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by Gloom The wind blows, so softly, like the eddy of a river, rushing, flowing. In her hair, the wind tosses and twists, catching her face, catching the air, reaching out again, to sigh, and again, to grasp. Her long black locks reaching, reaching for the sky they can never touch, for the air they can never grasp. So like her, she thinks, looking down, her chin is covered.[awkward sentence] The thick chunky stain scarlet, crimson, like her tears, streaming. His body is open, empty again, like her heart. She loved him so much, so much. All his re-assurances that THIS time would be different. That somehow, what had befallen so many others, their love would be able to overcome. That is WHY she hid, that is WHY she lived off of carrion, and in the wild places. None of them, not one of them had ever survived her love. so hungry, so raw, so primal . . . her flowing robes now stained crimson, brown here, streaked there with clots and shredded skin. She stared down blankly, at him, the last in a long line of hopefuls.[hopefuls? In what way?] How could she ever have believed him? How could this time EVER be any different? Yet she had, and did, and now he lay in her lap, eyes in agonizing disbelief, neck twisted at a horrid angle. She had done that last bit for mercy, as he had been screaming so when she ate his insides. Cursed, she was simply cursed, how could it be else?[is that phrase necessary?] To devour those you love when passion is at its peak? What was she? She had never known. Surely NORMAL people didn't devour someone they loved deeply, let alone digest it. [digest them?] Yet, ever since she
his blood everywhere. [sentence reads a little awkwardly] Yet. couldn't see someone like her doing something so horrible. love. would finish the rest. she couldn't be serious. How many deaths had he faked? How many times had he let them catch him? Tricky to get them to kill him the RIGHT way. she imagined they found her quite beautiful. to be fully consummated instead of consumed. the dark red stains looked black in its light. and the running. Always on the go. their offspring would feast on his rotting flesh in great profusion of wriggling maggoty whiteness. Then they would be. drinking and devouring the remains of this thing that they did not. she thought. they couldn't believe it. Who could escape her ravenous hunger or her violent seizure and spasm at the appalling grisly death that awaited all that would have to lover her. He could take almost anything. and the hiding. Crazed. with their life's blood streaming around her. and the white spores of fruiting fungi that sprouted from what they did not devour. Why did they hate him? Why did this always happen? Always on the run. despite her misfortune. At least when she was alone she didn't hurt anyone. The dogs kept him going ahead of the mob. eating.] He had been running for three days. and then the dance would begin again. Her pale skin. She awakens [correct tense?] the next day and drags his fly-gathering remnants with her to the river. it was that same gentleness that fooled them. Surely. grey and lifeless. Surely. His broken shattered ribcage jutted up in the pale moonlight. was always the reason they felt safe in approaching her. Soon. his body ready to decompose. nor would they ever. They would laugh and joke with her. she was most gentle. she had made it all up in her mind somehow [is 'somehow' necessary?]. Tricky to get them to leave his seemingly dead corpse there. That of course. yet how she yearned for one chance for her love to be complete. [? instead of . so colorful death. Then began the horror. and their insides inside her. She watches [correct tense?] them gather. at least she thought so. She would let them draw close. When she finally told them. they were possessed of a rage and irrationality of the violent. as he was. and she did try to keep herself clean. He even wondered if they finally DID decapitate him if it would be his . her dark eyes.had reached womanhood it had been that way.
Let them come.] The village was only a few miles away. [maybe restructure this sentence or add a few words. they began to tear into him. he thought. an endless game of tug of war. Hiding in the tree line. and decided to cease his struggling. Fire was another story entirely.] How long would he make them wait this time? How long would he run until he pretended to succumb to their advances? The dogs. he thought. [does he know that fire will kill him? The last sentence seems strange here. then a tear. then fast when they got near. the whole sordid affair.[run-on? Maybe make 2 or 3 sentences?] He was tired of running. Even as the pain ravaged him. The first bite seared his arm as he let the dog tear at his clothes. Close on his heels were the other dogs. no time to rest. as his reputation spread. entry and exit points clearly visible. where there lay a brook that opened into a wide expanse that lead to a vast forest. then. slow to let them draw close. his legs as he put his arms up in a mock attempt at fighting them. it would always be the same. and the mob would grow and grow. his clothes tattered. felt the blood from his arm and the muscle beneath it bunch.[run on?] He welcomed it. or their holes were marked in his clothes. his feet sore. first with a pinch.[run on?] He assured himself that they were so far from the town and the woods he had come from. It always hurt terribly. all of it. If he kept running they would keep chasing. He ran towards it knowing the dogs would catch him. to dispose of him.end. felt the teeth bite into his flesh. the torture and then death. yet it seemed as if he had been running for weeks. So he ran. his hair matted. hanging in the treetops. They chased and chased him to the edge of a clearing. they knew they could not kill him with their slings and arrows for their shafts protruded from his clothes. the dogs always at his heels. the dance of death and dying had ensued. knowing that the mob was close. then to his ribs. whatever their intentions. that the risk of fire was much less. now looking for resistance. no time to wash. at last and and to this . the beatings. but he also knew that their resources would be limited here.
