The Ninth Stone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: White Raven Fantasy

Deep in the forest, lies a stone slab. Carved into this stone are nine sockets. Eight of these sockets have crystals in them. The ninth is empty. When the ninth crystal is discovered by a young woman called Kati Flame, she unwittingly places it in the empty socket. An innocent gesture that turns out to have deadly consequences.




I stroll lazily through the forest. Yellow sunlight slants down in between gaps in the trees, dappling the muddy forest floor with yellow-gold light. The air is still and peaceful, smelling faintly of pine and earth. In the distance a stream gurgles. A chickadee chirps. A slight breeze stirs the leaves of the birch trees and causes the branches of the conifers to sway and brush against one another, making it sound like the trees were sighing.

 

Then I see it. It shatters the peace of the forest, radiating a sense of evil. Dark, vile. 

 

A slab of slate. Atop it, nine notches. Eight are filled with shining silver-black crystals. The ninth, empty. 

 

Despite the aura of darkness the emanates from it, I'm drawn to the stone. I kneel in the muddy grass next to it. My fingers feel the empty notch. My mind tells me to run, to destroy this thing and run, but my body doesn't move. My fingers leave the empty socket, and find my necklace. I finger the stone charm. My body moved on it's own accord. I rip the necklace from my neck. The charm, a rounded peace of silver-black stone. Identical to those in the slate slab. 

 

I remove the stone from the chain. It was a gift from my grandmother, the necklace. Or was it? My mind grows hazy. My vision swims. I press the stone into the socket, the empty notch. I hear someone laugh.

 

My skull cracks against a tree.

 

•••

 

I'm lying on he forest floor. Sunlight no longer streams through the trees, but ghostly moonlight. My eyes are unfocused. My head spins.

 

My eyes finally focus. 

 

I find myself staring into a pair of human eyes. With irises red as blood.

 

"Your awake," someone purrs. They move, and I crane my neck to follow them. They rise up. I see a man silhouetted against the trees. 

 

I try to make noise, to yell for help, to scream at this strange man, but when I open my mouth all that comes out is a strange croaking sound. 

 

"Stand up," the man purrs again. My feet move without my consent, and suddenly I'm standing. The man is at least a head taller than me, and slim. For a second I want to run. I think about punching him and fleeing. 

 

"Don't even think about it." He spits, and the thoughts vanish from my mind. 

 

I tell myself not to immediately assume the worst, that I could have slipped down and this man could have saved me, but when I see his red-eyed gaze, terror wells up inside of me.

 

Whoever this man is, he's not entirely human. 

 

Or maybe not human at all. 

 

Some of the fog shrouding my mind dissipates, and memories flood back in its place. The slate. The ninth stone. The laugh. Hitting the tree. Then blackness. 

 

"Who are you?" I demand, trying my best to hide the tremor in my voice and my shaking hands. I curl my fingers into fists. 

 

"My name is Nardoj. Thank you for freeing me." I would have laughed but terror stole my humour.

 

"Freeing you? What?" I choke out. My throat feels like it is closing up. Fear gnaws at my insides. 

 

"From my prison. I wasn't the only one you freed though, thousands and thousands of ghosts that will become my army!" He shouts, then throws his hands up in the air. 

 

"I did no such thing." I spit, indignant. I want to run. The demon-man's or whatever's red eyes glow. I'm rooted to he spot. I can't move.

 

"Why can't I move?!" I shout at him. My voice is returning, slowly. I can scream now.

 

"Because I don't want you to." His red eyes shine even brighter. "I ruled for eons because of my gift, my ability of control over people. But then I, and my spirit-army, were imprisoned in that stone. It was sealed with nine keys, in the form of stones. Only if all stones were placed in the notches in the rock could he Prison be opened or sealed. Over he years people wishing to free me have placed the stones in the notches, but until you came along with the ninth stone I couldn't be free." He laughs, a maniacal sound. "So, thank you, but I have a world to take over."

 

He raises his hands again, and white mist begins to float in between the tightly packed pine trees. Then the mist takes shape. Thousands and thousands of misty figures drift through the trees. 

 

"Goodbye." Nardoj says, then throws me against a tree. Again.

 

I hear a crack. Then nothing.

 

•••

 

I awake in a comfy bed. Safely out of the forest. Everything feels like just a bad dream. Then I hear the screaming. I jump from the bed and briefly wonder where I am. The bed is rickety and wooden, with a lilac and black bedspread and pale purple sheets. The walls are a darker shade of purple. Next to the bed is an ancient looking nightstand cluttered with odds and ends like sowing needles, pieces of thread and scraps of fabric. Not at all like my room, spacious with pale blue walls and bright LED lights, so unlike the cramped and dimly lit space I'm in. 

