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The Monster Inside
Opening my eyes, the world was entrapped in pure white. Blinking a few times, I sigh, wishing I could see the sky like everyone else. Sitting up with cracking and aching bones, I think to myself. Today is the day, I go into town. I had been putting this off, and putting this off for days now. For all my life I’ve been depicted as this poor blind man, barely able to buy a loaf of bread. The truth is I can see way more than most can. The way I find my way around is look at the auras of those around me. Unfortunately, outside most things are living and I have trouble finding differences between one thing and another. I also can’t read. So, trying to shop for specific objects can be a struggle and I usually have to ask someone for help, which again, makes me seem like a pathetic blind man. I hate that more than anything else. I hate pity.
Throwing on my heavy steel armor, I listen closely to the sounds of the forest. All was silent, except for the sound of the wind gliding through the leaves of the trees above and the small sounds of shuffling all animals. Nothing dangerous. I gather my things together and toss the cloth bag over my shoulder, then started walking in the direction the wind was blowing.
After a long walk, I reached what sounded like a small village. The crashing of the waves nearby caught my attention. A port city. I thought, asking the footsteps passing by me where I was. A deep voice replied.
“This is Hangermount village. The birthplace of Nine Perch catching.”
“Um, There wouldn’t happen to be a blacksmith around here would there?” I asked.
“No, there isn’t. This town wants nothing to do with war of any kind, but there is a ship headed to Italy in about 15 minutes. I’m sure there’s a blacksmith there.” The man’s voice became harsh at the mentioning of a blacksmith. Considering he mentioned the town refuses to go to war, it’s understandable. No one would want to deal with that kind of pain.
I nod appreciatively and smile, “Thank you, stranger. I apologize for intruding.” Giving a slight bow, I go on my way. I need to get to the port soon. I was planning on buying some food but I’ll wait till I get to Italy. Listening for the sound of the waves again, I follow the sea of people headed the same direction. After finding my way to the port, I wait, silently. A ship was on it’s way in, but from the conversations around me, it seemed like it was just a cargo ship. Crap! I need to get to Italy.
Once the ship had reached the deck, I waited till someone came by from the ship. Hearing a pair of footsteps again, I turned my head in that general direction to seem normal. “U-um, excuse me but you wouldn’t happen to know who the captain of this ship is, would you?” I question.
“If I did know, why would I tell you?” He spat back.
I responded, “Why wouldn’t you? What does he have to hide? Or, is it more accurate of me to ask what you have to hide?”
The man’s heartbeat quickened. “Who do you think you are, threatening me?!”
I held back the urge to grin, “a simple traveller, wishing to get to Italy. Can you or can you not take me to see the captain?”
He puffed out a sigh of frustration and turned towards the ship, beginning to walk away. “Are ya commin’ or are ya gonna stand there all day?” He barked.
Opening the door to the captain’s headquarters, the man from before lead me in. He spoke differently than he had just a moment ago. He voice was more hesitant and pitiful. “This man wants a ride to Italy, he ordered that I take him to you…”
A low rich voice responded. “Leave us…” The sound of shuffling feet and a door shutting followed the demand.
“Are you Captain Archibald?” I ask, my voice clear and confident.
“Death Salubris, sir. Disciple of Xiba. I wish to reach a blacksmith in Italy and it cannot delay.”
“Any friend of Xiba’s is a friend of mine!” His serious tone of voice changed to that of one who had met an old friend after years of silence. “Welcome aboard, son!”
I gave a genuine smile, slightly bowing again, and thank the captain for his hospitality. He ordered one of his men to show me to a small quarters beneath the deck that I could use to rest. To be honest, it was kind of nice to lay on a soft surface instead of the hard ground of the forest floor. Although, my dreams weren’t as nice.
I was in complete darkness. An eerie darkness that I just couldn’t get free of. Then, a light appeared. It was dim and seemed to be very far away, but it was better than nothing. I ran to it. After what felt like a century, the dim light had engulfed me into it, dragging me into a new world. No, not a new world. My world. I was staring through the eyes of someone else. Images passed of the night. The only light to be found was the embers of burning villages. Before my eyes, all I could see was the bright color of red. The red of a women. The red of a child. Didn’t matter. Every villager killed by red stained black. Phantom like claws, tearing through soft human flesh. I scream and pleaded for this nightmare to stop, but nothing was in my control. All I could do was watch in horror. I shook and rocked back and forth, against my will. I felt so helpless. Suddenly, I felt a slam to my back and head.
