Author Topic: Short Story [1]  (Read 109 times)

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Offline Teriksa

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Short Story [1]
« on: May 13, 2017, 06:42:45 am »
*Sigh.*

I like to write. Perhaps here, I'll actually have some people read my stories. (For those of you who don't know me, sorry for being inactive about 99.99% of the time.)

Anyway, here goes. Critique... welcome, I guess. I'm not going to change the story, but I'll take it into consideration when I write something else. Thanks for reading...

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Word count: 2,257

Time to read: five or six minutes, I suppose.

Summary: Sobra and Sapphire venture to a large black tower in the middle of the night in order to retrieve a device with strange, time-altering properties.

Themes: A bit creepy, I guess, darkness, strange shadow-beings, magic, time stuff, magical laboratories, ah, I dunno.

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— Sobra and Sapphire —

The tower wound through the night, piercing the moonlight itself, it seemed, a twisting semblance of a cracked tree’s last branch. Constructed from black stone wrought through magic and mettle from the ground itself, it stretched from where the two stood to the doors of Heaven itself.

“Sobra?” Sapphire asked, turning to the fox. His brown eyes glimmered in the reflected moonlight from the structure.

“This is definitely it.” He said, and Sapphire could see him shiver in the moonlight. Was it anticipation? Or was it trepidation? She sighed, her expression hidden by the darker shadows cast by her thin brown cloak.

They looked back to the massive wooden door, inset into the bottom of the circular base of the spire, heading a long gravel path. The tower itself was situated at the top of a small hill, clefting out of a small stream which was forced to wind itself around the base before teetering off into oblivion off of the cliff edge behind the whole congregation.

“Should we knock?” Sobra asked.

Sapphire reached up with one chilly blue paw, hesitating for a second before grabbing the lion’s-mouth knocker and slamming it against the door. It echoed through the structure, artificially — magically — amplified until it resounded with the force of a hundred foghorns.

“That’s loud.” Sapphire said, clutching her cloak closer to herself, lapis eyes looking down at the grass growing between her paws.

“At least we won’t have to knock twice.” Sobra muttered in the ensuing hollow silence.

They stood there for a few seconds, silent, wary, before the door slowly opened with a groan reminiscent of a dying man. At least, that’s what Sapphire thought about the sound.

A shadow detached itself from the pitch-black interior, rustling through the gravel. Sobra and Sapphire could hear the rustling of something else — a snake, sliding through the grass to strike at them?

They both stepped back.

“Sobra?” Sapphire whispered.

“No use, too much interf—”

“Hello?” Came a plaintive voice from the hobbling shadow. “I don’t like the darkness, and I warn you, if you’re th-those kids again...!” It didn’t voice the threat.

Sapphire and Sobra stepped into moonlight.

“Oh dear, pardon me.” The shape said, stopping in front of them. “Th-the lights have gone out, I’m dearly sorry.”

The two canines looked to each other. Sapphire was the first to speak.

“Hello, um, I’m Sapphire.” She said. There was a moment of silence as she waited for Sobra to say something.

“Who’s your friend?” The shadow asked.

Sapphire elbowed him.

“Wha— oh — I’m Sobra.” He said. “Um, we’re here to, um, investigate some temporal disturbances.”

“T-temporal...” The shadow muttered. Again, there was the rustle of something. “Ah! T-temporal disturbances, yes, I know what you’re t-talking about, and I’m afraid that this is the wrong place.” It said.

Sapphire and Sobra looked to each other.

“Right, then, would you mind if we came in nonetheless? It’s awfully late and we’re terribly tired from the journey here.” Sapphire said.

“Oh yes, my feet, they ache.” Sobra added, embellishing.

“Oh, er, well, you see, there’s no lights an—”

“Ah, no worries! Sobra and I don’t mind at all. We won’t be able to see anything but we’d really just like a place that’s warmer to sleep.” Sapphire said.

“Right... not see... anything... right, come on it.” The shadow said, and the crunch of gravel beneath its invisible feet led the way into the ominous tower. The interior was definitely warmer than the outside, though the warm air was leaving quickly due to the open door.

Slam.

Which was now closed.

Sapphire shivered, now, out of fear.

“M-make yourselves at home,” The shadow said. “...but please be gone by morning.” It shuffled away, then muttered as it ascended. Though Sapphire and Sobra could see naught in the tower, they heard it climb into the floor above them.

