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A Story by JCP
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This could possibly be the second chapter, of a book I may write. The first chapter is "Spoils of the Hunt". Enjoy! And let me know if you think it's any good.

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     An evening’s breeze had now become an arctic leviathan trampling through the abyss; whipping the forest into a frenzy. Lucius staggered as the moon watched the spoils of the hunt become a burden to big for him to bear any longer. “Veles slow down and wait up!” he begged into the cold night air. He carelessly slung the beast to the ground, collapsing down on a knee. The cold was suffocating and the pangs of exhaustion had finally shown their teeth. A hot gust of white steam polluted the black sky as Lucius choked for breath. His head struggled its way up on his shoulders to watch a thin, pale ghost burst through the trees. A blur of grey was quickly closing in on him. He hung his head in relief, dangling it just above the frozen earth. The warmth of hope flushed through him. “I thought you had left me behind,” he panted.

      “You can’t be serious right now?” Veles barked in disbelief. She was now looming over her fallen brother. “I guess I am going to have to carry it for you after all” she sneered from above. She walked over to the bloodied body and bent down beside it. Veles now appreciated how big this beast really was. She admired her work, gliding her fingers down its coarse pelt. The gaping hole under its chin was violent proof of her precision. She smiled with satisfaction. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Lucius heaving with fatigue. He was now sprawled out on the frigid forest floor; silently staring off into the heavens. 

      Veles quietly slipped down by Lucius’ side and joined her brother in a moment of solitude. Her thoughts danced among the stars as she let her mind drift off. She gazed upwards and innocently watched as the cold glow of the moon slipped through the forest tapestry, frolicking amongst the shadows in the abyss. Her thoughts fell from the sky and landed on her brother. Lucius was now sitting up, peering into the forest with empty eyes. Streams of sweat had carved red rivers in the dry, crimson mud that stained his face. His hair was muddled with blood and she could see he was still taking it all in. Deep within the darkness, the icy leviathan howled.

      “I don’t think anyone saw us,” Veles chirped, hoping to ease her brother’s mind a bit. She didn’t know how long it would take for the severity of what really just happened to sink in for the both of them. She didn’t want to think about it. Right now, she really didn’t care. The only thing Veles knew for sure was that no matter what else happens, they can’t stop until they are home. Lucius rolled his eyes back deep in their sockets as the last of his patience escaped into the black night. 

      “Nobody?” Lucius snapped. “I’m pretty sure two people saw us.” Fear and uncertainty was starting to consume him. A shiver trembled its way up Lucius’ spine as he rose to his feet. He plowed an agitated hand through his swampy mess of hair, flicking the cold blood that he had rung out down at Veles. A giggle squeaked from a subtle smirk on Veles’ blood speckled face. 

      “Yes Lucius, nobody but them,” Veles teased as she extended her hand out for her brother to help her up. “We were quick and quiet. The beast wasn’t even alive long enough to scream for the help it needed; and neither were they,” she chuckled with confidence as she playfully popped back up to her feet. Veles drew her mangled black mane taught against her scalp and refastened it; dripping dark red drops of drying blood all over her cloak. Her hands were soaked with murder, and she began to rub them on her clothes in an attempt to scrape them clean.

      Veles was surprised to find that her cloak was wet and cold. It was soaked with blood, everything was; her cloak, her boots, her hands, her face, her legs. For a split second, she had almost forgotten what just happened. Her head began to spin and the severity of it all made her stomach churn. The thought of two battered bodies bleeding out in the town roads flashed through her mind. She quickly regained her composure, roughly brushing her clothes in a poor attempt to groom herself. A small pit swelled in her belly as everything became a bit more real. Veles closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The arctic air burned as it filled her lungs and somehow it made her feel a bit more at ease. Opening her eyes, she searched for her brother in the darkness. 

Veles found Lucius was now curled up on his knees anxiously rocking back and forth next to the body of the beast in a rancid pool of blood that had begun surfacing around the pig. Lucius was also completely covered in crimson, shuddering with fear in the cold. She walked over and plopped down next to her brother. 

