A History Lesson, A New Friend and Plan

Photo by Alex Plesovskich on Unsplash

Dawn was breaking as they broke the line of trees and entered a small orchard. The dirt road between rows of trees leading them towards a small rural village. This place was different than anywhere else they had seen since they came into the story. It took their breath away as they approached. The rose-tinted dawn light flushed the scene with warmth, despite the early winter chill and the bare apple trees. And there were birds! When was the last time he had seen a bird? They cawed and launched into the sky in a flutter of wings, picking at…

An Ancient Forest, A Lost Ritual and An Unexpected Ally

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The difference in the atmosphere of the forest and the coast was stark, and the transition between them was sudden and striking. The forest was rendered in minute detail, and everything felt so…alive. As he passed between the tightly spaced trees, he trailed his fingers along the rough bark. He shivered at the sensation. Up to this point, everything had felt so flat and unfinished. Everything except the fear induced by the Beast that is, he thought darkly. He was amazed at how numb he had become to that feeling. The rough surface of the trees didn’t just feel right…

Silent Watchers, More Dreams and A Decision

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

They continued along the Coastal road until the sun dipped down behind the hills to the west. The spectre of the Beast returned to haunt them as the daylight faded towards darkness. As dusk set in, the temperatures started to drop rapidly. He made them stop earlier than he would have liked for the night. They were both still exhausted from their encounter with the Beast the previous day. He wanted enough time to set up a decent shelter so the Boy could get a decent night of sleep.

He was uneasy about the prospect of having to spend the…

Greetings, New Acquaintances and Moving Forward

Photo by Matt Whitacre on Unsplash

The kids looked terrified at the arrival of the stranger. He might have driven the Beast away, but he was traumatised by what had happened since the day he had left. He tried to scrambled further back into the cave, but he had already pressed himself tightly up against the wall, and all that he succeeded in doing was shuffling his feet against the loose dirt.

‘Damn, he looks like a cornered rabbit,’ he thought as he stretched out his hand. The Boy was wrapped around the old leather case, shielding it with his…

A Lost Boy, A Stranger and A Newfound Hope

Photo by Layne Lawson on Unsplash

The Boy huddled against the back of the small hollow, shielded from the Beast by a shallow wall of brambles.

From his precarious hiding spot, he could see the shadow of the monster pacing outside, back and forth along a short length of road. It was only a matter of time before the Beast would find him. At times, it drew close enough that he could hear the sound of his creation sniffing the air, savouring the heady scent of fear that saturated the area. It wouldn’t be long now. …

Death, Fear and an Urgent Realisation

Photo by Agata Kaczówka on Unsplash

He had slept little the previous night, and when the first rays of the morning sun rose behind the burned city, he had already packed up his camp and was ready to begin the day's ride. Part of his restlessness was his concern over the Boy, although he had managed to keep a lid on that particular can of worms pretty well. The Boy was on foot and had gone off-road to boot. Chances were he wasn’t much further along the road than he was; Neither the sentinel on the mountain nor the village had been attacked that long before…

Regret, Anger and Treasured Memories

Photo by Matt Chambers on Unsplash

The Boy didn’t sleep well that night. Visions of flame and smoke filled his dreams.

He was alone. Lost in the haze of acrid, choking smoke that now lay over the town of Magden. It was hot, and he could feel the sweat trickling down his neck and under the collar of his shirt. He could hear people all around, running, screaming, calling out for loved ones. But they passed him by without so much a glance in his direction. …

Sleeping with Ghosts, Forest Paths and Flames

Photo by Terra Roro on Unsplash

His stomach lurched as he passed the first line of cottages at the edge of the village and entered the central square. Finding the dead Sentinel on the road over the mountains had been bad enough, but this, this was different. He didn’t even know where to begin enumerating the dead. There were bodies everywhere. Many lay where they had fallen, discarded corpses littering the ground. Others, less fortunate, had met more violent deaths and lay slumped across the window frames they had been thrown through or half-covered in piles of stone and brick from the walls they had been…

Finalities, A Leap of Faith and A Survivor

Photo by Julian Bialowas on Unsplash

‘Are you ready?’ Mr Casey’s voice sounded distant and tired.

Mr Casey was looking out on the busy street from his chair by the window. His attention seemed more drawn to the shifting flow of people with each passing day. His gaze was expectant. Sometimes his eyes widened, and he would lean forward in his chair as if he had caught a glimpse of someone, some long-awaited visitor separating from the crowd. But he would always slouch back with a sigh, a shadow of regret crossing his features. …

Regret, A Change of Plans and An Uncomfortable Realisation

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

He woke as the first rays of the sun crested the peaks on the eastern side of the valley. The embers of the bonfire were still warm nearby; the dwindling flames had warded off the nights chill, despite the crisp mountain air. He groaned as he pushed himself up from the ground. Disorientated, he sat back down and stared at the last glowing pieces of charcoal. The events of the previous evening slowly coalescing through the fog of sleep. What was he going to do?

The town was a graveyard.

And it was nothing like he had imagined in his…

Keith O’Sullivan

serial dabbler with a background in political science, conflict studies, bartending and hotel management

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