Sobra was the first to whisper: “So, plan?”

“Use my staff to light the place, find out where the temporal disturbances are coming from, and, hopefully avoid murder.”

“So what are we waiting for?”

“Hush.” Sapphire said. She’d closed her eyes and was casting her senses about in an effort to locate traps or tricks. “Weird, nothing but the door is trapped.” She said, finally.

“Oh, okay, see, I thought that you were waiting for that weird thing to be farther away or something.”

“Hah.” Sapphire huffed. She reached into her cloak and pulled out her staff. A brilliant light split through the darkness, illuminating the twisted and rough staff as well as eliminating basically any shadow in the entire room. Sobra muttered a curse, squinting his eyes against the strength of the staff.

“Sorry.” Sapphire said, dimming it to the point where the room was visible without being blinding.

There was nothing in the room but a tall wooden staircase that curved along the black wall at the end of the room. The floor and the ceiling were made of dark red wood.

“So... we climb?” Sapphire turned to Sobra, whose eyes were watering from the earlier unexpected brightness. He nodded.

They progressed up the stairs and into what appeared to be a laboratory; several tables were arranged in a square around the center of the room, and each had various flasks — filled with green liquid, black liquid, red liquid, among others — and burners on them, connected via an intricate network of glass tubing. Another staircase ran along the back of the room.

“Assyria would find this interesting...” Sapphire whispered to Sobra, who didn’t reply.

They climbed the stairs in the back after dodging some particularly obtrusive instruments. Sapphire dimmed her light by a great deal before they went up the stairs; her senses had been muddled by higher-level magics after this room and, as such, she was worried that they’d run into the shadow-being on the fourth floor.

This floor was also empty, but for an old armoire, situated to the right of the stairway as they entered the room.

“Ew.” Sobra muttered.

“What?” Sapphire turned to him, only to notice, finally, that Sobra’s fur was standing entirely on end.

“It’s getting really really strong.” He muttered.

“Will you be okay?” Sapphire asked, frowning at him. She wasn’t sure about what effect ‘temporal disturbances’ might have upon Sobra, given his unique talents, but she wasn’t interested in taking any chances.

Sobra nodded. “I think so. It’s pretty buzzy, but...” He shrugged.

They continued through the room, and Sapphire dimmed her light further, until it barely lit the entirety of the room — it was barely enough to see the other side — before climbing the stairs again to the next level.

Actually, there was no next level, not instantly at least; the stairway wrapped around an interior black wall. Sapphire had a funny feeling that the creature — and whatever was disturbing Sobra — would be in the next room that they encountered.

After climbing for a few minutes, Sobra groaned loudly. “Sapphire, how long is this climb?” He asked.

“You remember how tall this tower was from the outside, so...”

“Oh, ugh.” Sobra hocked, but then continued to walk.

“I think that we’re close, though.” Sapphire said. “I’m worried, though.”

“Woah—” Sapphire threw her arm back to Sobra, hushing him. They’d arrived at the top of the stairs, and there was a heavyset stone trapdoor between them and the next room.

Sobra looked over at it, then promptly vomited onto the interior wall.

“Sobra!” Sapphire whispered, furiously, “What’s wrong with you?”

“I feel... very dizzy.” He said.

“Will you be okay?” Sapphire asked. “Look, I know that I need you to point out what’s making the disturbances in the first place, but I’m sure that I can find it myself if I need to.”

“No, no, it’s just nausea... Gods, everything is buzzing...” He trailed off.

“Right, you stay here and I’ll check out the next room.”

“Okay...” Sobra muttered.

Sapphire proceeded up the stairs and pushed against the trapdoor, a simple binding incantation ready on the tip of her tongue if the shadowy figure was up there.

The room was lit and it was empty. Empty of people or beings, that was. She’d entered into the penultimate level, it appeared, as there were still stairs that led to the next level.

This level had a soft wooden floor and, in the middle of it, there was a strange shape drawn in dark red fluid — goat blood, Sapphire hoped, or blood substitute. Regardless of that, this room was square and, against the wall, beneath the stairway, there was a long table with a huge assortment of tools — drills, saws, small knives, screwdrivers of all kinds, types, materials, and Sapphire could even see a hyper-scissor, just sitting in the open. She shivered, suddenly unsure of exactly whose house she was in.

