Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Illusions


Carried upon a springtime breeze, the familiar fever arrives again. Predictably I resist, but only momentarily, the woods clearly and distinctly beckon me there. No greater companion have I known than that of nature. The severe winter elements have taken their toll, more so than years past. I’ve consumed my last portion of meat and man cannot subsist on porridge and bread alone

With trusty bow, finely tuned, and quiver filled with anxious arrows, I set a course across the thawing terrain towards my familiar destination. Wings of black grouse burst in a flurry from cover aside me, their multitude so great my eyes temporarily deprived the light cast by the rising morn. In a fluttering of madness my arrow takes flight. I doth not think so highly of myself, nor my skills as to shun the guiding hands of the spirits. Only by their divine intervention and compassion for my hunger does my arrow find its mark. The remaining of the group scatter as setting wings carry them toward safety on yonder hill, wiser and warier from their brush with humanity. Gathering the fallen one in my palm I observe his beauty one last time. While placing him in my pouch an uneasy feeling grips me, like none I’ve experienced before, nor wish to again.

A frenzied survey in all directions reveals little to warrant the heightening of my senses. Perhaps peril existing only in my mind is a precursor to madness. Quickly I dismiss the flaring of my hackles to childish imagination, fire-breathing dragons and such. I suspect merely a wild bore responsible for my foolish notions, of his tusks I will be wary, but for his hams I will be grateful.

Climbing upon a large rock I settle into a familiar pose, allowing my bones needed rest. This location, perhaps more than any other, has amply met my needs. Observing fresh tracks along the muddy path, I prepare for the quarry’s approach. My bow comfortably rests in my palm, arrow impatiently awaiting release. Under watchful gaze cast down from the heavens, I patiently wait. It is merely time that separate hunter from the beast.

Soon my eyelids grow weary, strangely unresponsive to my will. A fierce internal battle ensues, for only a fool would slumber and risk being devoured in his sleep. My senses are dull, responding as if they had fallen prey to a reckless night filled with ale. I am perfectly sober, but inexplicably unable to resist.

Some passing of time transpired judging from the stiffness of my joints, but the precise amount unknown. I awoke from a slumber, an eerie rest brought on by very peculiar circumstances. A misty haze has settled very near the ground, veiling the forest in mystique. I quickly descend from my perch and start about my way; fervent to leave the area, but the forest seems to toy with me. Again a drunken way consumes me, more forceful than before; the correct path no longer apparent, amidst this evil fog. Full of worry and haste, my instability and a protruding branch ensures the loss of my footing; and of consciousness as my head strikes the ground.

She appears among the aspens, gracing the fringe of the grove. What I perceive initially to be a gentle breeze was mistaken. Each slender tree eagerly bows nearer her beauty, to whisper her praises. Surrounded by an aurora weaved of lavender bliss, she floats effortlessly before me. A princess from an unfamiliar kingdom possibly, yet she remains aloof.

Her long white gown of silk sweetly caresses the forest floor and coaxes the wildflowers into song. Only the finest spinning wheel could produce such a garment, and only one of angelic proportions could display it so flawlessly. The sheerness of her gown reveals a form so delicate, one incapable of being conceived by human form. For a moment I believe the goddess gazes in my direction, perhaps to temporarily quench the flames of my burning soul. My beating heart stalls at the prospect of approaching her; too long deprived such elegant company. Yet my mind continues to cling to reservations, regarding a beauty so perfect, one as irreproachable as this. Perhaps only a dream, yet her beauty defies description and my senses far too intoxicated to have been deceived by imagination.

Hesitantly I move in her direction, desperately wishing our souls to be one, but content only to be nearer. As if my presence startles her, she turns abruptly to me, but then smiles. The gaze of her eyes upon me, one so undeserving, penetrate and warm my calloused core. She welcomes me, extending her delicate arm in such a manner as to signal she has anticipated my arrival. Reaching my hand towards hers, I move ever closer to experiencing her touch.

Within an instant I felt the horrible ripping of my flesh, and the warm oozing of my blood escaping from jagged wounds. Horrified and betrayed I look back to her face, to gauge her expression. Where an angel stood seconds before, I now clearly see the blackened gums and the horrible white fangs of those that lured me.

I see no value in running. One had tasted my blood, and his frenzied rage prompted the pack. I scan the ground for my bow and quiver, but fate ensures they lay just beyond arms reach. In one last final attempt to salvage my life, I lunge for my weapon. The sudden movement only serves to summon a terrible barrage from the alpha male, his signal by which all of them follow. Those terrible fangs and powerful claws; slash at my hide with unbelievable force. Again and again they return, separating precious flesh from bloody bone.

I cry out in desperation to the angel that stood before, begging for mercy. My only answers come from those that had truly been there all along. The answers come in bouts of pain, in the form of supreme hunters, for which I was regretfully unprepared.

8 comments:

Shirley said...

Wow Dan, I think you outdid yourself! I love the way you gracefully add that twist to your stories.

Dan said...

Thanks Shirley. The hunter become the hunted. Just a little perspective on the food chain in life.

paisley said...

dan this is strictly off topic,, but i wanted to compliment you on your piece in world catalyst... so tastefully put together,, plays nicely on the heart strings,, but never pulls,, and that lullaby... to die for... bravo!!!!

paisley said...

very well done.. i was thinking she was going to take her revenge for the grouse in your pouch.....

Bubba said...

Dan, the entire piece has an 'other-worldly' quality about it. I, too, like the twist. Who knows, perhaps we'll all experience that particular punishment at the moment of our demise. Nice job...

Dan said...

Thanks Paisley, for comments on both pieces. My blog is complete fiction, but I enjoy the real-world writing also; as I tend to do @ word catalyst.

Bob, I wanted the story to be different, but I like 'other-worldly'--yeah, yeah, I meant for it to be 'other-worldly'. Thanks man.

hfurness said...

A pastoral horror piece - well done and the hook worked very well. Like your hero, the reader is drawn into the final horror of recognition. - a fan

hfurness said...

A pastoral horror piece - well done and the hook worked very well. Like your hero, the reader is drawn into the final horror of recognition. - a fan