My eyes slowly opened once again and can’t help but notice the hard wooden surface beneath me. I swore I fell asleep on something soft. I recall back to before my nap and confirm I was not sleeping on the floor. I guess I fell. Sitting up and shrugging my thoughts off, I sigh and listen. I could hear the sound of footsteps above me. Meaning, people were still moving around on the deck. After the awful dream I had, the darkness of being inside was starting to get to me, so I decided to make my way to the deck. At least then there would be some people around.
When, poked out of the door, I squinted, my eyes adjusting to the light. Before I had even
taken 5 steps onto the deck, I hear a familiar deep voice calling to me. “DEATH! My dear friend!” Before I can even respond, I am trapped in an embrace by two very large, muscular arms. “We are so close to Italy I can smell the sweet aroma of wine already!”
“You’re squeezing me.” I squeaked out barely able to breathe.
“My apologies.” Releasing me, he explained more thoroughly how close we really were. “About 45 miles from here is the richest land in all of Europe.”
I frown, “How long was I asleep?”
“Maybe 9 hours… I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Sighing, I shake my head and walk to the edge of the ship, feeling the breeze. “Must be nice to not have to worry about the people on land. Just you and your friends on a ship.” I murmur to myself.
A couple hours later, the movement of the ship stops, almost causing me to fall over. “ITALY! WE’VE REACHED ITALY!” Archibald hollers, far happier than necessary. I hull my bag over my shoulder once again and approach the captain.
I bow. “Thank you, I appreciate it.”
The man thumped his hand on my shoulder and chuckled. “No need to be so formal. You are my friend. Anytime you need a lift, just holler.” I could her the smile tugging his lips as he spoke.
I smile and go on my way. As I leave, I can’t help but remember my dream from before. I know that dream… But why? The question swirled around and around in my mind, until suddenly I felt something bump my chest. I blink. I didn’t hear anything that I couldn’t knocked into.
“Ow… What the heck?” A female voice sounded.
“Oh, I apologize. I wasn’t paying attention. Are you alright?” I ask more that startled.
“I’m okay. What about you?”
“You didn’t really do anything, so yeah, I’m alright.” I try to laugh it off, but as of late, it’s gotte harder to laugh.
“I’ll be on my way then,” She started, but I cut her off.
“Actually, would you mind helping me out? I’m looking for a blacksmith. Do you know where I could find one?”
She paused, as if thinking. “Yeah, just turn around that way and you should be golden.”
I’m assuming she pointed somewhere, but I couldn’t see where. “I’m sorry, but I, uh, can’t see properly and, uh, would you mind being more specific?”
“O-oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know… Why don’t I just take you there?”
I smiled, “sounds great.”
She grabs my wrist and leads me through the sea of people. I wonder what she’s thinking. Specifically about my disability. As we’re walking an image of a woman’s face pops into my head. She has soft chestnut hair, only down to her shoulders, and calm brown eyes. This face was from my dream. But why would it be showing up now? Why this specific women? Question fill my head as the pressure on my wrist is released and we’re no longer moving.
“Here we are.” The girl’s voice is cheerful.
“Thank you… I feel bad to ask this of you but once I’m done here would you help me finish with my shopping. You see I travel a lot and I’ve run out of supplies.” I ask her, more not upset about not being able to do it myself.
“Of course! I’ll wait out here for you.”
I bow. “Thank you. I greatly appreciate it.”
I quickly head inside and pull out the halberd that has been split right down the middle. Handing it to the blacksmith, I tell him I want it back as soon as possible. He told me to return in a few days. I leave the building and find the women from before in the same exact spot she was when I had gone in.
“Welcome back, uh…” She chuckled to herself. “I realize I don’t even know your name, not to mention I can barely see your face. Why don’t you take the hood off?”
“I’d rather not…” I responded, then continued. “And the name is Death.”
“Huh, that’s an odd name. Mine’s Krystal Evans.” She took my hand in hers, in a form of a handshake.
