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Hush-a-by baby…

  Running through the woods he could still hear its voice… or whatever it was… whispering through the trees. Daylight had left long ago and this thing… it seemed content to stay just out of sight, whispering at him all the while.

  And worse, the things it whispered, while sounding innocent enough, had some kind of… power… to them. With these newest words, the screaming he’d been doing, in the desperate hope that someone… anyone… would hear him, had stopped in his throat, and he could no more scream than he could fly. Even trying made it harder to breathe, which running as he was, was not an option.

On the tree top…

  The rustling of the leaves above him caused his stomach to drop. It was no longer behind him. Stopping where he was he looked about desperately trying to find it. If he was prepared when it tried to drop on him he could… what? Die prepared? He had no weapons, not that he would know what to do with one. He had nothing to fight it off with. He had been playing in the forest behind his home against his mother’s rules… rules he wished now that he had followed.

  There were things in the forest the adults had all said. Men would go out at night and never return. Some said the injuns had taken them… but the stories of nightmare creatures filtered down anyway. He thought they were just stories… stories to frighten children into listening to their parents, but this didn’t feel like the kind of story he wanted a part of…

When the wind blows…

  No longer was it just a rustling above him. The trees seemed to sway with those last words, as if a forest itself had begun to dance in tune with this thing’s desire. He had no doubt what the thing wanted, him. He’d wandered into the woods at night, and now he was through. He’d never again see his mother’s stern but loving smile, his little sister’s annoying, but somehow endearing gurgling, or his father’s disappointed frown.

  They’d only moved to the new lands the year before. He’d been excited by the opportunity to see a new world. Something completely different than the boring life he’d lived up until that point. He was sick of his schooling, and the thought of living in a new world full of adventure had excited him to beyond bearing. When they’d landed, he wanted to do it all, explore, fight injuns, find gold, but life on this side of the water turned out to be far less exciting than he’d hoped.

The cradle will rock…

  The ground felt as if it moved beneath his feet, throwing his balance and sending him tumbling through the underbrush. The sharp thorns of whatever it was he had been standing next to tore into him, and his face was smashed unceremoniously into a nearby tree. Grabbing the wood as one would hold log floating down the stream in a flood, he felt as if it were somehow sturdier than the ground he was failing to stand on.

  No longer able to keep his balance on the forest floor he tried his luck pulling himself up into the lower branches of the tree… which somehow seemed unaffected by the rocking and roiling of the earth below. The swaying of the trees seemed to have moved to the ground below somehow, so he made his way further up into the branches above, his thoughts of making it out alive now almost gone entirely, his thirst for adventure no longer seeming so inspired.

When the bough breaks…

  Between one branch and the next, the entire tree let out a sound as if something inside it, something important to keeping the whole thing together, had just been torn out of it by force. With a shudder the tree began falling apart, almost in slow motion, that breaking sound echoed in all the trees surrounding him as the entire forest now sounded as if it were tearing itself apart.

  Desperately trying to find a grip on something that wouldn’t just drop him to the ground below, he managed to hold tight to a particularly large branch that was angled across a nearby tree, and as such it was falling far slower than the rest. As the branch itself snapped he dropped the remaining few feet to the forest floor and curled into a ball covering his head as if his arms would do anything to protect him from the trees collapsing all around.

The cradle will fall…

  Silence. The sound of the breaking falling trees, the low rumbling that had accompanied the roiling of the earth, even the wind and other more natural sounds of the forest had quieted. Daring to uncover his head, he looked around at the carnage around him, and was stunned at what he saw. The trees standing tall as if they’d never moved. The ground as flat and undisturbed as if no one had been this way in years, and certainly not as if it had just be rolling like a stream beneath his feet. It all looked perfectly normal…

  Standing, his legs unsteady as they expected the earth at any moment to toss and turn once more, he looked around in disbelief. Looking down at himself, the tearing of his clothing had not vanished, it was as if ‘he’ were the only thing in the forest that had been affected by… whatever it was that had just happened. Shaking in fear, he began to wonder if it was possible that he had…

And down will fall baby…

  A scream, his mother’s scream, pierced the night, and all the blood felt as if it had drained from him with that sound. His little sister. He didn’t know how he knew, but in that moment he knew that something had happened to his little sister. All this time it hadn’t been him in danger, it had been her. All of this was a distraction, or something worse. His sister…

  Running back toward the house, towards the sounds of his mother’s wailing, now punctuated by a sound from his father that was nothing like he'd ever heard from a man he'd seen as invincible. Screaming out at the night, the things power over his voice now lifted, “Take me!" he tried to bargain, helplessness flooding him, "Don’t hurt my sister! She doesn’t deserve this! I disobeyed my mom, not her! She’s just a baby!” Screaming into the night, his voice was swallowed by the darkness, and the only answer he received was its final words…

Cradle and all.

A Short Story inspired by the #AnotherContestGroup 's 'Tales of Time' Competition [link] .
:iconacg-pointsdonations:
ACG-PointsDonations Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013
:iconanothercontestgroup: Dear deviant, Thank you very much for entering #AnotherContestGroup's Tales of Time Contest.  The contest is now over and the results will be announced with in the next two weeks - so keep your eyes peeled.  Prizes to all who enter will be awarded once the results are in.  Thank you very much again for partisipating :)  

Please also know our newest contest is now out I am no Picasso

Good luck with your entry and thank you again - ACG

:iconanothercontestgroup: :iconacg-pointsdonations: :iconmissimoinsane:
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May 4, 2013
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