Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Here be Dragons

Posted by A Great Liar

After the sun goes down and the surrounding forest becomes quite dark, you begin to hear noises of almost innocent birds or mammals. They may sound strange to you, but the cynic within would holler and pretend they are nothing. The left hemisphere of your brain, the curious Sméagol within, seeks solace in common sense. As you prepare to sleep and lay your head down, you hear a spine-chilling wail almost like a coyote.

With his one good eye deeply shut, the old man could see them, and deep in his sleep, he hears the whispers of the specter in the remote wanderings, closing in with its weight, with the bones of the universe breaking, giving in beneath its feet, and the silence holding the woods deep in its snare. The imprints left on the patch of barren gray, sulfuric and they glowed against the dark.

You don’t come out into the Pine Barrens for a nice camping trip.

He spent most mornings hiding from the sun, while the heaven beyond the stone-age roof of his abode is stirred by the endless flights of nameless birds above. His starved fingers groping, fumbling into his cowboy leather saddlebag, gaping holes and all, taking out the yellowed bunch of parchments he had long discovered from his deceased grandfather's basement, locked and forgotten in their revered family vault. The parchments looked old, older than the world as the man had always known it to be.

He squinted on the shapes, knowing it was no map; a set of drawings done in charcoal, understandably little rough around the edges. The drawings have never failed to haunt him, for as long as he remembered.

With his satchel turning dry yet again, the old man fought the urge to drink for days on end; down onto his haunches, shivering and mumbling incoherently for a day, or days perhaps. Deep into his fits, he bites onto the rosary beads that belonged to his dead wife, grunting the names of the ghosts that once meant shelter to him. 

But all old men are survivor types, he remembered, now moved by a terrible childlike fear that clings onto us in the fag end of our lives.

He crept out of his cave, and tip-toed his way to the nearby pond, his skinny frail physique bogged down by an invisible force with too much space around him. But it was the spaces within, which scared him the worst.

He saw the reflection of a wide grin appearing on an old face against the calm watery surface, unveiling the dark holes between the random set of crooked teeth and bad gum. The expression on his face seemed to be one of invitation; daring him to accept the challenge.

He remember the nights he had spent, staring deep and hard into the endless woods from the vantage point of his cave, seeing the shapes from the parchment materializing in mute horror. The blind spaces running deep between the narrowly lined pine trees becoming alive and physical, resembling the shapes he had dreaded over for years from the parchments in his saddlebag.

The cold eyes with menacing jaws watching him, and large bat-like wings unfolding in a terrible slow motion, hissing and writhing, and then flying off into the night. Into the spaces within.

With tears in his eye, he scurried back into his sleeping bag, wishing for rapture.

[Do leave a comment, it matters...]


  1. The end was quite dramatic, very much unlike your usual style, but really good, all the same.

    It's a well written piece, I must say. But I'm sure you already know that :)

  2. Hello there...
    today I'm passing by just to say hi and to wish you (though a bit late) a very good year 2014 :)!
    Many greetings to you :)!!!