The Serpent's Dance

The Serpent's Dance

A Story by N.R.Spurgeon
"

Based on a dream I had.

"

     Seven riders cut their trail along the parched horizon,

set upon some nameless quest. The orange sun cast the

rider's shadows directly below them, and made the

revolvers at their sides sing with a metallic, ethereal

glint. The horses they rode on grunted and drowned in

the hot air, every now and then a trickle of blood ran

from one of their dry and cracked nostrils.

 

 

 

     The earth exploded from beneath their hot and

 

 

weathered hooves, leaving a dust trail that could be traced across 

the horizon. The masters of these beasts wore all black despite the

heat, and scarves over their mouths. Still, if one was to look

closely, you could see that the slightest movement of

the scarf uncovered a face and neck as bronze as

the barren wasteland around them, and hinted that these

men knew no other home.

    If you looked even closer however, you could see

that not all of the men were brown, and not all were

armed. At the center of the line, a smaller, pale faced

man cast disturbed glances at his companion's firearms.

His green eyes were wide with interest and life, and

his bangs were wet and stuck to his forehead.

    One of the bronze men shouted something in this

man's direction. The pale faced rider looked and saw him

pointing to the west, and what looked like a small

settlement at the base of a red mountain. It must have

been miles away. He noticed black churning thunderheads

beyond it.

 

 

 

     The bronze man began to shout something that might

 

 

have been instructions, but his voice was captured by a

sudden gust of wind.

     Suddenly, the horses stopped as if they had run

into god's open palm.

     Sand. Sand and wind is all that seemed to exist

now. It mixed with the wind in such a way that it

created a physical being. An angry, screaming entity. The

surprised and perplexed cries of the bronze men sounded

like echoes in a storm drain and grew faint. The pale

rider felt an eerie sensation as something like fingers

grasped his shoulder blades. They began to pull. The

rider tried to open his eyes but was forced to lace

them shut in fear of the sand, that now surrounded him

in a furious cyclone.

 

 

 

     He clenched his thighs against the horse in a vain

 

 

attempt to keep balanced, but with one good tug, the

fingers pulled him into the breezy abyss. He braced

himself for impact with the ground below.

 

 

 

     It never came, however.

 

 

     Seconds turned to minutes, and minutes into hours.

Time, it seemed, was incidental. For what seemed like

an eternity, it was just him and that cool breeze and

sand. It seemed to trace him and caress him like a

lover's touch. Oddly, he felt his crotch stiffin.

 

 

 

Finally, he felt hot ground on his back. The

 

 

insides of his closed eyes turned amber as the sick,

yet powerful sun hit his face again. He tried to open

his mouth to speak, but discovered his jaw was locked.

In fact, he couldn't move at all. He was as stiff as a

stone.

 

 

 

     He felt a weird tickle draw across his shoulder.

 

 

Then remembering the feeling of being lifted from his

horse by those strange creeping hands, he braced himself

for another wild trip. None came though. Just that

slightly heavy tickle creep up next to his collar bone.

He felt something cold and rough slither across his neck

and onto his right breast.

 

 

 

     Glancing downward with those green eyes, he saw all

 

 

his fears summed up into one long, lethal package.

 

 

 

     It was a rattlesnake.

 

 

It's crested reptilian head lay on his chest pointed

like an arrow at his Adam's apple. It seemed poised and

ready to launch it's deadly mission with that man-

killing liquid aching to be triggered into his blood. He

stared into it's cold, soulless, unblinking jewels, and

slid back into darkness.

 

 

 

     This time, the darkness was real.

 

 

     It flowed over him like the lovers touch, but this

time the touch was that of a

long dead corpse. Instead of arousal, there was now cold

revulsion.

     He thought he was seeing this through closed eyes; A

dark land, with miles of desert trapped in an eternal

twilight. Instead of a lingering heat, their was now a

clammy, damp, chill.

     As if it were in a cave, it seemed to the rider.

     Lightning lashed out from cobalt thunderheads that churned

like a beast within an ill womb. It caused a chorus of

thunder-like cannon fire. The rider looked out upon a

great precipus and past the moldy dark of it's mouth.

The floor of the crater seemed to move and writhe like

the clouds above. He noticed without much surprise that the

floor was covered in a layer of snakes. They hissed and

struck at each other viciously. Millions of them. The

lightning struck again and illuminated the crevasse

completely.

