Monday, March 3, 2014

Short Story - Shadow of Jhola

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Shadow of Jhola

Short Story Horror

-My first entry-

Dear Diary, my name is Erik Ocild and I'm 38 years old. I serve in the army of Pagan and this might be my last week on earth as the hordes of Golgotha are drawing ever closer to our marvelous city. Most of my friends have died in an offensive which was supposed to stop those monsters once and for all but it failed miserably. All I have left is my wife, who is waiting desperately for me in the small village of Jhola. If Pagan falls so will our home. Perhaps it would have been best to remain there and await our end together.

-The beginning of the end-

Pagan is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Meceruun, as its buildings and walls are made out of white marble which glitters in the sunlight. And thanks to being build by dwarves it's near impenetrable, at least it should have been but the walls have fallen and the hordes have entered the city. Fires rage, buildings crumble, corpses litter the streets...I suppose this is the end. It's only a matter of time till the king gives us his final order: protect the city and its inhabitants at all costs!


The city lies in ruins as most districts have been destroyed. There's only one more wall left before the castle itself falls. We've received our order now and will stop them or die trying. I don't expect to write another entry.
Goodbye Lissana.

-The end-

It's all over. I'm battered, my arms are broken and my left ear has been torn off...but I'm still alive! I was so close to death but a light pierced the heavens, filling out the entire night sky, and a single sentence reverberated throughout the world: Golgotha has fallen! Our opponent's seemed to have lost every will to fight and were cut down were they stood.
I can finally return home!

-Home sweet home-

My sweet Lissana jumped into my arms and although they burned like hell I embraced her with a smile upon my face while she shed tears of happiness.
Jhola hadn't changed despite our desperate struggles only a few miles to the west. I don't know if I could have continued living if my wife had been killed during my absence. But there's no point in imagining such scenarios. The world might lie in ruins but peace has been restored at last.

-Scars upon my soul-

Did I really expect to resume my normal life after such horrible events? Instead I lash out at Lissana again and again for the stupidest of reasons. She realizes that I'm not really mad at her but despite being such a lively women she's slowly retreating into herself so that she doesn't do anything to upset me. She even stopped cuddling with me when I awoke from my nightmares.
There hasn't been a peaceful night since I returned. Sometimes I fall asleep during the day but often I'm just sitting in a chair from dawn to dusk, with no plan of what do to with my life. I tried to read a few books but everything just seems so boring. Did I survive just to waste away?


Lissana didn't want to leave the bed today as the wind was blowing through every crack in the walls. I've never been much of a craftsman but I should be able to fix those during the coming days. Winter is slowly but surely approaching and I don't plan to sit in a cold house all day long.
So I got myself a set of tools and started repairing the damage. Finally something worthwhile to spend my time on instead of wasting away uselessly.

-Shadow in the forest-

I went into the forest today to get more wood for our house but after cutting down the first tree I felt someone's eyes upon me, despite not being able to see anyone. I called out to whoever was watching me but I got neither a response nor could I hear anything moving in the darkness, not even animals! The temperature dropped severely and I abandoned the tree to return at a later time.
On my way back I saw a strange shadow kneeling in front of a pond. I crept slowly towards it but no matter how far I got I couldn't make out any details. And when I was only a few steps away it turned around and two glowing eyes pierced into my body. I screamed and made a run for it. It sounded like trees were exploding into a million pieces behind me while an oppressive presence got closer and closer towards me.
I stumbled out of the woods and rolled down a hill, panting heavily and staring backwards. The darkness was peering at me but I seemed to be safe for now. The next day I drove to Pagan to buy materials although the prices were ridiculous as the city itself needed most of the resources and didn't want to part with anything.
I'll never go back into the forest!

-All by myself-

Lissana prepared a delicious soup but she didn't even call me when it was done. I repaired the house all by myself and tried to be as nice as possible, however, she still tries to avoid me! I just want my old life back! I want a wife with whom I can talk for hours and eat warm food with instead of this cold crap!
I yelled at her, telling her I've already recovered, but she stared at me with a blank expression before she fled the house. Perhaps she went to one of her girlfriends to get away for a while.

