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(HSSC) Shadow Moves

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posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 06:41 PM
Hi All,
Well, I FINALLY finished my story!
I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to comment away.

Shadow Moves

The howling wind rustled his black iridescent feathers as he roosted high in the treeless branches. He hunkered down lower and peeked one eye open to see if the wind was bringing clouds. No clouds, but it did bring a gift. Wafting in between currents of tree and earthly scents was the delicious scent of decay. Fresh decay. No more than two hours old. He struggled to hold in a joyful skwak. He didn’t want to alert the others. Leaping into the air and spreading his glorious wings, Crow flew east. Keen onyx eyes scanned both sky and ground, as the scent made a map for him to follow. Crow landed in a tree high above the flesh lying in the leaves. Patiently he scanned the surrounding trees for competition. Nothing. With one small hop and two quick flaps, he landed safely on the ground. He took one small step and then stopped. Three more steps and a quick look around revealed no predators. Crow slowly approached the body.

Man-flesh! This was quite rare, and Crow had made it to the meal before all others. He hopped onto the body which still carried a tiny bit of warmth. The eyes were his favorite, so shiny and tasty. He walked towards them. Digging his claws into strange material, he pecked at the eyes a few times and then stopped. Looking around, his eyes saw no predators or other creatures of competition. He again began poking at the eye in earnest. Eyes were so delicious! While he ate, he could neither scent nor sense the shadow thing hiding in the dark space under the body. Quickly it lashed its smoky tendrils out and twisted them around Crows body. Crows shrill kaws did nothing to hinder the shadow as it enveloped the bird into the darkness of its being. It even took the few feathers that Crow had shed in fear. Sliding back into its place of hiding, the shadow waited for its next meal. It didn’t have to wait too long.

Skeeter knew his master would be angry, but he had to go see what that smell was. He ran off as fast as his canine legs would carry him, his short brown fur seeming to hug his sleek body to give him more speed. Running through the woods made his spirit soar. His tongue hung out of the side of his mouth as saliva sailed in the wind. Smell is dead man. Smell is fear. Skeeter slowed his run to a walk. He placed his dry mottled white and brown nose to the ground and then lifted it high in the air. Smell is strange. He cautiously made his way through the trees. Stopping a few feet from his query, Skeeter opened his nose to its fullest and sniffed the air. Death. Fear. More Death? He stood staring at the body in confusion. Sitting on his haunches, Skeeter cocked his head to the side and let out a small whine of frustration. Should he move closer? Should he get his master? Indecision made a small bark escape from Skeeters muzzle. A few moments passed and a small rumbling in his stomach reminded him that he had missed breakfast, and he was close to missing lunch. With one last sniff, Skeeter lopped off back towards his home. He would bring his master. After he ate of course.

Three foxes, four crows, and three turkey vultures disappeared into the darkness of shadow while Skeeter was gone. The shadow grew, and soon became too large to completely hide beneath the body. It spread itself outwards and wrapped the body in tendrils of darkness, consuming it in its entirety. Creatures in other parts of the forest could now sense its presence and began sounding the alarm in a cacophony of shrills, whistles, barks, and squeaks. Sliding from beneath the body, the shadow thing formed itself into a stream of dark satin and floated off in search of its next meal. The forest marked its passage in a tomb of silence.

The light of the sun made the shadows stretch long and thin as it slid beneath the western horizon. Skeeter having long since eaten his meal, was now locked inside the house. His attempt at getting his master to investigate the strange body had failed miserably. His master thought Skeeter wanted to play and spoke to him in tones that Skeeter recognized as impatience. No amount of whining or loud forceful barks could make him see other wise. He had even locked Skeeter in the house, and then sped away inside the big metal thing that Skeeter loved to ride in. There was nothing he could do but wait, so he did the best thing he could do with his time. He went to sleep.

The sound of a rough engine slipped into Skeeters ears and made him slowly sit up and focus on the sound. His master was home! Skeeter ran to the door and paced to a fro in excitement. The sound of his master approaching the door set Skeeters tail into overdrive, and he could barely keep his hind legs from slipping on the wood floor. Maybe now he could convince his Master. Maybe now his master would come. As soon as the door opened, Skeeter jumped up, licked his master and ran out to the edge of the forest. He saw his masters face rapidly change from happiness to confusion, and finally impatience. Skeeter let out his most earnest bark followed by a pleading whine and looked into the forest. That’s when the wind shifted and laid out a story for Skeeters nose. Death. Pain. Run. HIDE! His ears perked up and he stood at attention; the hairs along his back rising up to defy gravity. A guttural growl vibrated from deep inside his body and filled the air. Something was coming. Something bad. He stood very still, all of his senses on alert.

His master had finally come to Skeeters side, and he spoke in a tone that let Skeeter know he was paying attention. Skeeter let out his best defensive bark. What was that thing? Skeeter could sense it, but could not smell it. What thing has no scent? His master ran inside, and quickly returned with the long metal and wood thing that made loud noises and brought death. Good. Maybe his master could make it dead. If not then Skeeter had teeth that would bring it pain. His eyes darted back and forth while his ears perked up in rapt attention. Rolls of nervous energy came off of his master. Could he sense it now too? Man creatures didn’t have senses like his, but sometimes Skeeter knew they could feel things.

