Craven

     “Tell me. What is it you fear most?” the shapeless creature asked, “I want the joy of feasting on your terror.”

     Try as he might, the traveller couldn’t help but stare into the blood-red eyes glistening before him. Save for his perpetual fear, those piercing eyes were the only constant in this foreign world. The atmosphere seemed a swirling mixture of purple and grey mist, and his body, seemingly suspended in mid-air, felt as though it was being moved about by the tremendous pulsing of his own heart. Somehow, the creature knew he was afraid despite the brave face the traveller wore. Perhaps it was the moment he let out a stifled whimper when the monster shrouded him in shadow and dragged him into the underworld. He had been in seemingly perilous situations before, and just like his present condition, he found himself upside down and lost for a way out.

     “There’s no need for you to speak. This delicious aroma doesn’t lie. You’re bleeding in the ocean and I’m the shark that’s come to feast!”

     He felt an eerily cool touch run along his cheek and his first impulse was to cry out; however, he did his best to save-face. He could feel his lower lip quiver and the initial onset of tears lurked behind every blink of his eyes. Hindsight told him he should have stayed far away from the city he once knew, but the pull of curiosity was far too strong.

     “Yes, the city. I was the cause of its destruction. A little whisper was all it took for their fear to turn into a whirlwind of excitement! I feasted on them slowly, making sure their cowardice grew with every moment,” the creature said.

     The traveller felt a sharp pain in his chest. Those kind people that welcomed him into their city were no more and the smiles they once held were stolen by the creature that surrounded him.

     “Oh? Did I just catch a whiff of courage? That won’t do at all,” the creature’s eyes moved closer to the traveller and he felt a menacing voice inside his head, “They all started out just like you; ready to fight back, but you cannot fight what has no form,”

     The creature’s words had given the traveller an idea and he knew his enemy would sense the shift immediately.  He needed to use the awareness to his advantage.

     “Optimism has a terrible stench. Let’s blot it out and feed that fear,” the creature said.

     The traveller knew it was now or never and he enacted his plan before his fear took over again.

     “Tell me, what is your name?” the traveller asked.

     He felt the cool touch on his face once more and the menacing whisper inside his mind seemed to pride itself in its identity. The traveller knew the next moment was his ticket out of the horrifying world.

     “We are Craven!”

Published by Paul Schembri

I'm a writer living in Australia.

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