Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The King's Challenge #40

TKC 40

A gargling scream takes our attention from personal issues. Damin and I lean convulsively over the bridge, for the sound seems to come from under us. There is nothing to see, but the otherworldly shriek continues.

“Go that way,” Damin points and turns to run back the way we came.

I race across the bridge to the other side. From opposite ends, we descend to the water’s edge. The sound is human, if desperate, but what is below does not appear as human at all. As I crouch to stare into the gloom under the arch, my instincts warn me. Something is not right.

Damin is about to enter the shallow pond on the other side and I hurtle to my feet and gesture wildly at him, shaking my head with intent. He sees me, thank the stars, and stops.

The screaming transforms into laughter, the manic kind able to raise even the dead into flight.

A glint tells me Damin has his dagger to hand. Looking down, I discover I have mine as well. I do not remember reaching for it. Together we then slowly pace away from the water and Damin gestures for me to wait. Swiftly he turns and sprints across the bridge to my side. Again the gargling scream erupts.

It is akin to tales we grew up with, the monsters under the bridge stories, but this is beyond frightening. What is it? Slime and mud oozed over something misshapen, and it seemed to cling to the underside of the arch as if afraid of drowning in the shallows below.

I frown. As if afraid.

I grab Damin’s hand and we run. “Something bad is about to happen,” I gasp at him.

It does. With a sound akin to burbling thunder, the pond explodes in a rain of sludge.

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