butter with that?"
"It's okay, I'm fine without it." You replied taking your bread knife and fork.
He smiled and sat the opposite side. You sliced a piece and took a bite of it. it surprisingly tasted wonderful. You swallowed and commented, "Wow Art, they taste really good."
A big grin was painted on the Brit's face. "I'm happy you like it."
While eating, you remembered your dream. You stared blankly at his emerald eyes. The dream felt so real. You could feel your heart ache just thinking of it.
"Oh!" You snapped out of your little trance. "I'm sorry."
"You seem bothered." He gave you again a worried look.
"It's just.. the dream felt so real. You died of leukemia at 11:23 P.M," you explained, clenching your fists.
"Remember I was completely cured a month ago. I'm alright now. Are you feeling okay, love?"
Your heart skipped a beat. 'Arthur was cured.. a month ago? I.. can't remember!' "Yeah..." You lied. "That dream must've taken the best of me. I should forget about it."
"Better forget about it." Arthur smiled. "We're going to get married and I will die growing old with you."
Arthur buttoned his shirt informing you, "I need to go home, love. If that's okay with you. My friends might be worried about me." He put on his shoes. "Just give me a call if you aren't feeling right, okay?"
You nodded. "Okay. Please take care," you said gripping his shirt.
He gently held your chin and gave you a little peck on your soft lips. "I will." You slowly let go of him and he got in his car. You waved as he started the engine. He winked then drove off.
Closing the door behind you, you slid your back against it. You closed your (e/c) eyes and sighed. 'I-I should be happy! Arthur is still alive!' 'Did I lose my memory? No, I remember..'
'He had fever and bruises around his body. So, I took him to the doctor and found out he had leukemia. And then.. what was it? Oh! I had him admitted even if he insisted me not to. He needed the treatment! He was in the hospital for about a month or so.. he wasn't getting any better. One night.. yes, that night.. he was coughing a lot of blood and looked paler than ever. His nose started bleeding. I panicked and called the nurse; they had him transferred to the ICU and then-'
You opened your eyes, startled. Leaning against the door with your head, you asked, "Who is it?"
"Alfred." _____ and Arthur's best friend.
You stood up fixing yourself and opened the door. He looked sad and worried at first but then he grinned. "Are you alright now, ____?" He asked.
"I'm alright.. now. Why are you asking?" You answered, letting him in your house and closing the door.
"Good! You're finally okay!" He said enthusiastically while sitting on your couch comfortably.
Confused, you asked him, "Wh-What are you talking about?"
"Huh?" Alfred began to be confused too. "For the past 2 weeks you were depressed about.. you know.. Arthur's *cough* death. I visit you everyday ever since."
"Arthur.. is dead? But he was here moments ago. Is this a dream again?", you whispered to yourself wondering.
"The past 2 weeks, you would always cry yourself to sleep whenever I come over," Alfred added.
Suddenly memories came rushing into your head and you remembered.. you did! "I-I did..?" But somehow, you doubted.
"Leukemia, remember? You were the one who told us the tragic news. So we rushed over the hospi-"
"He's alive!" You sputtered. "He was here awhile ago!"
"You sure that ain't one of your dreams you cry to sleep with?" Alfred raised an eyebrow.
"No! I woke up! I really did wake up. He made waffles for breakfast and somehow they tasted great, for some reason."
"It must be a dream. Arthur? Actually good at cooking?!" He said trying to hold in his laughter.
"I know it sounds weird but it's true!", you yelled.
Alfred was startled.
"I'm.. sorry Alfred.." You apologized and sat down to relax. "After we ate breakfast he went home. A few minutes later, you visited."
"_____.." He called you nervously.
"Check the time.", he ordered you strangely.
You looked at your wall clock dropping your jaw. 3:30 P.M
"I-it must be broken." You denied the fact that time flew that fast. Weird...
"Not playing around or anything." Alfred showed you his watched. It had the same time if you rounded it off a few minutes.
"How?! It was 9 A.M when Arthur left.", you claimed. You remembered that you haven't washed the dishes from this morning and rushed to the kitchen.
"_____!" Alfred followed you. He then sees you kneeling, facing the floor.
