Unknown - Chapter 10
“What are we going to do?” Enil paced the room rubbing his knuckles. Alen rubbed his chin, nodding his head in the process. “I don’t know”. He whipped a weird look at Enil. “Hey, I just remember” Enil looked to him. “What happened to that cape of yours?”
Enil took his sling bag and took out the weird cape he grabbed from the emporium. Its shining black outside matched the colorful blend of spectrum in the inside. “I wonder what this cape does” Alen looked to Enil who was holding the cape. Enil looked back at him. “Try it on”. Enil clipped the cape around his neck and looked into the stand mirror near the bed.
“Wow, this thing is cool!” Enil swings the cape around in front of the mirror. His face changed each time the cape passed him. He swings it and it changed him into an old man, then a young man, then a lady which raised his eyebrows. He swung the cape again and he turned into a mirror, then a horse. “This thing turns me into whatever I want to be!” Enil laughed.
“Didn’t you try the cape back home?” Alen looked at his friend, halting his laugh. “No, I forgot about it entirely” Enil slowly broke into a weary smile. Alen slapped his forehead.
“Anyway, you still need to put it in front of you for it to work” Alen rubbed his forehead. “And it can only change its wearer” Alen puts his hand into the cape only to see it reflected on the mirror with a horse standing next to it.
He scratched his head. “So what am I going to do?” Alen looked through the mirror to the graying sky. Enil unclipped the cape and pat on his friend’s back. “Hey, you’re the running away master remember?” He smiled. “I’ll distract the creature, you run for the ship” Alen frowned. “You distract the creature? Yeah right” Enil shot his hands into the air. “Seriously, I will” Alen gave a short laugh and his eyes drifted back towards the gray and purple sky. Night is coming…
Bara swooped down into the forest and watched the trees clawed their thorn riddled branches to him. He sneered them and walked forward towards a huge lone tree encircled by hideous others. The branches on the tree were high, clawing the sky instead of the earth like a crown worn by a king. Two huge branches broke its sides and spread out like arms.
“The king of trees, Treand” Bara growled at the tree in front of him.
The tree shook. The green leaves on its branches fell to the forest floor and withered. The two huge branches to its sides flexed, creaking to the sound of cracking twigs but with no signs of them breaking apart. The trunk of the tree rose above the dry forest floor and broke into two. It stomped onto the ground sending dusts and withered leaves and dirt flying into the air towards the dark bear standing in front of it.
The tree stretched and yawned. “What is it you want, mighty general of the Unknown” the tree bends forward, its voice was deep like the earth and lazy like a sloth. Its jagged skin blinked and cracked. It looked down on the bear.
Bara looked to the huge tree. The sun felt brighter and the winds swept lower. “I have come to ask you of about a human” the azure flame in Bara’s eyes grabbed the air around his face.
The tree yawned again. “Humans, they all pass through here, no enemy” the trees around them shook hard. “Why do you seek no enemy, hmm?”
“Just tell me” Bara looked around him. The trees were closer, all looming around him looking down at him. The branches scraped the leaves on the forest floor, plowing the dirts. He clenched his teeth.
“I do not” the great tree yawned and its trunk drilled into the ground. Its two legs buried itself into the earth and the two huge branches lift up into the sky. “Feel like I want to tell you” buds of leafs and flowers began to crop out from the branches. The trees around Bara recedes to where they sat and the forest fell into silence.
“Then you will answer to my Master” Bara clicked his tongue and spread his black wings. He flew out into the sky leaving a circle of blue flame on the ground where he had stood. “Come to me my spies!” his voice pitched high. Flocks of birds, seagulls and crows, small and large all gathers around the bear.
“Tell me” the eyes of each birds glitters and images flooded into Bara’s eyes. His body jerked.
An old man got up from his lazy chair in front of his old house and squints. The breeze crossing the promontory scratched his eyes. He rubbed them and looked towards the forest. Birds from all over the places gathered above the sky, circling something his old eyes could not see. “What the hell is that?”
