The place where the last battle between good and evil will be fought.
Gaze. Stuck on the flames.
Arrow. Firm in hand.
Target. Shallow breathing.
My elbow eases back and a cold presence inches up my spine. The eerie chill is familiar, but far from nostalgic. I shake off the coldness, carefully avoiding too much resistance.
Too much resistance. Suddenly, a pit of fire is set off in my stomach. Once again I am still, trying desperately to maintain a steady hand. But how can my body take control when my mind is spiraling out of it?
Eyes locked on my prey, I tighten my grip on the wooden bow held by my side. I’ve let this creature escape far too many times. Miserable waste of air. I refuse to leave the site without its blood stained on my finger tips.
Fiery hatred has built a wall between us. Never in my life have I seen its face; fear gave me no choice but to look away. A short while ago, the fear had been washed out by a reluctant strength... naivety, perhaps. Nonetheless, I have yet to truly see this monster. Its body is engulfed by flames, only revealing its appearance between quick flickers. I suppose looks are of little importance, considering that its weapon of choice lies in its words.
Sharp-tongued doesn’t quite describe this monster’s potential for destruction. Each syllable is laced with explosives and dripping in poison. Mercy? Unheard of. I wish I could remember a day that was not tainted by the monster’s locution. Not a moment passed without its fatally persuasive degradation of my worth.
Most do not survive. But I am here to end the beast’s toxic reign.
My fingers find their way around the arrow shaft as I bring my focus back to the blazing miscreant. Returning to a proper stance, all that is left to do is aim and fire. The wretched creature would have been gone already, but something always goes wrong. Weak arrow tips, second thoughts, citizens begging me to stop… the list of mishaps goes on. I’ve done everything in my power to ensure that the beast will die tonight, and there is not a minute to waste.
There is nothing I wouldn't do to silence this monster. I refuse to let myself be scathed any longer. Through watery eyes, I take a final glance at the torturous being in front of me. Staring deep into the glowing conflagration, my eyes fall on a thin shard of glass. Among the dust and ash surrounding the demon, pieces of the clear substance litter the ground. Peering closely at the odd fragments, I notice a faint reflection. Before I can get close enough to make an observation, a burst of heat knocks me over. A hot wave of energy ripples into the distance and a powdery residue fills the air. I clumsily crawl away from the scene, attempting to regain full awareness of my surroundings. As the ash begins to clear and my heart rate slows down to a normal speed, my attention is drawn to the monster’s location. However, it has been replaced by a dark cloud of smoke.
Every voice in my head is telling me to run in the other direction, but I can’t leave this, whatever ‘this’ is, undiscovered. I find the strength to take a cautious step towards the monster’s remains, slowly making my way to the source of the explosion. The wind carries a bit of the ash away, and a pile of singed glass is revealed. My curiosity gets the best of me and I rummage through the small chunks and slivers to uncover a large section of glass still intact.
My eyes scan the sharp segment, trying to recognize the reflection. The figure in sight goes pale when familiarity washes over me. I want to run, but my knees refuse to stop shaking.
For the first time in my life, I am set face to face with my enemy.
If only I had known that the enemy is me.