Dank Hollows

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man and his demons.

Submitted: December 18, 2007

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Submitted: December 18, 2007

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He walked among the forested hollows, moonlight filtering through dead pines, their arms reaching for a long departed hope. His haunted shape drifted through the rugged shadows, his grim silhouette darker than a new moon. A sharp wind cut through the trees, bringing their horrific tales of plague and suffering to all who could hear. The wind threw back his hood, pulling at his dark cloak, making it dance under its will, as discreet as a shadow in the night.

He trudged through the dead forests, his skeletal feet crushing the rotten soil, crumbling beneath his continuously diminishing weight. The stench of decomposition clogged his nostrils, the screaming silence of dead life penetrating his mind.

As he walked, the trees closed in around him, closer and closer, until their presence could belittle the strongest man. Yet he felt nothing. He walked on, ignorant by famine, thirst having overcome his sanity. In his madness, the branches whispered secrets and warnings to him, urging him forward, and holding him back.

The trees became tight around him, obscuring what was left of his vision. He kept walking, tumbling over the uneven ground, his mind drastically trying to focus, his thoughts unable to even remember his name.

Suddenly, he emerged from the trees. He was in a tranquil clearing, the decomposing earth giving way to a dark fungus, which gave off a more rancid scent than the foulest perfume. He glanced up, the murky clouds blocking out the sun.

In the middle of the clearing, a mystical fountain sat waiting. The fountain seemed natural, a random pile of rocks, with a bright red liquid filtering out the top. The hot liquid mellifluously cascaded over the glistening stones, creating a quiet tinkle, filling his mind with a calm and hypnotic serenity, giving the clearing a delusional feeling of restless death. The tumbling liquid settled in a pool at the base of the fountain, where an eerie glow emanated from its depths.

He approached the fountain, entranced by its corruption, terrified by its grandeur. He kneeled by the pool, his weak bones shaking in strain, the terrestrial fungus protesting against his disruption by releasing their protective toxic fumes.

He leaned over the pool, and saw nothing more than his own reflection in the foul liquid. His face was gaunt, his pale skin was thin and stretched, his eyes seemed to bulge out of their sockets, darting this way and that, as if trying to flee from his now psychopathic mind.

Absorbed in his own insanity, he drew his hand over the pond, his fingers dangling motionless above the fiery liquid, hovering out of its reach. He paused for a moment, watching the pond. All was quiet. Quiet.

Lightheaded from irrationality and thirst, his mind ached in hunger to comprehend the randomness of his situation. In the chaotic recesses of his mind, the remnants of his self fought an analytical war against the unhinged anarchy of his understanding. Little by little, his fragmented mentality pushed against his insanity, momentarily sending a stampede of memories through his cerebral core.

Memories flashed through his mind. A civilized town, rich with life, and then that memory dispersed, replaced by more, rushing in as a river breaking free from a ruined dam. A family, a life, followed by harsh images of fire, drought, famine, a forest, trees suffocating around him, a tinkle of water… Tinkle of water! The silence…

He woke from his enchantment with a start. He was on his knees in front of the mystical fountain, his hand still hovering over the pond. He was right, the fountain had stopped. He looked to the pond and stifled a startled gasp. It was alive.

The red liquid was circling under his hand, climbing upwards in a round bulge, slowly crawling vertically like an oddly-shaped bubble. Slowly, but continuously, it crept towards him, prepared to slowly devour him.

The water, though slow, was approaching his hand at an incoming rate. He pulled back his hand, and the demonic liquid dropped back into the pond, sending ripples in all directions, than lying still. His curiosity getting the better of him, he picked at the foul stanching fungus, ripping a chunk off the ground. The fungus responded with an exhaust of poisonous gas. He became nauseas, but his stomach had lacked any edible/regurgitable substance for days.

