Of Wolves and Watchers

Sophie looked around for a brief second before walking into the woods in front of her.  She walked looking this way and that on her right she could see trees stretching far off into the distant. On the left the land sloped downwards with the trees thinning as they went until it dropped off into a cliff. She made her way down hill to the cliff thinking that this would probably be the best place to see her surroundings on a ground level. She reached the edge and looked down. She could see the bottom some way down. Maybe 20ft. She looked up she could see the other side of the ravine. It wasn’t that far but it was still too far to jump.

She set off to her left following the edge. She went closer to the tree line so that she was not likely to lose her footing and fall into the ravine. She walked for what seemed like and age. She was thirsty but had not yet found a water source. The artificial sun on the roof was beginning to get closer towards setting. Eventually she could see a vast shining in front of her. She picked up the pace and began to jog.

 She broke through the remaining tree line. She found herself at the edge of a vast lake. She went further forwards and knelt next to the water. Forming a cup shape with her hands she put them into the water. She instantly felt the soothing feeling the cool water was giving out. She bought her hands to her mouth and drank the water. She did this a couple more times before noticing how quiet it was. She looked around, there was no movement in the trees and the other banks were empty. The water’s surface was still. Slowly she backed off back up towards a tree. She climbed up it so that she was concealed in the leaves. Quite suddenly she realised that the sun was setting. The she noticed a black mass creeping down the banks to where she had been only moments earlier. She could hear it snuffling as if it was trying to smell where she was. It stopped on the bank before coming towards where she sat. At first it was quite slow but it gradually gained speed. She saw the sheen of the claws on its upper limbs and a stench of dried blood began to envelop her senses. The black fur was splayed in all directions and it stuck out in tufts in places whilst it lay flat in other. It had muscles flexed each time it moved. Two eyes that shone silver reflected the moonlight.

She racked her brain thinking of stories she had read when she was younger. It didn’t take long for her to know what it was. A Werewolf! She looked around frantically as an animal trapped in a cage does. When the Werewolf reached the trees base it stopped and stood up to its full height. It must have been at least 6ft tall and it began to sniff. Suddenly an arrow flew out of the bushes. It hit the wolf in the thigh. It yelped and turned to growling. A second arrow hit it in the chest. It fell backwards and let out a high pitched howl. Sophie’s blood froze, the howl filled the night. Other howls answered it. The majority sounded incredibly close. The werewolf began to get back up. A third arrow whistled into its throat. The wolf gurgled as it tried to breathe before slumping back against the tree dead. Out of the bushes came multiple people whose statue suggested that they were about her age or slightly older. They had packs and the majority had weapons.

They walked towards the werewolf and checked it was dead before lighting some fires in a circle. They were setting up a camp. And she was stuck in the tree just within the circle. Once they had set up the fires and tents (Sophie wondered where they found these) they sat down around a smaller fire. She counted 3 of them but she couldn’t work out anything about them due to the hoods masking their faces. They began to have a conversation and Sophie listened to what they were saying.

“Do you know how many people are left?” the first one said, He had a deep voice and seemed like he had seen a lot of action recently.

“Excluding us I guess that their is about 4 other people, most of them will have been injured by now especially if they didn’t find any equipment and also due to these werewolves which are swarming everywhere near here” This second person was female and sounded much older than Sophie

“Very true” the first person replied. “And also three of the rings are already gone meaning that there are only three left”.

“Indeed, didn’t it say that the rings representing water, air and earth were gone?”

“Yes it did and the Tundra just north of here houses the ice ring, there one of us will get the ring before the other two return here and go east to the volcano where the fire ring is and then..”

A loud speaker echoed out across the lake;

“Attention all potentials the ring of darkness has just been claimed only two to go and four of you left, happy hunting!”

Silence was now in the camp. The first two were looking at each other in what she could tell was looks of shock. Finally the third member spoke:

“Well it appears your master plan as failed” He chuckled to himself, “And so as I suspected I would have to do this if there is four of us left then the only logical explanation is that one of us here won’t get out of here.”

He looked up at the lakes surface. The first of the dawn’s rays broke over the horizon and glittered on the water.

“And so I therefore must do what is necessary”. With that he got up and walked over to the man. Sophie saw a glint of metal under his sleeve and the man fell backwards with a blade in his chest. Then the third guy took out a flare gun and fired it upwards. The woman grabbed her pack and fled towards the lake in a northwards direction. Then the man turned and looked up at Sophie. Grabbing the other pack he threw it up to her before pointing towards the direction of the woods to his left.

“That way is east I will wait for this guy’s transport out then I’m going to be coming for the volcano, you might want to hurry up and get a move on.

Sophie jumped from the tree and ran in the direction she showed. She shouldered the pack and kept going. She ran for an hour with only brief halts to catch her breath Then eventually the trees cleared and she could see a long river winding east towards some high cliffs and there further across the plain sat the volcano. Like a great scar it sat there. No smoke rose from its summit. Sophie opened the pack to finally see what was inside: rope, food, water, arrows but no bow and a small penknife. She closed the backpack and put it back on before the long hike towards the volcano.

When she reached its base the sun showed that it would soon be noon. A great black staircase lay in front of her she looked up and some way up she saw that it levelled out and went into the side of it. She began to climb, she counted the steps losing count around two hundred. A great opening was in the side of the volcano. Inside she could see the red light of lava. She exhaled before walking forwards into the opening down steps that led deep into the volcano.

The End

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