     It stretched over miles, and at the dead center,

crouched among the blanket of interweaving serpents was a

cloaked figure. A hood shrouded it's face. Every now and then, a

fresh snake would slide out from under it and join the others.

The snake's slick body shined and pulled out from the

dark patch on the hood, all the muscles in it's belly

working in perfect unison. Bleached hands reached up and

began to pull the hood back. The rider noticed it's

abnormally long fingernails and shivered.

     He tried to look away but couldn't, and discovered he

didn't want to. He's struck by an insane curiosity.

Maybe it was psychotic. He had a feeling everything

here in this land was. The hands revealed a bald cranium as white

as it's hands. Long, slender cords weaved this way and that

under the specter's skin. What happened next, the rider

knew, had to be the most unholy thing to ever be seen

by the human eye.

     The figure opened it's cold blue lips, and gurgled as

a new snake slid up it's throat, over it's tongue,

between it's teeth, and out it's mouth, landing with a

sloppy wet smack into the dust.

     The figure let out a relieved hiss.

     The rider began to scream.

     The snake retreats to the shadows with it's brethren

after a quick glance at it's morbid birth giver. The

figure tilts it's eyes up at the rider. It's green

eyes. A smile stretched across it's lips as the rider's

scream grows into a cry of pain. The way the snake

came into this world made perfect sense to the rider.

     In fact, he had even expected it. He wasn't screaming

in disgust or fear, not even surprise. No, he was

screaming because of the figure's face.

     The face he saw was his own.

     The shrouded figure immediately began to spit up another

snake as the rider's scream faded into the wind, which

sounded abnormally like human shrieks itself.

                               *******************

     The first thing he heard when he came too was laughter.

Children's laughter. It awoke memories long thought

forgotten and allowed the pale rider to awaken with a

smile. He also heard drums. Lifting his head, he saw

that he was at the settlement his troupe was heading

for. Children and their parents danced around a large

bonfire in celebration of some foreign holiday of which

he new nothing. The dance they performed was peculiar

itself. They spun in wild circles and stomped at the

sand, gently rocking their upper bodies to the beat of

the rawhide drums.

     "It's called Eloui Gent Authaway."

     The rider's head shot to his immediate right. Sitting

on a small stool was an incredibly old man. His hair was

long, pin straight, and dazzlingly white compared to his

bronze skin, now turned an autumn red by the firelight.

The light also made every wrinkle into a black trench

from which many battles had been fought. The old man

tapped his foot to the beat, wafting small gusts of

dust. They made the same noise as the snake did as it

dropped from that thing's mouth. His mouth. He shivered.

     "Huh," he said to the old man.

     "Is that sand still clogging yer ears, boy?"

     He chuckled a little.

     "No," the rider said, looking back into the fire, "You

just startled me a little. What was it you said?"

     "The dance their doin, it's called Eloui Gent

Authaway."

     The old man's foot tapped on and on. Rising and

falling with every beat.

     "Oh," said the rider, "It's very strange."

     He and the old man sat in silence for a long time,

staring transfixed at the fire and the darkness beyond

it. The silhouette of every person turned into black

alien figures as they danced in and out of the

firelight. The heat from the flames caused his sunburn to

sting, and he began to wonder how long he was lost out

there.

     "What's your name son," the old man asked.

     "Clarence. How did you come to speak my language?"

     "I learned from the pilgrims that stayed awhile with

us. I was a boy. They went up the mountain into

Zeolexus, searching for Nameca, their god.

     "Did they ever return?" Clarence already knew the

answer.

     "No. Seldom does anyone return from over that mountain.

Those who do are usually raving mad and have to be put

down."

     It seemed the more the old man talked about this

place, Zeolexus, the more he saw his dream transform

into reality.

     "Who found me? Are the others alright?"

     The old man looked at him with sunken concave eyes.

     "Their all right except for a couple of cuts and

ruts. Layron was the one who found you."

     The rider remembered the one called Layron. Tall, very

strong, and had the look of a refined madman. Looking

at the native's face in his mind's eye, the rider could

compare several features to that of the old man's face.

Maybe the old man was Layron's grandfather, or great

grandfather. Surely not any older than that?

