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The Hunger (Great Lakes) A Story in parts

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#1
Robert Falcon

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The Hunger;
From the diary of Avella, Swordswoman of Y


Monday Sept’ 20 (evening)


Late dinner. Missed the Guild meeting, no problem. I will get details from friends. Decided to meet a friend in New Haven to go hunting. We joined a few others at Oaks. Went very well. Took home over 3000 arrows and a good bit of gold. Not bad. My friend and I decided to have a drink at the Inn in New Haven afterwards…we talked, laughed and ate a bit and then parted company. Still feeling restless I decided to go to Britain where I could sit and watch the people as they moved through the city doing their late night chores or going to or coming from hunts. Always a variety of folks and never dull.


Still bored with myself I walked over to a nearby inn to have a nightcap before returning home and bed. The bartender was a jovial fellow and, since there were few patrons at this late hour, regaled me with hilarious stories of his sailing days. I will never understand what possess men to go to sea on such crafts, and with so many horrible sea monsters waiting, but he seemed to have survived with all his wits, so I listened and laughed and drank a bit too much. Near closing time the bartender, whom we shall call Max, had to restock and vanished to the storeroom leaving me alone at the bar…or so I thought.


Thinking I might be better off taking a room here instead of risking the journey home in my condition (a little more than tipsy) I turned to have a better look at the place and saw, sitting alone in one darkened corner, the most beautiful man I have ever laid eyes on. His countenance at once caught my full attention. He sat alone and seemed lost in thought. His hair was to his shoulders and colored like the deep rich plums of summer. His armor was unlike anything I have ever seen. Handcrafted and engraved with the most intricate and amazing patterns. It was breathtaking in its value and complexity. But what captured me most were his eyes. Deep pools of black they shone with a strange and intoxicating inner light. I could not help but stare. He noticed me and turned his gaze upon me. As our eyes met I felt myself forgetting all concerns of the night. Fear was not to be considered. My blood pulsed as if called by some unheard song.


He smiled and I shivered for his teeth were as white a bone, as was his flesh. His mouth moved as if speaking but I heard no words yet was sure he was inviting me to join him at his table. I blinked unsure if I understood, but the invitation was unmistakable. My legs moved before I was aware of them and I found myself sitting opposite him at his table. His eyes saw through me into my very soul. I shivered. He spoke.


“Please allow me to introduce myself.” He said his name but for the life of me I cannot remember it.


“Tell me,” he said, his voice was as the finest music played upon a finely tuned harp, “what keeps such a beautiful woman such as you out so late?”


I do not remember my answer but as we talked I felt myself drawn to him in the most unashamed fashion. His voice both burned and tickled me and I found myself revealing all my deepest passions and dreams to this stranger. I had no will to break off the conversation. It was as if time itself had stopped, for what seemed hours, must have only been moments.


I remember little else after that. Not the closing of the bar, the leaving, or the parting of the gentleman’s company. I remember only that I found myself waking upon the front lawn of my house with the sun high overhead. I stumbled into bed, my head pounding and my body weak from drink.



#2
Robert Falcon

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Tuesday Sept’ 21 (late morning)

Awoke with a blinding headache. Lay in bed feeling horribly weak as if I had worked the fields like a peasant for days on end. A sleepiness unlike anything I have felt before wracks my body.

(Late afternoon) Awoke feeling a bit refreshed…bathed and dressed. Looked over the mail and bills. The kitchen needs restocking…I found two wounds on my neck while bathing…not large but of some concern…probably from last night laying outside on the front lawn…Insects most likely…put some healing potion on them to ward off infection. Traveled to Luna to shop.

(Evening) Became horribly sick after dinner…could not keep any food down…a cold sweat enveloped me and I found myself standing in the dark of night on my roof garden staring at the moon as it rose over the hills. The breeze sifted through the garden and on it a strange song…so light as to almost not hear it…so distant as to believe it was not real…my ears ring and there is a strange buzzing in my brain…my fingers and palms itch…my hair tingles. I wander off to bed.

(Late night) I awoke in the black of night bathed in sweat…the most horrible dreams…much to horrible to tell… I dare not write them down for to do so would give them life. My body is wracked with pain…my belly retches and I thirst…I thirst…and pray for sleep…blessed sleep.

Wednesday Sept’ 22

(Afternoon) By the Goddess what is happening to me? I awoke to find my hair is changing…it grows darker almost black…and my flesh…pale as death itself…I fight back panic and struggle to the bath…drink a strong potion of refreshment… felt better for a time but the weakness returned as does the sickness after eating. I am sure it will pass…I only need to rest…to bed.

