Shadowed Moon - Chapter One

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 3/27/2009

 

 

I stumbled on the rocky slope of the cliff as my tired feet lost their footing in the mud. Rain poured down my forehead in rivers that made it difficult to see. When I finally reached the top I saw that I was now at the beginning of a vast, dark forest. Wiping my drenched face with an equally sopping hand I turned to look down the cliff I had climbed.
“This way men! I saw something over there!”
“Faster hounds!”
The shouts of my pursuers floated up the hillside. I allowed myself a weary and grim smile before rushing into the woods.
“Trail her dogs! Get going you stupid mutts!” A frustrated man yelled.
 “There! I saw the little witch up there on the hill!” someone called.
Again I stumbled this time on a log protruding from the undergrowth. I clamped my teeth down on my lower lip to keep from crying out. Holding my arms out in front of me to ward of any low hanging branches I ran deeper into the darkness and the relative safety of the trees.
My breath was coming in short gasps and I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs. My heart was drumming away faster that it had ever before—even that very day hen I had been nearly killed—and a horrible stitch was beginning in my side. The little pack I had prepared that morning to be light for the travel now weighed on my back like a ton of bricks and my legs ached from running. More than once I had turned my ankle in the leaves and mud.
Thunder boomed overhead and still the shouts came from behind.
“There she is – after her!” I knew I was no match for the hounds and soldiers that chased me but still I ran. On and on, my breaths coming in short bursts that tore from my lungs painfully.
However the cries of pursuit soon turned to ones of terror as lightning struck a tree not twenty yards away and sent it crashing to the forest floor. For a moment the forest seemed darker, as if a shadow had passed over the canopy of the trees. But I dismissed it as the aftereffects of the bright lightning.
The bolt spurred me on again but I was at the last of my strength. Each stride became slower and covered less ground than the one before as I kept tripping over my own two feet.
Another streak of electricity split both sky and earth so close to me that I was knocked off the ground and into the air three feet before tumbling into a pitiful ball of pain and misery. Beyond me I heard more cries from the men who hunted me and wails from the hounds but they were short lived and lapsed into silence so I didn’t think about it.
I cried out not caring who heard me. ”HolyOne, where are you? I didn’t do anything wrong!” Or had I? “I’m sorry,“ I sobbed helplessly. “I’m so sorry.” I realized how pathetic my plea for help was. I began to cry out my fear and exhaustion .Tears mingled with the rain and mud that ran down my face.
My strength finally ran out and I offered up a last prayer. “HolyOne ……” I collapsed felling every ounce of energy leave me as my limbs became useless and limp. I lost consciousness.
 