      “Besides, even if anyone did see us, they didn’t follow us. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have found us by now?” Veles politely whispered as she leaned forward, desperately trying to catch a glimpse of her brother’s face. She delicately slid her arm across his back and tried to pull him near. Her skin crawled a bit as it slid through the sticky maroon mess that was now his cloak. Lucius’ head shot up in disgust. He sharply turned to his sister, staring at her in disbelief. Veles could see his black eyes twinkle in the moonlight; glazed with tears of fright. 

      “You really think it’s that simple?” Lucius sneered through trembling lips at his sister. Terror began to overwhelm him, and his bloodied hands began to shake uncontrollably. Lucius stood up and stammered away from his sister. 

      “Look Lucius, I’m just as scared as you.” She stamped in within inches of her brother’s face. Her eyes ignited with frustration. “It was either them or us, Lucius. We’re still here.” Lucius stammered back a few steps. 

      “It won’t be long before the village wakes up and finds out what we’ve done,” Lucius lashed out. “You think they won’t look for who did that?” His attention despairingly returned to the heavens above. 

      “What’s done is done Lucius. We can do only one thing now, and that’s go back home.” Veles snarled. The smell of blood was nauseating Lucius. He sharply turned away from his sister, staggered over to the trunk of a tree, and collapsed against it. His whole body was throbbing from exhaustion and fear. Veles shed an eye of sympathy on her brother as she was beginning to admit to herself that she wasn’t unbreakable. Her legs ached and her mind was torn. She was tired. She wanted more then anything to sleep; to have this day end; and start fresh over again.

      “Lucius,” Veles exhaled after a deep breath of the cold night air. “I’m tired.” Lucius rolled his head over his shoulder towards his sister.

“So am I. My whole body hurts,” agreed Lucius as he slid his back down the tree trunk, plopping himself on the cold dirt below. “We should just rest here for awhile. It would do us some good.”

      Veles smirked as she began to work her way towards her brother. There was a sort of grace and elegance about her as she walked across the forest floor. “We should,” casually submitting to her brother’s plea. “Let’s sleep for awhile, and when we get up, we’ll bring our prize home.” Veles dark eyes sparkled with satisfaction. 

      Lucius sat straight up, retching his back against the tree. “You’ve gone mad.” Lucius stared at his sister in a haze of confusion. “You can’t be serious.” Veles was now standing just above her brother, staring down deep into his bewildered black eyes. She gently crouched down and grimaced playfully in Lucius’ blood stained face. 

      “Lucius, I think it’s you that’s gone mad.”  She was now so close to her brother that she could see her breath cascading across his face. “You were just saying how you thought we should stop and rest; and now I’ve gone mad because I agree.” She began to rise to her feet in disgust.

      “Veles, you want to sleep out here, I said we should rest. I don’t think we should sleep in the forest tonight. It’s cold out and I’m sure something out here in the night would smell our bloody mess. Is that what you want? To die in your sleep?” Lucius’ voice quivered as his sister stooped down in front of him and looked deep into his eyes again. His eyes began to tear up and he hid his face in his folded arms. 

       “If it’s the cold you’re scared of brother,” Veles whispered, “daylight is almost here. The Sun will warm us in our sleep.” She could see how scared Lucius really was. Veles stood up agitated and refastened her hair into a ponytail. She pushed her bangs behind her ears, slammed her hands on her hips and took a deep breath.  White smoke escaped into the night, drifting off towards the heavens. Lucius could feel his sister’s frustration and slowly lifted his head. His eye’s met his sister’s and a grin worked it’s way across her face. “Until then, we can keep each other warm. We’ll be fine Lucius,” Veles innocently promised. Her eyes sparkled amongst the starlight as she mischievously winked at her brother. 

      “Veles, no matter what you say, it is still too dangerous for us to sleep tonight in the forest,” Lucius desperately tried to reason with Veles. His head collapsed down between his knees. Lucius was quickly regretting his request to rest. His fingers nervously combed through his hair as he began to rock back and forth again.

