By The River | Chapter 1

Ax speaks, you listen

By The River | Chapter 1

Postby Axikal » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:25 pm

I. The Shadows

The night was all but silent; broken only by the invasive by-products of nature. The whine of the cicadas were steadily overwhelming the violin of the crickets across the _____ River\'s banks and beds. Their dueling continually engaged the river; though, no probable outcome could be met as one another deftly overwhelmed the opposition in a raging cacophony. Each night, the combatants needed a judge; an overseer of their unending contest. This night, David faced this forced charge with annoyance and anxiety.
He sat in bed at his home, at the landmark bend of the ______ River, and kept mental score of the participants\' strikes. His finger was held to the throbbing pulse of the tenebrous landscape against his will; and this invasive charge\'s effects were cemented upon his usually placid face. He shifted out of discomfort and caused the bed to respond with a dulled squeal; almost waking his wife, Rachel.

He stared into the night from his bed, watching the river roll by--reflecting, like a polished mirror, in the moonlight. He thought to himself, The river is so beautiful on nights like this. It\'d be more enjoyable if those damned insects would shut up. It was true, though. It seemed that these opposing sounds were the only offensive forces out that night--hell-bent on obliterating the river\'s voice. A voice that had lulled him to a peaceful respite on many a night.
He attempted to focus on the sounds of the river, and gazed out upon the landscape and concentrated on what he saw: Flying high above the gently swaying treetops, the moon cast shimmering silver across the surrounding scenery. The grass--usually a healthy green--seemed almost supernatural, bathing in the heavenly glow. The trees waved and beckoned around them as gentle breezes bent them to their will.

David could hardly stand the ever-present naturial clamourings, and rose from his bed to shut the window. As he approached, moonlight cascaded around him, illuminating his body against the darkness of the room.
The heavenly aura shone around his slightly muscular frame, highlighting the various contours of his abdomen. He stood a mere five-feet-four, with a tangle of long, dark hair that fell roughly across his shoulders. His face was weathered and worn from age and stress, slightly egg-shaped, and looked as strong and menacing as the rest of him was (in spite of his size).

He sighed and allowed the elements of nature to resound throughout him. He stood for a moment and decided to take in the scenery one last time before he would attempt sleep again. He closed the window and stood, looking out upon the land with a tired eye.
With the new barrier set up between him and nature, he felt calmer and his eye-lids began to seek each others\' company. As he turned away from the window he caught, what he thought was a flash of movement, out of the corner of his eye. He spun back to the window and stared intently--fixed on the land--hoping to catch it again. To no avail, though, as all was as before.
He made his way back to the bed--and with a groan emitted from both--he fell asleep at last.

* * *

The trees stood stoic around him. They were huddled claustrophobically close; and he felt as if he were to be smothered in an instant. He looked upward, but could make nothing of the sky. Everything beyond was veiled by the densely knit canopy of the forest. The branches knotted and twisted around each other in almost perfect union. As if... as if they knew to...
In spite of this, the forest was alive and illuminated by an unearthly silver and blue aura. He doubled around himself, but all he could see were the trees. They stretched on into an infinity... He had no idea how he had gotten here, nor where "here" was exactly. None of the landscape was familiar to him... and it filled him with a tensity he could not shake off. He felt... watched. From around him came the scattered sounds of unknown creatures.
As he stood there in the midst of the serried woodland, vague recollections of a small path crept over his mind. He searched nearby, and found a small breakage in the crowd of trees. Upon the ground lay a smooth, light-brown path that led deeper into the wooded maze. Fighting with the fog in his head, he stumbled his way through the undergrowth--and pushing past the thick, glowing, old-aged trunks--in what he perceived to be a homewardly direction.

He felt as if he had been travelling for several miles when the change began to occur. Time and distance were but a mystery here, and the landscape was monotonous: thick oaks and firs pulsating in the fires of the silver-blue light. But here, somewhere in this space, was a wonder in which he gazed upon--wondrous to him in the midst of this redundant land.
Before him stood a clearing of medium proportions. Ribbons of silver streamed through a hole in the canopy; which illuminated the surrounding area. A chill swept through his body and he darted out into the oasis of light. As he stood there, bathed in the light, he felt the air change.

It had been deathly still before--the forest stood like a labyrinth of wooden corpses--but now the stillness had become stronger. The minute sounds of the forest had suddenly stopped, and the air now felt thick, and heavy. A strange feeling crept upon him, and it took but an instant to realise what it was: He was being watched. Followed. ...Stalked. Hurriedly, he began to scan the outlying rows of trees for a sign of his follower.
Flickering movement caught his eye, causing him to turn sharply in its direction. No matter where he turned, the movement was too fast for him to keep up; though he caught minute glimpses of it. The shape--whatever it was--continued to elude his gaze. He was locked in a frustrating game of hide-and-seek with the hasted shade; and try as he might, he could not stop chasing it. His fear and anxiety grew as the seconds ticked by. If I stop... what will happen? Can I stop...?
His mind spun around the question as he spun around after the shadowy thing. Just as he felt as if he would reach his utter limits, a scream tore through the forest; and the world around him shattered.

David\'s eyes sprang open to the shrill pitch of screaming; it was Rachel! For a brief second, he saw a pair of red, glowing eyes staring into his. The eyes were affixed onto a dark shape that was sitting upon his chest, almost humanoid; but before he could get a better look, it vanished back through the shattered window it had come through. He turned to comfort Rachel, who had ceased screaming, and was now shaking.

"What... What happened?! What\'s going on?!" Her voice brimmed with fear and confusion.

"I have no idea..." David was now shaking off the last of the cobwebbed vestiges from his nightmare. He wrapped her in a deep embrace and tried to soothe her jangled nerves. "Shh... it\'s okay honey. It was most likely one of those damned raccoons. You know how they get when they\'re hungry... Just relax, okay?"
He lifted her small head up and stared into her shimmering blue eyes. Seeing that she was still upset, he ran his slender fingers through her long, raven hair. Every soft strand wrapped themselves snugly, but softly, about his fingers; enveloping his hand in cool silk. A smile crept its way across her ovaled face as the familiar contact of intimacy overtook her fears. Her cheeks were ruddy, and seemed to intensify in the moonlight. It was there, in the halo of silver and blue, that the Italian in her really showed through.

"I\'m going to go to the garage and get the broom, okay?" he said as he began to shiver.
Rachel took David\'s hand, and held it tightly. He never likes to say it, but I can always tell when he\'s scared. Silly man. As he began to turn to get out of bed, she put out her hand, and began to caress his back. It was a maneuver she was accustomed to doing whenever she felt his anxiety and fear surface. David began to become less tense, and his body seemed to relax. He turned back to her, and smiled. Then, he rose from the bed and headed downstairs.

The rest of the house was lit by the bright light of the moon. David stared around at the furnishings, all of which were bathed in the eerie glow of the moon. He thought back to his nightmare prior to being awakened, and began to shiver again. Steady now, I have to clean up that damn raccoon\'s mess. He walked downstairs, and across the living room to the garage door. He paused for a brief moment to shake away his anxiety. The incident upstairs had him completely frightened. Get over it already, jeez. You have work to do. He slowly opened the door to the garage, and walked inside.
He fumbled in the inky darkness for the light chain, and grasped it tightly in his hand. Pulling down on it, the garage was immediately flooded with light, and David winced in pain from the dramatic shift in lighting. He stood there for a moment with his eyes closed, until he adjusted to the light change. He walked around his car to the garage closet door, and began to turn the knob. As the door opened, a dark shape flew out and slammed into him. His head bounced off of the front bumper, and everything finally went dark.
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Axikal
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