“So, shall we continue your shopping?” She asked. Nodding she lead me again, this time her hand clasped in mine.
We went all around the town and the more we shopped, the more comfortable we got with one another. When it was over, it was almost saddening to have to say goodbye.
“I guess this is it?” She asked, her voice filled with regret.
I nod, not wanting to say anything to make her remember him badly.
“I mean, it doesn’t have to be, does it?”
“You should come over for dinner. You could meet my friends.” Her tone became hopeful.
I just didn’t have the heart to turn her down. “Alright, I guess.”
She takes me to a quiet place outside of the town. I assume it’s the woods. “There’s a ladder we have to climb here. Can you do it?”
I try to laugh again, “I’m blind, not disabled.”
She climbs up the ladder silently and I follow, not so silently. Once inside of her home, she explains something to me. “My house, is different than others. Everyone who lives here is different, like I told you earlier, Nudge has large bird like wings that she can fly with. Um, lets see here, Meloris has a dragon arm, Turtleman is, well exactly that. A turtle man, Lindsey is a half elf and I can turn into a cat.”
When she finishes, I just smile and nod. “Not the weirdest thing I’ve heard, to be honest.” Dinner went by quickly and I was shocked by how nice almost everyone was. Nudge was extremely bubbly and full of energy, which was the complete opposite of Lindsey, she was silent throughout most of the meal, but if she did speak it was usually a disrespectful comment about someone or what someone had said. Turtleman and Meloris I just couldn’t figure out. They were both very quiet and if they did say something it was usually 1 or 2 words. It was a relatively nice experience. We were having such a nice time that we completely forgot about the time and by the time anyone had actually said anything it was already dark out.
Krystal moved around the room. “It’s too dark for you to leave now.” She sighed. “I guess that means you’ll have to stay the night here.”
I shook my head. “No, It’s alright. I can go find a hotel to stay at.” I tried to explain but she wouldn’t accept my no.
“It’s too dangerous…”
“I’ve been taking care of myself for years, Krystal. I’m not afraid to go out at night.”
“No, you don’t understand. Do you know the reason why everyone comes to Italy by sea? It’s because of the dark creatures that rule the northern region.” She told me, her voice warry.
“You think I can’t fight some monsters?”
“Not without your weapon you can’t.”
“How do you know I don’t have my weapon?” I watched her white silhouette as it moved around, seeing a new side of her. Is she still trust worthy?
“Why else would you have gone to a blacksmith? Plus you went in with a bigger bag than when you left.”
She’s more observant that I thought. “I still can get to one place to another without a weapon.”
“You’re staying here and that’s that.” Her voice raised as she became more frustrated with me.
“Fine then where are you going to have my sleep?” I countered with.
“You’ll sleep in my bed. I’ll sleep on the couch.” She spoke confidently
“How about I sleep on the couch and you sleep in your bed.” I suggested
Nudge felt the need to step in and say, “Why don’t you share Krystal’s bed?”
Krystal agreed, “Fine!”
I didn’t, “What? No!” I just couldn’t think about sharing a bed with a woman. Let alone a woman I just met.
“You’re sharing a bed with me! So just deal with it!” Krystal’s voice bounced off the walls.
Honestly all the yelling was giving me a headache and I was tired of this argument anyway. “Fine….” I agreed.
“Finally.” Lindsey murmured under her breath. “Can we all go to bed now? It’s late and I have a lot of hating to do in the morning.”
Everyone went to sleep, and although it was very awkward to share the bed with Krystal, I somehow got to sleep. It was a very good sleep though.
I had the same dream as I did the night before, but this time I saw some similar faces within the images. First, Nudge’s, then Lindsey’s, then Turtleman’s, and finally Krystal’s. To be honest it was much more scaring the second time, having made my new friends today. This whole dream seems to be so familiar and I just can’t list why though. Once again the dream ended with me shaking and rocking back and forth but this time when I woke someone was shaking my shoulders and calling my name.
It was Krystal’s voice. “Death! Hey! Wake up! Wake up!”
I opened my eyes. “I’m up quit your yelling.” I frowned as I rubbed my face. Something was off. I was sweating at some point last night. Must’ve been that awful dream… Though I wish I could remember why I feel like I know that dream.
