The Mysterious Letter

Alex awoke to the sound of the hustle and bustle of the town square. Excited voices and confident, warm shouting could be heard a few hundred yards away, where the nosy square was secluded. It was morning and Alex picked himself up off the musty floor, scared to touch his head. His lips tasted like metal and he felt horribly drained of energy. This feeling exacerbated as he closed the wooden window with a quiet click. It was quiet. Trying to remember the previous night's events he staggered like a drunk into the W.C and looked in the mirror. He had a horrible gash on the top his head and by seeing this he nearly lost consciousness again. Propping himself up on the sink he started disbelievingly at his head, most of his hair was matted with dry blood. Now he knew everything that had happened, really had happened and wasn't just a mysterious nightmare. What am I going to do? Where am I going to go?

There was so many, too many questions twirling around Alex's head he thought it might explode. He started to wash his hair slowly, feeling sick and depressed. He winced as cold water ran into the small gulley that was situated by his hairline. A very cold shiver was sent through his entire body causing him to stop immediately. He had to do something. There was only one person who could help him. Uncle Leon. He ran into the kitchen and frantically searched the cupboards finding a bandage. Alex wrapped it carefully but quickly around his forehead and secured it with a strip of tape. Putting on his shoes and red flannel shirt, he pelted out of the door into the street outside.

A cold rush of fresh air seemed to seep uncomfortably into the cut in Alex's head. He shut the door and looked hazily into the street, blinking a lot more than is advisable. It was a cool yet sunny day and the noise from the town square was getting considerably louder. He started to jog down the narrow lane infront of him, with the wooden houses seeming to close in on him. His feet slapped against the dry cobbles and with each pound his head seared with pain. Despite the feeling that his head was about to unfold he kept on going.

If I get to Uncle Leon's in five minutes I'll be able to tell him whats happened and he'll send out the word that Dad's missing. Then hopefully I'll be able to get this sorted out properly. His Uncle lived on the very rim of Blipen, in a little hut on the bank of the River Lexen. The Lexen seperates the winding streets of Blipen that lead to Argone, with many little bridges all down and up stream. Alex bravely carried on, but the pounding of his feet were now like troll fists walloping against his temples. So he slowed to a fast walk, passing many interesting things on the way. Usually Alex took three times as long to walk anywhere as he always stopped to have a nose at people's business. Now it was different, he was in a state of deep emergency and needed to get to the river as fast as possible.

After about ten minutes, Alex found himself at the riverside completely exhausted. The river was far from spectacular. A murky brown at the best of times. Every few hundred yards a hut like his uncle's would crop up, inhabited mainly by old hermits and fishers. He approached the wooden hut, which was propped up by poles that sunk deep into the mud and river. He winced again as he walked up the steps onto the porch that jutted out over the river. He smiled slightly at the sight of the sign on the front door, that he had carved with his uncle when he was very little.

Fisherman Marshall the Third

For all your Fishing and Boat Maintenance Needs

Please Don't Call Between These Times

The time sheet had been ripped off, a few strips remained. Alex frowned, and immediately regretted this as a trickle of blood dripped down his face. He wiped it away quickly and made a weak attempt to knock on the door three times. No sooner had his fist rapped the wood, the door lurched foward vigourously. Alex jumped and nearly stumbled over, hearing the loud barking of a dog inside. It was Captain Sherman, his uncle's Alsation breed canine. Alex knocked again. Sherman continued to relentlessly bark and Alex then knew immediately something was wrong. His uncle never left Captain Sherman inside if he was out of the house, he considered it a sin to leave a dog couped up inside all day. Alex walked urgently around the porch to the side of the house. Reaching the bedroom window he found it crusted over with dust and dirt. Using his jumper to clean a patch of the rigid glass, Alex peered inside hoping he would see his uncle, in bed, fast asleep.

After recieving and overwhelming desire to sneeze, he saw his uncle's body on the floor. It was near the foot of the bed, face down on the grubby floorboards. A small pool of blackness situated near his head. Alex looked away, his stomach feeling like it was going to explode. His uncle had been his only real friend, sure he spoke to people in school. They weren't real friends though, they didn't understand him. Leon did. Alex sadly walked around to the front door, pressing the wooden panel directly four panels across from the sign on the front door. It clicked and after some scraping noises, Captain Sherman opened the door and calmly came out.

Even though dog's couldn't nessecarily show any emotion through their facial expressions, Alex had the distinct impression that Captain Sherman was looking very sad. Yet at the same time, incredibly calm and almost bored. He sat down by Alex's feet and was met with a hand scratching his ear. Up untill now, Alex had all but forgotten about the pain in his forehead and that very moment that he realised, the feeling rushed back. He brought his other hand up swiftly and soothingly rubbed the bandage. After what seemed like hours, Alex slowly entered the hut and avoiding the bedroom, took the front door key from the hall table. Locking the door behind him, Alex realised he had to do something. What, he didn't know. The one thing he did know is that he would need money.

* * *

He fell. Roughly four hundred feet down. Jonah Breig was meeting his death or as some may construe it, his fate. His destiny. As he watched the rocks of the cliff he slipped off zooming upwards, he averted his terrified gaze to a gravelly path. It lead up the dangerous path of Mount Geneland and sitting to the side of this wide path was a strange creature, reading a map. This took Jonah's mind off his head making contact with the ground. The creature was trying to make it's way through the maze of pathways and tracks that wind in and out and through the mountain. Feeling tired he sat down further examining the crude map and stretched out his legs, all three of them.

