Wednesday, August 21, 2013

~ PATRICK O'SCHEEN ~




The captain woke with a start at the sound of a small animal wailing. A single intense scream pierced silence. The night sky was inky black with no trace of a moon. Soundlessly, he exited his tent. The fire had become mere embers not casting enough light to illuminate the site. His blanket and Magic were no longer where he had left them. There was a sound of cracking bones, as whatever predator had killed its prey now feasted nearby. He crept toward the cliff edge, sword held tightly, attracted by the sound, expecting to surprise a desert cat or a feral dog. Scheen heard it rather than saw it, a snort, a snarl, the swish of a very long tail. He saw a blast of fiery heat in the direction of the beast, outlining large claws and dangerous teeth. The training of a captain taught one to know when to retreat. Slowly, soundlessly, not daring to breathe lest it find him, Scheen backed away from the scene of the slaughtered feast. When he thought he was far enough away to remain undetected, he began to run. He had to find Magic. They had to find safety. The swoosh of enormous wings overtook him. The air was pulled away from his lungs with great force as the beast flew past. Scheen squatted, trying to hide, trembling, prepared to defend himself. It passed heading east into the void that was the blackness of the night. Scheen stayed silently on the ground, waiting, listening, expecting at any moment the huge claws would rip from the darkness demanding his life. He might have little defense against such a creature, but he would not die without a struggle. If he were to be a meal, he would make certain he was remembered. Unbroken silence, darkness, surrounded him while cold sweat beaded on Scheen’s forehead. His muscles remained tensed for action, but only stillness swallowed him. There was no way of knowing how much time passed as he waited. Presently, he heard footsteps on rock. Relaxing his rigid hold on his sword, his white knuckles stiff, he peered in the direction of the sound and toward his camp. Moments later, he saw Magic rekindle the dying fire, wrap himself in the blanket, and sit quietly on the rock. The blond man reached out to the growing flames and warmed his hands. Scheen entered the camp, sitting very close to his recruit, hoping it was safe, “There’s a creature out there.” Scheen breathed quietly. “A creature? What do you mean?” Magic’s expression was unreadable.


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