Starlight Silhouettes: Chapter Three - The Strange Boy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A beautiful boy and a sea of red eyes.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Starlight Silhouettes: Chapter Three - The Strange Boy

Submitted: January 07, 2009

Reads: 361

Comments: 5

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Submitted: January 07, 2009

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Chapter Three: The Strange Boy

 

When Ariel awoke she felt like she had slept upon a rock, and she had no idea where she was or how she had gotten there. Opening her eyes, she saw a strange face with eyes fixed on her. She screamed and searched the ground for something to hit the stranger with. Finding a rock of moderate size, she swung at the air in front of her. She had meant to throw it but she was too frightened to release her grip. She tried again. This time the stone went soaring through the air. It hit the stranger square in the forehead, and he toppled to the ground.

Ariel was struck with disbelief. She waited for the stranger to move, he did not. Turning to her surroundings, Ariel saw that she was in a cave of blue stone with a clear pool of water in the center. Different colors of the glowing flowers were scattered about, filling the room with an enchanting incandescence. There were no creatures present, excepting several starfish in and around the water. Ariel had always thought starfish seemed more like plants than animals. After taking a few deep breaths, Ariel's memory came rushing back to her. She remembered everything and wondered why she was not dead. Piecing it together, she realized that this stranger must have saved her life. She also became aware that she had given a very inappropriate 'thank you' to her rescuer, and she felt bad.

An icy tingle attacked her legs as she stood and walked cautiously over to the stranger. "I hope I didn't kill him," she spoke much louder than intended as she knelt down to inspect him. Had she been asked to guess his age, she would have said sixteen. He was dressed in green clothes that were accented with golden leaf-like patterns up the arms and around the collar. Dark blonde hair (the color that her hair had been before leaving Earth) framed his face, slightly shaggy and messy in just the right way.

Ariel thought he was very attractive, which gave rise to a strange discomfort in the back of her mind. She realized that she had never been physically attracted to a boy, and especially not an unconscious boy. She could see already that the injury was not even bleeding. All the same she brushed the hair back to get a better look at his facial features, which seemed almost alien in their perfection. To call him handsome would be insufficient. In truth, he was the most beautiful boy that she had ever set eyes upon.

Ariel was captivated, and her hand inadvertently drifted from the stranger's forehead to his cheek. She was getting a bit carried away, now. Tracing his lips with her fingertips, Ariel closed her eyes for a brief moment. Her imagination became shamefully indulgent. So carried away had she become, that she even lowered her head so that there were mere inches separating the two pairs of lips. Ariel opened her eyes and her heart stopped beating. The most astonishing pair of emerald eyes were staring back at her.

At first she couldn't move, breathe, or even think. The seconds passed like hours, counting down till the moment when the shock of it all would surely cause her death.

Instead, the emerald-eyed stranger spoke in words she understood, "What are you doing?"

There was genuine curiosity in his voice. Ariel snapped out of it and stumbled clumsily to her feet.

Now Ariel had not interacted with new acquaintances in quite some time, especially those of different gender. She became overly conscientious of her behavior and began apologetically, "Oh, um... sorry about the... er, and thanks for the, um, I mean thank you very much for.. well for what you must've..," this was not working out well at all. Then her thoughts shifted from etiquette to suspicion as she asked, "wait a second, who are you?"

"My name is Atomis"

"Pleased to meet you, I'm Ariel," she lapsed into the formalities of introductions.

"I know" matter-of-factly.

"Well you shouldn't, since we've never met, so tell me what's going on. Who are you? And what was that thing that attacked me? ," Ariel looked around, "and where are we, anyways? And," she brought her attention back to Atomis, "who ARE you?" She had meant to sound stern, but fatigue caused her voice to ring with a puerile plaintiveness that was generally adorable.

"I will answer these questions, but perhaps you want rejuvenation?" it was more of a suggestion than a question.

Ariel had always thought of 'rejuvenation' as something one's body did on its own, but Atomis seemed to be offering 'rejuvenation' as though it were tangible. Ariel followed him as he knelt beside the small pool of water in the center of the cave. He cupped the crystalline water in his hands, and Ariel watched as it transformed into a reflective silver color.

"Cup your hands beneath mine," Atomis instructed.

