The cicadas drummed away, their humming echoing back and forth underneath the canopy where the leaves rustled and cracked in the wind which weaved like a flame through the trees in waves deep into the forest.  The sun needled through the canopy, lensing to the underbrush where it scattered the insects whom only moved far enough to avoid the light before droning on once again.  Every now and again a stronger, more abrupt rustle trudged forth from someplace or other in the forest.

An ear perked underneath a tree; aligned with one such rustle.  It did so only for a moment before returning to its natural position.  Somewhere in front of the ear, and below, a nose twitched several times.  A hand, or claw, rustled through the browning leaves, searching for something.  It remained buried for only a few moments before withdrawing, clasping its claim tightly.  Sensing the new presence, the nose twitched several times more before the claim vanished down a dark, white-rimmed hole just beneath it.  Several crunching sounds escaped before a spit and another rustle.

“Will you stop playing around int he leaves, Migael?  We’re moving again,” a voice sounded from behind, “Damn, that Migael…  You’d swear he was on a leisurely stroll…”

There came no reply from beside the tree.  The ears and nose slowly rose, and followed the origin of the voice, quietly disappearing behind the curtain of needles.

Several birds leapt into the sky, rustling some leaves as they left.

“Shit, where the hell did they go?”

“How the hell am I supposed to know?”

“You’re our damn scout, you idiot.  If not you, then who the fuck else?”

The voices swam back an forth.

“Damnit.  These are wolves, dumb animals, where could they have gone?”

“Don, you damn well better find them, and quickly at that.  It’ll be dark soon and I want this done with by then.”

“I know, I know, I’m going…  Sheesh, you’d think they’d appreciate me more.  I’m the one that found those blasted beasts int he first place.”

A figure trudged off into the distance.  Behind him several others remained.  They huddled together slightly, the better to project their bravado and all that.  The men were very well trained, their spears were quick to point, in unison, towards even the smallest of rustles of sounds barely perceptible to the ear.  So eager for combat were they that their armour chattered whenever they stood still, or as still as one could when so excited.

“Fuck, how could that idiot lose to them?”

“How doesn’t matter, the idiot did.  We should dock his pay when this is done.”

The voices jumped back and forth between the eight figures as they stood there.  Their formation grew slightly more tight and impressive with every passing minute.

“Why are you huddling so close together?” a dark, ebony voice suddenly sounded amidst them.

They turned as one man, but found themselves alone.

“I’m not going to sleep on the hard ground tonight, I can still afford a nice bed back at the inn.  I’ll see you guys back here tomorrow,” one voice sounded, already receding into the distance.

“Hey, where the fuck are you going without me?” several more shortly followed suite, despite a lonely voice trying to bid them stay.

“You seem to be the only one left,” the voice whispered once more.

“Oh shit…”

Chap, chap, chap-chap, chap… chap chap, chap-chap…

Footsteps rung out unevenly within the forest.

“Fuck fuck fuck-fuck fuck…  ‘We’re going wolf hunting,’ they said, ‘It’ll be easy money,’ they said.  This is no wolf, it’s a fucking Wölf!”

The footsteps proceeded along at a brisk pace.  Trees flashed by like thunderbolts.

‘Quick, quick, over a root, under a branch, around that stump… Quick, quick, don’t look back, just keep moving.  Come on, feet, move faster!  Faster, faster.  Quicker, quicker.  Before it catches me.

Behind the figure dashing along, disturbing the forest as it moved, a shadow slipped from branch to branch.  Leaves drifted down gently wherever it had been.

‘Faster, come on, move it!!!’

“I shouldn’t have come along.  I won’t let those bastards talk me into something like this ever again…  Oh, how I wish I had listened to my little sister.  She always knew better…  Fuck, I’m so stupid!”

A foot hooked on a root.  The figure drifted through the air.  It’s eyes widened.  In them reflected a dark, white-rimmed hole.  Several dark red leaves floated to the ground, gently, like the ones before, and coloured the world crimson.

Several birds leapt into the sky, rustling some leaves as they left.

Index | Next Chapter >


One thought on “Prologue

  1. Pingback: Chapter 1 – A new arrival | Zero-Energy Universe

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