'The dishes and everything.. all clean... how could this be?!' Tears began falling on the kitchen floor. You were sure that Arthur was here and you both ate breakfast. You even still had the slight taste of waffles in your mouth! And well, you were also perfectly 'sane'.
The GA crew gets locked down inside a former Insane Asylum inhabited by restless spirits and malevolent entities. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Before the Lockdown
As the Ghost Adventures Crew's official Junior Paranormal Investigator, I decided to perform my own investigations in my hometown. Finding all sorts of evidence from apparitions, EVPs and trigger objects moving on their own. I sent my evidence to the crew, hoping to hear from them again. Months passed and I received an invitation from Zak, Nick and Aaron asking me to accompany them on their next lockdown. The Travel Channel sent me Jetblue airline tickets to their location outside New York. So once again, I was off onto my own Ghost Adventures. ------
*Author notes available at the beginning of chapter one*
Note from the translator: This is not a word for word translation. So there will be words missing, or words added when comparing the original. I tried my best not to change the contents. BUT, sometimes I just had to. The thing is that Kyoux plays a lot with form and tense, and that made it that much more difficult to translate. I wanted to leave as much as possible as it was in the original so that the atmosphere and her writing style were reflected. And that might get English people confused sometimes, as it probably would be written differently if the correct English were used. Of course you'll find mistakes in the text, so please, instead of mocking my language skills, just sit back and enjoy a beautiful love story. I decided to try and translate it because I adore their story so much that it would be a pity for others not to be able to read it. Especially since the artwork that goes with it is so beautiful. This piece took 4.5 hours to translate, so if you don't like the way it's done, please pay me some respect for the hours I've put into this and don't read. But, I really hope you'll like it as much as I do.
Note from the editor: Thanks goes to the hard work of the ever talented Anna, whose painstakingly translation from Polish to English is making it so all English speaking fans can enjoy this truly beautiful piece. I am simply doing some formatting and tweaking (English and all it’s damn rules!), so it is even easier to immerse oneself in the story. I tend to either work in snippets, or lose myself, and all concept of time, completely in the words. I converse a lot with Kyoux during the process, so I really have no idea how much time I spend. That’s okay though. I volunteer to do this for love of the story. However, I would like to point out that it’s a conscious decision by the author to mix past and present tense, and to use spacing for emphasis. These things are stylistic choices, not errors, so please don’t leave comments about them. Focus instead on the lovely story Kyoux is weaving. ____________________________________________________________________________
05. The Redhead
It happened a good couple of weeks before Marcin told me the revelation. After the whole talk... which he would probably tell you about soon enough. It was early morning, the day after the Christmas party, at the good ol' Muffin Café*.
I woke up early. It was dark outside, but at that time of year, it wasn't unusual. I woke with start when I thought I overslept for Uni, because it wasn't the alarm clock that woke me up. Looking around the room, I realized that it wasn’t mine, and that next to me I had someone who I hadn’t had the pleasure of having so near for a long time, and that I was still holding him tightly.
I cuddled even closer to his back, resting my forehead against the back of his head. I closed my eyes. And I actually was happy that he was next to me, that things were working out. Although... I wondered many times how peeved Josh** must be. Because I think he was... I wasn't sure. Back then, I didn't know how much animosity Marcin held toward me. He hid it well with other emotions, using his well tried methods that he rehearsed for years. I should get some recognition award for hurting people that meant so much to me. Consciously and subconsciously. I heard a few times that I was an 'honourable man', a 'good boy'. In truth, I should have a sticker on my forehead that read: 'A total dickhead. Beware'.
I was thinking about how I would react if someone played dirty on me, just like I played Josh. And supposedly I had a goal in that, some vision. A stupid plan. Now it just seemed to be pathetic. I sure as hell knew that I would not be able to be that calm. For that, I admired him... although I didn’t understand that.
The relationship with Josh was my first, and only. I didn't do relationships before that. Because, why bind yourself to someone, do the feelings and loyalty game, when you had everything you wished for? Youth, energy, and easy money made from the pleasure of hacking. Drugs, sex and admiration from my circles. I had an easy life back then. Even if some scraps of morality tried to get to me, you just had to grab the relevant stimulant, and I could keep on pushing forward without looking back.
