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A Midsummer Night’s Haunting

May 13, 2014

You should’ve stayed on the path. But no, you just had to be the heroic explorer, didn’t you Alyxzandyr and impress everyone? He thought disgustedly. Stupid Alyxzandyr, very stupid! Now you’re lost in the Haunted Forest of Raybourne, famous for its evil. Even worse, it’s almost nightfall. You need to find a defensible location before it gets any darker. His eyes desperately searched the deepening gloom.

There! A steep cairn  towered above the trees. Alyxzandyr carefully climbed the rocks. The capstone was about the size of a small table. Perfect! Alyxzandyr thought in satisfaction. Using the fading light he swiftly drew the runes of protection with his staff. He sat down cross-legged in the middle of the circle he had scribed. Carefully he spoke each word of the invocation. Pale light flared. It oozed from the line, flowed up and over his head, joining into a hemispherical dome. He settled himself comfortably within its walls.

Night settled over the forest. Eerie noise issued from the darkness. Then he saw the first pallid glimmerings in the blackness. Sickly hued balls of light approached. They produced a shrill-pitched sound that painfully pierced his ears. The insubstantial will-o-wisps floated easily up the rocks. They circled the cairn, spiraling in tighter and closer. One darted forward, touching the dome. Zap! It squeaked in pain. Several more attacked. Zap, zap, zap! The group drew back, buzzing angrily for a moment, then darted away in search of easier prey.

The ghouls came next, hungering for the flesh of the living. Grunting they sniffed the air. Noses pointing the way they lumbered towards the cairn. Clumsily they scrabbled and scratched at the stones. Their odor, the stench of decay and death wafted to Alyxzandyr turning his stomach. They slobbered and drooled trying to reach him. Fortunately they were too uncoördinated to succeed, slipping and sliding back to the ground. Finally they shambled away.

The demons were the last. Bent and twisted they slunk from the shadows. Red eyes gleamed with delight when they spotted Alyxzandyr. “A soul to eat brothers!” The leader chortled. They surrounded the cairn.

“Humans tasty!” Long sharp claws dug into the rocks, quickly scaling them.

Alyxzandyr rose and grasped his staff firmly. “Lords of Light defend me in my hour of need!” His staff glowed brightly.

One prodded the dome. Zap! “Tickles.” He snorted. The demons swarmed forward.

Alyxzandyr struck. Lightning flashed. Bang! The blasted body of a demon melted into nothingness. He spun rapidly, frantically stabbing them. Slow minutes passed, one by one they fell before him. The last demon died as the horizon lightened. Trembling and exhausted he sank to the stone and greeted the dawn, covered with soot and bloody furrows in his flesh. “Just be glad that it was one of the shortest nights of the year. Never, ever do that again!” He muttered to himself. An hour later, having stanched the worst of his wounds he stumbled homewards.

Cook greeted him joyously. “Those fools swore you were dead boy!”


499 words in response to Finish That Thought #45, mandatory first sentence, 500 word limit, Special Challenge: Include either an enchanted or haunted forest.

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