Authors: alexander gordon
This story is dedicated to my brother, Daniel Gordon.
Mankind has always spoken and written tales about monsters; evil creatures and abominations that roamed the world, born from the darkness itself. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, goblins - all manner of beasts and spirits dreamt up in fear. Children would stay awake at night with fear in their eyes. They’d hide under the covers, hoping for protection from lurking monsters beneath the bed, or inside the closet. Even adults would fall prey to fear of the otherworldly every now and again, either by being alone in a dark alleyway, or hearing a strange sound in their home at night. However, everybody knew that monsters were nothing but fictitious entities, never more. There were never any monsters under the bed, or in the closet, or hiding in the shadows.
The only real monsters were that of mankind itself.
Daylight started to shine over a mountaintop, the rays of the sun slowly lighting up the landscape as the new day began. The mountain stood tall against the horizon, with its snowy peak hidden above the clouds that gently rolled by. The light slowly crept down the mountainside and over a forest, the green trees filled with birds chirping as woodland animals slowly woke. As the light continued past the lush forest and across a gentle river it came across a small village, surrounded by a high stone-brick wall. There were two main gates leading inside, one from the forest and the other on the opposite side leading out towards the rolling plains. It was comprised mostly of small houses and shops, with the buildings being brick and stone with roofs made of redwood. The cobblestone pathway spread out through the village as the people that lived there began their day as well. Everything looked peaceful and serene; from the horse driven carriages and carts to the people that were dressed in casual clothing. From leather boots and dress shoes, pants and shirts made from dull linen and cloth, to old worn hats and caps, the people were seen walking around their village going about their daily lives. Children went to school as adults went to work. Some men went out fishing or chopping wood while others tended the farms just outside the large stone wall. Women headed to the market for groceries and others went to church to pray for their family's wellbeing. Blacksmiths were forging weapons such as swords and axes. Everything seemed perfectly normal and tranquil in the village of Edgewood.
As sunlight started to shine into a window of a home one resident was lying in his bed sound asleep still. The inside of the residence was of the normal fare of the village; with a living room that had a fireplace, a table with a few chairs around it, and a bookshelf with worn books. It had wooden floorboards and walls, the place seeming warm and cozy for a family. However, only one individual lived in this home.
Inside a room that had a bed near an open window and a desk that had piles of books cluttered on it someone was snoring rather loudly. He was eighteen years old, having an average height among his village, with only a small amount of muscle on his physique. His short, black hair was slightly messy as it was always for him, and his chin was void of even a little stubble, much to his chagrin. The boy wore an old black sleeveless shirt and a gray long sleeve shirt that was left unbuttoned in the front, mostly because it no longer had any buttons on it anymore. He had light brown pants and brown leather boots on, still wearing his clothing from the other day as he had fallen asleep late once again. As the light reached him through the nearby window he slowly started to wake, groaning with annoyance that his dream was coming to an end. He slowly sat up and looked out the window, his brown eyes focusing a bit as he came to.
"Another day… wait, another day? Oh crap, it's morning already?" he said with surprise while looking around. He leapt out of bed and ran over to his desk which was cluttered with books. Still half asleep he quickly shook his head to wake up, his eyes looking around quickly as he searched the books piled on his desk. He franticly threw them around wildly as he searched for something, his eyes scanning across the large collection of books he had.
"Oh no, I only wanted to take a quick nap, not good. Not good," he said as he searched his desk. There was only a bed and desk in the small bedroom, that being all he needed for his work at home, and yet there were far more books than most would have in their home, all of which were scattered about. After a few more of his books flew through the air he groaned in defeat, then looked around in frustration.
"Let's see… if I were a book… where would I hide?" he asked curiously. After a pause he blinked then snapped his fingers with a smile. He ran to his bed and lifted the mattress up, seeing a book with a black leather cover dropping to the ground. The hardcover book was a bit larger than most of the others in his home while the cover sported a pentagram insignia in red ink. He smiled and picked up it up quickly then sat back down on his bed.