(Afternoon) I visit a friend. She asks about the changes to my hair and seems shocked at my paleness. I laugh and say it was time for a change. She is concerned and asks if I am feeling ill. I hear her as if through a gauze curtain. Her voice fights against the others…the tiny voices that surround me. I see deeper now. I hear deeper now. She does not understand. How could she? She makes me swear to see a healer if I do not get better soon. I promise. I feel my lungs fill with the dark air that swirls around me. My eyes have turned the color of night. I smile and promise her I will be fine. Her voice trails away as the song within me grows.

(Late Evening) Voices…voices so soothing I feel as if they are the blessing I need to rid me of this illness. I awake and dress in my darkest clothes…black as the night. I watch the sun set beyond the mountains…I am called…something calls me…I am compelled to go…but I know not where.

(Midnight) I find myself in New Haven but I do not remember how I got there or why…shadows…deep shadows…I smell on the air…the scent of…blood. I watch from the shadows as the people pass by…unseen…watching. I can hear their hearts beating as they walk by…a dog whimpers as it senses me…what is wrong? I look at my hands…they are covered in blood. At my feet a dog twisted in death and drained dry of life. I scream and hide my face…the smell of blood is strong…it washes over me like a prayer and I touch my lips…so red…my hunger grows but for what I am not certain. The song is stronger now…the whispered voices louder; “come,” they say “come to us sister” they hiss…his voice…his voice…the music…

His eyes follow me on the long road home. I lay in bed. Breathing becomes harder…I gasp for air…sweet air…his voice sooths me…heals me…I fall asleep at sunrise. Tomorrow I will feel much better, I am sure of it.

#3
Robert Falcon

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Thursday Sept’ 23 (Sunset)

I awake to the sound of…nothing. A rushing in my ears. The whoosh of life as it leaves my body. I stand…I see all now. In the shadows creatures that feed on the blood of others. Creatures that feed on the life of all that surrounds them. A hunger racks my body. A hunger unlike any I have ever felt.

(Midnight) I walk through the house of all things familiar now strange. I stand on a hilltop overlooking the town of Yew. The full moon lights the sky showing me the path. I walk through the town unseen, unheard. Dogs whimper and flee as I pass. I am a shadow. I sniff the air. The blood here is rich and strong and pulses in the veins of men and women, animals and birds. Even the very snake that writhes in its den. All give life to one who has none.

I feed on what I find. A dog…simple. Break the neck. Drink its life. Simple. Basic. Honest. Still my hunger rises unabated. I pause. Something reminds me of a friend. A friend who made me promise. I ponder the word and find shame at what I have become. I look at my hands. Pale. The fingernails long and sharp as claws. I touch the blade at my side given to me by a ‘friend’. How do I face those who will now banish me? How do I find redemption?

Voices clear as my own whisper in my ear.

“We are now your family,” they hiss. “Weee are now your only friends. Leave that life behind for there issss no redemption.”

I shudder and cover my ears. Still the voices grow louder a music that does not stop. Sweet the sound and light the words that compel me.

“Sssister.” They call. “Sisster.” They scream.

“No!” I cry out in the black night. I curse the moon.

Then He is there. Standing before me. His armor shines of its own light. I trace the engraved lines of it with my black eyes. His face radiant in the night. Shining like the moon itself.

“Sssister.” He says and my body writhes in pain. I cower before him.

“Sssister.” He says again. “Fear me not for thou art now a true creature of the night. Feel the power. Fear nothing for thou art beyond death. Thou art beyond friendship. Beyond fear.”

I weep at His feet. I am lost. All that I have loved is vanquished by my own weakness, my own sin.

“Rise.”

His voice is power. His command is all. I rise. Tears now replaced by blood streak my ashen face. I stand helpless before him. His touch burns me. His bite becomes my only truth.

#4
Robert Falcon

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Friday Sept’ 24 (Noon)

I wake at mid-day. The bedroom window is open and a fresh breeze carries with it the scent of autumn leaves and apples. The sun filters through the leaded glass and cast dancing shadows about the room. I feel refreshed, rested. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly.

A noise from downstairs. I rise, throw on a robe and creep down the stairs. In the kitchen I find my longtime friend preparing food.

“There you are.” She says. Her voice is light and lyrical.

“Now, I have prepared some food for us and concoctions that will help you feel much better. My blessed grandmamma used to make this for me when I was ill.”

I stare at her and my hand instinctively moves to my neck. The wounds have healed.

“Now come,” she continues as she walks past me and up the spiral stairs to the roof. “We will sit in the garden and get some sun. You are much too pale and loosing much too much weight.”

She hands me a glass of something green and thick like mud. I am reminded of a saying my uncle had.

“If it looks like mud and smells like mud and tastes like mud. It is mud.”