“Oh! The little beast appears to be waking up.” A voice called into my sleep. Slowly I managed to crack open one eyelid, heavy from being closed for so long.
“Hello there liddle one.” The voice continued. “Now don’t be scared when you turn around.” It muttered something that I couldn’t make out. “There I go again mumbling, bad manners, I know. Dear me!”
Carefully I turned my head towards the voice and opened my other eye. A creature sat on the edge of the bed I was laying on—a bed which I hadn’t noticed until just then—the creature was about the size of a medium dog and was black everywhere except for a broad white stripe that ran from its muzzle down to its stumpy tail, and its white belly. It was in fact a badger.
After recovering from my initial shock, I managed to say in a weak and cracked voice: “You can talk.”
The Badger stood up on his hind paws and placed his front ones firmly on his hips. “Well, of course I can. Just as well as you. Or, I should say just as well as you before your little incident,” he said indignantly. “It’s that you humans never listen. Your kind does not care anymore about what used to be. I’ll bet it’s the fever that brought you to your senses.” He chuckled
He softened a bit. “You are feeling a little better now then?” I nodded. “Good then,” he said, showing his teeth in what I guessed was a smile.
            “I’m Lara,” I said, hopefully prompting him to give his name; and perhaps explain what was going on.
“Oh! Where are my manners? Probably back home with my mother.” He chuckled—a kind of breathy growl that seemed to come from his stomach instead of his throat—and I had the impression that he was actually old, despite his seeming energy. “My name is Durant. Durant the badger of Glendonsette.”
“What’s that?” I asked. He chuckled again. 
“Not what, two-legged Lara.  Where is the question that you are after.” He smiled again and left the room, returning with a bowl of spicy smelling soup and bread floating on top that he carried in a basket around his neck, walking on all fours.
Handing it to me, he said, “Glendonsette is my home dug out by me, my father and his father. Not to mention my brothers and uncles.”
I looked around at the stone walls of the room. Badgers must have been some kind of diggers to hollow out solid rock. Or maybe this is a very old part of it dug hundreds of years ago, I thought to myself.
Durant noticed me looking. “Oh no, two-legged Lara. This isn’t my home, this is Ditri’s cave.”
“This is a tree’s cave?” I asked, wondering about the creature’s sanity and then again, my own.
“No,” he said emphatically, beginning to be frustrated. “Not ‘Dee Tree.” Ditri.”
“Oh, well who’s Ditri?”
Durant chucked softly. “You’ll find out soon enough, Two-Legged. Soon enough.”
No matter how much I pushed and pried, Durant refused to say anything more than the fact that Ditri was not a badger and that I wasn’t supposed to be scared of him. 
“He’s a very nice sort unless you get on his bad side; which is awfully hard to do because his bad side only shows up after something else is bad. So you see, he’s nothing to be afraid of,” Durant insisted. Which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but then I was feverish and the sickness probably messed with my mind.
It was mid afternoon by the time I was strong enough to sit up. Durant helped me into a chair that sat beside the bed and both were crudely made. He sat down beside me and stared.
“What?” I asked.
“It’s just that it’s been…well…awhile since we had a two-legged like yourself come and sleep with us and talk with us and eat with us. Mind you, it wasn’t always like that. No, once, hundreds of years ago, all the humans could talk to us. But over time they became deaf to the voices of beasts like myself and Ditri. Although, his kind can talk the two-legged language.”
“So, this Ditri is a beast, not a human,” I interrupted.
“Yes, of course. Now will you let me get on?”
“Sorry.”
“Now see, there’s a prophecy made long ago by old what’s-his-tail (I can’t remember his name) that says something about the two-legged race coming back to animal speech. And though we’ve been looking forward to it – you can be sure we have – we’ve also been dreading it because the prophecy also said that it would start a great war; bigger than anyone had ever seen.” The badger shuddered.
“When  Ditri comes back, he can tell you better. He learned the prophecy from his father, and his father learned it from his father, and their grandfather and great-grandfather, too. Doesn’t let a day go by that he misses bellowing out that ancient thing into the depths of this cave. When I asked why he did it he said quite simply, ‘I must never forget it. I must remember,’ in that peculiar voice of his.”
Durant smiled something I now realized he did almost constantly. “Here I go again talking of Ditri and everything he does. He’s a very good friend, at least to me but I do know of some that he is not very friendly towards.”
“Where is he?” I asked casually.
“Oh, probably out hunting somewhere,” the badger answered absently.
“Oh? And what does he like to eat?”
Durant looked at me with a glint in his dark eyes. “Lot’s of things.”
“Like?” I prompted.
“Food.”
“Fine. If you don’t want to say then don’t. But when will he be back?”
”Any moment now, two-legged Lara. Any moment.”
“Please stop calling me that.”
“What?”
“Two-legged. I am a human and my name is Lara, just Lara. So call me Lara.”
“Isn’t that what I’ve been doing?” he asked.
“Oh, never mind.”
“Don’t get snippy, Two-legged Lara. Why don’t you lie down and rest for awhile and I’ll go fetch some of the others and when Ditri gets back you can tell us your story. I don’t doubt it’s a good one.” Durant smiled and left, running on all four feet.
I lay back in the poorly made wooden chair, and without meaning to, fell fast asleep.
 
 

Comments

I'm interested to see

I'm interested to see more!
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Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Sat, 03/28/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

cool.So am I!

Im posting this story in hopes that it will push me to finish it.(I have never finished one yet!)
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"He's not a TAME Lion"-Mr. Beaver C.S. Lewis

Kay J Fields | Sat, 03/28/2009

Visit my writing/book review blog at http://transcribingthesedreams.blogspot.com/

A month ago I would have

A month ago I would have said "I feel you pain!" (I only just finished my first story ever...)
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Sat, 03/28/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Neat

Good for you.And i'll try to post some more soon.
**********************************************
"He's not a TAME Lion"-Mr. Beaver C.S. Lewis

Kay J Fields | Sat, 03/28/2009

Visit my writing/book review blog at http://transcribingthesedreams.blogspot.com/

I like, mostly

Pretty good, KJ. Story is interesting - the only thing I had was that your punctuation needs work.
~Sis
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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Wed, 04/01/2009

Yeah, punctuation needs a

Yeah, punctuation needs a little work, but other than that I like it! It reminds me a little bit of the Chronicles of Narnia, if you don't mind my saying so.

"True love is the greatest thing in the world - except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe." - Miracle Max, from The Princess Bride

Bridget | Fri, 06/12/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

I try not to copy, sorry. My

I try not to copy, sorry. My sis said the same thing when she read it.
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Lying in my bed despite the raging storm I tried to look at the Brighter side of things... And so sat in the darkness for a full ten minutes.

Kay J Fields | Mon, 06/15/2009

Visit my writing/book review blog at http://transcribingthesedreams.blogspot.com/

hmm...

I liked the begining!

And I liked:

Oh? And what does he like to eat?”
Durant looked at me with a glint in his dark eyes. “Lot’s of things.”
“Like?” I prompted.
“Food.”

LOL!

Write on!

Kassady

Kassady | Thu, 11/25/2010

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
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Write On!