From the Mist

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story inspired by a picture prompt from Hullabaloo22.

Submitted: May 06, 2020

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Submitted: May 06, 2020

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Into the forest, she stared. Large circular orbs floated on the breeze between the trees. A haze grazed along underneath. Seras wondered what the haze was and saw as the orbs ruptured one by one, releasing the misty substance like a coating of thick fog. She donned her mask.

A rabbit scurried toward its burrow upon a hill a few feet inside the iridescent substance. Its coughing cries echoed from the fog before it rolled back down the hill and bumped her foot. The mist must be noxious. Seras leaned down and felt the rabbit's body. Its little heart raced underneath its fur, thumping away like a concerto on steroids. She wondered if it would live.

She pulled her bow from its harness, sweeping it in front of her to create an air current. Seras didn't know if touching the mist would be as harmful as breathing it, but she would do her best to redirect it around her. Moving forward, she kept an eye on the orbs, making sure they weren't aware of her presence and just floating along like normal spores. Many were the size of her fists, but some showed the potential to get extremely large as a few bumped each other and merged, doubling in size.

She felt the need to move quicker and fanned her bow faster to split the mist and its spore mines. The current of air created a whirling force ahead of her, pulling several large spores her way. She almost froze but swiftly moved through the current to put her on the far side of the vortex. She glanced back as she plodded up the hill. The orbs met and grew just as the others did previously.

The orb's coalescence was humongous. It looked like a massive globular virus with its spiky surface tendrils. They all had them—the spikes. It made them look wicked and sinister. Seras shivered and decided to move onward, leaving the gigantic bubble to float along and rupture as it collided with a nearby tree. Her constant fanning kept the mist away pretty well. A few stray layers sometimes touched her boots, leaving little glowing flecks on the leather. She knew better than to leave them on there and would rinse them off as soon as she found a creek or something.

The leaves under her feet crunched from her weight, and some small twigs snapped as she stepped across the top of the hill. What was that? Her head spun. Her eyes noticed a shaded streak darting through the mist beyond her range. The hilltop seemed strangely barren of the mist and orbs, but its presence still hung in the air a good fifty feet around her. She nocked an arrow. The strange shadow still shifted from time to time. Seras followed it with her bow, her breath increasing at the added level of uncertainty.

Being hunted wasn't what she had wanted when she agreed to do this expedition for her father. His failing health had made it impossible for him to explore anymore, but he implored his youngest daughter to retrieve a certain item for him—one that might bring back his health and vigor. It was known to exist but only in one place—the Isle of Beasts—Bangalor. The item—a rare bloom of rose known as the Fire Spark. Seras wanted more than anything to see her father vibrant and moving again, but he hadn't mentioned the different monsters she'd have to face just to get to the location of the bloom.

This creature, whatever it was, wasn't known to anyone. The others had been easy, almost nonsensical. Salamander Squirrels, Boorish Bulls, and the infamous Giant Jackrabbit with orange-red fur were all just mutations of normal critters that roamed all over the land of Aramos. They were larger, of course, and intimidating, especially the Salamander Squirrels. Their ferocious barking was more than enough to frighten the crap out of anyone. Being as big as a dog was also a major factor. She had wondered why they even called them Salamander Squirrels until one spit a fiery nut her way, causing a small explosion behind her as she walked by.

Now, she was facing something new. This beast wasn't on the list of monsters to face; neither was the mist and the spores. Her bow remained in front of her taut and ready to fire. The hair on her neck was rising with the tension. The shadow skirted the edge of the mist, moving with great speed but never causing it to part or break. Seras was getting agitated.

"Come on out, you bastard!" Sweat ran down her forehead. The shadow stirred again. Seras fired the arrow she had ready, letting it fly into the mist, quickly pulling another out and readying it for another volley. The shadow paused long enough for her to see its outline. She wished she hadn't seen it.

A gleam of red sparkled through the mist—two little gleams, actually, like the eyeshine of some animals. Seras' skin erupted in goosebumps. But, it wasn't the eyeshine that had caused it but the actual shape of the creature. Skeletal, sinewy, and moving a bit erratically, it looked like a rabbit standing on its hind legs. But, that couldn't be, she thought. There are no creatures like that in all of Paramore. Not even in the myths and legends.

Her heart raced. The bow she held started to shake from uncertainty and fear. It emerged from the eerie glow of the mist. Slowly, it glanced around. Small jerky motions accompanied its limbs and head as if it was dead but still trying to move. Seras nearly screamed but held her tongue. Her lips trembled from terror. Her fingers released the string, letting a whistling arrow soar forth and find its mark.

Thwack! The arrow embedded in the chest of the darkened skin monstrosity. It jerked forward. Its eyes focused on her thin frame standing in the clearing. Its jaws opened, releasing a howl that shrieked and pierced her eardrums with a shrill of unexpected sounds. Seras' blood pounded through her veins. Her body froze as it began to move toward her. She closed her eyes, expecting death instantly.

Heavy breathing vapor floated across her face. It reeked of fish and milk. The wet rough feel of sandpaper streaked across her nose, and a thump from something swatted her forehead. Seras cautiously opened her eyes. Her cat sat next to her, staring at her face.

"Meowr," he greeted her with his usual good morning.

"Thanks, Magnus, you saved me from a horrible one this time." Seras reached up, scratching him behind the ear. Then, the light from a passing car raced across her window, and her nightmare's shadow appeared on the wall.  

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2020 A.K.Taylor. All rights reserved.

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