There! The darkness that moves. Skeeter planted his paws in the soft dirt and let out his deepest lowest growl. His lips were stretched back as far as they would go, so the creature could see his sharp and deadly weapons. It made no noise as it slid gracefully closer. Skeeter’s growl rose an octave. His master barked angry and frightened words. He worked the metal-wood thing so that a loud crack and thundering boom split the air. The death and scent of blood that Skeeter was used to didn’t greet any of his senses. The creature slid ever closer. The creature with no scent. The metal-wood thing roared again, and still the creature moved foreword. Fear poured off his master in such force, that it threatened to wash away Skeeters resolve and make him run away. He charged at the creature and tried to sink his teeth into its flesh, but there was none. His teeth snapped together with such force it made his head ring and his eyes ache, but that was nothing compared to the searing pain that now flowed through his entire being.

A coldness had wrapped itself around his body so tightly that Skeeter could barely breathe. That didn’t stop his howls of anguish from echoing through the air. His body convulsed with shivers of pain as he fell to the ground. He thought he heard his master scream his name. He thought he heard the metal-wood thing roaring again. He thought the pain would bring him death. Then darkness took him far away.

A sharp whine pulled Skeeter from the swirling chaos of unconsciousness. He pushed through the pain pulsing through his body and slowly rolled onto hit stomach. The darkness was absolute, but Skeeters eyes cast enough reflection to confirm what his senses already knew. His masters scent was gone. Of the creature he could sense nothing. Struggling to his feet, he made his way to the metal-wood thing lying in the dirt. He sniffed the ground and then the air and could find no trace of his master. His scent just seemed to vanish. Emitting several high pitched sharp whines, Skeeter slowly padded around the metal-wood thing in a small tight circle. No scent. A piercing howl tore through Skeeter as he realized the anguish of his loss. The night passed on with silent indifference.

Further to the north, a wave of shadow slipped through the trees in stark silence. It had left a meal behind, but to the north it sensed its next meal. To the north it sensed large meals to last it a lifetime.

(A story by Sylvrshadow)

[edit on 10/28/2005 by sylvrshadow]

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 07:38 PM
Excellent story... I was a little confused as to why the dog did not die, but my reasoning is his master somehow gave his life for him and somehow spared him. I like the fact that you did not make it clear so the reader would be left guessing as to what happened.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 08:13 PM
Thnak you craig732.
LOL, I was so busy rushing to submit my story and hadnt yet quite finished checking it over! I have editied the end a bit to address the question of Skeeters survival somewhat.

Now I can finally finish reading the other entries.
I like seeing the creative processes that people use when trying to evoke fear in the reader. Good Luck to you in the contest.
I look forward to finally being able to read your story.

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 02:31 PM
Sylvrshadow, this is a good story and one that is convincingly told. I liked that you used the unusual perspective of the dog to tell the story, rather than that of the man. It certainly makes the story compelling as you utilise the senses and instinct of the dog to emphasise its fear of the shadow, quite effectively. This form of narrative device makes the shadow become even more scary and ominous.

I think you are convincing in depicting the dog's thoughts and character - it certainly rang true with every dog I've ever known. Moreover, the interplay between dog & master was very good - this was nicely done and went in the spaces where dialogue would otherwise go.

However, saying that, you might want to look at the opening couple of paragraphs with the crow again though - they are not as convincing as those of the dog. Also, it is difficult enough to tell the story from the point of view of one animal let alone two and makes the beginning a little confusing.

I agree with craig that it isn't clear as to why the dog escapes death. Perhaps you could suggest how battered/bloodied it is - a beaten dog is always a pathetic sight - and maybe indicate why the shadow wasn't interested in it and prefered man flesh? Maybe it wanted to consume the man's very soul and mind, as well as his body? It would be perhaps even more horrific if you detailed the screams of the master and the dog's perspective of the man's pain. If the dog can do nothing to save his master it would add to the sense of pathos at the end.

All in all, this is a fine effort and quite a chilling tale. As I said earlier, the perspective of the story is crucial to the success to the story - it is very adventurous (not to say difficult) to conceptualise how an animal thinks but you manage to pull it off very effectively.

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 09:11 PM
Hi kedfr,

Thank you for your comments!
I am always looking for ways to improve my writings. You are right about the thoughts of the crow not being as compelling as the dogs. My goal was to make the dog the main focal point, but I agree that a few more characterizations for the crow would lend more to the story.

The ending was tough for me because the story wanted to continue itself, if that makes any sense. I am now thinking that I have more adventures for Skeeter in mind, so I didnt want him to die. I have to admit that towards the end, I had to rush the story a bit so I could make the deadline, so it didnt end as cleanly as I would have liked.

Thank you again for your comments.

[edit on 10/29/2005 by sylvrshadow]

posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 11:37 PM
Jealousy. Yup. I am jealous. This was a good story. It is far better than anything I have ever written. Good luck.

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