Alen donned his leather coat and walked to the door. Enil was already sleeping on the bed with his cape. He glanced at his sleeping friend and shut the door behind him in silence.
The night was cold, unusually cold. The chill from the sea swept across the town like a tsunami. The lamps burning around town to flickered even in their glass tubes. Alen tugged his coat closer, watching the night sky above him. It was dark and no stars peeked into the world. He walked to the pier and sat at its edge, feet plunged into the cold sea water. His gauntlet throbbed, sending chills down his spine. “Oh man, not you too” he whispered to his gauntlet. He gripped the edge of his coat tight and tugged it closer.
The young girl held a small candle holder and placed it on the window next to her windows. The sky was dark and the wind scratched her windows like sharp claws. She looked to the forest outside the village. The last camp of merchants sat at its border, waiting for the dawn to break and their journey to the Trade Festivity up north in Naresh to start. She envied them.
The sky darkened. The burning flame in the lamp tubes around the village died, one at a time. A touch of warm breath touched the back of Alen’s neck. He turned around, taking his wet feet out of the water. The whiff of warm breath he felt earlier touched his face, hotter. He jerked his head forward, frowning. The sign post at the edge of town had disappeared. Alen got up and pushed his wet feet into his boots. The walls of the house at the border of the village had disappeared from his eyes. His breath began to choke on his throat. It’s coming!.
Alen broke into a run towards the tavern.
The darkness engulfed the second house when the door to the tavern slammed open. The old man and the young girl stood behind the counter, heads turned to Alen who was heaving for air. Alen clambered his way around the tables towards the stairs and leaped two stairs at a time. He slammed open the door to his room and saw Enil standing at the edge of the window with his cape flowing behind him. “What the hell are you doing?” Enil looked to him, eyes surprised. “What the hell do you think I’m doing? I’m running away!” Enil jumped. Alen gulped and ran towards the window. Enil was already on his feet, heads up to the window where Alen was standing. “What the hell are you waiting for? Come on!”
Alen shook his head and jumped. He landed into a roll and stopped just in time to see the fourth house engulfed by the darkness. Alen looked at the tavern. “The girl and the old man is still inside the tavern!” he shouts to Enil who was about to broke into a run towards the pier. Enil grits his teeth. “Leave them be! The creature won’t kill them!” he left the tavern backdoor and heads towards the pier.
Alen’s mind raced. His heart wanted to save the girl and the old man but his mind knew that he needs to save himself more than anyone else. He slammed his fist to the ground and ran towards the pier.
He grabbed Enil’s cape just before he was about to jump into the sea. “What are you doing?” Enil was shocked to find his friend tugging at his cape. “I’m going in first, you stay above me” Alen pulled his friend aside and jumped with his clothes on into the cold water. Enil shook his head. He draped the cape around him and jumped into the water as a small gold fish.
The wind picked up speed and the darkness heads into the dock area. Alen and Enil swam slow, watching the progress of the darkness above them as they made their way along the empty dock.
The wooden planks of the dock creaked.
Alen signaled Enil to go above water. Enil nods and slowly they made their way up, emerging from the water under the wooden planks. The gasped for air and held their mouths with their hands.
The creak from the planks became louder. Another followed suit.
Alen floats with his eyes watching the small opening between the planks. The darkness had already engulfed the area above him. He held his nose and breathed silently with his mouth. Enil held to the wood stump that make up the support pillar for the wooden planks. He looked up between the crevices of the planks, staring into the darkness.
A whiff of dead corpse filled their nostrils.
A low growl shot into their ears.
Heavy footsteps echoed their heart.
"I know you are here, seal bearer” a voice all too familiar to the two boys broke the silence of the night. “You can’t run…” the creature jumped. “… from me!” and landed on the dock with a thunderous explosion. The water around the dock jumped into the air. Alen and Enil both looked at each other and realized that they are no longer in the water. The wooden planks above them explode into tiny splinters and they were thrown several feet into the air.
“Found you” the creature smiled.