I must’ve been lost in thought because when I started paying attention to what was going on around me Krystal had just finished talking.
“I’m sorry I didn’t hear you.” I tell her.
“You were crying out in your sleep. Not to mention you were completely restless. Are you alright?” I focused on her silhouette, trying to read any sort of emotion from her face. Finding it very unsuccessful, I turn my head, moving away.
“I’m fine. I just had a bad dream.” I trailed off, getting off the bed and heading towards the door. From what I’ve learned about Krystal is that she is never satisfied with a half-hearted answer like that.
“No, you’re not fine, but I get that I’m not trusted, we literally just met yesterday. I was just concerned, that’s all.” I could tell in her voice that she truly is concerned, but at this point in time, I feel that I need to learn what the dream means before I go blabbing it off to anyone. So, me being the insensitive guy I am, I just walked out of the room without saying anything else.
One second, I’m walked down the hallway, the next I’m attacked by a 13 year old with wings. Out of nowhere the teenager comes flying at me and there is nothing I could’ve done to prepare for this. We fall to the ground, her lying on top of me and she squeals. “You’re not leaving yet are you?!”
Shaking my head, I gently push on her in a form of asking her to get off of me. She does so and as we stand together, I tell her, “I was planning on leaving early so that I have all the time I need for travelling.”
“But my birthday’s tomorrow! Can’t you stay one more day?” She begged trying to guilt trip me into staying another day.
“What day is tomorrow?” I asked, suddenly having a new theory on my nightmares.
“October 30th, which just so happens to be the day of the dark. That’s not very fun for a birthday but you know whatever-” She continued to talk but my head began to spin and it suddenly felt like the walls were closing in on me. I’d assume that my face became panicked because Nudge stopped her rambling and ask, “Hey, Death, are you alright? You’ve gotten pale.”
“Y-yeah I’m fine… I just need some fresh air.” I pushed past her, trying to get go towards the front door. I stumbled on my way there, but I eventually made it out alright. The truth was, I wasn’t fine. I was panicking. The day of the dark can’t be here yet! At least one thing was cleared up. My dreams were trying to warn me. I need to get out of here now so that I can get as far away as possible. I rushed back inside and snatched my bag. Just as I was reaching for the door again, Krystal’s voice stopped me.
“Leaving already?” She sounded unhappy about my decision to leave so soon.
“Yeah, I just… I have a lot of ground to cover today, so I was going to start a little earlier.”
“Oh, well, try to be careful out there.” I opened the door. “Oh! And try to clear your mind of those nightmares, okay?”
“I’ll try.” I lied and shut the door behind me. I don’t think that’ll ever leave my mind. I start towards the village hoping that my halberd is ready for me, but then I realized that giving myself a weapon probably wasn’t a good idea at this point in time. So, instead, I decide to head towards deeper into the woods. Hopefully, I’ll find an exit to France or Austria.
I didn’t cover much ground today. My mind was too busy wandering. I had too many images of my dream in my mind. All of their faces, but one. Meloris’s face never appeared once. Maybe it’s because he honestly intimidates me. He shake my head again stop to rest. I couldn’t feel the sun anymore so I assumed that it was nighttime. “Only a few more hours before chaos.” I mumble under my breath. With that on my mind, I continue my journey, trying to get as far away from civilization. As I moved deeper in the forest, I got an uneasy feeling. Something was definitely off. Everything just seemed to be darker. At first, I thought it was just because of how close the day of the dark was, but now I’m starting to think it’s something else. Either way it didn’t matter, I just had to stay away from people.
Hours later, I knew my time was running short, so I decided just to stay where I was. “No point in continuing to walk when it’s already too late.” Sighing, I sit down, leaning against a tree. It felt so wrong of me not to do anything, but really what could I do? There’s no possible way for me to fight this darkness inside of me. “Being a half demon really sucks.” I murmur. At last my time has run short and I start to feel the darkness tearing through my skin. Excruciating pain wells up and I fall to the ground, a scream escaping my lips. Suddenly, I feel my sanity slipping from me. HELP ME! SOMEBODY HELP ME! I’M TRAPPED! HELP! HElp… Help… help…. Hel……..
And everything goes black but that dim light.