DREADWOLF

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Chapter 2.1

Fade….

Water…. Dark…. Silence….

Rain gradually drifted back to some form of consciousness, it felt like it took hours.

His vision remained hazy and dark around the edges. He attempted to look around. He couldn’t see much. Far above light pierced a rippling watery surface, but it didn’t truly light the place. It was dark down here, far below.

He belatedly realised that he was in fact underwater; it took only a little while longer for his fuzzed mind to realise that he wasn’t breathing. Strangely he found he didn’t panic, he felt not calm, but near mindless, as though he was still half asleep.

His vision drifted down and he realised he was floating above a human corpse resting on the lakebed. A corpse that had been brutalised and dismembered. His eyes wandered over it without understanding.

“You...”

Rain heard a voice. He slowly blinked, or at least he tried to, no eyelids dropped down to cover his sight. This puzzled him, but not for long, it was hard to really be concerned about anything in his current state. Everything was just so unimportant.

“I want…”

Rain’s view eventually drifted from the curious corpse and across the sandy lakebed. Not for long did his eyes drift because something caught his eye. The corpse had caused a recent disturbance in the sand and something had been unearthed. A skull.

Sluggish images of a wolf drifted across Rain’s consciousness, that was what it reminded him of, a wolf’s skull but different somehow, whatever.

“Kill...”

Was it the skull that was trying to speak to him? How odd.

“-ousand years…”

Hmm well it didn’t seem important, much like everything else. Rain was content to simply exist in this warm mindless fuzziness.

“My people… gone…”

Rain pondered if it would ever shut up or if he was doomed to hear meaningless rambling for eternity.

“I… the last prince.”

Rain felt the mild spark of interest the skull had created start to lose its tenuous grip and he went back to examining the corpse. It did feel strangely familiar but he couldn’t place why.

“You...”

The sand was awfully reddish around the corpse, it couldn’t have been a pleasant death.

“Avenge…?”

Rain’s musing was interrupted by what felt like a question inside his mind, one that he actually had to respond to. Not that he cared about the content but he would quite like the feeling to go away so he could go back to his dreamful musing. He answered in the negative and the question disappeared. The skull stopped talking.

Time passed and Rain could feel himself gradually slipping away as though he was moving to a more dream like state, somewhere else.

“Inherit…?”

The skull’s voice returned. It seemed to be struggling to get through to him. He didn’t really have an answer as to why that was. More to the point the annoying question had returned and was penetrating his mind, demanding an answer. If he could have sighed he thought he would have. He decided that if one way hadn’t worked then maybe the other way would. He answered in the positive and the question disappeared.

Peace returned to his dark watery domain.

Rain settled back into just existing.

Time passed. He noticed with mild interest that his perspective had changed. The corpse was closer. In fact it was really starting to get quite close now. He felt… whatever he was, touch down on the corpse’s chest. He looked around ponderously at this non-development.

More time passed.

He saw movement. Well, some movement. His gradual flow to the dream-like place his mind was going before had halted to his mild annoyance, so the movement was a little more interesting than it would have been.

He watched as little streamers of blood lifted from the sand and began to drift toward the corpse as though on subtle water currents. More interestingly the sand around the corpse began to shiver and bleached white bones began to tremble and shift themselves free.

Rain considered that whatever the bones had belonged to it must not have been particularly large, he estimated it was similar to the body in size.

Anyway, a march of bones began, bones gliding across the sand, all with the aim of traversing the sandy lakebed to the mutilated corpse. One by one they arrived and came to rest against it. The smaller bones didn’t stop there and they began to gradually burrow their way into the body’s flesh.

The last of the bones to arrive was the skull. It slid across the sand as though drawn by an invisible force leaving a short grooved trail in the sand behind it. It came to a stop touching the neck of the corpse.

At this point things sped up.

Bones burrowed and flesh rippled. The body seemed to unknit itself of its own volition, strings of flesh unzipped and muscle and vein bloomed outward like some kind of horrific coral. Rain had the vague sense that he was supposed to feel disgusted with this.

The head of the body split apart, the skull fragmented and the wolf skull was drawn into place. Flesh wrapped around it and for a time the whole corpse writhed and shifted and bits moved and repositioned and melded and reformed, like a sack wrapped tight around a hundred wriggling snakes that deformed its surface.

Bones lined up and joined where there were once arms and flesh formed from the stumps to engulf it. It was all quite fascinating in Rain’s mindless ‘oh this is happening’ sense of the world.

As the seaweed like fronds of flesh and vein and skin began to retract toward the corpse, Rain felt himself drawn downward into its chest. He didn’t mind, nothing really meant anything, this was just happening apparently.

His vision slowly fuzzed and blurred and darkened until there was nothing.

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