There is no way out.
The darkest hour of the morning has arrived. The first rays of the sun won’t arrive for another few minutes. When they do, I’m not even sure they will breach the forest canopy. I’m surrounded by huge Kapok trees covered with thick, ropy vines. Ferns cover the forest floor.
I look behind me. I see nothing but darkness.
It hasn’t caught up yet, but I can hear a snuffling, snorting, grunting in the distance.
I begin to jog again. I move at a slow pace so I don’t run into the trees. They appear as darker shadows in the night. Dodging right and left, I move up the steep hill.
I crest the hill and stop to catch my breath in a small clearing.
I hang my head and put my hands on my knees. Breathing deeply, I try and fill my lungs with blessed air.
A primal howl breaks the night.
The forest awakes. Birds screech warnings. Small primates howl and chitter with fear.
My heart races.
I shake my head.
Here is where I make my stand.
I take a deep breath. Slowly I release the air. I reach behind me and draw my sword.
I stand ready.
A snort. A grunt.
Up the hill I can hear it coming.
I look up. Through the trees above me, a faint light begins the gleam. A line of light races across the canopy above, the leaves glimmering and shimmering as they greet the arrival of dawn.
Dawn is my time.
I bow my head. The strength of light fills my body.
A cacophony of sound breaks into my reverie.
I look up.
In the dim, filtered light of morning through the trees, I see my enemy.
Standing in the shadow of the trees that circle the clearing, it takes just one deep breath.
In that moment, I hate this nightmare more than ever for its endurance and stamina.
Large in stature, the creature has a protruding brow above dark, flat eyes.
I lift my sword.
My enemy growls in response.
It circles to my right.
I keep my guard up.
It lifts its head and screams at the streams of light filtering down into the clearing.
The beast takes a step toward me.
Filtered light touches on the right arm of the creature. Flames erupt and my enemy screams now with pain. It keeps approaching.
Claws extended, it reaches for me.
Streams of light hit it across the face, the back, even the legs. Wherever the light touches it, flames erupt.
It falls. Slowly burning.
It stops moving.
I stand in the center of the clearing.
My eyes blink open.
I lay in a pool of sweat, my sheets twisted tight around my body.
I breathe deeply and smile
Saved by the light of another day.
© 2018, Stone Golem Publishing, All rights reserved--no part of this may be used without express written consent.
**All pictures used are labeled for reuse. They come from Pixabay
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