But maybe Nemesis or that 'Karma' or however it was called, was in fact punishing us for what we did wrong. And when we were too satisfied, we had to give something away, something that was precious to us. If that was the case, then karma took Rav*** from me. Forever. Without any hope for a return. Death took on a different meaning back then. It became palpable. Ruthless and indifferent to my pleading. In one second it took away youth and joviality. I thought that after what happened, and how much it hurt me, that I learned something, that I knew how to change. How to be a good man. To have a normal and peaceful life. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
Sometimes I felt like I was dragging some sort of shadow behind me, which didn’t allow me to be happy with what I had. Whispering in my ear, reminding me what I had and how good it was - back then. Because in reality, that was my world. And despite me living on the edge, that dangerous line was where I had my space. A place where I felt fulfilled.
I felt lost for the first six months after Rav's death. As If I was drug away without any word, without any forewarning, forced to an alternative reality. I felt as if I was in detox. In some horrible, bad dream, that didn't want to end. But that's when I found out that a friend in need is a friend indeed, and what family really meant. Without them, I probably wouldn't have left my room for quite some time. If at all.
My shell was cracking for a long time. The Muffin's Café helped me open myself, helped me smile again, and find the carefree side of myself. But was it the real me? And not a mask, which I put on to fit in? I thought that I still couldn’t find my place. Find that sense, my place in reality, without hacking and Rav. I let myself be carried by life's currents, pretending not to see some of the things that were happening to make it easier on myself. To make my life effortless. Easy. The paradox in all that was that it actually was me who complicated things. Because in truth, I couldn’t live an uncomplicated life. I needed the excitement in life, to make me aware that, in fact, I could still feel something. Without it, I felt empty.
Not that long ago, I realized as well that I never said 'I love you' out loud. And yes, it scared me a bit. I didn't manage to tell Marcin that he was my first crush. I didn't manage to tell Rav that he was my soulmate. That he was the one who understood me best. I didn't tell Josh either... although there was this one moment that I had so many feelings inside to turn them into those three little words.
And now? I feel one, big
I cuddled up even closer to Josh. Inhaling his scent. I wanted to remind myself of everything that I felt toward him not just a few months ago. How I was absorbing every nice thing he said. How I was happy that he wanted to spend time with me. A little bit like a dog that was happy that he got the owner’s attention. I smiled ironically. I probably should have said it in a nicer way. But. Maybe I turned bitter.
I was lying like that for a moment longer, knowing that I wouldn’t fall asleep anymore. I had to go to Uni that day. That thought somehow escaped my memory after meeting Josh at the Muffin's and leaving with him. The thought was easily lost to me.
I got up from the bed. Went to the bathroom to put myself together, came back to get my shark hoodie, which my man gave me yesterday, he was still sleeping by the way. I smiled, looking at the shark print. I liked sharks a lot and only he knew that. I looked at him. I didn't want to wake him.
I only had an hour left not to be late to school. I should go, although I would prefer to stay. Or was that what I was supposed to feel?