-I can't do it!-

I barely saw my wife for the next few days and when she finally returned she was wearing a beautiful dress, which reminded me of the one she wore when I proposed to her, and had a radiant smile plastered upon her face. We went on a date for the first time in years and it was one of the best days in my life. We returned hours later and made love to each other as if we were still teenagers and I slept like a baby afterwards.
Everything seemed to be fine but come next morning she misplaced some of my clothes and I threw a tantrum, asking her how she could be such an idiot! And it just continued on and on the whole day long. I don't want to yell at her but something inside of me seems to be broken.
The day after she had retreated even deeper into herself. Perhaps it's better if we don't spend so much time together...


Rudolf Malkason was found dead in the forest yesterday. Something huge had ripped out his throat and might have consumed his entire body if his friends hadn't heard his screams and tried to help him. By the time they arrived it was already too late and they couldn't find his assailant. Maybe it was this creature I saw some time ago.
I'm a soldier of Pagan, I shouldn't be afraid of the darkness and confront it head-on instead! Tomorrow I will retrieve my sword from the attic and go into the woods to kill whatever lurks within!

-Evil lurks within!-

Hahahaha, I'm such a fool! I actually went into the forest and checked out the place where Rudolf had been killed. There didn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary but I still combed the forest for anything dangerous, killing a few wolves and boars in the process. I thought the shadowy creature might have moved on but I had to play the hero and venture into a dark cave after hearing some strange noises from within!
I wasn't prepared for such a situation but noticed a light coming from the depths and followed it, nearly killing myself in the process as I could barely seen the obstacles in my path. When I arrived at the bottom I saw the corpse of a person I'd never known, a torch lying next to him. He looked like he was barely 16, the perfect age for an adventurer. I assume he was looking for treasures or something like that, but he hadn't prepared himself well enough. Poor guy.
At first I thought he might have fallen from above as his blood was splattered all over the floor but then I heard someone's footsteps coming closer. I hid myself in a corner and saw dark figure appear out of a corridor at the back. He was carrying two more bodies over his shoulders! My knees shook and my heart pounded harder than ever before while sweat ran down my face. Perhaps all I saw was a human killer but in my mind's eye I saw one of the beasts we had fought in the war, it's giant fangs glistening with blood!
I tried to shift my weight to the other side and accidentally kicked a stone into the middle of the path. The creature's red eyes gazed directly at me and I jumped out, readying my blade.
Drop the bodies and give yourself up, beast!” I screamed but this thing only scrutinized me from top to bottom before it took a single step, which allowed it to cross the entire gap between us.
I yelled in surprise and hauled ass once more. Black tendrils seemed to wrap themselves around my arms but I somehow managed to escape this cave, running all the way back into the village. I just can't do it anymore! I screamed at myself, screamed at Lissana, screamed at every single person I met during the entire am I ever going to continue living like that? What if this creature kills us off one by one because I failed to stop it?


I had one of the most horrible dreams in my entire life tonight! I was fighting the monsters in the city when a hulking beast came smashing through the walls! It flattened every soldier trying to approach it and arrows simply bounced off as if there were nothing but pebbles. Despite every fiber of my being telling me to run I readied my blade and confronted this beast. I survived for a while because some dwarves and mages tried to help but the first ones were killed were their axes proved ineffective and the mages were crushed to gory bits after they tried to burn it alive. That's when I should have turned on my heels and fled the scene but I actually believed that I could stop it somehow. Instead it grabbed me with its mighty paws, lowered me into its mouth and smashed my head with a single bite!
I awoke drenched in sweat but it was unbelievably cold inside the house. Lissana lay right next to me, shivering but still asleep despite my screams. I was about to take a walk when I noticed that the front door stood wide open and there was no way it had done so by itself as we locked it every night!
My sword had been resealed in the attic so I grabbed a knife from the kitchen and crept towards the door. There were no signs of forced entry but my muscles didn't relax a bit. I closed the door and locked it once more before I checked every nook and cranny in the building. Everything was fine till I heard the sound of creaking wood from above. It was too loud to be a sound the building itself made, so there had to be an intruder!
I ascended the stairs, crouching all the way, and stared into the depths of the attic. Someone was standing in front of the chest where my sword was stored. Inexplicable fear welled up inside of me, preventing me from getting closer, so I staked everything on the knife I had. I grabbed it with two of my fingers, aimed very carefully at the body of this man...creature... demon...whatever it was, and threw it with all of my might. My arm burned, as if it had dislocated itself, whereas the knife got stuck in the wall although I saw it pass right through the invader! I was out of there before it could ever turn around, pulled Lissana out of the bed and fled into the darkness of the night before we sought safety inside the Inn.
We returned the next morning but the intruder was gone without taking so much as a single valuable object. I have no idea what's going on here but I purchased new locks for the doors and even went so far as to get some for the windows too. Nothing should be able to get inside! … Although I'm not sure if they can repel supernatural creatures.

