Oh carrot! What have I got myself in for? All I wanted was to have bit of fun – it was just supposed to be a laugh. They’re getting closer. Panic. It’s all I feel. Empty, except for a mix of fear and panic. Quickly, Tjaden pushes me, hard in the back, down off, the road. The shadows are welcoming, and I press myself against a tree, the reassuring trunk cold and hard against my body. The hooves are getting ever closer. This is it – the end. I will never live to see the sunset years of my life. I am going to die, here in the darkness of unknown, so far from everything I have grown to love.
My heart beats loudly, each pulse sending a wave of fearful nausea washing over me. The sharp, cruel tendrils of terror wrap around my soul, tightly squeezing my chest. Not brave enough to look, I scrunch my eyes closed, trying profusely to imagine myself somewhere else; anywhere else. Home beside the fire, a cup of tea in my hand and the sound of laughter coming in from the street – that would be nice. But no - it is too quiet, the silence cold and scary. Only the ominous sound of the heavy hooves echoes through the woods, each solitary step sending chills through my bones. Not even the forest dares to whisper, deathly afraid of this grotesque beast.
Stop. They had stopped! Every part of me is shaking, and I press myself back, into the tree’s comforting arms. I can’t see anything except the imminent doom and death. Tjaden is deathly white, his curly hair failing to hide his wide eyes, his face frozen in fear. He is shaking too, but I can’t make out much else, because the sunlight has been banished by this unnatural being.
Why is it so cold? The summer day is long gone, replaced by this icy, empty moment – even time itself cowers in the presence of this unworldly mutant. Exhaustion seeps into my bones, this monstrosity sucking the life out of the air. I can’t breathe. My lungs burn, knives of fear, sharpened with pain, torturing me with every passing second. I am going to die. I can feel the life draining out of each cell in my body, the frosty darkness replacing the warmth in my heart.
Then all of a sudden, the moment passes, as the dark shape of the evil creature morphs, the fluid lines of each muscle become simple wisps of thin smoke, the tendrils simply disappearing before our very eyes.
Relief is immediate, and the wood takes a deep breath, filling my ears with the sound of its beating heart once more, as the sunlight spills through the trees, its warmth sent to comfort and calm. Air rushes back into my lungs, the energy flowing through my bloodstream. Tjaden was beside me in an instant, colour flushing back into his cheeks. His lucid eyes were bright, once more, fragments of blue breaking into a million incredible shades, which would put even the most beautiful ocean or clearest sky to shame, but a look of confusion lingered across his features.
For a moment, the creature had even banished the beauty from innocent little Tjaden. The leaves shake themselves gently back to reality, and the stream hurries off, to spread the word – the darkness is coming.