"Who did I see?" And I saw him, a little more dishevelled than usual. His blonde mohawk wasn't as perfect, nope, not today. I thought that he probably banged Nathan till late at night, and then he couldn't drag himself from the bed, and that I probably would hear about all that in a minute. "I'm going to class." I tried to get past him, but he grabbed ahold of my tie, keeping me in place successfully. Yes, I had a suit on. Something worth noting. I didn’t like the smart, stiff clothes. But yesterday was the Christmas Party, and so I convinced myself. The Blonde and I, we actually had a nice entrée. But he and Nathan went back to our place, so he could change. I decided that a shark hoodie didn’t look good with dress slacks, so I went for the 'stiff' attire instead. "And shouldn't you be in the class over there?" He pointed with his finger in the direction opposite to the one I was going to. 'What an excellent memory', I thought. "I can walk with you, since my class is not far from yours," he added with a slow smile and a hooded look. He had bags under his eyes, and I didn’t know why, but it irritated me a bit. A few people were looking at us already. Not that we weren't a curious sight in our ensembles. The Blonde was standing really close to me, still holding my tie in his palm. "I should. Let go," I said, looking down at him. "You look good." He moved even closer toward my face, looking straight into my eyes. I moved my head back on a reflex, rolling my eyes in annoyance. I pulled my tie out of his hand, turned away from him and was walking when the Blonde joined me. To my big surprise, he was still quiet about his night spent with Nathan. "How was it at Josh's?" "Good," was my reply. If he thought I would ask him the same, he was wrong. "I fed your rabbit." Uh-oh. He's leading up to something. "And I fed Firka too... she was surprised that you weren’t there. And I'm taking Nathan home for Christmas." Yeah... right. Hadn’t I mention that it would be nice for Josh to come with me to see my family? "Great. Are you going to tell your parents that he's your man?" I lifted one brow, interested in his reply. Marcin was still hiding from his parents. They lived far away, so wasn’t like he had to admit to anything. Although... he was twenty-two years old now, so he could finally stop telling fairy tales about his girlfriends. "No, I'm introducing him as a colleague of mine. And don't laugh at me. It's not as easy as you think. My family is so totally different from yours." He looked at me with something between 'I'm almost angry' and 'almost offended', but with a troublemaker vibe to it. He never changed a bit. I read him like an open book. But I didn’t think he was aware of it... and I thought that it would be better for it to stay like that. "OK, I'll stop, oh look, it even made me sad." I pointed to my lips, pulling them down. He looked at me with a murderous stare, which amused me even more. "I'm going to class," he said. After those words I knew he felt more offended than 'almost angry'. But instead of leavening, he stood there in his usual pose; his feet wide apart and hands in his pockets. "Then go." I stopped with a little smile on my face. "I'm going," he said, still standing in place. Then he added, "What time do you finish?" I'm sure he knew that, but he probably wanted a confirmation. "At four." "Then we'll be walking back together." "OK." I watched him leave with that half smile glued to his face. Because he hadn’t changed that much since those good times. Times that were so far away from hacking and that different lifestyle. And it pleased me greatly. Because it means he was still honest and uncomplicated. He reminded me of all the good things. Carefree, simple. And that gave me hope. Because in that world, that we were discovering together, I knew how to find myself.
I had my place in it.
________________________________________ *Muffin’s Café - this's RPG group, for which Nivan had been created. There, he met Josh, Nathan, etc., which are not my OC's. They belong to my friends. **Josh - Niv's current boyfriend [OC that belongs to Fukari] ***Rav - Niv's boyfriend when he was a hacker.
Chapter 1 Glas Clann Tribe, Ancient Oak Forest Offaly County, Ireland approx. 5000 BC 5:00AM
Nothing could have woken the village faster than the high pitched scream that Saorla, a respected mother of the Glas Clann tribe, let out that morning. It rang throughout the village, leaving a haunted echo that seemed to rummage through each hut to wake the inhabitants. "Goodness!" Started Aonghas, who bolted upright from his pillow in alarm "what is it this time?"
Early morning light poured in through the entrance flap of his hut. As he sat, blinking through the hazy darkness, a cool breeze rustled its way in and filled the room, making Aonghas shiver under his blanket. He had never really been much of a morning person, even though morning always seemed to enjoy bursting into his hut each day to greet him.
Sleep still clung to his eyes as he struggled out of his cot. Grabbing his clothes from the rack next to the fire pit, he crossed the hut to the water basin. He gave it a quick glance while he climbed into his outfit. His scruffy brown hair hung around his shoulders in a mess, showing the results of a rough night's sleep. According to the village Shaman, the full moon was just upon them and he'd been having trouble sleeping in anticipation of the coming Ritual, a ceremony that the village had been planning for some time now.
He rushed outside, nearly colliding with his friend Fearghus, who had been waiting for him. "What's going on? Tell me it's not another-" "It is." Fearghus said, his voice was low and grave. "It happened sometime last night, or so I'm told."
Fearghus was older than Aonghas, and his long grey braided hair showed the distance in years between the two. However, despite the age gap, both were equally respected in the village. Together, they each shared the duty of high elder and religious leader, while under the spiritual command of the Village Shaman of course. For the past few months, the Glas Clann tribe had been under siege by an unseen predator. No one in the village could explain just what it was that was attacking them, only that they would occasionally awaken in the early morning hours to the screams of a terrified mother, each one similar to Saorla's.