no tears. or plea he would cry had ever availed him. his destruction would be the only thing that would allow for peace to return to their world. then his stomach. their disgust and horror for what they were not willing to. as they looked and poked and prodded. now lay bare. They took turns spitting on him then the words of damnation. They removed the scarf. One of the men said they should put him in the water. no answer he could give. and so he surrendered.tedious chase. for he knew he could not die in the normal way. then the blade to his heart. and could not. no burial or last rites. he let his head hang limply. He let the dying pains come upon him. and explain. For always he had found. [break up into 2 or 3 sentences?] They opened his eyes and felt for his pulse and then content. he allowed the blood to rush from him. and so he had given up on such foolish and pointless things. His chest. They had him up on a wooden cross soon enough. like a withered leaf. the blood spurting in great red flashes on their hammers. their sound fading. but the others argued that to do so would pollute it with his evil. quietly. their red rage consuming them.then their faces. He had heard it all so many many times. his entrails falling in a gush to his feet. and they assured themselves of his demise. and end to this futile and frivolous errand. screaming obscenities. no mercy had ever found him. [what?] The pain was elating. [this confuses me – are they content? Or did they open his eyes then feel for his pulse and content? I'm lost here] They even broke the cross he was put upon and laid him out for the vermin to consume. comprehend. though searing. their footsteps hushed by the sound of the . His death and to them. How could he help how he was born? How could he help what he had learned about himself? Yet. and mark the place as accursed to avoid contamination for those who would venture there. a ruin. his bones crushed. and cursing at him as the spawn of hell who should be destroyed. They would come back and bury him later. did man ever vie to destroy anything he found that did not allow him to easily categorize.[2 sentences?] This is why he had decided to end it this way. as a victim to satisfy their deep hatred for the different. breaking the skin. then the beating. his shattered lungs and limbs to cease. his clothing bloodied. and slit his throat. he knew they could not end him. She watched from a distance. Finally the cry to the heavens.
his eyes .[chose who?] She crossed the brook in her bare feet. Pity all he was fit for now was the love of the flies and the rats. now hardened to the sharp stones she chose to use to cross. She was safe in the treeline she knew. mud. despite its appearance. sickeningly. through the trees into the dark intimidating forest. blood covering his neck and pale skin. at least she thought. The bright red stained her dress and her pale feet. and she wondered how long before the flies came and then their larvae. the great red-black stain a giant striated stain that emerged from his body. and littered with the decaying remains of dry leaves. to gaze upon their work. she thought. she drew closer. suddenly. She walked gingerly. The smell of his guts washed over her. She moved his head again and framed his hair around his face. and bled him dry. It was cold outside she thought. such good cheekbones and a strong jaw. that was sun. They had smashed him with hammers. grey and heavy they hung shrouding him in shadows. The hem of her dress drug behind her wet with moisture. that would eat this poor man until he was just bits of broken bones.wind. and then. His head lay to one side. The amount of cruelty they had shown the man was more than usual. That the forest was rumored to be haunted by all manner of dark creatures suited her just fine. She turned it to look at the face of the one they had butchered so violently. why did they kill this man? What had he done to have them chase him so? The sun was obscured by clouds. The smell of fresh blood and the wet sounds of the soft grass beneath her assailed her senses. It was the reason she had chosen them. and that her scent. are they necessary phrases?] It was a curiosity to her. new and unknown would not attract them. Her long fingers touched his head. She had waited a long time to make sure that no dogs would come. and could vanish in an instant. [what?] Pale white bone stuck out in jagged relief against his blackened form. The smell of rot and fresh blood was already strong. not where he lay [she knew. The brook was not deep she knew. his long black hair spread out in a halo that surrounded his head. [more than he usually got or more than they usually gave?] She could only make out details at first in the overcast shadows. He was handsome she thought. and pulled her tattered dress to her. Curious.
" she said. "I know it is unpleasant. "You're alive!" she said. She was at first a bit squeamish. She . She gasped and backed away aghast. not knowing what else to do she smiled meekly "Lavorna. and resolved to help. My name is Odhrain. yes I am. but if you help me gather myself I think this will all go a bit faster. "It is something I have had to live with for a long time-The Not Dying. " I don't understand. [was she already there?] His arms were still nailed to the beams of wood and his entrails in great ropes all over. "Its very rude to stare you know" he said and smiled. "Well Lavorna it is nice to meet you.opened. what's yours?" She was shocked. his skin open and she could see his insides. Please don't be frightened. and quite intrigued. " You're not. even if under such inauspicious circumstances." He said "Now Lavorna. frightened." He said. It was truly a wonder to see him speak at all. She slowly walked to him and looked into his eyes. It would seem you have me at a disadvantage. as you see. She looked at his innards still strewn around and his bloodless body." he said." he said looking at his guts. but then the thought of all her endless ex lovers' devoured bodies and the various ways she had disposed of them. if you would be so kind as to help me I would like to not be here when that unruly mob returns." she said " How are you alive still? What there those men after you for? Why did they try to kill you?" "I am sure it has something to with my ability to keep on living. then walked to? Was she already there?] "Why yes. you're not all together-you should be dead!" He smiled again. [stood over. and stood over his mutilated body." She nodded and went over to help him. "But how?" She said.
" he said "I really hadn't thought of anything beyond getting away" he smiled "or at least getting them to go away. as he slowly and amazingly started to knit himself back together. "You are quite the steadfast woman if I may say so. He moved towards her then." he said and put them inside." he said." She stood watch. not knowing what to do. Am I to gather you are used to seeing such scenes of violence?" he said and seemed sincere. She was quiet. surveying the scene before him. you have my thanks. "Where will you go?" she said. She merely nodded. nothing! She couldn't believe it! He stood up. and stood looking at him. He then held down the flaps of broken skin and closed his eyes. "Now if you will allow me to concentrate a moment or two I can be on my way. "Thank you." he said "but unfortunately. You seem only a little put off by all of this." and kissed her hand with his pale cold. not being used to scrutiny. my clothes can never quite duplicate the effect. His innards writhed and squished like slimy serpents and re-assembled themselves inside him. then the muscle. much less from someone she had recently thought as a cadaver. Most women I am acquainted with would have run screaming. "To be honest. He stood for awhile and stared off into the distance deep in thought. yet soft lips. He looked at her closely then. and gestured for her to to give him her hand. his blood stained and torn clothes flapping loosely on his pale skin. "Well whatever the reason. He turned to go then. He took it and turned the back towards the sky. first there was a whitish film. "I must apologize for my poor attire. then no seam. as if for the first time seeing her clearly. standing. First the bones closed and then grew back together. no matter how much I can heal myself." .picked up the bloody ropy things and brought them to the gaping cavity that was his abdomen and put them in his hands. He had already removed the boards and nails from his arms and legs and was somehow growing back together. though he did not ask her to. and then.
