Mar 25, 2017

Chapter Zero -- The Ghost Inside

"Mother, I cannot sleep."

Little Jorah, eight years of age, stands in the doorway of his parents' bedroom. His mother groggily wakes up from her fitful sleep. She pulls the covers aside and beckons the child to her. Jorah climbs in beside his mother. Comforted by the familiar shape of her posture, he closes his eyes and slowly falls into the quicksands of sleep.

Outside, wind whistles through the trees. A storm is brewing on the horizon. It will destroy the crops that are yet to be harvested. The family will have a hard winter. But maybe not.

Jorah's mother, Sybil holds tight to her son as her husband snores away, lost in his own dreams. She feels worried about the crops, but there is little she can do in face of the storm. Her thoughts often divert to the sons of the royals who'd come to her village and take their pick of fair maidens. She'd wanted to be chosen by any of them. Had it happened, she'd have never had to worry about mundane, pedestrian things like wasted crops and how to fill the bellies of her family in the season after the storm.

Her arm aches under the head of her son. She tries to move it, but the boy stirs and moans in his sleep. She decides to bear the discomfort for a little while longer.

The storm is picking up. Leaves, slapped by the wind and spray of water make sounds like ghosts trapped in their bone cages. Chained in responsibilities and customs of the world that forces them to live a civil life. Sybil thinks all this. She sighs and holds a little tighter to her son. She keeps drifting to sleep, but the sounds of the storm keep waking her up, too.

In a tiny moment of sleep, she dreams she is tied to a cross and a man in a crow's mask is hammering nails in her hands and feet. There is no pain, but her blood flows freely, staining the ground, her clothes, and painting the sky in bronze and ochre. Everything is bright with light, but the hammering doesn't stop.

She wakes up to realize the sound of hammering is from this world, and not the other. It could not be the wind making all this ruckus. Probably a traveler trapped by the storm. She lifts Jorah's head from her arm and softly puts his head back on the pillow. Like a thief, she steals herself from the bed.

On her way through the kitchen, she picks up the biggest knife in their house and holds it in an underhand grip so that the blade is shaded by her forearm. She twists a knob in one of the lamps and it glows brighter.

"Who's there?" She asks as she gets closer to the door.

"I need help," comes a low, weak voice. She's not sure if it's a man or a woman, but it doesn't sound dangerous.

She opens the door and her life changes forever.

---
Are you ready? Are you fuckin ready?

3 comments:

  1. Absolutely fuckin ready. Waiting for more...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. next part is up :) thanks for the comment, if you keep reading, I'll keep writing.

      cheers!

      Delete
  2. I'm here in the shadows, forever #666 ;-)

    ReplyDelete