Aonghas looked across to the crowd that was beginning to grow outside of Saorla's hut. From inside, he could see that there was some sort of commotion, and as he and Fearghus approached, they saw that it was Saorla with her husband. She struggled in his arms as he pulled her from the hut, even as she held her hands out to go back inside. "NO! NO! Not my love, not MY BABY!!! Please!" Her voice was strained and tears streamed down her face. "Let me go! He NEEDS me!"
"There's nothing we can do, Saorla" Her husband coaxed, trying to calm her down. But even as he spoke, the pain was apparent in his own voice. There was a trembling undertone which threatened to bring out the tears that he was holding back.
Aonghas and Fearghus watched as the two were led away by other villagers. Finally, with enough distance between herself and the hut, Saorla gave up the fight and began to sob into her cupped hands. The two of them hugged each other tightly, trembling and crying in each others' arms.
"Are you ready?" Fearghus asked after a moment.
"Yes" Aonghas replied, although deep down he was never really ready for what he knew they would find when they entered that hut.
Stepping inside, they noted that the interior was extremely dark, despite the soft light of the rising sun that grew from outside. In the corners, the shadows were thickest and seemed more like black rags that draped themselves across the walls and floor in chunks. In the farthest corner, the darkest area of the hut, was the crime scene.
The baby's crib was toppled over on its side. Its contents had spilled out onto the floor in a mess of blankets and pillows. Towards the bottom end of the crib was the tallest pile of blankets, which Aonghas knew wasn't really blankets, and from under the bottom of the pile was a small arm that stuck out, it's skin pale as snow. Aonghas' breath caught in his throat, and he raised his hand to his mouth. Fearghus looked on in silence, his face long and heavily shadowed. The two seemed frozen in place, overwhelmed by what they were seeing. As many times now as this has happened, the horror of it never ceased to hit them hard and without warning.
"How can we stop this .." Aonghas whispered "How is this happening?"
Finally breaking loose from the trauma of the scene, Fearghus walked over to the crib. He gently covered the arm with the blanket, and proceeded to neatly wrap the body up. Carrying the small bundle to the entrance, he stopped before exiting. "I don't know, Aonghas." He said, still looking down at the bundle, "We need to perform the ritual. That's our only hope." "How? The Shaman said the full moon is almost upon us, but when is that? What if that's not soon enough?" Aonghas looked earnestly at Fearghus.
"Tonight" Fearghus said, looking back up at Aonghas. "Gather the other druids, and meet me at the rock circle. We need to do this now, we cannot wait any longer."
"The Shaman will not agree to this, it is not Full Moon yet." Aonghas argued
"The Shaman will be there." Fearghus said, leaving the tent. He handed the bundle to Saorla's older family members. They received it mournfully, and as the two of them left, they could hear the family's cries and wails rising into the morning air.
"Leave the Shaman to me. You just worry about gathering the others. Lead them to the summoning grounds and I will meet you there at sundown." Fearghus pulled the hood of his cloak up over his head and headed off towards his hut.
Aonghas watched him go. There seemed to be a million different thoughts running through his head at once as he strode back towards his home, and not one of them seemed to make any sense. Looking through the trees, he could see the sun peaking over the edge of the horizon, sending long blades of light that cut through the forest like knives, each one decorated with webs of mist. The birds began to twitter their hellos as the nocturnal world disappeared in the fading shadows. He loved his village, a quaint little grouping of huts and families, and he loved the forest just as much. But he often wondered why Mother Nature would ravage the village so ruthlessly with this new, demonic force? Unless this beast was not of natural origin perhaps it was something else? Something from a world beyond this one?
Finally coming up to his hut, he ducked down under the entrance flap and disappeared inside. Throwing his cloak and shirt back on the clothing rack, he scooped water out of the basin and ran it through his hair with his hands. Once he felt refreshed, he dried his face, hair, and shoulders with a nearby rag. Looking back down into the basin, he noted his reflection looking back at him. His expression was still troubled, after what happened, and at 45 years old, he could really see his age in the lines that had carved themselves around his eyes, mouth, and forehead.
