Breathing heavily but steadily he thinks, "He could have made it so I could actually breath out of this damn mask. I'll be due for an upgrade or at least a modification when this is all over."
He's wearing a plague doctors mask made of thin black leather giving flexibility as well as comfortability. It's held on to his face by two black leather straps and two gold buckles. The two straps cross one another on the back of his head in an x-shaped fashion. These straps hold the mask firmly to the wearer's head.
The beak however, is made of a thick black leather allowing it to keep form. A thin brown line makes its way from the left side of the beak all the way to the tip. Its then curved around the tip of the beak and follows the same line down the right side. This gives a top and bottom half of a birds beak. For nares, the creator used brown thread and sewed two oval shapes an inch in diameter on the top half.
In place where the eyes would be is a pair of brown leather goggles with dark tinted lenses. They're sewn directly to the black leather of the mask. The goggles stick an inch and a half out, allowing just enough space for two gold in color metal buttons to be placed parallel with the ground between the lenses and where it's sewn together.
He turns around and sees a thick blackness hovering from the East. From the center of the forest he can see clouds of black and gray smoke rising into the sky. At once he notices the blackness is spreading. He slowly sees the shape of what appears to be a bird. No! Hundreds of birds. It strikes him all at once. Cappacaws! That sound must have scared them out of their hiding. They make their way through the smoke and head in his direction.
Cappacaws aren't necessarily dangerous, it's what they carry in their feathers that he fears. Small parasites by the name of Vormites are known to be associated with this particular breed of bird. Vormites are known to maze their way through a host body and feast slowly on ones brain. Once in a host's brain however, they don't leave. They die along with the host. The process is abnormally slow. It could take years for someone to die from just one of these parasites.
It's even been recorded that Vormites have the capability to control your thoughts as it eats, driving their host to a state of insanity from delusions. Stories of such events were told when he was a mere child of course. He vaguely remembers being told about a man who thought his family were demons living within the walls of his house finally coming out to slowly disassemble him limb by limb. He murdered all of them. One daughter, two sons and his wife. How much of this is actually true He's not sure.
Panic slowly creeps through his body stiffening his joints like the dew on a cold night freezing slowly on grass as the temperature drops to freezing and then below rendering it motionless. Right before it fully embodies his thoughts a thundurus sound comes from the center of the forest. A guttural roar vibrates its way through the trees and his bones. It sounded queerly human but hollow. This conjures up the images of a man being dropped into the gullet of a giant beast and right before he sinks into the blackness of the monster's belly he lets out a tremendous last cry.
"Sounds like the old bastard may have had one more experiment I wasn't aware of. Lucky me." He thought as he seems to be frozen still for what seems like a minute more than it does a second. The last part of course he thinks non-humorously. Yet, if he could physically show a smile behind his mask he would have.
His body shivers as a cold breeze touches its invisible fingers on the back of his neck. No. There's no time to lose, he turns on the ball of his heels and runs like hell across the valley hoping whatever it is he heard is dying or heading in the opposite direction.
On the other side of the valley he can see the rows of Malatau Berries (like rows of corn). The village is close. Making his way across, now at full sprint, he turns his head to glance back. The trees in the forest are being torn down in a line heading his direction. Every so often a tree is thrown briskly into the air like a hat being tossed up on graduation day.
His right foot comes down on the running water of a small creek. The impact of his boot sends water rippling in all directions and droplets taking to the air in arcs. The tip of his boot clips a rock embedded in the creek and he goes tumbling over face first to the ground on the other side. His mask makes contact with a protruding rock as he's falling to the ground. If the beak of his mask wasn't made of hard leather his certain contacts with the rock would have felt worse.
He shakes his head violently back and forth trying to clear his vision of the stars that have erupted in his eyes. He pushes firmly against the ground and lifts himself up to a runners stance. He grunts out a humorless laugh and thinks, "If I were fully human I'd be seeing more than just stars about right now. I'd probably be seeing nothingness." He begins sprinting once more.
The village isn't far now. He can smell the faintness of a wooden stove carried across by the wind. As he reaches the last few feet before he enters the Matalau Berry crop (which is at least 8 feet tall by this time of the season) he steals one last glance over his shoulder.
What he sees is a human-like figure standing at least twenty feet tall bursting its way out from the edge of the treeline. Whether or not the creature had seen him he doesn't know, but he thought when he looked back he had seen that the creature's skin appeared to be a rough gray and tan with splotches of dark and light green in places. It's skin, if you can call it that, looks to be lumps of rocks.
The eyes on the other hand, seemed to be non-existent. Except for one black dot in the center of the eyes where the pupil would be. Darkness rests there. It's what you see when you peer into a well in the center of a village. He could never see the bottom of the well. Just like now, he can't see what hides deep within the pupils of this monstrosity.
No, that's not the word for this thing he glimpsed as he recedes into the crop. Hadn't he heard tales of the Nephilim. The hardened gods of our existence sent to protect what we slowly have destroyed. This can't be one of them. No, in the act of escaping the forest it's destroyed what it would have been sent to protect.
So what in the Winnalog fuck is this thing?! Magic? Surely he doesn't think his father could have conjured up something like this. He doesn't think this at all anymore. His father was a mere doctor and scientist not a fucking wizard God's sake.
Before he has any more time to think he's out of the crops. He approaches a short fence and using his left hand he catapults himself briskly over it. The villagers are aware of his presence now. This is good but what he must do next is terrifying. No one except his father has seen him without his mask since his rebirth, into the small world, as this abomination that stands in front of them now.
He makes a gesture in the air for everyone to come closer and see what their new visitor has to say. No one moves. He thinks to himself, "Of course, I'm wearing a fucking mask and I just came out of nowhere in a hurry! Hell, I wouldn't move closer either. But I can't communicate with these people when this damned mask is on!"
He lowers his hands onto the strap and buckle on the back of his mask. Beginning to feed the leather strap through the buckle, he hesitates for a brief second as a terrible thought crosses his mind. Much like how he crossed Cotuck Valley but much, much faster.
"I remember when I first saw my new self. I was terrified. My life taken away and handed a new just like that. Father thought it so easy. Easy because he didn't need to look like this. Fuck, now's no time for a trip down memory lane. If I don't take this contraption off we'll all die from whatever that thing is."
He finishes unbuckling the mask and shoves his thumbs under each side to peal it away from his face. He pulls the mask straight out in front of him, slowly lowering it to his waist. The face behind the mask isn't really a face at all.
In the center of its face extends a long black beak that reflects a small fraction of the setting sun. Hair-like feathers protrude halfway down its beak in a circular fashion. In those feathers are pieces of food from his last meal this day. It's feathers start at the base of it's beak and continues, beautifully if the way he looked was considered normal, effortlessly around the shape of his head and disappears into the neck of his shirt. The only feature that is remotely human on this birds face appears to be the eyes. Each one is approximately twenty-four millimeters in size. The pupils are both black, like a ravens, but the irises are blue. If the villagers didn't know any better they'd think he had another mask to pull off. Those eyes are human.
The village men gawk at him with a sense of disgust and repulsiveness. Children run home clumsily. Unless, of course, they're being held by their mothers. Those children tend to cry after a moment of bewilderment or shove their heads directly into their mothers bosums too startled to keep looking at me. A few woman screamed. One even fainted. Can you believe that? Fucking fainted! It would be funny later or maybe in different circumstances even but they don't know what's traveling this way. Hell, he doesn't even know!
Raising his hands slowly to the sky, still holding on to his mask, he begins to speak.
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