Milltack had been making his way through the mountains for days and now at Mount Geneland itself, he found the journey harder than ever. His species were good for nothing more than assistants and never had good lives. He was being sent to the base of an old miner, apparently, to be taken on as a cleaner. Milltack knew that when the letter said cleaner, that by cleaner, it meant slave. However at least it offered him a life with an actual point as opposed to being a boring gardener on the lake back home. Back home where friendships were forbidden.

Milltack gathered some energy, picked himself up again and carried on up the winding path.

* * *

Alex entered his house with Captain Sherman, who had refused to leave his side. He shut the door and looked into his father's bedroom, half-hoping he'd be there smoking and telling him to "bugger off and mind your own business". Everything was how it had been when he left. Looking like a hurricane had swept in, taking the poor sod out of the window. Alex spent the next five minutes rummaging around every inch of the house for money, but for nothing as the the whole place was bare of any valuables at all. Unless you counted the Limited YR Edition beer mug his father won when he was 18. Hesitating too look Alex had short flashs of memories, which usually involved his dad towering over him pointing at the mug, making it perfectly clear that if Alex went anywhere near it, he'd get bollocked.

Oh well, what have I got to lose? Alex carefully hauled the huge mug off its prestigious place on the bare mantelpiece. Slightly suprised at himself, with a tiny flash of excitement, he saw something inside. Not money, but rather a letter. Adressed to himself. He yanked the letter out of the mug, mind awash with curiosity, holding his head with his other hand. Hastily wrenching open the cheap envelope, not even registering it had been slightly torn open at the end, he found money and the letter itself, which he laid out on the kitchen table.

Dear Alex,

So it comes to this. I know you wouldn't be foolish enough to find this under my care. Therefore, the only possible way you would be reading this right now would be because I have been taken from you. After almost thirteen years, it is finally time to come clean. Alex, I will you everything but before I must apologise that you have had to find out the truth through a letter. If we ever do see each other again, which I'm afraid is highly doubtful, I will explain but this is irrelevant now. The only way to describe what happened would be to start at the beginning. Some twenty years before you were born. It was a bright warm sunny day, me and your uncle were out messing about around the woods, near the outskirts of the Acaporo Forest. As you know, by the small village Blackstock. We were teenagers then and we noticed a bright, golden ball of light in the woods. Intrigued, we followed this light, entering the trees. The light zoomed further into the wood and we eagerly followed. After what seemed like an hour we realised the surrounding trees were so thick all daylight had disappeard. I got scared and wento to turn back but your uncle was almost in a trance. So being the younger brother, I had to stay with him as I was too frigthened to leave alone. Following this mysterious light deeper into this wood untill we reached a dark clearing. The light stopped, suspended in front of use, dazzling our eyes and senses at the same time. I felt a strong desire to reach out and grab this object that gave the impression of being a tiny star. Leon looked like he had the same feeling as I checked his reaction. Whilst doing so I noticed to the side of him, a face hidden in the trees. All I could see were two closed eyes of white and a white outline of a mouth. They looked like they had been drawn on a blackboard in thick white chalk. Despite the brightness of the golden fireball which was increasing rapidly, the trees circling the clearing remained pitch black. I saw the face, my line of sight transfixed, every single thought I had ever had was washed away. Replaced with one single, solitary feeling that if Leon touched the ball, something terrible would happen. I was powerless as his hand disappeared into the light and as it did a colossal wind blew dangerously all around. The golden light changed to black yet still shone beautifully, which sounds impossible I know. Beautiful yet evil at the same time. I looked back in utter horror at the face which now had an unmistakeably mad smile upon itself, etched in the darkness, the chilling white outline. That was all I remembered of that day.

When we both came to, we were in a stone cell, jagged rocks everwhere, lying on cold stone beds. That's when we first came face to face with him.......

Alex stared in disbelief. The main bulk of the letter had been ripped out. He read what remained after hasty tear.

felt disgusted, but it had to be done. Thats why I have been so distant from you. To protect you. It was inevitable Alex. So now you at least know the horrors and hardships I went through at such a young age. Why I am the way that I am. Why I HAD to be the way that I.....was. Because that is what I am to you now. The past.

Now listen carefully, you must destroy this letter so read it well. Read it, remember it, burn it and then eat it. I'm being totally serious, the information contained within these pages, when in the wrong hands, could be disastrous. I trust you have nowhere to go so i have enclosed an address in this envelope along with some money. You must go there and stay, it is the home of a good friend of mine who helped me during the Emerald War. Go to your uncles and he will take you there. However, if luck has chosen to stick the finger up at both me and your uncle, he could also be gone. If this happens, go to the town square and seek out Jonny Grins. He lives at 23 Asteroid Street.

When you arrive at the adress, you stay there. You will have to leave your life in Blipen behind. Take what you need and say goodbye to any friends you may have. You'll be starting a new life in a safehaven where you must stay at all costs. Now I must say, or rather write, goodbye. I am sorry for all the pain I've probably caused you and hope you can forgive me in the circumstances involving your mother. Goodbye Alex, have a good life and above all else, DON'T GO AFTER THE STONES.

With love...Dad

The End

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