     The old man looked back at the fire. Foot still tapping.

     "And what is your name?"

     "Redornic, call me Red though. Now, what I'm interested

in is why he found you three miles from him, and the

rest of his men."

     Another sly smile dawned on the old man's face. Suddenly, the

rider felt a familiar pressure on his shoulder. His hand immediately

shot up and found nothing, instead he messaged the spot were the

phantom touch had been.

     "Really? Three miles?"

     He tried to sound surprised. But tricks like lying

seemed beyond this fellow.

     The old man's hand touched the rider's shoulder, inches

from were the snake had been and the phantom touch had

been felt.

     "What did you see?"

     The rider looked at him accusingly, saw the stern gaze

of the old man, and gave in.

     "It was a rattlesnake."

     The rider wondered why this felt heavy and strange

coming from his mouth. Wouldn't there be snakes all over

this place? The old man's foot suddenly stopped. He

nodded as if this made sense, and there was silence

between them for awhile.

     The old man's foot began tapping again.

     "Do you see what the dancers are doing, the stomping?"

     "Yes."

     "They say that when the great spirit created the

earth, the snake was the most jealous and angry at man.

Jealous of his legs, you see. To punish the snake for

his senseless hate, the great spirit made his skin rough

and hard, his body cold, and eyes unblinking."

     Suddenly the rider saw the snake in it's former glory.

A great and majestic serpent with eyes of stars and

skin like silk. Such character it's facial

expressions could produce.

     Handsome, charming, and colorful. It must have burned at

the snake to have these things plundered from it.

     "So what's that have to do with the dance," the rider

asked.

     The old man chuckled as if an impatient child had

asked him why the sun moved across the sky.

     "Our people feel pity for the snake. The ancients

designed this dance to teach our children how to end

the snake's suffering."

     "How?"

     The old man lifted his tapping foot and gave it a

good stomp. Suddenly, the drums and laughter halted in a

rythmatic pause, as if in anticipation.

     "By showing him your heel."

     The drums began as suddenly as they ended.

     "The snake is stubborn though. His spirit won't leave

his body until it starts to

go bad. He even tries to crawl."

     "So what does Eloui Gent Authaway mean," the rider

asked.

     The old man smiled and began his tapping again.

     "The Serpent's Dance."

     The rider broke out in goosebumps that tinged his

sunburn.

© 2009 N.R.Spurgeon


Author's Note

N.R.Spurgeon
Sorry if the format is a little off.

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Reviews

Interesting, really great imagery, keep up the good work!

Posted 12 Years Ago


This is very well written I think. The descriptions are very good I felt I was there with them, eavesdropping on their conversation. (I even shivered at the snakes...ugh, i don't like to be around them!) The details are wonderful, you have a gift with words! We all want to be able to write the details like this! Or at least i do, i struggle with the small parts.
Keep it going. Great job!

Posted 12 Years Ago


This really caught my imagination, actually! I liked your references to mythology, and the sheer dream-like quality throughout. Also, it reminded me of a real legend, and various examples of "weird fiction", which I have in my collection. There is a sinister atmosphere of dread, and I was transfixed, as this nightmare scenario unfolded before my eyes! It's also a good example, of a narrative in which paragraphs are not actually beneficial. Or, at least, not a necessity. This allows your tale to flow unceasingly, as in an actual nightmare! The reader, as in a dream, cannot suddenly decided to take a break, without losing his/awareness of the terror as it grows!

Weaknesses? Well, more imagery and greater detail in your descriptions might have helped? Also, most of the sentences are rather short, perhaps? Overall, a very good job!

Posted 12 Years Ago


I like it makes you think makes you dream..mmm love the diction you use just a great write overrall..NICE JOB!!

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Very fascinating indeed. As a lover of vibrant imagery, I really enjoyed this. I also have such intense dreams. What I'd like to know is, what part of this was actually in the dream, and how much did you add to the story? Just wondering....

Anyways. Nicely done.

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

wow good job keep it up

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 3 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 10, 2009

Author

N.R.Spurgeon
N.R.Spurgeon

The Boonies, KY



About
My name is Nick. Well, I usually don't really have much to say about myself, and when I try to strain it I always come out with this kinda bland list of self attributes that almost reminds me of a job.. more..

Writing