Freitag, 23. September 2011

Beasts and shadows

You cannot outrun your shadow. No matter what you do, he is always just one step behind you. And the moment you turn around, he wins.

He tried not to look back, but he suspected they were catching up. The rustling leaves indicated that there was someone - something - behind him, and he doubted that these woods held any kind of normal life... not after what he had seen. If only he hadn't decided to hike through these parts of the mountains. If only his uncle hadn't told all these stories about how exciting backpacking was! If only... - well, there were many 'if's, but nothing that would help him now. The only way out was finding a village, with normal people and heavily armed police. And for that, he had to be faster than the ones behind him. The only way out was up the mountain.

He forced himself to move, on all four if necessary, stumbling as stones shifted under his hands and rumbled down the mountain's flank. His fingers bled. He didn't care. Pain and exhaustion formed a constant rhythm to which he moved forward. The higher he got, the more the underbursh became thin and neglected, until there were just a few branches left sticking from the dirt, not enough to hide behind and not enough to keep his chasers back. If only he could make it over the ridge... the sun started to sink behind the rocks, and he inhaled, bracing himself for one final sprint. He would be an easy target until he made it across the open space, to disappear on the other side, and he hoped that there was vegetation waiting for him to hide between.

There was no vegetation. Instead, the ground disappeared. What he had considered to be the top of the mountain was, seen from the ground beneath, a hundred feet drop, a spectacular motif for pictures. The sunlight hit him as he fell and outlined his body twisting in panic.

The creatures stopped, perplexed. They looked at each other and shook their heads sadly. These strange humans... it was not the first time that this had happened. Why would they never stay for dinner? That guy had been just on time, they had just started to gut the deer they had caught for dinner. Not a pleasant sight, sure, but not really a reason to jump off the cliff. Slowly they made their way back to their prey, tentacles gliding over the rocks with ease, leaving glistening black trails that might be blood, or might be something else.


Judy hat gesagt…

Oh My...I really like your imagination...I thought at first that he was confused and was trying to outrun his shadow...guess not...

SueAnn hat gesagt…

Yikes!! I was running with him..panic filling my mind!! Whew!! Great story

Lon hat gesagt…

I love the way in which you write!

laradunning hat gesagt…

Your opening hook is great. Nice comical ending.