A Spook

Strange, rotten breath assailed Roland’s face as he stepped forward, now a mere foot away from the spook. They were separated only by the magic of a weather-beaten stick of wood that came up to Roland’s waist. They would be standing face-to-face if the spook wasn’t several feet taller than the average man. And if the spook had a face. Roland had never seen what was under the raggedy hood of a spook; he had only smelled the rank breath that fluttered out from underneath the grimy layers of cloth.

Spooks were a curious thing. Before the arrival of his father’s magic to the land, spooks were a common sight. They were seen milling around the plains in groups, or drifting along the sides of the road during the spring, or gathering underneath the moonlight near the village during full moon nights. They were quiet and completely passive, not harming others even in retaliation. It was even a game among the village boys to beat them with sticks, and laugh as they scattered away like confused sheep.

They were strange creatures, lumbering dark shapes that spoke in whispers, but they were gentle and kept to themselves. There were even stories of them helping humans lost in the forest, or leaving food at the doorsteps of the starving. They didn’t become restless and bloodthirsty until Roland’s father came to the village and brought his magic with him. After that the spooks became feared and aggressive, slaughtering sheep and children and leaving the bodies where they fell. Every once in a while, a spook would drift into the village and go berserk. That was why his father encircled the village with a protective barrier long ago, with carved stakes of runes. Or so the stories went.

“Why are you here?” Roland asked, after several minutes had passed. He knew that if he let it, it would stand in the same spot, unmoving, for years. A nearly inaudible muttering issued from the opening of its hood, so quietly that Roland wondered whether it had actually made a noise at all, or if he was just imagining it.


The murmuring sound returned, slightly louder this time.

“What is this magic.” The spook whispered, as if to himself.

“This is the Lunar Script, spook. It is more powerful and ordered than the wild magic invoked by your kind. It is a new magic, created by my father, the great Darr Moonwielder.” he said calmly, proudly. If he could just talk the spook into turning and walking away, then he wouldn’t have to waste any more spells.

“This magic,” it whispered, distressed, “Is not right. This magic is bad.”

Roland sighed and took out the spell of dispersal. This spook was looking to be one of the stubborn ones. The thin slab of rock pulsed rhythmically in his grip, waiting to be used. Roland traced the etchings of the rune, the outline faded and muted under the sun’s glare.  He spoke the final character of the rune, a direction signifier, and with a curt tap he released the power laying dormant within. With a high-pitched, strangled scream the spook was torn into hundreds of speckles of shadow, which were quickly destroyed by the harsh rays of the sun.

The End

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