52 Fictions Project: To The Gate – Chapter One

The canopy above rained leaves of delicate colors in all direction, the breeze caught them causing a ballroom atmosphere as they swayed. The ground littered with a wide range of yellows and oranges, as light beamed down through the branches it complemented the beauty. The forest ran far and wide no end in sight, similarities in every direction, the differences few and difficult to notice. How a man found his way so deep inside is a mystery, as a young girl stands above him in a crouched position.

“Do you think he’s dead?” A petite voice echoed into his mind answering her question with a firm no. The ability to move freely had yet to present itself to him, he’s body fidgeted causing the girl to back away in a hurry, as if he were to explode.

“There’s your answer.” An older voice sounded distant, still feminine, but it held a commanding tone within it. Dirt dug deep under his finger nails the feeling caused a shiver of disgust to rocket up his spine, though he wasn’t sure if his body conveyed it. Senses that felt long gone came back like layers being implanted back onto his person. Feeling himself becoming whole once again he finally tried and successfully opened his eyes.

The light though harsh, was a welcomed change from the darkness he had started to feel he would reside in. Large blue sapphire eyes stared back at him, to his surprise he wasn’t startled by it, but calmed. Locks of long chestnut hair fell into her sun kissed face, she looked at him with a brilliant smile. The feeling of joy crept into his heart as he pushed himself up slowly, he wasn’t alone. Now on his knees he was at eye level with the still crouched girl, his hand lifted softly touching her smooth face. She looked at him shocked for a moment, a flicker of fear the next, and finally another smile as she relaxed. The act was only to confirm the reality he had found himself in, though the older woman took it the wrong way.

“Hey I would get my hands off her if you want to keep them.” The women said in one of the many trees she had at her disposal, her hair had a darker tinge to it than the young ladies. The length was different as well, The younger ones hair seemed to have been uncut since she was born, the older one seemed meticulously done in a short fashionable way. This quickly being noticed before her words reached his mind harshly, the lack of knowledge on what she was capable of eluded him so he found it best to back away. Standing quickly he moved even further till a few feet stood between the young child and himself.

“Willow…” The young lady exclaimed before turning her head back with dagger eyes that could kill. “Don’t be mean.” She said in a way only a child could without sounding pathetic.

“Sarra don’t be so naive,” she scoffed at her quickly dismissing her comment. “He could easily be the one that brought us here.” Something within the sentence of hers caught his attention like a spider web.

“You woke up here as well?” There was a sigh of relief within his voice, the tone rougher than that of the women.

“A few hours ago, we were walking till we found you, we thought you might be dead.” Sarra said as if explaining a normal event in her everyday life, for a young child the level of calmness astounded him.

“I know,” he smiled at her for a moment remembering her voice echo. “I think it was your voice that woke me up.” She gave a small smile towards him, she seemed to love to smile, at least that was what he observed.

“Well little miss Sarra might believe you, but I’ll take some time to convince.” He looked at her studying the way she held herself for a moment, a fake smile curved the ends of his lips upward, she could tell he had forced it.

“If I have time, I hope to gain your trust.” He said bluntly as he looked around, it was low on his priority scale. Willow scoffed once again as she seemed to enjoy doing as much as Sarra enjoyed smiling. The leaves continued to rain down from the dark storm cloud of branched above their heads. Though the sun seemed high in the sky the thick weave of them allowed for minimal light, this left the forest in an eerie shaded darkness.

“Other than me, did you find anything?” He said into the abyss of nature, he could hear them shuffling through the trees getting closer to him.

“Well trees and leaves mostly.” The sarcasm flowed like a second language out of Willows mouth, she swiftly kicked a small pile scattering warm colors. She smiled to herself as the man looked back at her in annoyance.

“What is your name?” Sarra seemed to not be paying attention, the acts of a child, so blissfully clueless.

“My name’s Shane Cambridge,” The rough bark poked into his skin as he tripped over a branch protruding from the soil. Pulling back instantly he assessed the damage noticing skin lightly scrapped off leaving a red tent. Though the feeling was unpleasant Shane could easily deal with it as he continued forward. The accident caused some giggling from behind, he ignored them to the best of his ability.

“I’m Sarra and this is Willow Hilloak” The small voice explained rather quickly, this gained a nasty glare from Willow. “Oh common, giving him our names wont get us killed…will it?” The question towards the end sounded unsure of the unforeseen consequences.

“Probably not.”