As she did, many glimmering droplets of silvery liquid fell from his hands to hers.

"It will quench your thirst, among other things. To answer your questions, this place is a sanctuary where you are safe from the nephilim."

"You mean the thing that attacked me, right?"

"They are a negative essence."

"They? So there's more than one?"

"The nephilim are such that their number cannot be counted."

"What the hell does that even mean? And what the hell are the nephilim?"

"Please calm yourself. I will explain to the best of my ability. However, please understand that my memories are incomplete. The being that attacked you was, as I said, a negative essence manifested in physical form. I know them to be called by the name "Nephilim". I do not know why this is their name, but I know it as surely as I know that everything within me is opposed to their existence. They are fear and hate and hopelessness, and they must be stopped. Is that a sufficient explanation?"

He bowed his head slightly as though concluding a speech.

"No. No it isn't. Because you haven't told me anything. If those things are just hate-essence stuff then why do they look like giant demon-spiders?"

"That was decided by you. The nephilim exist as the manifestation of the fear and hate inside you. They appear as the embodiment of your terror, the most frightening thing you can imagine."

"But why are they here? There isn't any life on this planet, not even an insect."

"I do not know such things."

"Well what about yourself? Who are you and why did you know my name?"

"I am Atomis. I was sealed in this sanctuary to await the arrival of the one who would destroy the seal and awaken me."

"Do you mean to tell me that I made all this happen by falling into those glowing flowers?

"Flowers?"

"Nevermind, I suppose that makes about as much sense as anything else. I've definitely never met any boys named Atomis. Why do you look so strange?"

"That was decided by you. I speak your language, and my appearance embodies your aesthetic projection of a companion. I was sealed in this sanctuary so that I may serve as a guardian to the one who breaks the seal. Since you broke the seal, you are my master and I will give my life to defend you from harm."

"And what about your past, mister guardian-defender? Don't you have any memories of before you were put here to wait?"

"I do not."

"You don't know where you come from?"

"I was created by one who is called Ancient."

"The Ancient?"

"Correct. We must find the Ancient and ask him how to eliminate the nephilim."

"Speaking of which, how is it that you were able to save me?"

"I will demonstrate," Atomis said, and the next moment his eyes flashed with a bright green light. In the space between Ariel and Atomis, a small white object protruded from the ground. It expanded like a balloon being inflated, and took the shape of a mushroom. Within a few seconds the large white mushroom was as tall as a person.

"What's going on? How're you doing this?"

Atomis did not respond, but his eyes continued to glow as green vines crept up around the mushroom. The vines were sharp like razor wire, and they began to choke and shred the mushroom. Within moments the person-sized mushroom was reduced to bits and pieces. Atomis eyes had finally stopped glowing when he looked over to Ariel and asked, "Was that sufficient?"

"It's impossible," Ariel said in disbelief, talking more to herself than to Atomis. "Why is all this happening?"

Not realizing that the question was rhetorical, Atomis replied, "The Ancient can tell us. We must find him at once."

"All I want to do is go home. I don't belong here," and she began to walk around the perimeter of the room. 

Upon the farthest wall there was something that Ariel had thought to be a shadow, but she now saw it was a hole in the smooth blue stone. It was filled in with wiry strips that criss-crossed in every direction, patching up the wall in a very tight seal. As Ariel stepped toward the seal, a few flowers around it began shining brightly in response to her presence. "What's this?"

"It is the only passage that connects this sanctuary with the rest of the underground. This wall was the seal that you broke to awaken me. I replaced the seal after bringing you here."

"Then we can leave this way. Can you take me home, back to the settlement?"

"If that is what you want. We can leave immediately," and he began walking toward the seal.

"Wait. Isn't it possible that there's more nephilim out there?"

"It is not a possibility but a certainty."

"How many?"

"Their numbers increase with each passing moment," he pause before casually adding, "Shall we proceed?"

"But I don't want to go among hideous monsters. Isn't there some other way?"

"There is no other way out. You want to leave, do you not?"

"Yes, but what about the hundreds of nephilim?"

"I will fight them until I can no longer fight."

"Look, that's very noble and all but I just want to get home alive. Isn't there some way that we could get past them without fighting? Perhaps we could sneak by without them noticing."

"They are already waiting."

