Chapter Five: Demonic Encounters
It wasn't long until I was surrounded by greenery again. The dirt path was hard on my feet, I'd been given new shoes but I had a feeling they'd be worn out soon enough. Hunter had left my cloak to explore the trees the moment we'd reached the forest's edge. I don't think I've ever done this much exercise in my life, to think I used to complain about the half hour walk to and from school. My leg muscles burned as I pushed one foot in front of the other. I was determined to reach Oa as soon as I could. I'd glanced at the map a few times, Only large city seemed to be named. The biggest city was Queli, the captain had said that was capital so makes sense I guess. I really hope I find Gale in this town. Otherwise I have no clue what to do.
It had taken a while, but the reality and gravity of my situation was really beginning to penetrate. I was lost, completely clueless. I stopped walking, staring straight ahead, my breathing loud and deep from the walking. All I wanted to do was crumple onto the floor and cry at that moment. I wanted to go home. Who cares if I have to go and live in a new country and start at a new school? I wanted to find dad, wanted to know if he was okay. I wish I could take back the argument. I'd been giving him silent treatment since he'd told me about the move. Why had I been so immature about things? As if this worlds weather could sense my emotions, rain began to run down the side of my face. I couldn't cry I realised. I needed to get home, and that means moving forward. The rain will cry for me. I glanced to my right to see Hunter watching me from a tree branch, his yellow eyes seems to reflect understanding. I trained my eyes back on the dirt path, and continued walking.
The rain was growing heavier, soon enough my cloak proved useless and my whole body was shivering. I guess I had no choice but search for shelter. Making sure Hunter was following I entered the forest. It wasn't hard to find a huge oak tree to sit under, Hunter jumped onto my lap and snuggled into me. I pulled into myself and tried to get some sleep. But my mind was restless. And when I finally gave in I wished I hadn't.
No, not here again. This time there was no illusion. The meadow didn't pretend to be something it wasn't. My dress was in tatters and creepy fingers of fog continued to reach for me. I was sat on the lowest branch of a tree. I told myself to stop being silly. Fog wasn't dangerous. Then the finger solidify before my eyes. Becoming clawed black sticks. The fog cleared revealing terrifying, malformed humanoid beings. There bodies were too thin, their limbs too long, bending at abnormal angles. There faces were empty of any feature save their mouths. Mouths that were twisted in malicious grins. Grins full of razor-sharp fangs. The fingers were strong. A scream tore from my throat as the fingers attempted to rip me from the branch. They yanked with such force, only my hands were holding on. I gritted my teeth and ignored the pain jolting through my limbs as I pulled myself back to the branch. I could feel the rough bark tear against my pale skin. The sight and smell of my blood seemed to excite the black stick-monsters. Increasing their hold on me, but I wouldn't let go.
“Do you need help?” the male voice spoke from seemingly no where. I didn't dare search for it's source, not wanting to gaze at those sickening creatures. My one thought though, was a clear, resounding yes.
The hold suddenly disappeared. I didn't hesitate and think about it, I just pulled myself onto the branch. I looked at the meadow. Only to see the black figures retreating to its outer reaches. I let myself feel a moment of calm, but it didn't last as I felt something breath against my neck. I turned to face the person, but all I caught were startling yellow eyes.
The dream faded quickly as I opened my eyes. It was the middle of he night and Hunter was head bumping me, making loud yowling sounds. Something serious was up for him to be acting this way. I stood up quickly, pulling the cat close to me as I did. He didn't seem to object though he continued to bristle. Just what was disturbing him so much?
“What have we here?” I felt my back straighten at the sound of the voice. I could feel Hunter growing more agitated and I had no idea what to do. The cold laughter washed over me, causing goosebumps to rise. Squeezing my eyes shut for a few seconds I tried to calm down. I opened them and turned to face the source. He was tall, his lanky limbs jumping from the tree easily, he landed and crouched low. His black eyes tamed on me like I was prey. He had long, blond hair that looked greasy, this paired with his smell gave me the feeling this guy didn't understand the meaning of a shower. I chastised myself for being so scared a second ago. So what if he had a creepy, snake-like voice and weird expression? The sound of a person's voice has never bothered me before.
“Humans shouldn't wonder into forest's you know,” He said, my spine shivering despite my previous determination to ignore his voice. Something about him was off I thought. I felt Hunter release and retract his claws though he never hurt me with them. There was a low clicking sound leaving his throat.
“Guess I shouldn't be surprised you found her first.” The guy said and I raised a confused eyebrow at him. Then I realised it was aimed at Hunter. Okay, so he was a crazy guy, that could explain the off-ness surrounding him.
“Go away.” I said with more will than I actually felt. His dark eyes grew wide before he exploded with laughter. I'd never wanted to slap someone more in my life.
“Your funny, I'd let you live...” he began, his voice growing serious - “Except I'm under orders to kill you.” Kill me? He was kidding, this couldn't be happening. This was all some messed up dream and I had to wake up. Wake up really, really soon. But all that happened was he lunged at me and a small scream escaped my lips. I felt Hunter leap out of my arms and a surge of warmth flooded my body. I could feel my pupils dilate to a pinprick point and suddenly all my senses went haywire. My vision was blasted by a strange ethereal light. Considering my over driven senses, I expected to wince, but the light was soothing. And for a split second, I thought I saw another person hiding amongst the beams of pure light. Then it faded, my senses dulled. And I wondered who that person had been. I looked around me, expecting to see Hunter and the strange guy, but instead I was on the path again.
And Hunter wasn't with me anymore. Part of me yelled to find him, but the saner half reasoned that the guy wouldn't want anything to do with a cat. And that I should hurry to that town. I raced at full pelt, ignoring my laboured breathing and the objections from my muscles. That guy back there wasn't normal. “Demons”, the word the innkeeper had spoken came to my mind unbidden. That guy felt odd because he wasn't human...now that I thought about it, he hadn't had an aura.