-It's coming closer-

Last night I heard dreadful screams echoing through the village. I couldn't see anything from the windows but as soon as I ran outside, like everyone else, I saw a dark figure emerge from the backside of one of the houses, vanishing into the forest soon after. I've asked every single person in the vicinity but they think I'm mad and claim that there was nothing! Can't they see the darkness descending upon Jhola?
It failed this time, though. Old man Arland told me that it felt like something exploded inside of chest, which caused him to black out, but the doctor managed to save his live. All that remained was a faint imprint of a hand on his chest.

-Everything we lost-

Lissana and I were eating dinner in silence tonight when someone knocked on the door. I looked through the window next to it but there was no one to be seen.
Must be some kid playing a prank,” I remarked.
Honey, there aren't any kids in Jhola.”
How hadn't I noticed that before? I'm sure there were a few before the war began, although kids might not exactly be the right word, more like young adults.
Did they join the army?” I asked with a trembling voice, receiving nothing but a nod in response. “And none of them came back?”
No,” she replied with sadness in her voice.
Tears rain down my face as I tried to remember all the people we had lost. Somehow...I just can't do it. I still recall their names vividly but how did they look? I leaned against the wall, trying my hardest to remember, but in the end I was just sitting on the floor, whimpering.
Why did this have to happen?”

-Shut up, shut up, shut up!-

A knock on the door, every single night of every single week! Who is this? What do you want from us? Why don'f you come inside like the first time and kill us while we sleep? Don't tell me the locks are keeping you out! They aren't even magical!
Shut up, shut up, shut up!” I screamed after a month had passed as I ripped the door wide open. “Where are you, asshole? Show yourself!” my voice resounded through the night and dogs began to bark in the distance, but whatever had been knocking was too afraid of me! Yes, that must be the reason!
It still continued to knock and knock and knock and...

-War changes people-

An old comrade visited us today. He looked as pale as a ghost, which reminded me of the reflection in the mirror. Perhaps he was even worse off than me as I don't recall him having a wife or even a girlfriend. He didn't want to talk to me even though we fought back to back months ago. Instead he talked with my wife for hours and I'm sure he told her a few sob stories as I heard both of them cry a few times.
I don't plan on letting him in again, else he might steal Lissana from me! Luckily he left Jhola the next morning, apparently planning to travel the world to come to peace with everything or some such nonsense.

-Nothing lasts forever-

Lissana and I had been such a happy couple but all of that has been smashed to smithereens. We barely talk anymore, we never laugh together, we rarely even eat together and forget about sex or anything a normal couple would do. She's just gotten so distant and it's all my fault. Maybe it would have been better to get killed than having to live with all of this...
She might have suffered for a while but she could have recovered eventually. Maybe she would have also found a new boyfriend who could help her forget all of the pain. Everything would have been better than to waste her life with a grumpy idiot like me. But there was nothing she could do now. Everyone would call her a heartless bitch if she left the guy who risked his life for the sake of the entire world.