"You thought you could get away from me didn't you? You gave me a quite a scare there, little buddy," he jested as he opened it. His smile quickly faded as he turned to the last page that he had been working on.
"Damn, I hardly got anything done last night. This is bad, she's going to be pissed," he groaned. He dropped down onto the bed and looked up with a dull gaze.
"I finally got a chance to show my work to them, and I fall asleep writing it. Why? Why must my life be so cruel?" he complained. With a quiet sigh he looked at the book again with worried eyes, flipping through the pages he had written while shaking his head.
"It's not enough yet, they're going to want more than just this," he said with defeat. He closed the book then stood up, looking out the window at the village as people were seen out in the streets. His house was only one story tall, yet he had a good view of the large mountain from his bedroom window as it extended high into the clouds in the distance.
"I know it's not a fool's dream, there's no doubt about that. I just need more proof," he reminded himself assuredly. Looking to the book he tapped it gently.
"I just need-"
A knock came from the front door, the boy nodding before looking down with a deadpan expression.
"-a decent spot to be buried in," he finished with a sigh. Slowly he walked out of his room and towards the front door, his eyes glancing around at the empty home. After taking a deep breath he opened the door and forced a smile.
"Hey, I was
thinking of you," he said with a cheery tone.
‘Actually, I was just thinking of how you're going to kill me…’
"Really? Well, I was thinking of you too," a girl said amusingly standing at the doorway. She was about the same height and age as he was. Her long blonde hair dropped down past her shoulders with a few blue streaks through it on the ends. She had blue eyes, ones that were looking at him with curiosity. The clothing she had on was her usual style; white leather boots, gray pants that went down to her knees along with a brown belt around her waist that had a sheathed dagger on the right side. She had a brown leather bracelet on her left wrist that had a single green gem attached to it, the only real piece of jewelry she ever wore. She had a light yellow t-shirt on that was ripped slightly down the middle from the collar. Even though she didn't have any more muscle on her body than he did he knew very well she was certainly stronger than him.
"Good morning, Triska. So, um, how are you doing?" he asked nervously with a smile. Triska looked at him carefully then tilted her head a bit as she examined his expression.
"I'm doing well, but how about you? You look like you just got up… and have something to hide," she said with suspicion. He nodded and looked upwards with a chuckle.
"Well, yeah. I did just wake up. Say, about the book…" he trailed off. She narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms before her.
finish it, right?" she said with a slightly agitated tone. He chuckled and looked away with a nervous smile.
of it…" he quietly said. He glanced back to see the girl giving him a dull stare. A quick glance to her dagger was made before he gulped slightly.
"Just how much
you finish then?" she asked slowly.
"Well, a good amount… of the beginning. I got all the basic details and theories down. But… I couldn't start the next section," he nervously replied. She looked at him for a moment then down with closed eyes.
"So let me get this straight. I finally talk the council into listening to your ideas, which included having to talk to my mother, the
of our village, and convincing them that you're
out of your mind, all with the simple requirement of you having some proof to your theory… and you have nothing to present to them?" she said as she tapped her foot expectantly. He sighed and nodded.
"Yeah, I'm sorry. I was up all night working on it but-"
"I can't believe this! You know how stupid
going to look bringing you to them with you just shrugging and saying 'I have nothing'? I'm never going to hear the end of this!" she cried out looking at him with disbelief. He backed up and held up his hands defensively.
"Hey, calm down, Triska, it's not like that. Really," he said worriedly.
"Not like that? I'm sorry, but are you still half asleep? You do know that the entire village doesn't believe you and your wild theories, right? That you and your…
are so farfetched that even book writers think you're crazy or something," she said with exasperation. He nodded and looked to the book in his hands.
"I know that, Triska. But the theory is correct, it's just I don't have any physical proof to show them. I got stuck writing last night because just
about it won't do enough. I need to show them evidence, and… I just don't have it," he said remorsefully.
"If you knew this then why did you agree to see the council today?" she asked. He looked to her then walked outside, the girl watching him curiously as he gazed up at the sky.