Tendrils Of The Dark

Crex cawed as he took off from the branch he had been sitting on. The noise was so sudden it made Isaac jump. He circled above them a few times then started flying away.

"He wants us to follow him." the angel said.

"But he's flying toward Alastor!" Isaac yelled. "We can't just rush a giant flaming demon! He'd step on us, literally!"

"The alternative is we let Sedusa die." Michael spoke solemnly.

Isaac stuttered, then tried to think of a way around it. There had to be a way to not run to their deaths. After all, I thought violence was never the answer? He let himself grin then looked to the people already following the undead bird. Doesn't matter. We'll win anyway. Good guys always do, don't they?

He ran to catch up to the rest of the party. The centaurs arm could have served as a flashlight, and they just about needed one. The smoky clouds were thicker now. Or maybe the sun had set? He didn't care either way.

As they crested a small hill, he became aware of a faint buzzing. He ignored it, there were too many things in this world to worry over that.

There was a gentle wind that passed over him. No one else seemed to notice. But something felt wrong, like there wasn't quite enough air to breathe.

"There she is!" Vlad shouted. They started running, but Isaac stayed back. Crex was completely flipping out! He was doing loops, spirals, diving toward the ground, flying straight up. And up. And he kept going.

"Crex." he tried to yell, but was so captivated by what was happening above this undead bird, he couldn't force his voice louder than a whisper. The clouds had seemingly started to boil. They were rolling in waves, erratically rising and falling, moving side to side. It convulsed once more, then the whole thing started coming down toward the ground.

"I wish I could blame this on an acorn." Isaac muttered.

Crex flew right by his ear towards the others. Hopefully he'll be able to warn them. he thought. The buzzing was growing louder by the minute. The black cloud was still falling, and still getting faster.

Isaac's heart raced, unsure of what to do. The buzzing was still louder. Individual shapes started to pull away from the cloud, and his stomach lurched.

The cloud was made of a swarm, at least a few million, of the flying scorpions. This set off a chain reaction in his mind, memories flooded back to him.

He was fighting... something. Something huge. He was in the desert. There was fire everywhere. Snippets of information came to him. The scorpions were the adult form of the white insects. The rain had been falling eggs, filled with the larva.

How do I know that? he asked himself. There was no answer. But there was one other thing, though it made the least sense of it all. It was a name; Nyoki. He had no idea who they were,  if they were good or bad, he just knew the name.

Then he felt something he hadn't felt in a while. The tendrils of darkness were digging into him. Running over and through him like wind, yet solid enough he should have been able to touch it. But it was so much stronger then before, unbearably so.

More images flashed before his eyes. The fire in the desert. He had been burning the insects. There were shadow forms of different people, faceless people. And they were burning. Falling into the grey dust and sending it into the air in plumes. There was pain...

That's no memory! the sting brought his focus back, the dark wind still dancing around his limbs. His arm throbbed where he had been stung, and he felt like he was going to be sick. His head was pounding, and he could have sworn he heard a voice.

Heat was boiling inside him, and he tried to repress it as he always did. But it wasn't working. He frantically pushed with all his fading minds strength. His vision was blacking out.

The heat was growing too fast. Even if he had been able to push against it it still would have won. And worse, the wind was now painfully sharp. Or maybe he was being stung more? He couldn't see at all by this point.

He shouted as he used the last of his strength to try to push the heat back down, and lost consciousness.

Or had he? He was floating in darkness, colors swirled around him in unrecognizable forms. No pattern of any kind to be seen.

"No!" he shouted into the dark. Not again, not again, not again...

The fire inside of him had taken total control, and there was no way in this world, or perhaps any other, to force it to give control back.

The End

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