I don't know what happened but somehow I found myself inside the forest. Puzzled I walked around for a while, trying to find my way back to the village, when I stumbled upon a horrific scene: a clearing filled with dead animals that had been ripped to shreds by mighty claws which scattered their bloody entrails all across the area. Aghast I searched the remains for any clues but all I accomplished was to soak myself in blood.
The woods were silent, as if mourning their loss, when the darkness descended. The temperature plummeted as the beast with its red eyes stepped from behind a tree. I turned around and rebounded from a foggy barrier, falling onto my behind in the process. Shadowy tendrils grabbed my body as an eerie voice filled the air.
And get killed? Are you mad? Let me go, you monster!” I screamed and struggled desperately, all of it in vain.
Stop resisting and it'll be over quick!” the voice was getting closer by the second. A little bit more and my body would turn into ice due to the extreme temperatures it emanated.
I survived a goddamn war, you scumbag! I'm not about to give up my life! Go away!” I yelled and pulled at the tendrils but they didn't move so much as an inch.
Eyes as red as the evening sun appeared in front of my face, piercing my very soul. Memories welled up from within, as if it was reading me like a book.
No, please!” I said with clenched teeth as not only the memories but all the emotions were gushing out of me. “Stop! I don't want to relive them again! Please, have mercy!”
The creature was relentless, however, and only stopped when it had seen everything there was. I had long since blacked out and when I awoke at last I was all alone. My whole body felt like ice and it took a while to regain my strength. I limped back to the village, confused but glad to be alive.
Lissana was staring at me strangely and I hit her right in the face before I apologized over and over and over again. Then I crawled up to the attic, removed my sword and sat in a corner, it's blade aimed at my throat. I couldn't do it, though, and sat there for what felt like an eternity. I was nothing more than a wreck now.
Why did I have to survive?”


My wife was talking to a new villager today, for hours upon hours upon hours! What the hell does she think she's doing? I even had to prepare my own meal because of that bullshit! Don't she dare start a relationship with that bastard!
Oh god, what am I writing here? I know that she would never...or would she?

-Screw you!-

I confronted Lissana today and she told me that she was simply telling him about Jhola's history and its surroundings. Yeah, right, as if such a young asshole would care about that. I'm sure I saw his lecherous gaze fixed upon her cleavage! Can't he find a girl his own age that he has to seduce older women?


I finally saw it! Lissana was talking to that son of a bitch again and the moment they parted he pecked her on her the cheek! Ha, I'm sure he tried to hit her lips, missed and didn't want to risk another one! Do you really think I'm that stupid? I'm going to teach you a lesson you won't forget!

-Knock knock-

I forgot to mention that the knocking stopped eventually, but I had learned an interesting lesson from it: you could drive people insane! Every day, at the same time, I left the house and knocked at our neighbors door before I bolted. That should drive him crazy eventually!

-Are you fucking kidding me?-

My wife told me that I should cut it out! She claimed this asshole had seen me run away every single time and that he would complain if I didn't stop harassing him.
Screw that! I hit Lissana and went to a friendly neighborly meeting. The moment he opened the door I grabbed him by his collar and pressed him into the wall.
I heard you're telling bullshit about me! Why the fuck would I knock at your door every single day? I've got better things to do!”
Like yell at your wife for no reason at all?” he asked with a smug expression and I punched him in the stomach with such force that he spit up blood.
Don't you get cocky, fucker! If you talk to my wife one more time you're done!”
He had already fallen to the floor but I still kicked him for good measure before leaving this quivering hunk of human flesh behind.


A few days later that coward fled the village. Lissana and I can finally live in peace again. We even slept with each other! I'd totally forgotten how good it felt. She didn't look at me, though, as if she didn't enjoy it. Maybe she's just trying to make me feel better.


I woke up to an empty house today. A note lay on the bedside cabinet, telling me that Lissana needed some time to herself and would be gone for a while. The hell do you need time for? Everything's fine, isn't it? I grabbed her favorite vase and threw it at the wall.


