Echoes to Avalon

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

The haunting journey of a doomed traveler.

The cold mud of what was barely passable as a road seeped into his shoes as he slogged his way up the raised road. To both sides, as far as the eye could see, were the vibrant colours of spring buried beneath stifling fog. The strangely muted beauty was lost on this traveler; he had other things to occupy his mind. The most obvious was the not-so-subtle follower behind him.
This second traveler walked in the exact footsteps of the first. He was dressed as the first traveler was; in a cloak of black with the hood worn low enough to obscure his face. This man had been behind the first since he had started his journey to Avalon. He had chosen the darkest and dirtiest of forks at each junction to try and deter his stalker, but to no avail. The fog grew thicker with each branch of the path. He had tried quickening his pace to get away from him, but the shadow quickened his stride as well, still in the first's footsteps. The first tried slowing to lure the stalker closer, but again the stalker matched his steps.
At the next junction a third man joined the party, this time ahead of the first traveler. He, too, was dressed in a black cloak. He kept directly in front of the first man. The first was bewildered to find that he himself was walking in the exact foot steps of the third man. No matter how hard he tried to avoid it, his foot found the next indention in the mud. The fog grew thicker, to the point where the sun was nearly gone from the sky. As the sun disappeared, the man became increasingly anxious with every step.
When the sun had finally faded beyond perception, the traveler's nerves snapped and he ran as fast as his legs would allow. The shadow travelers burst into a sprint in the same instant, keeping the same pace as the first traveler. In the dark the traveler stumbled over a hole in the road, and ended up sprawled across the road with all his possessions scattered around him. Only his dagger stayed by his side. The shadow travelers froze and remained motionless like statues. The traveler struggled to his feet; there he stood for a moment covered in mud breathing heavily. There was no movement. No hint of life, save for the mud covered traveler's breathing. Silence.
A blood curlting scream exploded from the traveler's throat. He drew his dagger and ran shrieking at the stalker behind him. Just before he was able to strike, the hood fell from the stalker's face. Beneath it was the face of the original traveler. The blade pierced the breast of the copy before the traveler had a chance to react. The traveler screamed again as the flesh fell from the copy's face as if it were never truly attached, revealing a skull which smiled grotesquely at him as its eyes and tongue fell from its face. The skull laughed in the face of the traveler and crumbled into dust beneath the cloak.
The traveler turned to run again but the third traveler was now right behind him. Two fleshless hands reached out for the traveler and took a solid hold of his body. The hood fell from the third traveler's head, revealing another skull which cackled madly in the traveler's face. All colour disappeared from the traveler's body.
To the west the fog was cleared by a deep green light exposing yet another path and beyond it a towering castle silhouetted by the light. The towers of the castle were gnarled and jutting out at unreal angles.
"Calm now, friend," hissed the skull. "You've arrived." The skull burst into more hysterical laughter. A third hand appeared from beneath the folds of the cloak with a silver dagger in its grasp. The traveler could only look on in horror as his own chest was slowly carved out. He couldn't muster so much as a whimper as the blade sunk deeper into his flesh. The traveler weakened and finally slumped into the arms of the skull. The skull lifted the lifeless body into his arms and started down the path to the castle as hollow laughter echoed all around in the darkness.

Submitted: September 29, 2007

© Copyright 2021 Jonathan Childers. All rights reserved.

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This really is a beautiful piece. Try promoting it more.
It's nearly flawless.

Sat, June 7th, 2008 7:33pm

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