Day Three of Preparing for Scaring, and this exercise brings us into the mountains in winter, at night, and beneath a blazing comet far above. Imagery undoubtedly inspired by my (somewhat) recent exposure to the game Kholat, but ultimately which I took and drew my own story from.
This 15 minute exercise used the symbols of a shooting star and the scales of justice. One of which is easily identified in the text, the other was one that I was approaching before my timer went off and I cut the work short. Will I ever finish it? Who knows? But for now, please enjoy this short read!
The creature sat before him, on the sharp, angled stone in the cold mountain pass. The night sky was filled with stars above, much more than he had ever seen while living in the city, the place he was hundreds of miles from at this moment. He stood there, shivering in the cold, and his mind racing as he stared up at the monstrosity, human-like in shape, but even if it was human at all, it had long ago moved away from that general definition and had since become something else, something beyond human.
Sitting wasn’t exactly what it was doing, more like perching. It’s clawed feet wrapped around the stone’s top, long, torn, flowing black robes flapping in the wind hanging down almost to the snow-covered ground where the man stood. It’s arms were spindly, thin, looking more like thin skin stretched over long, knobby bones, and its hands ended in seven pointed fingers, all of them appearing to be index fingers. It’s face was the most unsettling, and the man couldn’t look at that for more than a glance before he felt his very soul tremble. Yet he saw that it had no lips, and only long teeth ever clasped in a gruesome grin, and its thin, ragged skin over sharp cheek bones went up, only to be hidden behind a thick black cloth that was tied over its eyes and scalp, if even it had those.
The man shivered again, violently, his entire torso seeming to vibrate in the cold mountain winds. His jacket, once thick and warm, now seemed useless in the bitter night. He almost felt like he could feel frost starting to form on his mustache, and he was certain his ears had reddened so much that they glowed in the dark twilight. Far above them, a cold blue light shone as the comet that had long been in the news flew overhead. He didn’t know, he couldn’t know, but the man’s very bones told him that this entire meeting was somehow related to that passing celestial body.
The man couldn’t bear to say anything, didn’t even know what to say. All he knew was that he couldn’t leave. However this thing had taken him out here, he had to hope it would take him back. It had led him up the mountain pass so far, and now he couldn’t even see his footprints anymore. Indeed, this one night seemed like it had lasted a week, or it could have been merely five minutes. He had lost all concept of time as his limbs began to shake and his toes inside their boots went numb.
The thing before him “looked” at him, as much as it could, and the night winds continued to howl through his cold ears. Then, the first bit of motion it had showed since they reached this point in the trail, it raised its right hand, ragged, flapping robes hanging down and flowing in the wind. It turned its clawed hand palm up, and then closed its fingers, squeezing so tight that the man thought he could see blood begin to ooze out between the fingers.
The thing then brought its arm, hand still clenched tightly, around and in front of it, reaching it towards the man, almost like an offering. The man, hands still pressed tightly into his own armpits, slowly trudged forward, boots crunching in the stiff snow. He peered at the hand, just a foot away from his face, as the thing’s fingers slowly uncurled.
Resting there, in its wide and thin palm, were two small, bloody orbs, with thin pieces of tissue hanging from them. The man looked up at the creature’s face briefly, wondering what it wanted him to do, but he couldn’t look for long, and soon was observing those red and gray orbs once more. The creature didn’t move, and seemed as statuesque as the day he had first seen it. He knew it was waiting for him to do something, but he didn’t know exactly what.
Slowly, he pulled one hand out from his armpit and reached forward, picking up the two orbs in a shaking hand. He held them tightly, bringing them closer, and rolling them around in his palm to get a better look at them.
He saw then, that in the midst of all that blood and tissue, that there was a dark side to these orbs, opposite the gray-white surface. He looked at the dark side, blinked a few times in the cold wind, and realized that he was looking at a pair of eyeballs. And, what was worse, was that they weren’t the eyes of a human, but they were eyes which he knew very well.