All righty, folks. Here is chapter six of the sequel to What Lies In The Dark, What Lurks In The Forest. It’s still only the second draft so there are some errors and I plan on revising it some before publishing, but this can just be a little teaser for now. 😉
“Do you know who I am?” whispered a voice.
Emuna could feel the speaker’s cold, wet breath on her neck, but she knew that if she were to turn around there would be nothing. There was nothing, it was all invisible. The tormentor, whoever he was, would not let her see him. She would never know the cause of her death.
“Do you know who I have killed?” the voice continued to taunt, this time in front of Emuna.
Tiredly, she forced herself to respond, “How would I know if I do not know what your face looks like? How am I to know you?” she took a few shallow breaths, “What is it that you want?”
A low chuckle and a strong, forceful punch to her ribs. Emuna let out a yelp as another bone snapped.
“What do I want? What do I want?” the voice said, the sound of footsteps on the floor echoed through the small, dark room as the interrogator continued to taunt and walk behind Emuna. “I want nothing you can give me…yet.”
What felt like a sharp fingernail ran down Emuna’s neck, she fought against it, but could not fight very much. Tied to the small chair in the room, fighting was useless and had proven as such.
The nail stopped halfway down Emuna’s neck. The voice made a slight hissing sound and a sharp pain shot through Emuna; she let out a scream as the nail pulled away.
Another chuckle of contented evil, “Scream as you wish. No one can hear you. Your friends have deserted you…or are dead.”
An unwarranted tear streamed down Emuna’s cheek as she attempted to catch her breath again. “They…would…not…leave me.” she gasped out. Her cheeks began to turn a bright red as she cried silently.
“Is that so? It does not appear that you believe that.” the voice continued its serenade of endless, heart-breaking taunts. “How may I prove to you that they have left? That you are hopeless. What does faith give you now but a longer death?”
Emuna let out a sob, “Please.” she said, “Just kill me and be done. I will not fight.”
“No.” the voice said flatly, “I have plans for you yet. You are no use to me dead. Though that does not mean you must be in any good condition.”
Again came the painful procedures of the many punches and kicks the invisible being would give Emuna.
Brian waited silently in the forest, listening for any sign of human life. The hut that had been the bane of his being for the past day stood in front of him. As he waited for David’s signal he felt his heartbeat rise and his breath quickly began to grow short.
The seconds passed by and Brian began to let his mind wander, his own battle already raging in his mind. War? Perhaps, but it is war for a reason not for revenge. It is war for Emuna. A reason worth war. But I do not wish to start a war, do I? No, I do not wish to start a war, nor will I. I shall simply go in, get her out quietly, and leave. We will decide what to do from-
Brian’s thoughts stopped when David came from behind him and crouched down next to him. “Are you ready, Master Brian?” David asked hesitantly, already knowing the boy’s answer.
Brian nodded, “Most certainly. Let us begin.”
David took in a deep breath and whispered a final prayer to Elah. Then he created a bright blue sword in his right hand and that was the signal.
Slowly at first, Brian began to creep out of the forest and towards the hut, attempting to stay in the most concealed corners possible. As he ran along he attempted to make his breathing shallow and quiet.
Soon, he reached the hut door. It was a wood door with two metal bars across the middle. The wood of the door seemed old and chipped and appeared to be decaying. Brian scrunched his nose up at the smell that resonated from it.
After doing a quick look around the area, Brian slowly slid the iron bars out of the door as quietly as possible. When the door was fully unlocked Brian took a deep breath, created a sword in his left hand and placed his right hand on the rusted, metal doorknob. He closed his eyes for a moment and heard his heart beating…once…twice…
“Weak child.” the voice taunted Emuna, floating around her weak form. “Where is your power now? When will the all-powerful deity save you? Did you not know that he would forsake you?”
Emuna’s breathing was small, almost impossible to hear or see. Every so often she would gasp as she felt the fingernail tracing the cut on her neck, but when the feeling stopped she would close her eyes and resume her semi-conscious state.
“Faith.” the voice scoffed, “Faith they call you. What faith do you have? Tell me you still have faith! Tell me-” the voice stopped its taunt and Emuna could hear and feel it breathing on her neck as it listened. “Footsteps.” the voice growled.
“One of your…guards.” Emuna breathed out, “Do you…fear…your own…men?”
“Shut up!” the voice screamed and, with a gush of wind, Emuna was unconscious.
Brian heard voices in the hut and quickly came to life. He swung the door open and rushed inside the dark hut. It took his eyes a moment to adjust to the pitch blackness that greeted him. To the right of him, Brian heard a screeching sound – like the scream of a strange creature, an inhuman, heartless animal – and a loud gust of wind came along with a whispered word.
Brian’s eyes adjusted just as he started to hear Lupis rushing down the street. His heart skipped a beat when he saw the bound and tortured Emuna in front of him and he began to rush to her, but was suddenly stopped by a Lupi that clamped on his ankle. With a single slice of his sword, the animal was dead, but Brian did not have time to rest before he was attacked by another animal.
Brian fought the army of beasts for a few minutes until it became apparent that he would not be able to save Emuna today. He let out an angered yell as he stabbed a final beast in the heart and created an orb in his hand.
Brian threw the orb at the hut wall and fled through the opening he created. He met up with David and Gavin in the woods and rushed back to the caves, but he left his heart with Emuna in the dark hut.
When the three men reached the cave they were tired from running, but were glad to seem to have lost the army of creatures awhile back.
Brian walked into the cave, breathing heavily; he sat down on a nearby rock with his elbows resting on his knees and sweat wetting his brow. After catching his breath, he looked up at David, Gavin, and Maeve.
“I was close.” he said, “She was right there. She was in front of me.”
“We will try again, Master Brian.” David reassured, though the disappointment was clear in his voice. “We will not give up. You have my word.”
Brian looked down at the ground, “So close.”
Hope you enjoyed!