“Sobra!” She whispered, down the trapdoor. He came up as quickly as he could (which was still relatively quickly, though he was staggering a bit.) “Be quiet.” She ordered.

“... It’s on the desk over there.” Sobra said, pointing. “Or should I be more... hngh...” Sobra keeled toward the wall, and Sapphire grabbed him. “Gotta... destroy it...” He started to stagger over to the desk, but Sapphire’s grip remained true.

“Let me get it.” She growled.

“...Metal cube...” He said.

“Go back down the trapdoor.” Sapphire commanded him, and he grumbled, before walking back through the opening.

She crept over to the desk, though it did occur to her that, if the shadowy figure was up there, it should have heard them already. On the desk was a large blue piece of paper with small white lines drawn everywhichway, but she was too preoccupied to look at it; the metal cube that Sobra had identified as emitting the disturbances was sitting on top of the paper. She grabbed it, surprised at the weight of the small item — it was barely larger than her palm, yet it weighed as much as a dictionary.

As soon as she touched it, she felt the thrill of some primordial energy hit her and she shivered, feeling buzzy. Was this how Sobra felt? She wasn’t sure if she could handle this item for long, but she hadn’t brought anything like a sack to hold it in. In fact, Sobra and Sapphire had been expecting to find something larger than this... thing.

She crept toward the trapdoor, slowly, the floor’s creaking suddenly very loud, her breath echoing like thunder. Each click of her claws upon the floor was another signal to the shadowy wizard — for he was surely a wizard.

Regardless of how much noise she was making, she got to the trapdoor and opened it without interference. She stepped through. She closed the door behind her.

Still no wizard.

A thrill went down her spine — she’d somehow gotten the item from out beneath the being’s nose and it had not even noticed.

“Sobra, come on.” She said.

Sobra looked up from his seat on the stair, then slowly stood up. “Please... do stay... away.” He said.

“Of course.” Sapphire said, waiting for him to stumble down the stairs, looking as though he was about to topple at any moment. She increased the brightness of her staff and began following him down the tower’s staircase.

Though progress was slow and, for both of them, painful, they eventually made it to the floor level. They’d not seen the shadowy figure in the entirety of their endeavour.

By the time they were to the floor, Sapphire’s entire mind was buzzing from the power contained within the cube that she was clutching in her off-hand, her left hand.

“How will we destroy this thing?” Sapphire whispered to Sobra while she worked on figuring out how to open the door from the inside.

“Dunno...” Sobra muttered. “I feel like I’m slipping away, honestly...” He trailed off.

There was silence.

The door clicked and slid open, creaking more than it had the first time. They stepped out into the brisk air of the night. The moon had moved considerably and was now high enough in the sky to see somewhat easily by.

Sapphire frowned.

“It’s weird, though, that we didn’t see that guy again.” She said.

“I don’t... let’s go.” Sobra said, walking somewhat hunched over, hands across his stomach.

“Ye... yeah, I need to set this down soon.” Sapphire mumbled.

“You can feel it?” Sobra said, looking back at her.

“Well, I’d hope so, I mean, I’m receptive to magic energy.”

“... Let’s just get going.” Sobra said, gagging in the middle of his sentence. Sapphire tossed the staff to him.

“You lead the way, Sobie.” She took her cloak off and wrapped the cube in it, then suspended it from her hand. Though she was colder — she had only been wearing some jeans and a t-shirt underneath the cloak — the buzzing had all but disappeared and she felt as though she could bear carrying the item until they got far enough away from the tower to rest for the night.

“Got it, Saf.” Sobra said. “Ugh, it’s like I’m on fire.” He added, then started walking, slowly at first, away from Sapphire. Soon, though, he was a speck of light in the distance, walking more assuredly; Sapphire took this to mean that the effects of the cube had worn off on him.

She started following him, trying to not get much closer than she already was, and, so, the night passed.
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Offline ☆Sugar☆

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Re: Short Story [1]
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 10:19:01 pm »
I quite liked that story! You're a very good writer.
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Offline Teriksa

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Re: Short Story [1]
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 02:13:00 am »
@Roxy bear

Ah, thank you, I'm not really sure what I should think about my writing anymore, actually, but it's encouraging that someone took the time to read and comment... cx

... I have no idea of how to tag people anymore. >_>
  • Pronouns: He/Him/His
> Observations intensify.