Although I think his version had something to do with bulls. I hold the drink up to the light. Yes mud.

Her voice floats down the stairs. “Come on now I have much to tell you.”

I climb the stairs to the roof garden. The sun is well past noon and the autumn shadows stretch across the ground. I hesitate and shield my eyes from the glare. My friend is sitting under the elm tree. I cross the gap quickly and sit with her on one of the benches. She hands me a plate of food. Berries, nuts, sliced apple and fresh bread with butter. I sniff the plate. It smells like rotting carrion. I pass it back.

“Sorry no appetite.”

I rest my hands on my lap and notice that my fingernails are normal…not claws. I wonder if I was indeed stricken with some affliction of the brain that caused me to have the most vivid dreams. Waking dreams perhaps. I touch my teeth…normal.

My friend prattles on and on about her upcoming wedding while munching on the fruits and berries. Elves. Why do they have to be so immersed in things…so intense? I will be thankful when the event is over and she goes back to her normal boring self. I half listen nodding at the appropriate pauses but my thoughts are elsewhere. After a time she takes her leave but makes me promise to finish drinking her concoction. I toss it out once she is gone.

(Evening) I watch the sunset. It will be a clear cold night. The daylight lifted my spirits and some color has even returned to my skin.

(Late night) I awoke with a start around midnight. My skin was on fire as if burning from within. Seeking relief I climbed the stairs to the roof. The moon was full and glared down at me like an unforgiving master. The cold night air soothed my burning flesh. I walked to the edge of the roof and looked down. I saw movement on the ground. Glowing red forms darting back and forth across the broad expanse of lawn to disappear under the trees. Animals? I realize suddenly and to my dismay that I was seeing the heat from their bodies…glowing in the night. I listened closely but there was no music, no voices. Yet, faintly, at the very edge of hearing, I could hear the soft, steady beating of their hearts.

#5
Robert Falcon

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*A letter to Lady Severn from Lady Illania*


My Dearest Friend:


I write you with great concern regarding a close friend of mine who you may have met. I speak of the Lady Avella. A strange affliction has come over her and there have been startling changes in her countenance and behavior of late.

Her appearance has changed dramatically and her attitude toward life, once vibrant and alive, has become increasingly dark. She sleeps little and eats almost nothing. What food she does eat does not stay in her.

I found her yesterday in a horrible fit of fever and she has been haunted by constant and extreme nightmares. I fear the worst.

I write you out of desperation for I know not what to do to relieve her of this misery. I have spent the last few days at her home in an attempt to help alleviate her misery...she cries constantly and is sometimes aware of me. When she is in her mind she begs to be released. But what is most unsettling is that each night a strange man stands within view of the house...watching as if waiting for something or someone.

Please, I seek your wise counsel regarding this most desperate of states. What more can I do to help her find her way back to us?

With Warmest Regards,

Lady Illania, Emissary to the House of Y

#6
Robert Falcon

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Cont. from the diary of Lady Avella;

Saturday Sept’ 25. (Evening)

Exhaustion, Hid in the house all day. Drew the heavy curtain, the sunlight hurts my eyes and makes my skin crawl. I sleep so deeply…so completely. There are no dreams only the black of unknowing.

(Late night) Cries in the night. Wolves. The crack of lightning. A scream. A fog thicker than wool envelopes me. My blood boils. He is here… outside…waiting…calling to me.

I rise and go out into the night, into his waiting arms. There under the night sky…under the watchful eyes of wolves and the talons of owls, he takes me. He senses my dread and drains me of my fear. His fangs pierce my heart. He drags me into the well of my darkest passions.

*A dream*.

A child smiles up at me as I hover over her. She is familiar. I know her. Behind me He stands whispering.

“Sheee is yours my love. A gift of blood, Drain her…feeed upon her…she is of no importance. A child of gypsies…homeless…a pickpocket…a thief to be punished. For thisss is what we do.”

I turn toward him. His face shining. Behind him three young women float above the ground. Naked from the waist they grin at me, urge me on.

My hunger is insatiable…and yet…

A memory sears my brain.

“NO!” I scream. “I will not!”

His anger is swift. Suddenly I am pulled from the ground and thrown against the wall of the building. A force as strong as life itself holds me against the cold brick. My body writhes with unending, blinding pain as if my very bones will be torn from my body. My flesh burns. My blood boils. His smile becomes a snarl as the three fates grin and hiss. They flow around me raking me with their talons. I feel the sear of their claws as my flesh is torn and then, as swiftly as it began, it is over. I am tossed aside like a rag doll to tend my wounds. The night envelops me, lifts me gently and carries me to my bed.

#7
sfhdweb

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Great stories ,thanks for sharing