      “Are you scared someone is still coming for us? Is that what it is? You’re scared?” she teased. Lucius shunned his head and began to push his sister away. Veles shrugged his hand away and leaned closer in. She delicately slid her hand under her brother’s chin and nudged his head up just enough so that he would hear her. “Lucius, don’t be scared. No one is coming for us. We’ve been on the hunt for almost a day now. We’ve still got quite awhile to go before we’re home. We’re tired. We need to rest. Please.” 

       Her words fell on deaf ears. All Lucius could think about was hot blood spraying through the cold air, splattering all over the cabins and dirt. The image of the cross that lurched above the cabin had burned itself into his brain. His head begin to reel with fear. He quickly scanned the blackness of the forest and panic took over. Images of angry townsfolk combing the forest in search of the murderers plagued his mind. Lucius sprung to his feet, and began collecting himself.  He cut the night air with  a sharp glare at his sister. “We will rest when we are home. Let’s get going.” 

      “Why? You said it yourself Lucius, we need to rest. What makes you so determined to head home now?”

       “Because I said so, now let’s go,” barked back Lucius.

        “Lucius,” Veles pleaded, “if you really are afraid someone is after us, what difference does it make if we here or home?”

        “Because if we are home, father can protect us,” Lucius said with an air of confidence.

        “Is that so, brother?” Veles stopped and spun her brother around and looked him square in the face. Lucius quickly turned away and began making his way to the spoils of the hunt. 

        “Yes, that is so,” Lucius exalted. 

        “Brother,” Veles spoke in such a serious tone, it stopped Lucius in his tracks. “Even if we were home, you really think father could protect us? Let’s not forget why we chased this beast so deep into the night?”

        Lucius immediately marched a breath within his sister’s face. He was enraged. “And what exactly are you saying, sister?”

       Veles heart dropped. Her eyes began to tear up as she began to realize what exactly she had just said. “Lucius, I’m sorry,  didn’t mean to...”

       “Veles, can we please just get going. I’ve spent enough time out her with you in the dark. Let’s go home.” Lucius was so mad his body was shaking. He walked over to the dead beast and began to struggle picking it up on his shoulders.

      “Lucius...,” cried Veles. 

      “Enough already,” Lucius cut off his sister’s pleas. He wanted now, more then ever to be home, to protect his family if anyone did come looking for them. His mind raced out a million and one bad scenarios on how this night will end. He took a deep breathe as he finally nestled the bloodied body across his shoulders. He wretched his body toward his sister. “Honestly Veles, do you think anyone will come looking for us? Or am I just being scared for no goo...”

       “Yes, I do.” Veles crudely interrupted her brother. She was now serious as the gash in the beast’s throat. “Now let’s get moving brother. You’re right. The further away we are from there, the better, and we still have a long way to go.”

       “So that mean’s that…” Lucius stuttered as fright unveiled a deadly epiphany. 

       “Yes.  But that makes no difference now, does it?” Veles snarled as the truth pushed its horrid face into the light. “Someone will look for who did that, and we will be far away. And besides, once we get back home, who will know we were out tonight?”

A sparkle of hope twinkled in her brother’s eyes. “Veles,” Lucius exhaled. “You’re right.” Veles smiled and glaced at her brother, 

       “Is that so?”

       “That it is sister. Someone will look, but they will not come this far out, and there is no way of knowing we did anything other then kill a pig. I’m sorry for getting so worried. I’m scared,” Lucius confessed. Veles rushed over to her brother and kissed him on his cheek. Her lips made an imprint in the dried blood on his face and she let out a snicker. “What’s so funny Veles?” Lucius asked cheerfully confused.

      “Nothing, let’s get going.” Veles helped prop the pig on her brother’s back and she began to lead the way back into the abyss. Somewhere deep in the darkness, the winter Leviathan thrashed. 

      “Did you hear that?” Lucius asked his sister who was just a bit ahead of him.

