Scars, Chapter 12

And here we are with the latest update to our dark fantasy horror series. It’s the start of a new arc. Khy-kala has gone to investigate a town that knows more about her people than most humans, while the rest of her group kicks up their heels for some well-deserved rest… or dealing with a sudden outbreak of banditry and murder. It’s all good. In the snippet below, a young woman from a farming family has a most unexpected night-time visitor. To see what happens as well as the full story, check out the links above!

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Jilene scurried back to her room, closing the door and laying a bolt across it. She sat on her bed, knees drawn up to her chest and shivering. The animal shrieks soon faded away into a ghastly, unsettling silence. Moments later, she thought she heard another sound, lower but shorter. It sounded human. Then, there was nothing. The seconds stretched, her heart pounding in her ears. Finally, she couldn’t bear it any longer. She had to know what was going on.

The young woman crept down the stairs, holding her candle aloft. The vestibule was still empty, the door was still shut. She peered out a window, but there was nothing to see. The moon appeared briefly, casting a pale glow over the nearby barn that vanished just as quickly as it had come. She paced back and forth for several moments more, but neither Yrwin nor her father returned. She’d been told to stay here… but what if they were hurt? What if they needed her?

She gathered her courage – along with a knife from the kitchen – and opened the door. There was a slight breeze with a touch of the coming autumn’s chill. Jilene pulled her housecoat further up her shoulders and headed towards the barn.

In the distance, she could hear the chirping of crickets, but nothing else. No hooting from the owls that lived close to the house, nothing from the barn, nothing from her father or brother. There was only that awful, heavy silence. It took more and more effort to put each foot in front of the other, but she didn’t turn back. Her father and brother were out here. She approached the barn. The doors were open. As she drew closer, she heard noises from inside the building. Soft, barely audible but with each step they became clearer. Wet, slurping sounds like a dog guzzling water from a bowl, only heavier and longer.

Jilene’s instincts told her to run back to the house and she almost did, but a spar of moonlight through the clouds came, falling across the front of the barn. Captured within it, she saw a man’s arm, limp and protruding from the darkened interior as if its owner had fallen just in front of the threshold. Jilene’s heart leapt into her throat as she recognized whose arm it was. Yrwin!

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