The Shadow Walkers: Chapter 1

The Shadow Walkers: Chapter 1

A Chapter by KaoticOrder

The Earth died.  The humans killed it.  

The Elders, the original people who were here before the second dark age, told stories of the way the world was before.  The books tell us of buildings that nearly reached the sky, transportation that moved on its own, candles that last for months.  The people got greedy. They wanted more and more and the planet was paying the price.

But, with every healthy tree cut, every free animal slaughtered, and every breath of pure air tainted: nature wilted.  The drought came first. Without rain or water, nature followed.  Without plants for feed, the animals died too. The Earth died... But she came back.

Then came the event of 2043, when the Earth took her revenge.  We only know stories passed down generations from the elders.  The stories tell the tale of what is known as the three stages of darkness.

The first stage lasted a whole week.  It started with severe storms and natural disasters, one after another.  Earthquakes, forest fires, Tropical Storms, Torados. Electricity was first to go, all electrical power supplies, refused to work.  The times were moved backwards from modern to the dark ages.  From what the stories say, around twenty thousand died during the first week. 

The second stage also lasted a week.  The death count hit Sixty thousand during that week when a deadly, unknown virus broke out.  Legends say it ate away at the person from the inside out. Their organs became rotten first, then large boils covered the flesh.  If they didn't die from organ failure, they died of infections.

The third and final stage's story was hard to follow, and most people aren't really sure if it was true or just a product of the Elder's trauma.  They say that one of the twenty-three gates was opened, and that was when true darkness fell onto the planet. 

It only took forty-nine years for half of the world to forget, or pretend to forget, why no one goes into the forests outside of the villages anymore.  No one, but the Shadow Walkers.

I shove several apples into my bag while no one's looking. Five coins an apple is low, but too costly for me so I get food the only way I can; Stealing it.  There's only a few ways to make money in this village: Farming, cooking, medicine, and hunting.  I can't farm, I burn everything I cook, I'm far too slender to hunt, and I don't know the first thing about medicine.  There are many in the same situation as me.  Homelessness and hunger are more common than healthy and wealthy.

The sun fully sets behind the trees as the shops start to close and villagers head home.  I walk the dirt path towards the gates of town.   

They're called the Scarecrow Borders.  The name is very fitting.  They aren't really gates.  They're actually only dozens of scarecrows that are placed all around the edges of each village.  They are created from sticks, skulls, and a number of other objects like fur, feathers, and stones.  They all have lanterns, like the Shadow Walkers who created them.  They're supposed to protect us from whatever is in those woods.

I sneak past the borders.  They are strictly permitted during the day, but passers have to stay in groups of at least five.  After dark, the forests are forbidden to everyone, especially when the dark ones can hear the slightest movement from yards away.  It doesn't help that the fuckers can see right through the darkness either.

I know it's foolish to go explore the Forbidden Forests, but my curiosity gets the best of me sometimes.  Everything about the Forbidden Forests, the Shadow Walkers, and the Dark Ones has been kept from the public.  I can't help, but wonder about these woods.

Since I was a child and my parents disappeared in the forests, I've wanted to know about the secrets.  I tried everything legal with no avail, so a few years ago I started looking for the truth in the woods themselves.

I've seen the Shadow Walkers and the Dark Ones.  I've seen the ruins and caves the tribes live in, but I have learned so little.   

The Dark Ones are some kind of mutants, as far as I can tell.  They were once humans, but turned into monsters with claws and black eyes.  They're fast, silent, and vicious.  The few run-ins I've had with them almost cost me my life.

The Shadow Walkers make me more uneasy for some reason.  The Elders say they are here to protect us, but they have a dark vibe about them.  They appear in cloaks, carrying lanterns and swords.  Their hoods hide their faces.  I have never spoken to one, or even seen its face.  I'm not even sure if they're human at all.

I jump when I hear twigs breaking behind me.  I whip around only to be met by a creature throwing its self at me.   

Its claws slashed across my face and I stumbled backwards, landing on the ground when I trip over a fallen branch. It snarls and hisses at me, soulless black eyes captivate me and leave me powerless.

Just when I think I'm done for, blood splatters all over me and the head of the Dark One rolls off its shoulders and onto my lap.  I gasp and throw it off me, backing away to look at the hooded figure in front of me.  A Shadow Walker.

Its face...  Its face is hideous.  More frightening than the Dark One's.  It looks like a monster with an animal skull decorated in bloody sigils.    I'm frozen in fear, more fear than before.

The Shadow Walker shines the lantern at me, a hand reaching to its face, lifting what I now see was a mask.  The face under the mask is beautiful...  A female with one brown eye and one blue one, her face is delicate and pale with rosy cheeks and red lips.  Her face, however, is ugly with bitterness and hatred.

"Foolish child, don't you know you don't belong here?" she snaps at me.

"I'm not a child!" I come back.

"What are you, twelve?"

My eyes narrow at her, "I'm seventeen, b***h."

She returns the look, crossing her arms after putting her blade back.  "Seventeen, wow, I didn't realize you were an old man." she says sarcastically. "What village are you from?"

"The West Village."

"Get up."

I follow the woman back to the trail, her light shines on the path.

"You're a Shadow Walker?" I ask.

"And you must be some kind of genius."

More sarcasm.

"You're different from the ones I've observed."

"Observed?  What, you sneak into these forests often? Are you asking for death?"

"I'm asking for answers." I reply.

"Curiosity killed the cat." she says.

© 2015 KaoticOrder

Author's Note

First Chapter.

Let me know of any grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes.
Any opinions or advice on improvement would be greatly appreciated.

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Added on June 25, 2015
Last Updated on June 25, 2015



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