The forest began to take shape of a disorganized maze, Shane wanted to look back and check on the two but to do so would be to risk an unexpected change in course. The crunching footsteps in his wake was reassurance enough. The light that had once broken its way through had started to lose life, would they be able to continue once night arrived? He thought to himself as he stopped.

Something was off, he had been listening, within the last hour they had walked the sounds around were grown accustomed to. There were an extra set of footsteps, not behind him but somewhere in his line of sight. Willow and Sarra catching on rather quickly stopped and strayed from asking questions, the silence they held amplified the noises of nature. The flock of birds was overhead while a vicious carnivore devoured what was probably a deer somewhere right of them. A stream that had faintly started to break through held more prominence now.

Seconds passed as he waited to hear the footsteps again, had he imagined it? Minutes wasted as they went by in hopes of a simple noise. Wind passed through the trees causing them to tussle losing some extra leaves in the process. Shane had finally allowed his gaze to wonder towards the women, a faint shake from Sarra gave the hint the breeze bothered her. She seemed unprepared for the chill fall weather brought, still in a summer dress as if she had been in the heat just yesterday. Shane looked down at his cargo jacket and sighed before finally shedding it from his body. The toss was that of kindness but unexpected as it hit Sarra in the face.

Bracing himself for a lashing by Willow he waited for her to find the right words, though as Sarra flashed him the well known smile Willow did the same. It was odd coming from Willow, Shane thought to himself, but accepted it non the less and moved on. Hair fell into his sight as he snapped his head back quickly, a twig breaking sounded in the distance. That was it, he took off in the direction in a speed he had not known he possessed.

Maybe this person will know where they are, maybe they will be able to help them, Shane thought to himself as he raced against no one. Willow and Sarra tried to speak, probably to stop his foolish act, but the adrenaline drowned them out. Behind the tree a few yard ahead of him, was that an animal or a person? As he made his way to it he found that it was nothing, as if what he saw had never existed. The excitement started to fall as if brought down by disappointment, a noise rang through the air, he recognized it for a moment. He remembered Willow kicking leaves the shoveling of her foot in the compost as she hoisted them up into the air. Turning one last time he finally saw a face, blurred as it was, it was there. He thought it was at least.

His feet moved, not as quick as before, but they moved with a pace that he saw fit to lead him in the direction. Who was that? As he moved to the tree it had vanished behind he found once again, nothing. His hand met his temple with a vicious smack, he had let his eyes fool him, their path had now been altered countless times. They could now be heading back the way they came, how could he be so stupid? The stream now consumed the sound in his reality, looking forward he saw it flowing, until now he hadn’t realized how thirsty he was. Crumpling leaves came from behind him soon stopping only feet away from where he had planted himself.

“Can you tell me, what in the world…” The question somehow lost in the fading voice of Willow’s, Shane looked at hr as if expecting more.

“It was nothing, I’m sorry.” The word that fell out of his mouth seemed to have no effect on them, the two looked in his direction but past him and towards the stream. Maybe they had just realized the thirst they wanted to quench, but it seemed more than that. His eyes followed their gawking ones and as it landing on its obvious target he tilted his head examining the scene.

A man whose back was turned towards them sat in the stream on his knees, the forest was at an incline now, if Shane walked normally he would end up accidentally running. This caused him to creep his way closer to the man to get a better look, the man seemed not to of heard them yet. He must have been blocking it out, there was something wrong with the picture though. As Shane grew closer he could see the water flowing from the man was that of a darker tent. The distance Shane held now gave him satisfaction, weary of what the guy may do he kept guard.

Willow allowed Sarra to move only when she did, Sarra looked at her annoyingly but complied knowing if she did other wise may bring danger to them both. Focusing their visions on the man they could see from a better angle than Shane could, the liquid flowing from him was thick and red. It polluted the water around him, the substance was easily identifiable even by Sarra’s young eyes.

Blood, a lot of blood, The all three shared a look with one another all having the same kind of fear in their eyes. They weren’t alone in the woods, they had figured that out once they found each other. Though now they weren’t safe, something had attacked the man, and they could be next.

————————————————————————————————————

I was doing the story a day challenge on my blog for a couple of days, though that was causing me to give you all halfhearted stories. I would much rather spend a week on something and then give it to you all confidently. You all deserve awesome stuff from me every time I post.

This is my new project, one piece of Fiction for a whole year, I have tried this once and I am going to try it again. Practice makes perfect right? I hope you all enjoy this and give me some feedback if you find something wrong. I will take your advise to heart and make sure I work on it.

 

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