Wednesday, November 17, 2010
He dared what no one ever dared.
He let the darkness snake through the Tulgey Wood without running away before it came.
If fact, no one ventured into the wood at all if they didn't have to. Even in the baking light of midday. The wood spun its own gloom, and tree tops spread wide and belligerent, like enemies of the sun.
The blade lay sheathed across his knees.
He thought about who might care if his bloodied corpse were discovered the next day. He thought about the many who would not. His confidence faded with the light, then the color, then the very shapes of things. Definitions blurred, and cut shadows bled into damp twilight.
Harder, his eyes strained to keep up.
Then, he sensed it all on the verge of turning under. The edge of night. When blindness stabs at our deepest instincts, and the noises of night creatures begin to move. As he thought about the invisible scurries and the mysterious padding of feet, the wave submerged him. The blackness brought the claustrophobia of huge, empty places. It squeezed around him. Even if he chose to run, the hidden thickets would shred him.
So he grasped the hilt of the sword and closed his eyes.
Open or closed, it didn't matter anyway. If the sun was gobbled by the trees, delicate starlight would be chewed and spit back to the skies.
He ignored the rustles, the distant chirping calls until the low wheeze of a breath snapped his terror wide awake.
A predator's stare blinked impossibly close.
But too large. Tremendously large.
The Vorpal Blade sang out in his hands.
The Jabberwocky leapt. It was not expecting to be challenged by its food.