expressed a feeling of being slighted by all of the Friday 55 entries and respectfully requested that I post something with a little more meat to it. This is a chapter from my first book, Darkness on the Plains
. I thought it might be put together well enough to stand alone and satisfy the apparent need. I hope you enjoy it.
“How many of you are there?” Niccolo slashed his way through the barrage of tiny attackers.
They came at him in waves. The voices in his head grew louder. He slipped to one knee in the snow. Sensing the opportunity, they attacked with a renewed sense of urgency, forcing him to the ground. Realizing his resolve weakened, they stopped biting and began dragging him to a large oak at the edge of the clearing.Sleep friend, it will all be over soon. We will bring you to your friend. She waits for you, Niccolo. She knows. She feels your presence here. It is almost over. Just let go. You will see. She needs to see you. Utiselo is waiting.
The voices rambled inside of Niccolo’s head.
“Who? Where are you taking me?” Niccolo tried to clear his thoughts. He could no longer think straight. The voices were making him sleepy.To Utiselo, of course. You will see her soon brother.
“Kanati! Selu! Come to me! I need you!” He screamed both mentally and physically.
He could feel the bark of the old oak on the back of his head as they pressed him against the tree. The creatures began to chant, a peculiar song that seemed to draw Niccolo into its rhythm. Suddenly, he felt the tree give way beneath him. He was falling, falling with increasing speed through roots and dust.
“This isn’t possible,” Niccolo whispered as he tried to grab at the passing limbs. He could hear the laughter of children all around him as he fell farther into the earth. Then the darkness became complete; he had lost consciousness.#
“Niccolo, wake up. I’m so happy you’re here.”
“Huh? Where am I? I feel like I have been drug behind a horse for miles. Who--? No! It can’t
be. Julia? What sorcery is this?” Niccolo tried to grasp the situation as he realized he was looking up into the smiling face of his long dead wife.
“Yes, lover, it’s me. I have missed you so much! Why did it take you so long to find me?” Julia wore a confused look on her face.
“How long have you been here?” Niccolo realized she looked the same as she did on the day she died.
“I don’t know. It feels like an eternity. I woke up here after--after that day.
I thought I had died. I felt the pain as my neck snapped, I’m sure of that, but I don’t even have a clue as to what happened afterwards. It all seems like it was only a dream now. I woke up here and you were gone,” Julia recalled, struggling to remember every detail.
die! I buried you. I mourned you; I still
mourn you every waking moment of my life.” Niccolo touched her face.
real, Niccolo. You feel the warmth of my skin. I have waited for you for so long. You are freezing Niccolo; your hand feels like ice. I will have the children bring you a blanket.” Julia shivered under his touch.
“The children? You have seen them? Did they harm you?” Niccolo sat up suddenly, wary of another attack.
“Have I seen them? Of course, I have. They bring me food and anything else I need. They are quite loving; I assure you,” Julia responded with a quizzical look.
? They’re the ones that did this!” Niccolo ripped open his shirt to show her his wounds.
“Did what Niccolo?” Julia touched his chest, which was free from any signs of the struggle.
“How did--? How long was I asleep, Julia?”
“I don’t know. They only brought me to you a few moments ago.” Julia looked around the clearing to see if any of them had lingered.
“It really is you, isn’t it?” Niccolo broke into tears as he drew her into his arms. “I have missed you so
much. I--I--I love you!”
“I love you too, Niccolo. Everything is going to be all right now. We are together.”
“Yes, we’re together. Do you have shelter here?”
“Of course, it was already here when I woke up. It is down this trail a short ways. I’m so glad you’re here. Utiselo said to just be patient, you would be here when you got here.” Julia rested her head on his chest.
“Utiselo? Who is this Utiselo? The little-- I mean, the children spoke of her before they brought me here.” Niccolo pulled her away from his chest so he could look into her eyes.
“I don’t know her real name. It is what they call her, the children I mean. You will meet her, I’m sure. I must warn you though, she is-- well, she is just different,” Julia cautioned not sure how to explain herself.
“Different? How do you mean does she look peculiar? Does she act peculiar?”
“Perhaps a little of both. She looks almost like I pictured the elves in the stories we heard as children, almost
. The ears are the same, but her face changes. Sometimes she looks at me and I see a pretty face, kind and inviting. Other times, her eyes seem like those of a cat.” Julia wanted to elaborate, but couldn’t find the words to express her thoughts.
“And her teeth become pointed and fearsome,” Niccolo remembered the face of the child who started the attack in the glade.
“Yes! How did you know?”
“The children also did this when I met them,” he replied with caution. He didn’t want to evoke another battle if they were listening to the conversation.
“Her speech is also queer. I can usually understand what she wants, but well-- you will just have to hear her talk.”
“Yes, I’m anxious to meet her. I have so
many questions.” Niccolo rose to his feet pulling Julia up with him.
“Let’s go back to the house. We have a lot of catching up to do,” Julia suggested as she flashed him her best “come hither” smile.
“Lead the way, my lady.”
As they rounded a corner in the trail, Niccolo spotted the home carved into the side of the rock wall that spread into the distance. It looked like the front of their old house, only made of stone. As they drew closer, he realized the artisan who created the place even took the time to simulate the grains of the wood that bordered the windows and door.
“If I’m truly dreaming all of this, I hope I never wake up.” Niccolo scooped Julia up in his arms and carried her through the door.