 

An ear-splitting scream jars me out of my confusion. I race to the tiny window on the far wall of the room. Peering out, I realize it wasn't just a bad dream. White misty figures drift about the streets, some chasing people and other milling about casually, causing utter panic without much effort.

 

"Ah! You're awake!" A short, thin, elderly woman with a Spanish accent burst into the room. She's smiling and her eyes are bright, despite the chaos raining outside. 

 

"Umm... yeah." I answer, uncertain what to say.

 

"My name is Miss Comuno, nice to meet you!" She holds out her hand, and I shake it. "And your name is?"

 

"Kati Falme," I reply. "Would you mind telling me how I got here?" 

 

"Ah! Well you were laying in the ground when I found you, you were unconscious and bleeding from the back of you're head! So I brought you in here, bandaged you up and put you in the bed to sleep." 

 

I nod.

 

"Do you know what's going on outside?" I ask quietly. Someone screams again. And again. Each one a nail driving into my skull.

 

Miss Comuno shakes her head no. 

 

"I have to go." I whisper.

 

"What no! You're probably concussed or worse! You cannot!" She shouts, but I'm already sprinting out of the house. 

 

•••

 

I stand face-to-face with Nardoj. Everything after leaving the room is a blur, I thanked the lady for saving me, then got out of the house as fast as possible. 

 

I ignore the ghosts that swarm around me on either side. My full attention on Nardoj. I glare at him, my gaze filled with anger. 

 

"You don't know what you're doing little girl." He states, red eyes filled with malice. Strangely enough, I don't feel any fear. I feel nothing, and think that maybe I have reached a place beyond fear, where my emotions are too strong and complex for my mind to comprehend, so they are blocked out entirely. 

 

"I don't know and I don't really care. My instincts, and the fact you plan to use harmless spirits to terrorize the world for some twisted reason, tell me your a bad man." I pause, looking him straight in the eye. Something seems to shift in my mind, and he suddenly doesn't look so stark and scary, he looks almost human, mortal. "And I've learned that bad men need to be stopped and punished."

 

He lets out a growl that sounds more animal than human. He glows with rage, looking ready to tear me apart. But another thing I had learned was never to back down, so I stand my ground. I wait until he draws closer, almost touching me, then I throw a viscous punch. It catches him unaware, and he stumbles backwards. He snarls at me, and I give him a malicious grin in return.  

 

"You can't beat me girl!!" He bellows, then lunges for me. I dodge, but not before he manages to punch me in the side. I grimace with the pain. A memory surfaces, incomplete and vague like an old and faded photograph. My grandmother hands me two chains, each with a stone on it. One is black-ish silver and cold, and the other one is glistening white and slightly warm. 'I ask. She smiles half-heartedly. She replies. I nod. 

 

I've worn those two necklaces ever since. 

 

The black one unleashed Nardoj. The white one had to send him away, locking him back up. 

 

I pull out the white necklace, and hurl it at Nardoj. 

 

It flashes brightly, and then he light fades, along with Nardoj. I pick it up, and remark a tiny figure on the surface. 

 

A tiny Nardoj bangs his fists angrily on the surface of the white stone, from the inside. I laugh and stick my tongue out, remastering the stone around my neck. 

 

With a smile of satisfaction, I walk away.





Submitted: June 20, 2017

© Copyright 2022 R.K. Stone. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Vance Currie

I have marked a few corrections, mainly concerning dialogue. You got it right sometimes and not others, so I think the errors are just bloopers. In the seventh to last paragraph, there is an unfinished sentence in a different type. I think something is missing but I can guess what it is. I hope you don't mind these comments but the story is so well written in other respects that I thought it worth correcting. I do like your writing style. It is so easy to read. Being such a short story, it leaves a lot to the imagination, but I rather like that. It could probably be expanded out it no a much longer story but I like it the way it is. Well done. ~ Joe

Tue, June 20th, 2017 10:03pm

hullabaloo22

A really enjoyable read, R.K.

Sat, June 24th, 2017 6:31pm

R.K. Stone

I wrote this a while back, before reminding it and thought to post it. I didn't bother to proof read it because it was a couple years old so I assumed that I'd already done all that. I guess not
(???). In the future I will make sure to always proofread, because even if I did it before there's always a chance something slipped (???) .

Mon, July 3rd, 2017 1:04pm

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