and mysteriously so. After awhile he came to her. at least for a time. his damp clothes cling to him limply. She seemed very resourceful to him. and they journeyed across the brook.Part The Second: Their Love of Savage Delight." he said "It would seem that I have no choice but to accept your offer. and what was the point of turning him back to the mob? She spoke then " I know that we have only just met. The wind grew meekly as the sun moved its place among the grey sky. and as handsome as he was to her she still knew nothing about him except his name. and follow him there. She resolved then to keep her problem to herself. for it is best that the dogs lose your scent.. and this woman was not put off by all of the mess. and he had to admit. but the stream could take away some of your scent. -and his strange ability. hiding. so that they will not follow us. She could not help but notice how pale he was and how handsome. "This might take a bit for me to wring these out completely" He said. Why was her heart suddenly pounding? "Then follow me" she said. He was too. as stranger." she said. then. and his hair. She could save him. and then you could find shelter in the forest from which I came. he thought to himself. She thought then. "I will wait here while you bathe." he said and began to take off his blood stained rags. a good guide at the very least. She must be strong and cunning. She heard splashing sounds and then him squeezing out his clothes. She faced him. could keep him safe. inability. and that you are probably far from your home. "Indeed. her predicament. she was quite attractive. even if only in the way that a woman of the wild could be. She steeled herself. about the forest. . for surely the dogs would keep his scent. she would be putting herself into danger. looking at his perfectly healed flesh. and her safety. but out of modesty she turned and hid her eyes behind a large tree. She waited. to keep it secret. The mob might only be a days journey from the site of his "execution" ." The thought had appeal." Her heart leapt a bit unexpectedly when he said it. and they had promised to return to dispose of him. and she was excited. Were she to invite him into her home.. "Since I can think of no better option. to herself.
grew darker. Even the soft rustle of the hem of her dress was did not sound. even though the forest floor was littered with dry leaves. and enchanting. How long had this woman lived here? How long had she lived this way? Why was she helping him? -and yet. As they walked. yet strong. as she guided him. soon they were cloaked in darkness. it was buried by the gentle stirrings of the wind. instinctively into the vast forest. he had to admit that this was all very thrilling. Odhrain noticed how quiet she was. She was kind. The trees grew enormous. The mystery of the night and his new found companion embraced him and his mind filled with thoughts of intrigue. no matter what the light is like. She lead him then through thicket after thicket. but it is somewhere safe we can spend the night" They wandered for hours in the darkness. " I have always been able to find my way. and the forest is no mystery to me. They started up a steep incline. Lavorna told him where to step. great walls they were . and the shadows lengthened. The small stragglers that crowded the edge were first. copse after copse of dense trees. With a smile in her voice she whispered " I guess you just have to trust me then." They went further and further into the wood. "Where are we going?" he said " I can't even see my hand in front of me! " A tinge of fear had crept into his voice. The sky grew dimmer as night approached and small smatterings of bats flapped overhead. Her feet made no sound. "How can you you see in this light?" he said "How do you even know where you are going?" She squeezed his hand gently and gave him a brief backwards glance. and when to duck as they made their way up what seemed to be a large hill. and then slowly into the cold crisp deeper forest. though he could not see. only the dim warmth of their joined hands a constant."Where to now?" he said and she grabbed him by the hand which was soft. the night being obscured by clouds did not aid in their ascent. the deeper they went. and seemingly tender. He soon found the footing beneath him more solid and he began to smell old stone. there were he knew.
"let me make a bed for you. They stared at each other a moment." he said. confused. but I must ask you." She looked at the floor meekly. "Lavorna. their gazes touching as something hidden passed between them. Her dark eyes pits in the shadow of the night. were overgrown with ivy and vines that wrapped around them. her long wild hair hung down past her shoulders and disappeared into the folds of her dress." The remains of a great fire place that once lit the hall lay empty. why are you helping me?" She looked uncertain then. She laid against the stone ." She said. I found it when I was very young. and he saw at once the bleak remains of what looked to be the vasts ruins of a castle. "I thought they had killed you and yet you were alive. The rotting remnants of furniture were covered in cobwebs. "I think it best that you rest. Lavorna had arranged makeshift bedding of downed tapestries and the remains of heraldic flags." he said." In the dim moonlight her skin was ghastly. The cool night air biting through the frayed flags." she said " We should be safe." she said. "It has always been here since I was small.. "Perhaps it was the need to see you not die a second time.. he noticed. as if she was not able to understand why he was questioning her. and it is not that I do not appreciate what you have done. There is no name for it since it is mostly forgotten by everyone. Suddenly the moon shone out from beneath the clouds. "I've never met anyone quite like you before. She lead him gently into the remains of a great hall." She slowly raised her gaze to meet his. to be honest. "We can stay here for the night. Funnel webs and weeds choked what the vines did not cover. as it is not a fast journey to reach the forests edge. "What is this place?" "I had no idea there was anything here at all. and she smiled." she said.passing." she said. "You can go wherever you need to after tonight. The tapestries that had lined the walls had all fallen down. The ancient walls. or perhaps it was something else. and a few ancient candelabras rested on mouldering tables. and I can show you the rest of the way through the forest. He lay down in his tapestry bed. and the sweating stone and dust filled the chamber. "I am glad that you are helping me.
