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Beautiful Betrayals

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Ghoulish trees stood guard like bereft sentinels, keeping watch until daybreak when once again they meld into the innocence of the world. At night these figures are grisly, chilling, but in the tender light of day they are benign. It took me only a moment to move through darkened shadows, hearing the wind whisper my name and call like a forlorn lover. Ignoring that siren was most difficult for it brushed along my skin, familiar; it seemed, with every beat of my heart. The calming breeze drifted lazily through the night, caressing the branches of those forgotten sentries. They danced like macabre performers.

Above, the moon smiled, ever the watchful mother of all. Snow piled on the ground, leaving traces of footprints as I stepped. It did not matter, however, considering I had a single target this night. In wait I did stay, not moving nor breathing, waiting for it to wash over my body, waiting for power. In a cool rush it breathed along my skin, raising goose bumps. The hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention and for a single moment time stood still, trapped like a frightened thing. The world shuddered as my target made itself known.

Through the trees was his path and as he walked snow crunched and was flattened underfoot. The world heaved a breath and time began once more. My eyes widened as it approached. The hair was silver and spread in long waves down what I thought was its back. The shape of it was simply wrong, like a crushed flower in the sand. It was wrong, misshapen, as if the spinal vertebrae were sticking straight up. Crouched over, it did not look human nor did it resemble one. The skin was mottled grey, blue veins utterly visible. It looked sickly, like death envisioned in a nightmare. I trembled and worried my lip between my teeth. The form was gangly, tall. Before it moved on I glimpsed the eyes. They were a red the color of hatred. The ears were long, disproportional and bent at an odd angle. One of them twitched, listening, and with a hissing, the sound a cobra in striking position would make, it turned and gazed at me with those inhuman eyes.
The mouth was not a mouth. The creature had no lips but managed what I believed was a smile, revealing dagger-like teeth. Fear paralyzed and rooted my body to the spot. I could only stare into those hideous red eyes and a sinking feeling came over me. I was drowning, suffocating as if it were drawing away my very essence. Mouth open in a silent scream, I collapsed to the side, breathing heavily. My vision wavered, black spots in front of both eyes, but I did not slide into unconsciousness.


Frozen for a long period of time I remained and when that sickening dizziness passed me, I sat straight up.



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