He pulled his hair back, which he normally kept at about shoulder-length, into a bushy ponytail and pulled his shirt back on. He put his cloak on too, and headed back outside.
The village still buzzed from the tragedy of the morning, although the crowd had dispersed to give the family room to breathe and cope with their loss.
"Guess I should start looking for the others." He thought. "Bornus might the best one to start with."
Bornus, although he was the youngest of the druids, was the most enthusiastic of the group. Among all the other druids, he was the only one who insisted on keeping his hair cut completely off to reveal his bald scalp. Instead, he would paint a black and white constellation on the top of his head and on parts of his face. He strongly believed that if the stars could look down upon him, he could fool them into thinking it was their reflection they were seeing in the paint and would change their patterns for a better future.
Although the others knew that this was nonsense, he insisted on keeping with his strange practices. After much protest and bickering, Fearghus finally convinced the others to leave him be, and let him paint his head. He still receives some tease here and there, but he continues his paintings each and every time they gathered for religious ceremonies.
At first, Aonghas could see no sign of Bornus in or around his hut. He walked around to the back of the hut and was not surprised to see Bornus seated with a knife in his hand, running it flat-bladed across the top of his shiny head to shave the microscopic hairs from its surface.
"Ah! There you are!" Aonghas said, walking up behind Bornus
Bornus spun around wide-eyed nearly dropping his knife. "Don't do that!" He shouted in surprise, "Can't you see I have a KNIFE in my hand? You want me to slip and cut my ear off?"
"Ok ok, calm down" Aonghas said with a sigh "I'm sure you know there was another death this morning?"
"Of course I do, the whole village does" Bornus said, continuing to shave "This can't continue, the stars must see to it."
"Yes they must. And I'm here to tell you it is time."
"What?" Bornus stopped again and turned to look at Aonghas. "It's not Full Moon yet!"
"I know. But as you said, this needs to stop. It's now or never." Aonghas took a seat next to Bornus. He motioned to a bowl of fruit sitting on the stump in front of them. "May I?"
Bornus nodded, and sat for a minute to contemplate what Aonghas had just told him. Aonghas grabbed a fruit and bit into it, letting the juice run down his chin.
"What if something goes wrong?" Bornus asked after a moment. "Without the Full Moon, we may not have the right balance of power, the right energies. Or worse, what if something happens that we cannot take back?"
Aonghas wiped away the juice with the sleeve of his cloak. "It doesn't matter, we have no choice. We need a protector, someone who can actually see this thing, and kill it once and for all. Since we can't see our attacker, and since it comes and goes as fast and quiet as a shadow, it must be some sort of spirit. Especially since it kills and leaves the body behind. No other animal can do something like that, especially without leaving some sort of physical mark of attack. The infants are all clean. Not a scratch on them, and yet they are left looking as if a monster had ravaged their crib."
"That is most preculiar." Bornus said, flicking the blade of his knife with his finger. "I can't imagine what we could have done to anger the spirits this much."
"I don't think this thing is JUST a spirit." Aonghas said "The Shaman has not received a single ill omen from the cosmos, and yet this .this THING continues to attack us. Without warning, and without mercy. The spirits are our only hope now."
Bornus stood up and put his knife back into its sheath that hung from the belt around his waist. "Well, then that settles it." He said "Give me a few hours to prepare, and I will join you. I need to-"
"Yes I know, the paint." Aonghas said, standing up with a grunt. His body groaned in protest. "I am too old for this."
"I will meet you by the village entrance once I'm ready. Should I bring anyone with me?"
"As a matter of fact, yes." Aonghas said, thinking of a few names "I want you to find Zaxhos and Gangus. Tell them what I told you. Tonight at dusk, we must meet with Fearghus and the Shaman at the rock circle to perform the ritual. If we want this done right, we need EVERYone. Tell them we cannot wait any longer."
"No problem." Bornus said "I will see you later then." And with that, he went around and disappeared into his hut.
Aonghas went his separate way to finish gathering the others. After they had all come together, then the real fun would begin. He just prayed that the ritual would be a success, the future of the village depended on it.