. with hers.. Her slender arm wrapped itself around his waist as it searched for warmth. he thought. overcome with desire he pulled her close and stroked her face. her breath warm and inviting. and his breathing slowed. The silent night between them slowly sparking with a vibrant electricity. and had pressed herself against him. aware of her soft sweetness. then he drifted into slumber. He pulled her arm to him gently and turned his head to look at her. grass and the faint smell of night jasmine that lingered in her hair. it branched out first with his hands. Their legs twined beneath the flags and the small charge between them continued to spark. her long dark hair spread out across it like creeping vines. He let his desire move him. Again the questions. He pulled her closer and leaned in for a kiss. She had wrapped a flag about them like a sheath . he was someone to admire. Her lips were full and soft. She found his mouth soft and his jaw strong. for surely she must give him some . looking at her attentively.sadness.floor. not with fear or trepidation but sincerity and something else he had not noticed. The first kiss was raw. I hope you don't mind" she said. He waited for awhile until his gaze faltered on her breathing form. He wondered why that gray shadow tinged her gaze. Her dark eyes stared back at him intently. "I was cold. more patient. Her thin figure rising and falling in her worn and threadbare dress. her soft hands willingly grasped his own. an urgent kiss that spoke of danger and the direness of their situation. who was this woman? Why was she helping him? Suddenly he did not care who she was. The lustre of the moonlight and the embrace of the shadow lent her a dreamlike quality. She smelled like dying leaves. aware of her warmth. an exploration of the other. Her soft cool hand his face and stroked it gingerly. then with his body as he pressed it against her. The second kiss was harder. to lay next to her. How much warmer it would be. and her gentleness. A soft sigh escaped her lips and he shivered with a fevered excitement. He awoke to a soft warmth pressing against him. He lay like this for awhile. in time. How would he respond to her warning? She wondered. and he was not surprised that though strong. His fingers found hers all on their own involuntarily. aware of her presence. His heart thrummed with an unknown excitement at her responsiveness.
" He looked at her now confused. He loved her passionate kisses that matched the hunger and depth of his desire. "Then tell me. that he was capable of surviving her embrace.hint of what was to come. sighing deeply. "You really have no idea. "You don't understand. "If we keep going I will hurt you" She said. and how she had never been able to stay with them. surely you cannot think me incapable of withstanding whatever it is you are afraid of. and put her face in her hands. She pushed back harder. that shivered and stilled only to fade. and not in the playful way you are suggesting." Anger and Sadness blended and mixed over her face. at least for the moment. She told him the story of her condition. A strange red glow whispered from the their corners then faded. though she had promised herself not to. "And so you see why we cannot continue. the passion taking her. Her tears were streams down her cheeks. "I don't understand. as he put her hands into his. . She was not sure. He listened with great solemnity. yet her courage stifled her desire. Suddenly. and sharply pulled her hands from his to cover her face again." She trailed off. amazing as he was. In the dim moonlight their warm breath rose as phantom forms. and the fierceness in her eyes grew. "You have seen how resilient I am to harm. nodding and holding her hands more firmly as she recounted the deaths. "Then hurt me. or to keep them alive. tell me why you are so afraid." He said. She held his had the fury taking her. I really will hurt you if we continue. He reached out and gently pulled her hands from her face. She put her finger to his lips to silence the question forming there. of the dead lovers. and that place in the back of her mind growing. she stopped.” he said and leaned in against her straining to kiss her." she whispered finally. More and more he sought to bring her to the fullness of her passion. He looked amused and smiled. She shuddered in delight at each kiss." The moon rose to its fullness in the sky and began to crest to the horizon.
The first bite made his lip bleed. somehow they had become unclothed. then clawingly. Like a screeching. it all seemed so dream like under the moon. and teeth of metal chewing glass. yet each was more exquisite and acute. The fiery passion between them burning brighter into a crescendo. Lavorna's eyes no longer his the red glare that left traces as she straddled him. How could such a slender beauty do such atrocious things? How could someone so seemingly gentle." he whispered and kissed her again. although he could not recall her teeth biting him. and there were other things as well. "I don't care about the past. her frenzy grew and a strange buzzing hum sound surrounded him. She screamed when he entered her. and the strange buzzing clearly audible and faint... each bite grew more severe. first trying to push him away. although he was unsure how he had gotten there. and her pale breasts shone silhouetted in the blue light. but when he focused. He was suddenly beneath her. he landed his kiss as her hands fluttered. Accustomed to surviving atrocities her was very daring. Her nails seemed to grow. . kill with such unbelievable violence. as if she was racing to catch it. which became increasingly difficult they looked the same length. to capture and bind it. His pale skin against hers. scratching sound of nails drawn across a chalkboard. then tearing the flesh. this pain. he had seen the red flare up when she stopped him. and their soft skin blending into shadow and into shapes. She was looking at him in apprehension and he thrust himself at her. Her hair swam wildly as she lost herself to abandon. the second landed on his neck. Pearly drops of sweat poured from her brow. lingering in their minds. the moon a cold white halo. A rhythm emerged.He then rushed and embraced her. A Blackness like a blanket began to envelop his senses. Then the Blackness enveloped them. silvery grey in the night. he knew he could survive as long as his head remained intact. and as long as he avoided fire. more insistent as if she was reaching for something. and then she surrendered. yet it was delicious. Breaking the skin. Fiercer and fiercer her biting. It seemed quite contradictory to him. and yet. harder and harder her motions.
