I COULDN’T SEE IT, but I felt it.
Tiny steps creeping and crawling across skin, like a cold wind.
I felt icicle fangs hungry for life, the color of shadow. I felt a soulless creature emerging from below the earth, a living agony, staring with deep voids where eyes should’ve been.
First just one. Then another and another.
They climbed into the wide world. Far away. And lurking somewhere nearby. Lurking inside my throat. Strangling me with cold. I could hardly breathe.I wished it were only a dream, but sylves don’t dream. It had to be real. A horrible reality surrounded us.
“Numa? Demigoddess of Air. I know you hear me.” My breath puffed into chilly white mist. My eyes shone upward as I peered, listening for her. “Please?”Everything had fallen quiet, horribly quiet, like the death of music. Even the scurrying creature held still. As it did, it vanished like a prowling wildercat in deep grasses. I hated stillness. Stillness meant death.
“It’s me, Picke—your son. And there’s this…” I reached three slender fingers and a thumb toward the sky. “…this evil.”
My wings struggled against the chill, pushing far beyond my armspan. I breathed frantically, trying to maintain motion.
“If I had hands, I would fight. If I had feet, I would run.” I looked at my tiny hands, so insubstantial—no stronger than a breath. Not strong enough. I looked at my toes, even more elegant, yet just as powerless. “But I’m one of your sons. My fingers are wind, and my refuge is you.”
The silence closed in tighter, so near I could barely move. It clamped down, held me tight. I hated it. Hated it more than anything. “I need you. To listen to me. To talk to me. To help me.”
My ears pointed skyward as I strained for her answer. My glimmering blue hair floated like that of a corpse whose grave was the frigid sea, dancing in silence and slowing into stillness. I panted against the panic. An unbreakable grip cinched me so tight I couldn’t inhale. Perfect silence, perfect stillness, and perfect cold—they pressed in, leaving no room for anything else. Not even a being so small as me.
No music of trees. No sough of winds. No warmth of raindrops.
“You spoke to me once,” I groaned. “I remember. Speak to me now!”
I waited, and the silence smothered.
If she wouldn’t answer, I still had Locke. And I had one last bit of air. One last chance. “LOCKE!” I screamed.
I heard his footsteps. He was walking away, abandoning me in the Shadowlands, leaving me surrounded by evil. Just like Numa.
I couldn’t breathe.
He was my life. I had to go with him. Had to follow. I tried to dash after him, but I could barely move. I hit solid, unmoving ground, and he was on the other side. I pounded against it, but it wouldn’t budge.
He had to stop! To wait! I needed to scream!
But I couldn’t breathe.
I couldn’t breathe.
(Read all of Scrolls 1-2 here: http://freelocke.jwashburn.com )
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