"So what're we supposed to do, just walk around in the dark with all those horrible things?"

"Would you prefer to walk in the light?"

"Shutup. Wait, that's it! Earlier, when I screamed, the glowing flower dust on me grew very bright, and the nephilim seemed to be afraid of it. What do you know about the shining flowers?"

"Only that they did not shine until you arrived."

"Can you make them grow?"

Atomis replied by causing a small patch of shining flowers to bloom around Ariel's feet.

"Alright," she concluded, "We'll have to walk slow..."

 
*
 

It was a vague and hastily contrived plan, but a plan nonetheless. Ariel and Atomis stood side by side as the wiry black strips twisted away to reveal a tunnel leading out of the sanctuary and into the perilous darkness. Synchronizing their steps, they walked slowly on a path of glowing flowers. The demonic insects with red eyes began to gather around them as Atomis instructed, "This direction". In addition to the flowers that blossomed continuously around them, Atomis was bringing up razor sharp vines with six-inch spikes. Any nephilim who were not kept at a distance by the light were entangled and torn to shreds.

Ariel could hardly believe what was happening. Ariel could see the monstrous insects at the edge of the light, and more red eyes were swarming in the shadows beyond. She was walking very close to Atomis, and their hands accidentally touched. Ariel saw Atomis glance down at her trembling hand. His hand clasped hers gently, as though joined in prayer.

This was so very comforting to Ariel that she intertwined her fingers with his, squeezing his hand affectionately. As soon as she did this, she began to blush with embarrassment. Hadn't she just met this boy a few minutes ago? What if he didn't want to hold her hand? What if he didn't like her?

She looked timidly over to Atomis. He was also glowing now, but remained looking forward and said only one word, "Concentrate." Ariel became aware that her light had centralized in her hand. Then she realized that the glow of the flowers had diminished so that the majority of their defense was dependant on constriction from the spiked vines that Atomis controlled. 

Remembering that they were in mortal danger, Ariel cleared her mind and focused on not wanting to die. It was the first time she had walked with a boy like this, and despite the threat of impending death surrounding her, it was actually rather lovely. Together they walked along a shining path of flowers, blossoming just for them. Ariel wanted to walk slower.

 
*
 

They passed through an archway and into another room where Atomis sealed off the entrance. As patches of glowing flowers sprung up to illuminate the room, Ariel could see that that this room was scarcely larger that the sanctuary had been. Instead of a ceiling, the room seemed to stretch upward into darkness. Draped from wall to wall were the giant spiderwebs that Ariel had fallen into previously. She could see now how closely they resembled thin strips of tattered silk.

"Aren't those the webs that the spider monsters make? Doesn't that mean that there's nephilim here too?"

"Incorrect. Those are organic formations that occur naturally on this planet."

"Like plants? So you can control them too?"

"I intend to."

His eyes aglow, Atomis twisted the strips of silk and brought down vines from the darkness to form something like a long seat which he covered with dozens of flowers. Suspended and silken, Ariel’s first thought was that it looked like a multi-person swing. As if responding to her thoughts, Atomis said, "Please have a seat."

When she sat down she remembered how much she loved swings, and the softness and fragrance of the flowers made this swing particularly lovely. It was surprisingly supportive, and Ariel felt secure as Atomis sat down next to her and they began slowly ascending. She couldn't think of anything to say, and she fidgeted with her necklace while staring down at her feet, nervously kicking the air. Ariel thought that she should thank Atomis properly, or apologize, or say something intimate, but she couldn't even bring herself to look in his eyes. The swing stopped and it was Atomis who broke the silence, "We are not close enough to step off, so we will have to swing onto the ledge."

Looking up, Ariel saw a ledge that was considerably large, but several feet away. Atomis began rocking back and forth and Ariel joined in. Soon they swayed like a pendulum over the ledge, and it was Ariel who gave the order, "We'll jump on three."

"One"
"Two"
"Three!"

And they were floating weightlessly for a moment before landing on the sandy surface of the ledge. Atomis got up and walked to the wall, he felt around for a moment before saying, "We have to push this out of the way."

At first the large stone did not budge an inch. Then it suddenly dislodged and rolled forward as a cascade of light flooded the darkness.


© Copyright 2019 PoisonHeart. All rights reserved.

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