and still her astride him. embracing pain and pleasure both equally as they were meant.. His body convulsed under the hunger for something enormous that eclipsed both of them. His innards in jaws too large to fit into her frame. Then terrible searing pain. and bring a more complete union was at its core. everything had been torn to bits. the strangeness of it all. the horror and the beauty. Great shudders shook her body as the pleasure continued to hit her with its aftershocks. He breathed to find he had very little lungs left. his guts flying.. stronger than teeth. blood everywhere. something Divine in its hunger. to consume their essence. . Lavorna lay on her side now in fetal position. sensation became all. That deep insatiable need to devour the other completely. but were somehow sharper. blood flying.He lost touch with time and space. his blood a great pool now that coated their bodies in a filmy sheen. still holding hands. Slowly the haze cleared. The Tragic Death of True Love. something beyond comprehension. his blood. the breaching of his inner flesh with what felt like teeth. or. their bodies the catalyst for the strange flight. Her blood soaked bosom and thighs from the splashing slowly falling ground ward. and she fell down sideways off of him. yet here so much more violently expressed. in great wide arcs flowing from his body. PART III: The Inevitable Outcome Of All Good Things. all of it had been removed through terrible force. He looked in disbelief at his now empty abdominal cavity. the snapping of his bones. with a coughing bleeding wheeze managed to utter "Still here" She broke her reverie and kissed him fully then without compunction or reserve. Sensuality expressed hiding nothing.
sword in hand went forward and knocked on her door. still nothing. The Abomination had fled their punishment. She whom they called Gentle Annie. lending a surreal air as the day went to its death. and reason. he. common sense. but something much more sinister. Willow trees and oak blew hazily on the winds. The path to her hut was filled with bones and strange carvings with strange stains and a chill that came not from wind. along with all the assembled . That they had already seen him grievous injury and mysteriously survive somehow was loathsome enough. The Bravest of the brave of them. He had defied justice. They had sent scouts into the village and all the neighboring towns even so far as to bribe body snatchers for information.And it was a bit of Madness. They had searched for hours with boats and had scoured the stream and shoreline for his body to no avail. eviscerated. Not even his clothes remained. but whose name was never spoken aloud. but to imagine that he had been slain. The one who deep within them. Though he tried to stand steadily. It was at dusk when they arrived. he must be ended. and so the villagers cast lots on what to do finally decided to call on THAT woman. They had dared not to burn her or go near her. and the long shadows seemed alive with nameless black entities that danced and mocked them.. No one had seen anything. She who was whispered of.. set upon great iron hinges that looked sturdier than the hut that held them.. The old crone lived in a ramshackle hut on the hill just beyond the village. they secretly all feared. It was with great fear and trepidation that they gathered their strength and their courage and sent the bravest of them to her. and a great desperation that seized their hearts. bled dry and left for the carrion crows was too much. The door to her hut was small and solid with a small dark window and a small iron knocker. or from height. a stalwart young man with many scars. the wood witch. They were at wits end. as they had heard such hideous stories of those who had even tried to.
This thing cannot be slain by normal means. out of the shadows. and panic gripped them all. and the lines creeping up into her eyes. that no one would come. Her voice was like scratching leaves. and her great teeth glinted darkly in their faltering torchlight. The breeze rose then howling strangely and a black fog formed that blinded them as night settled. Strange lights lit themselves silently then foundered. In one final desperate act he pounded the door until his knuckles bled upon the iron reinforcements. He wished that this absurd chase would come to an end. He was a strong man. As his . They all jumped terrified at her sudden appearance. and yet he still lives. like some creeping vine growing deep within the darkness terrified them. and they waited. Her face was darker than the shadows. The Scarred One spoke "There is an Abomination that lives near us that we are hunting. Had they made a mistake in coming here? Was SHE more of a danger to them than the Abomination? Would she even help them? They stood trembling with fright. they would. The last light of the day faded. The villagers are frightened that some horrible blight will befall us if he is not destroyed. Was it their bones hanging from the trees. we have opened him up. and from the fear wrought of the stories of all those who died in this very place. nor had the bolt been thrown back. or was it merely animal bones? who would dare to guess? But here they were. recede to their normal lives. secretly hoping that no one was home.there shook from the chill. The door had not opened. he admitted to himself. but the stories he had heard still lingered. As their eyes adjusted. "Why have you come to me here?" She said. and that disillusioned. He knocked again. that somehow the angry mob thirsting for blood would be sated by her non-appearance. from nothing. a dark robed woman stood in the gathering gloom. She had just appeared. We have bled him dry. The light blinked out and they were blinded by the last flash of the sun.
We have heard tell of a strange woman who is seen there every so oft. For surely such a thing mocks all creation. They waited while the air rustled through the leaves." Again the Crone was silent. "I see no reason to help you. only the rumors that she haunted there. They did not know if the story would help. Yet she stood unarmed and still. "Allow me a moment to confer with my comrades. The faint ghost of their blinking were the only things visible in the night." The Scarred one said. The air suddenly stilled. where the Abomination had vanished. They talked among themselves in the darkness. and may be still lingering there. and the wind howled dreadful whispered secrets into their ears. There came to light the legend of the dark woman living in the haunted forest. Many of them wondered just who it would be that would be chosen to pay her "price". The only thing we can add is that he may have fled into a vast haunted forest near his place of execution." The Dark One said nothing." she said. We do not know who she is. They stood in silence for what seemed ages. but many men have gone into those forests and were never seen again. They turned and the Scarred Brave one spoke "We cannot give you any reason to help us other than the one we have. has not wronged me. haunts the forest. They did not know much of her. strange though he is. that is agreeable. . bristling with a dark energy." A dreadful feeling of violent tension flooded the air. They looked flittingly amongst themselves. We are prepared to die to a man if it will save our village from the consequences of harboring such a thing within itself. but they all agreed that he must have fled within the forests which she haunted. "This being.very existence threatens the natural order of life and death. I shall take this as an intrusion and one of you shall pay a dire price for doing so. or why she is there. Unless you can give me a reason to help you. who along with other things.
