Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter 28 excerpt.

Fantasy Storm Macabre Horror Dark Skull Gothic

Nick froze and looked over to Mir, who was stood firmly, peering up at the landing, which surrounded the first floor and baring her teeth. Nick followed the wolf’s lead and slowly raised his head, to see what it was that had spooked them both.

The hair on her back was raised and her growling getting louder, as if something was approaching their position. Nick could see nothing but as Mir’s growl became even throatier, he could sense the danger. Frozen to the spot, he was hardly breathing and now his own hair was standing up on the back of his arms. All his senses were on high alert as beads of sweat began to trickle down his temples, despite the cold.

“Show yourself, or I’ll release this wolf and you can take your chances but I know who my money’s on and it’s not you.” Rising up he waited for any response but none came. Mir continued growling with a low fierceness and in these isolated circumstances, Nick found himself doing the same. They were both standing in the hallway issuing canine threats, to an unseen intruder, lurking somewhere in the shadows. It was Nick, who stopped being feral first.

“There’s something not right in here, perhaps it’s time to leave,” he whispered urgently and glanced over to his white friend, who was still glaring upwards and issuing a dire warning to the unseen intruder. “Come on, we’re going,” he breathed and patted his thigh as he backed stealthily away, towards the front door, with the ever-obedient Mir in his shadow. As they neared the door, there was another sound from above, only this time, it was the creak of another door opening. Then, from further along the landing, there was another ‘thump,’ which sounded almost, as if it was the delayed echo of the original but this time, it seemed to be the sound of another entryway, further along the landing, closing.

“Shit!” He bleated as he nearly fell over the keg of Cognac he’d placed by the door. Never taking his eyes off the stairway, he grabbed the keg, put it under his arm and reached behind himself, to open the door. The still growling Mir and Nick, backed quickly out of Wyndwrayth, turned and started to run towards the sanctuary of Venezuela. On his way to the gates, his mind was full of thumping sensations and the threatening banging, which had initiated this rather panicked and undignified, flight from the house.

The air outside was heavy and oppressive, almost as if it was attempting to smother him. He felt as if he was running through treacle and the path to the gates, seemed to be stretching off into infinity. Nick and Mir, ran as fast as they could down the well-tended pathway, towards the still open gate. As they burst through, it felt like they were piercing a vacuum, passing through some kind of membrane into clearer air. They both took a few more steps away from Wyndwrayth, then Nick stopped, turned around and gasping for breath, stared intently at the house, which he felt was in turn, staring back at him.

“Creepy,” he said to Mir, who was standing close by his side and watching something happening in the general direction of the residence. Nick couldn’t see, or sense anything but Mir certainly could because she’d started to bristle and growl again.

Out of nowhere, a slight breeze suddenly arose and then noticeably strengthened. It was growing incrementally stronger as each moment passed and it was starting to pick up some of the small pieces of splintered detritus, left discarded by the sides of the path. The trees were starting to bend and as Mir continued to look back towards Wyndwrayth, her growls grew louder, her teeth became barred and she began to snap threateningly, at the flying debris. Seconds later, she was barking ferociously, something was coming, something dark and malevolent, carried on the wind. Nick, squinting through slits, turned to look into the maelstrom, trying to see what Wendy’s wolf was so concerned about? Just as he turned, a splinter of loose wood bark, struck him a painful blow on his left eyebrow and he instinctively wiped the back of his hand across the wounded area, to absorb some of the pain, whilst trying not to show any signs of weakness, in the face of the unseen menace.

When he looked down, he could see there was a lot of blood on his hand, so Nick instantly dropped that ridiculous pretence. “Bloody hell!” He cursed, ducking under a low flying branch, while wiping the blood on his trouser leg. Incredibly, the wind was now reaching storm force as Nick and Mir turned tail and set off running towards Venezuela’s mooring, the whirlwind in pursuit.

Nick watched as her gait changed from a jog, to a lope and he tried desperately to keep up with her. Periodically she looked back, baring her teeth threateningly at the invisible, pursuing danger. Observing the white wolf’s reactions, Nick was able to respond almost instantly and when he saw Mir’s ears go back and both sets of her teeth become barred, the gum’s fully exposed, he dug deep and somehow increased his pace yet again. Whatever danger was coming for them in this wind, was getting closer. As they were crossing the glade, he stupidly tried to turn his head to catch a glimpse of their pursuer, which just made him stumble. Something snagged one of his shoe laces and Nick dropped the keg, which rolled off into a dense patch of magic mushrooms, struck something solid and stopped.

“Bastard!” Exclaimed Nick, as he irrationally set off in pursuit of his wayward prize, despite the unremitting barrage of this unnatural wind and the flying detritus that incessantly struck him, propelling him forward. Now alerted to where he was putting his feet, he grabbed for the keg. As he bent, Nick noticed something that appeared to be gold, glinting in the soft moss right there on the ground, next to it. So, in the process of grasping the liquor and shoving it firmly back under his arm, Nick also snatched for this new golden object,

“Got it,” he wheezed, as he felt the cold texture of metal kissing his outstretched finger’s, when they closed around the prize. Nick, glanced over towards Mir, who had stopped to guard him and was staring intently, back down the path.

“What is it?” He called out to her, his words flying away, on the storm force wind that had them in its grip. The white wolf, simply started growling again and this time, it was accompanied by another vicious show of teeth. There was something malevolent coming up quickly behind them, something in the wind, something that was spooking Mir. Nick, sensed they were running up against some kind of imposed deadline and if they didn’t get off this island quick, they never would. ‘Get out of here, get out now!’ His mind screamed.

Despite being struck by at least two more jagged pieces of shattered wood, he shoved the cold shiny object, along with a sizeable handful of moss, deep into his pocket and set off running as fast as he could towards the boat, pursued by the whirlwind of debris.

“Up you get,” he shouted out to Mir, who leapt into the boat, clambered straight into the passenger seat and stood there, looking back at the island, hackles high and barking ferociously. Nick jumped in after her, throwing the keg in behind the seats and cast off in double quick time. A quick push off the rocks with the boat hook and Nick immediately started the engine to make good their getaway from Ynys y Niwl and its dark heart, Wyndwrayth.

Venezuela roared away from the island with Mir, still standing protectively in the passenger seat. They had hardly got more than ten metres from the shore, when the maelstrom, that was playing holy hell on Ynys y Niwl, inexplicably ceased. The lake instantly became as calm as a mill pond, with only the occasional flutter of the previously howling wind, disturbing its placid surface.

 

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