I waited and waited and waited, all the while awake, only dozing off for seconds at a time. When would Lissana come back? I wanted to hear her sweet voice again! I wanted to taste her delicious cooking one more time! Why did she go away when everything was perfect?


My wife didn't return and I wasted away, never shaving, never washing, never cleaning and barely eating anything. I didn't even leave the house anymore as there was still more than enough food left, even if it tasted like crap.
I felt so alone and it was so unbearably cold. Was it winter already? I couldn't see anything through the dirt-stained windows. In the end I just burned some of the furniture. What did it matter when there was no one left but me?

-You again?-

I was roused from my slumber by a strange knocking noise. Haven't heard those in a long time but it was still the same hand, still the same rhythm. The only difference was that it continued unabated. I ignored it for a while despite it getting worse and worse.
Let me in!” the eerie voice returned eventually, being uttered every few seconds after the knocking had stopped.
I still ignored it, which is when it got so loud that the building itself seemed to shake.
You have to let me in!
Piss off! I don't want any company!” I said and my words of power made it stop!
Peace once more. Maybe it would actually last this time.

-I'm sorry-

That goddamn knocking returned once more and I didn't wait for it to be repeated a second time. I ripped the door from its hinges—it has gotten really old—and grabbed the intruder by the neck. I pressed my hands deeper and deeper into his flesh till he stopped struggling.
And vision cleared up for the first time in forever and I stared at the face of my sweet Lissana. She had gotten so old, her face being full of wrinkles, but I remembered those radiant blue eyes. A smile played around her lips as she uttered a single sentence with her final breath.”
He arms, which had been grabbing onto mine just seconds ago, fell to the floor as her spark of life was extinguished. no no non no no! Don't leave me!” I screamed and pressed my hands upon her chest and blew air into her mouth but her body grew cold and stiff. “What do you release me...?”

-Let me tell you the truth-

You've been clinging to this world for far too long, Erik,” I said to the lone “survivor” inside the house.
What...are you talking about?”
He stared at me and recognized the dark figure from the forest. He simply couldn't see the truth.
Golgotha has fallen too late. Do you remember the worst dream of your life? Do you remember how cold Lissana felt around you once in a while, especially at the beginning, and how she grew so distant after your comrade visited you? Do you remember his ashen face as he saw you? And do you the recall the blood on your hands when you saw the animals in the forest? It didn't get there when you searched for the killer. It had been there all along since you lost control for just a short amount of time,” I explained and pointed at his dead wife. “Which is exactly what happened once more. If only you had let me in.
Who...are you?” he asked although he must have had an idea as tears were running down his face in a steady stream while he held onto one of his wife's hands.
Banish the darkness you saw in the war and look beneath the monster you build for yourself!

-Everything ends-

The red-eyed monster stared at me from the door but his words felt like arrows aimed directly at my heart. As realization dawned and tears fell the darkness dissipated and left behind a robed figure bearing a scythe. Somehow I knew that this too was but a mere illusion—a way for us to process the truth.
When the demon smashed through the wall and bit your head off.
Why didn't you stop me? Why did Lissana have to die?” I screamed with a hoarse voice.
I told you to come with me but you didn't listen! You've been clinging to your life and your wife upheld that illusion, even after she found out that you died on the battlefield! Your bond was just too strong for me to break through! I'm surprised that it didn't get worse than this.
My wife is dead, you asshole!” I ran toward the door, ready to punch him with all my rage, but I was repelled by an invisible wall.
You can't leave. After wasting so much of your 'life' inside these walls your soul has been trapped. You could continue to haunt it if you want to turn into a malicious spirit. Or you could come with me...both of you.
Both of...?”
I stared at the floor and saw a translucent figure rise from the corpse of my wife.
I am here to collect your souls. Please, come with me and ascend. Eventually you will be able to go to heaven or choose rebirth. Or remain here and wait for someone to destroy your soul, plunging it into the depths of hell!
The choice was obvious. I held hands with my wife and kissed her with real passion for the first time in years. The malice that had spread throughout the house faded away and the reaper collected our souls.
Peace at last...

The End

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