His face was a hole with giant teeth marks where a nose and mouth should have been. The warden of the prisons thought it a strange request." The air surged with a potent force and suddenly one of the villagers screamed and was silent. yet hopeful. and her fear of him. Bring to me too. Ash. and yet a red stain spread over her sharp black teeth as she smiled. . frightful. It was towards dusk of the following day that they gathered. a great grandson of mine talked of a great beauty hidden in the forest. The screams of the tortured echoed in the prison. He left one day to see her. Yarrow. regardless. scattering each to a separate destination. so it seemed. twitching." "If your quarry has fled and is currently seeking shelter with this same woman. They left then. "but" she said" I will also avenge my great grandson. then I gain knowledge of her whereabouts. As well as the herbs rue and wormwood and meet me at the place of this mans destruction. then I gain his revenge. spurting like a geyser ." She was quiet again. but assented." She said. wood of Elder." She said "And I will have my price" They grew frozen in apprehension. "I have no interest in assisting you in finding your quarry. and Blackthorn. He talked endlessly of his love for her. and the one who was responsible for his disappearance. She had not moved. and if not. onto the ground. "Now. bring me fresh implements of torture and pain. Your coming here made me remember his loss. gathering those things that she had required wondering what they could possibly be used for. Would she agree to help them? Was her speaking to them a reproach or an approval? With growing trepidation they waited. Make sure they are stained with blood and have seen much use. and he fell. then."I have heard of this woman" The Dark One said " Long ago. and was not seen thereafter. I thank you for that.
Hananjur!" she said as the wind howled and as each rise of names faded." a hint of mockery lingered in her voice. This being is said to be able to destroy any living thing. and to find and avenge my grandson's destroyer. No one expected her to be present until sunset. She said it over and over again as the fire crackled and began to grow. remained. robes folded about her. They brought what she asked. "There is a being who can help us. Hananjur. "Now bring me kindling and a billows." she said.Trees had been felled. and she arrived as she had priorly after the violent last flash of daylight and in the gathering gloom. and sliced her palm with its blade. "You have done well. The sticky souring smell still lingered in the air. The metal began to glow orange and bright hot. They had assembled what she had asked for in the stain and waited. never once did she falter. "This being is sent to punish and destroy in the name of revenge. She lit the kindling and began to chant. her dark oily blood fell as the flames grew. somehow. and she began to say strange words over the Iron Man. This was a great comfort to the villagers. wood had been gathered. The great dark stain where the Abomination had been slain. One word was clear in all of it. who had been shivering outside for so long. She had them use the billows to make the fire roar as she threw in the strange smelling herbs and she continued the chants. her white grey hair a stark contrast with her oily black skin. which was warming in the great dark. . for what seemed like hours. She stood there. a simulacrum of a man. This is the being we will call to go after your Abomination. she resumed the chant. herbs had been harvested. and to be relentless in the pursuit of that goal. She then piled the wood inside and around the base of the figure. "Hananjur." she said. Then from her robe she took out a twisted dagger that glowed an eerie green. Words in a language that they had never heard but made them feel icy splinters in their bones." She then assembled the torture implements and added her own strange cache of iron." she said " You may be asking yourself why you were told to bring these things – you will find out soon enough. and made.
The only remains that were left after the flames ceased were her terrible iron teeth. His great iron hands both firmly on her throat. Her skin began to bubble and catch fire. The great mass of villagers grabbed what they could to fight. and soon the smell of smoking flesh filled the air. They grew tired in the dark. With their hopes dashed. They awoke to a strangled cry in the night. His eyes flaming a white magnesium flare. reduced to ashes caved in on itself and her frame flamed up and fell smoking into her folded robes. his skin again as black as the night. She fought frantically to free herself. They all rushed him at once. he grew brighter.. but as she struggled.. Her face. The Iron Man turned... The Scarred one. along with her robes. The Iron Man turned. The dull thud made no impact. No words could save her. and the white hot eyes glowed within its metal frame. Why was he killing her they wondered. that a face had shaped itself out of the iron.Louder and more frantic she grew. The Crones face began to smoke and her voice and struggles ceased. they had little belief in survival. her gurgling cries echoing. Perhaps they should all rest to relieve themselves of such strange hallucinations. the sound echoing in the darkness. nor magic from the steadily heating death-grip that held her. his great iron mouth opened and white hot implements of pain and anguish exploded upon them all. and it seemed that the metal figures shape had changed somehow. trying to regain some kind of control grabbed a log they had not used and smashed the Iron Man strongly on the head to distract him. The Man of Iron was strangling the old woman. Was she a crazy woman? They wondered. The Scarred one stood confused. What could saying something over and over again with a few herbs thrown into a fire possibly do? Yet still she continued. . He did not even budge from the force.
he put his foot forward and grew white hot.. The steam rose into a full fledged fog winding like a creeping hand into the forest. cooling himself again. in spurts... There it wound up. and severed limbs. lower than the clouds to obscure the moon.. sparking up trees. Their pathetic cries of mercy and rage. As he walked on the dry land the heat from his flaming ignited the loose leaves and small trees. from tree to tree. toward the top of the hill. starting a minor conflagration.. a path. and he walked along the dry bed of the steaming stream until he reached the edge of the forest. he reached out with his senses to find the target he had been called for. Out of boredom and mild curiosity.. fading in his memory. creating a glowing trail or the Great Iron Man to walk by. Although he did not need it. Clearing as it did. up. The fire spread sporadically. He walked to the waters edge and the ground began to alight. the name a whisper in his great iron mouth. with the smell of cooked flesh in the air he remembered that the Old Crone who had summoned him had told him his target.Hours later in the smoldering charred remains of the bloodies bodies. Lavorna and Odhrain saw the finger of the hand as it crept. he left fuming carnage. There. The stream became a giant steam shroud of fog that surrounded him. it made things easier for him. up as heat does. "Odhrain" he said. .