He tossed the morsel of fungus into the pond, and the moment the fungus fell to the hellish liquid, seeming to be in slow motion to his weary eyes. All of a sudden, the acid lunged, swallowing it's prey, then falling back into the pond, sending waves in all directions, then eventually lying still.

He looked at the now still acid, and he almost felt as if it were watching him, expecting at any moment for him to join the now-incarcerated fungus.

He sat on the ground, bewildered, and ignoring the protests of the now flattened fungus. He took a deep, ragged breath. He needed food and water; there was no doubt about that. His mind was fuzzy; his hunger and thirst rapidly diminishing his strength. His throat felt inflamed on the inside, a burning dryness that nothing more than water could quench.

He swore to himself silently, his throat burning in the process. Damn myself! How could he have let himself become this way, whoever he was.

His eyes wandered around the clearing, taking in every aspect, until they settled in front of him on the ground. The fungus sat there, a mocking example of life. Nothing like the civilized town that had leaked into his mind, somehow able to retain every detail, the image constructed itself before his eyes.

A bright sky, littered with diverse cloud formations, watched patiently, smiling upon a village rich with life. Dry, dirt roads weaved around sturdy wooden buildings, the roads turning this way and that, creating a living tapestry of life and culture. A cooling breeze blew through the village, carrying the cheerful music of civilization to those it would pass. Rhythmatic tongs from the blacksmith’s echoed through the town, the joyful barking of a domesticated dog carried on the high winds, together harmonizing with the rich laughter of youth, giving the man a powerful longing deep in his soul.

God damn myself, he thought to himself, contemplating suicide. What type of man was I to have thrown away such a wondrous fate? Do I really deserve life?

All of a sudden, the earths shook, trees of immense proportions collapsing to the ground, their thunderous groans rebounding across the hollow.

He looked up at the fountain. The red acid bubbled, spilling over the sides of the pond, the fungus reacting with hisses and spitting. The fountain had started flowing again, infinite amounts of acid poured out a savage rate, overflowing the sides, and flooding the clearing, incinerating the fungus.

He back away as the fiery liquid approached him, tripping over an uneven rock. As he distanced himself from the fountain, the upcoming water swelled in quantity. The once cascade of liquid had turned into a vicious waterfall, the searing heat melting the very stones of the fountain. Terrified, he backed away. The fountain started shooting sky-high, the acid joining the tumbling mirth, and descending as a venomous rain.

He turned and ran, adrenaline holding him up, and fear pushing him on. Above him, he heard the mourning of the shielding trees, crying in pain as the acid fell from the heavens. A drop fell on his shoulder, burning his flesh. He ran on.

He ran like the madman he was, somehow hoping to cling on to life. Life. Moments ago he was contemplating suicide, and now here he was, running for something that he deserved the least, and seemed to have been denied to everyone else.

Mere seconds seemed like hours, each passing moment seeming an eternity. He just continued running, passing ancient trees and rotting earth. The more he ran, the more famine and thirst began to slow him. Eventually, he emerged to find himself on the side of a dried river. Is there any end to this wasteland?

He slowed down, and walked into the middle of the non-existent river. The river seemed to have dried ages ago, and nothing remained but a line of rocky terrain, a desolate scar ranging across a desolate land.

He stopped in the middle of the river, calming himself and contemplating. Why was he running, was his life worth it? Should he continue running away from fate? Why continue running from the inevitable? He looked up the desolate river, an eerie red glow emanating on the horizon. He looked closely, noticing a rapidly moving red liquid, flowing in his direction. The river was dry no more.

He faced the incoming flood, the liquid shaking the earth. In a matter of moments, a grotesque mountain of flooding acid thundered towards him, shaking the earth. He turned towards incoming flood, open-armed, as if he were greeting a brother.

But no brother came to his welcome, only a superfluous sea of burning red liquid bred from the darkest soul. His soul.

It no longer mattered. He was weary and drained, and he was prepared for the incarceration of his body, and the banishment of his soul to the eternal burning fires of hell.


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