“Lucius...It was nothing. I’m too tired to be scared anymore,” replied Veles as she stopped slid a tree brach out of her brother’s way so he could pass after her. She winked at him and he smiled. Finally, they were heading home.

© 2011 JCP


Author's Note

JCP
If this is a good follow up to "Spoils of the Hunt" please let me know. If not, let me know i am wasting my time. Please ;) Any feedback is appreciated!

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I thought this chapter was better written than "Spoils." The language is more sparse and sounds better on the ear, and the visual descriptions are evocative. This story and "Spoils" raise a problem I don't know how to solve. In fantasy one often uses invented names like "Veles." But they're jarring because when I read, I like to hear the words in my head, and I don't know how to pronounce the unfamiliar names. For example, does "Veles" rhyme with "heels"? Or is it two syllables? I don't know how to solve this problem; to tell the reader "pronounced such-and-such" would seem odd. I'd like to find a solution, though. Any thoughts appreciated!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I thought this chapter was better written than "Spoils." The language is more sparse and sounds better on the ear, and the visual descriptions are evocative. This story and "Spoils" raise a problem I don't know how to solve. In fantasy one often uses invented names like "Veles." But they're jarring because when I read, I like to hear the words in my head, and I don't know how to pronounce the unfamiliar names. For example, does "Veles" rhyme with "heels"? Or is it two syllables? I don't know how to solve this problem; to tell the reader "pronounced such-and-such" would seem odd. I'd like to find a solution, though. Any thoughts appreciated!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

this is very interesting! I liked it a lot! I am not english so I can not help you with grammar or comment on your writing skills. All i know is that the story itself is very interesting! i enjoyed reading it

Posted 8 Years Ago


I'm not good at writing reviews but wow, this is really good! I love how detailed it is and the dialogue is phenomenal. The characters are easily likable and overall it's a fantastic read so far! Please keep writing :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well for you grammar, spelling and puncations it was a little shaky; for example “That it is sister. Someone will look, but they will not come this far out, and there is no way of knowing we did anything other then kill a pig." You can get rid of "then" because its to be "than"( and you did this mistake like 2 more times), get rid of that extra "a" in your first sentence at the beginning before frenzy, “Brother,” Veles spoke in such a serious tone, it stopped Lucius in his tracks. put ";" after tone instead of ",", and another minor mistake in grammar and stuff was "He took a deep breathe as he finally nestled the bloodied body across his shoulders. He wretched his body toward his sister." you can easlily add these two sentences together so try limit your sentences if able. As for your writing itself it was very interesting and the way you did yourdescriptions were very well and it seemedt to be a pretty interesting story. i'm not sure how your story would come out. But you can try it out and i would definitlely read it just to see how it would come out if you do. Anyways the writing is not bad but, good luck as you twisted your writing to anything you want.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I can't read it now...am at work. Will do so later, after I get home, and comment then!

Okay...12 hours later...

Your first full comment addresses the proofreading and other issues that you will need to address, so I won't go there. Instead, I'll speak to the way you handle the story. I haven't read "Spoils of the Hunt", so I AM missing the 'what went before" part, but it doesn't in any way detract from the power of your story. you build the tension well, using the dialogue as well as descriptions of the setting. You engage us, and make us want to see what happens next. Your characters are believable, and we feel their emotions keenly with them. You handle the tension relievers well, too!

All in all, you have the makings of a good story here. Just do the necessary proofreading, and pay attention to word choice, and you'll have a sure thing on your hands! Well done!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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JCP
Just an FYI for anyone who reads this, not that anyone has yet, but I have changed this chapter quite a bit and have moved onto the third chapter since posting. Hopefully, if I get any feedback, the changes I made will be suggested here.

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on December 3, 2011
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Author

JCP
JCP

Baltimore, MD



About
I'm just a thirty something guy from Baltimore. As I've grown a bit older, I can't help but feeling there is something I've left behind. I've always had a knack for writing, but never pursued it. It's.. more..

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