the passion and the pain all at once than the love between them. oblivious.and if this was love.. who was whole again. terror and beauty of their union. She felt her love. for no other love could endure the fury. borne of an instant. blood being the catalyst for their violent. Lavorna had noticed the smell at first. His ragged skin grew smooth as she held him. his flayed flesh regrew. there was no way anyone would have known her terrible power had caused such destruction. and slowly his skin sheathed his very exposed and very raw insides. it was a love like no other. and the strangeness of the world." she said "what?" he said weakly " What is it you smell?" She rose to her feet and put him gently down. The fog went for a grip and then strangled the moon. "I smell something. She was mystified by fate and chance. the frenzy.The fog rose to full thickness and slowly strangled the castle remains. Lavorna in her lovers embrace was watching him re-assemble himself in joy and contentment. They marveled at the horror. his innards regrew and re-attached. some kind of metallic burning. . . His entrails squirmed back to him. She lay in the arms of her lover. grow. Odhrain not fully recovered mentally lay against her soft skin. and aside from the blood that caked her naked skin and their shorn clothing. and yet a seemingly endless moment.. yet pure passion...
The crickets were not chirping. along with all those who had called him. when they emerged from the ruins. He sensed them now. blood smearing and fire. to this place? so long had he slumbered. in darkness and shadows. Smelled the red tang of fresh and drying blood upon them and the acrid piqued smell of sex. had found it somehow. leave his new found form. comforted by the screams of pain the living made. Ah. All in a beautiful relaxing dream. "Quickly!" "What?" he said "How did they find us. comforted in those torments that caused the most anguish. and closer and closer crept the lights of the torches. What a waste he thought. he remembered. smelled their flesh. I think its torches!" she said" I really don't want to wait around to find out either. and fall again into the blissful scream filled slumber.. there she saw more fog. He would make short work of this man and then. "The villagers are coming!" She said.." "I don't know. and now to this man she had called him for. the crackling of fire." They gathered their clothing and dressed. having completed his task.quickly throwing on her dress. but I smell smoke. Yes. and in the distance. Lavorna helped Odhrain stitch the remnants of his clothes into something wearable using and ingeniously crafted wooden needle. that was it. I hear no dogs. and walked quietly out of the castle ruins into the edge of the forest. he who could devastate cities. that Old Crone had remembered his name. and the sound of breaking bones. How had he come here. . one man. nations. had been called to destroy a man. The Villagers! They were coming! She thought immediately of her new found love and the danger this posed and quickly ran inside to gather him. he had killed her. Where was she now? He vaguely recalled screams and choked cries. They moved the bedding and replaced the tapestries yet more and more the feeling of imminent danger seemed to coalesce with the thickening of the fog. it was that Crone.
only the occasional brief grey . and no water ran there. "Something's wrong" she said. No trees grew in that place. hand in hand.They cleared the edge of the castle." He paused a second in the growing darkness and she pulled his hand to move. Odhrain leading the way. Dread filled Lavorna. I checked. the lack of the sounds of men." He took his time. following their scent easily. His iron body cooled. effortlessly. "Maybe they are just further away and we can't hear them with the wind blowing?" he pondered. or who it is that is following us then?" he said. . no footsteps. "I wonder what it could be. of stark rocks. They walked quickly. the sharp implements of torture retracting within him and he glided. closer and closer to the edge of the forest. "No. the strong smell of smoke and the dim spark of fire growing ever closer. no need to hasten the inevitable. determined to get away from danger. serpent like in his guts. the night darkening as the moon set. in her hurry. He could see the small traces of their heat lingering in the darkness. isn't that enough? I don't hear anyone. and she spoke. The sound of fire had faded and the forest grew silent. nothing! Something isn't right!" Realization slowly dawned upon him and he lead the way more hurriedly. as they hurriedly wound their way through copse after copse of thick forest trees. not less. and wood breaking there are no voices. and the lichens and mold that did had a strange reddish tinge. "I don't know why. besides the sounds of fire. but knowing its not men making all that noise makes me more nervous.but being neither. "The villagers are chasing us. or voices. which opened into a barren wasteland. Strange leather winged things flitted about. resembling both bird and bat. but she gripped Odhrain's hand tightly. hoping he could hear her as she moved forward. of a kind she knew not which. "What do you mean?" he said. and low hills. Lavorna heard the splintering of trees and the breaking of branches but strangely. I've been listening. She urged him forward through the trees once more. through the forest. did she notice. but a shiver colder than the his exposed bones crawled up his spine and settled. No need to rush them. for what seemed hours. no murmurs.
as a unit. to we. Lavorna turned and Odhrain with her to look into the face of terror. There in the clearing stood an iron monstrosity. their hearts now relaxing. The Mouth opened then and the eyes flared. smoldering with a fire that seemed eternal within it. and much more perilous wasteland.. It had made no sound as it walked. in synch. there could be no doubt. its eyes flaming yellow and orange from some strange inner life within it.drizzle. through the edge of the forest and into this harsher. "Odhrain" the grinding voice said and the peril of their situation landed on them in full force. They moved forward as one. the faint smell of smoldering iron drifting towards them. As they neared the edge of the clearing hope filled their hearts that they had somehow eluded their pursuer. and its shoulders were as wide as the mouth of any castle port. . barefoot as they were. as surely as if they had been suspended head first in glacial ice. twisted to form words. They walked now slowly. yet the weight and the strength of it. but never satisfy the thirst of the land below. filling with the thoughts of their passionate moments of joy. and everywhere great iron spikes.. yet had a source that resided elsewhere. The air vibrated with a strange dark vibrancy that made no sense. and its unnatural existence filled the pair with nausea. A cruel face made of Iron and the Mockery of a mouth lay beneath the eyes. that seemed to form from their moving. like jagged teeth. grinding metal and spikes. It stood five heads taller than the tallest man they had seen. Lavorna's dress trailed behind her. They were frozen in terror at being discovered and all the joy within them fled. As they entered the clearing. Panels with hinges that opened into things the imagination did not want to ponder overmuch upon. the wind caught her hair as she held his strong yet soft hands. abounded.
