Chapter Nineteen

on January 29, 2010 in Evermist

© 2010, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Chapter Nineteen

Elias stood on the bow of The Seaspray, staring out into the fog side by side with several other Militia.  If he weren’t nervous enough about Evermist, this fog only served to make it worse.  And the quiet!  There was no wind, no breeze, only the sound of the occasional cough from those around him or the oars splashing in the water pushing them towards the island.  Or was it pulling?  He’d need to ask Narut about that.  The crew had taken to the oars as soon as they entered the fog and the winds had died.  Looking up at the riggings he didn’t see the slightest hint of a breeze touching the ropes or the sails, but he could make out the frost on the masts.

Rubbing his hands together for warmth, he marveled at how quickly the temperature had dropped – had it always been this way, did the island itself somehow make it colder?  Corrac’amor had been cold, but this was worse, cutting through him as if he wore nothing at all and from the looks of the others huddled around him, cutting through them as well.  His breath misted in the air and he wondered if he didn’t have a little frost on his cheeks to match the masts above.  He looked around for his friends, but they were nowhere to be seen.

The sailor he’d asked had told him it would only be a couple of hours to Evermist, but it felt like half the day had passed since entering this fog.  Looking at the eyes of the others around him, he knew they felt the same apprehension he felt, and waiting was only making it worse.  He just wanted to get it over with, put his boots on Evermist and be done.  How much longer?

The question had barely crossed his mind when there was a horrible wrenching sound and he felt himself flying through the air, being flung up and over the railing.  Reaching out, he managed to grip the rail with his left hand, swinging painfully and slamming back into the ships bow where his other hand quickly wrapped around the rail post.  He could hear people screaming as he scrambled to pull himself back over, his left shoulder on fire, boots scraping along the wood of the ship, trying to get some traction.  Slamming against the deck again as the ship swayed and jostled, part of his mind realized that something was horribly wrong.  He started sliding across the deck and towards the starboard railing as soon as his boots hit the deck.  Catching himself, he tried to stand up, scanning the deck for anyone who might know what in hell was going on.  Had they grounded?!

That’s when he saw it – the tree limb sweeping out across the deck and spearing men wearing the same uniform he wore.  Lifting them high in the air, he took in the entirety of the tree, the largest tree he’d ever seen in his life with a trunk as wide as a house and a gaping maw of a mouth, complete with wooden fangs that glistened with blood from its victims.  The men speared on the limb were tossed into that maw where the fangs closed in on them, tearing and ripping them apart.  The screams were horrible and echoed in the fog all around him.

Elias tried to run but with his second step, he felt a fire in his stomach and looked down to see the limb of a tree sticking out where it should not be, sticky and wet with blood – his blood! Horrified, he tried to call out, screaming for his friends to help him as it lifted him up and that gaping maw started laughing.  He could see The Seaspray down below, being ripped apart by trees as they sprung up out of the water, limbs lashing out like spears, rending the hull apart in great chunks that splashed out into the water.

Then he saw the eyes.  Glittering and gold, hanging in the air above the deck of the ship, they seemed to burn from within.  They stared at him, bodiless, stared through him and he felt a hatred from them and a terror that he had never known.  They knew him, knew who he was, everything about him.  There was nothing he could hide from those eyes as they bored into his soul and that sent shivers through his body.  The tree limb lurched, hurling him towards the gaping maw of wooden teeth.  A sound erupted from his throat, half guttural scream, half agonizing wail-

-and Narut shook him awake.

“Eli?” Narut asked.  “You okay?  Eli?”

“I’m-…  I’m fine,” Elias croaked.  He was soaked in sweat and his blankets were all tangled around him.

“You were thrashing around a lot.  Bad dream?” Narut asked as he turned and started dressing.

“Yes,” Elias answered as he draped his arm over his eyes.  The pain was still there in his head, dull, but it was there.  After a few days in Corrac’amor while the ship offloaded supplies to the city, he was well enough that he could mix his own medicine now, which was both good and bad as far as he was concerned.

“Well, feels like we’re getting ready to shove off again.  I wouldn’t mind some breakfast, how about you?”

“I’ll meet you in the mess in a few minutes.”

“All right,” Narut said as he hustled out the door.  Elias smiled weakly.  Narut always hustled out in the mornings to eat and he suspected it had something to do with a certain second mate who also took her meals early.  He had to admit she had a pretty enough smile, but not so pretty that he could look past that too wide nose and muscled arms that were nearly as thick as Broats!

Closing his eyes again, he saw The Seaspray being ripped apart by giant trees and could only shudder.  Only a dream, he told himself, but had to admit it had seemed so real.  …and those eyes.

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