But there was no reply. but not a scratch was upon it. The things head swiveled freely as well as its body without taking a step or changing position.. of her dreams of happiness. still staring up at him. He began hurling every rock he could find. Odhrain grabbed a large rock an threw it at his enemy. His other hand came up to free the arm from the crushing grip only to be impaled and injured by more spikes. he managed then to throw his feet forward against the hulking thing and pull the shattered remains of his hands free. solidly like a wall towards him. She stood then. and she fell backwards. only the cold metal face of the monster closing in on him. . she inched away letting go of his hand. The Iron Man seized Odhrain's arm in a hand lined with sharp spikes. of her hope for the future. He concentrated and regrew his bones. and he dropped his would-be projectile. I am glad to have known you. moving slowly.. watching him. of the endless search of her life. "What can I do!?" "I don't want to leave you!" she said. "I mean it. she moved to seat herself on a rock. but I do not know how this will turn out. to have loved you. Lavorna pushed herself away from Odhrain on the ground. she could not bear to see him harmed. yet more so she felt helpless and wanted to be there for him if there was any chance of saving him. if even briefly. panicked. moved tot he left of his opponent. "Go.and saving her own skin. then his skin. "Run!" he said again. He turned then to face his enemy. but nothing seemed to slow the Great Iron Man. he shoved Lavorna forward and she stood aghast and conflicted. her body landing on a soft patch between the rocks. he screamed as his bones cracked and splintered. "What is it you want of me?" he said to the Iron Man that advanced. GO!" and he pushed her until she almost stumbled. and I want one of us to survive. wanting to stay with him. It made a loud clang upon the metal of the thing. after searching for so long. it only wants me."Run!" he said as the Iron Giant advanced. finally solved." He shoved her a third time. if even only to keep that memory alive.
She was still holding his hand. dim orange at first. some chink in the armor. Nothing worked. at each yell. the flap of the iron that had made a face. then brighter. the hook like iron spiders had pierced ribcage and Odhrain spit blood. the stones he threw did nothing. She grabbed his free hand and began to pull. and to his and her horror the head completely opened. Odhrain began to scream as the heat seared his skin. and then he was gone. hoping to wrench him free. As she pulled. as he was burned alive. He moved to say I love you through his choked screams as the metal hulk engulfed him its mouth and searing heat. yet no matter how she pulled. not wrist. hoping to find some weakness. that and the ashes that fell from the thing that had killed him. wavering in and out of consciousness. The fires within the monster seemed to grow at each shriek. the spikes held. she realized how surely he was held. not arm. now laying completely open. Suddenly the great bulk of the chest opened faster than Odhrain could blink. and being the minds of men to comprehend. as if on hinges. solidly. knowing he cold not regrow it. and he was seized on both sides with large wide bars laden with spikes. anything he could exploit to his advantage. and tears began to fall down his face as he tried to pull away. For this was living iron. and spiked bars like those in its chest white hot and searing sliced through the skin of his skull. bravely. She pulled on his hand falling to the ground. but there was nothing attached to it. at the sides. as if feeding on the anguish he was undergoing.Again Odhrain pelted the thing with rocks. The internal cavity to which he was being drug wavered to Lavorna's sight from the heat and she sprung to her feet to grab him form the jaws of death. and blood fell in a steady stream on the ground. but the spikes had pierced bone. Blood flew everywhere and as Odhrain tried to extract himself the worst possible thing imaginable began to occur. He managed to turn his head one last time before the flames began to melt it. with a seemingly unnatural grip. Once he was gone the . know he faced his final doom. just the pale hand that had once loved her. The Iron Man began to glow. the into a full white glow shining in a matter of seconds. His body began to smolder. She held his hand. and pierced by sharp hooks attached to chains that lodged in his chest. something not of this world. smaller this time.
the form foundered the metal wavered. and the vegetation smoke for hundreds of feet. Again and again. . her tears instantly drying. and slowly fell apart. . the small implements of torture and scraps of iron could not account for the size the thing had become. She kissed his hand gingerly and putting it in the hem of her dress. her face singed. it fell still.. and to leave her in misery and despair. not wanting to breathe. then silent. to show her true love only to seize it horribly from her. and dimmer until quite to her disbelief. yet it ignored her and threw its arms up in triumph. or the grim and great efficiency it possessed. putting up her arms to shield herself from the heat. creating a conflagration on the ground that lay below. in shock. The mountain of metal fell . and the endless woe that had followed her. Yet. piece by piece into a pile that made a black core to the scorched land that surrounded it. without warning. she was afraid and readied herself for death. The things head closed and the eyes glared deeply at her. she wept.. her mind awash with what new horror was in store for her. The silence was deafening then. She backed away. possessed her. Then. with a cold indifference that made its cruelty that much more malignant. that made the very rocks glow orange. not wanting to move. her singed cheeks and hair cooling in the fresh night air. her hands still grasping all that remained of him. and the horrors of the night. Knowing that the fates had been both cruel and kind. She stood for a long time.things lit up and the ground smouldered. and the Iron Man grew dimmer. left slowly back into her forest. as massive as it had. forlorn and haunted by the memories of what could have been.
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