Sometime during the December period, I saw a writing challenge concerning the image below from The Rogue Verbumancer (http://rogueverbumancer.com/2012/12/31/leviathan/#more-2215). Unfortunately I did not get much writing done in December and I finally managed to write and complete the short story below on the 1st, hoping to get away with it…but I got too lazy to post it anyway (defeating the purpose!) Finally I decided to throw this out there anyway and see how it goes. I do hope you like, it’s a little different from my normal stuff but its up my alley nonetheless. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Well without further ado, I present the December Writing Challenge: Leviathan.
The boy ran through the twisting tunnels of an underground sewer, barely able to see past the tears streaming down his face. His bare feet slapped against the wet concrete ground, echoing off into the darkness behind him. A light ahead of him grew brighter and the smell of salt water drifted across the otherwise dank air. The azure orb of his left eye had faded into an ocean green, the eye socket throbbing with the beat of his heart. He could feel more than see his blonde locks flitting off his scalp, brushing against his boiling skin as they fell. His arms felt heavy. Hot. Bubbling. The pain was excruciating but it did not cover the pain ripping through his chest; a chasm of darkness and death. He ambled on nonetheless, fighting a losing battle against both his mind and his heart. He gripped at his chest as a different pain racked through him, bringing him down to his knees. Coughing into the damp ground, the boy fell over to slump against the tunnel wall, feeling the slick surface slither against his bare shoulder. The streaming water beside him lapped at the edges of his path and onto his feet, cooling the boiling skin. He knew he couldn’t fight it any longer, this mental emotional battle; it was too strong, overpowering his senses. With some effort the boy rose to his feet, continuing ahead towards the salty breeze ahead of him, feeling the bones of his fingers grind and crackle, the skin bubbling then melting, fusing his fingers together. He could feel the same sensation travelling through his feet, making it difficult to walk and yet he ambled on, driven towards the sound of the falling water ahead. He could only manage a few steps before his amalgamated feet gave way below him, unable to carry him any longer. He fell onto his knees and let out a yell of frustration that reverberated throughout the tunnels. With his last effort he pulled himself towards the running water beside him, letting his body fall into the water.
Bernard hurriedly made his way through the village, ignoring the stares of the people around him. His errand was of higher importance than his social status, though his current visage was not helping him. The dark locks of hair on his forehead had matted to his scalp from sweat, and blood lined his left cheek in streaks. His dark eyes were hollow and afraid; a first for him. He walked briskly, though his breathing was heavy and laboured. When he saw the small wooden cottage at the top of the hill he picked up pace, hurrying up the grassy bank and onto the porch of the small dwelling. He knelt before an empty wooden chair, his head down and his dark jade robe flowing behind him.
“Aldon…sir…there has been a…situation.” Even as Bernard spoke he could feel the air around him radiate in a heat that threatened to suffocate him. In an instant, Bernard was staring at the dark leather boots of his mentor.
“Is this involving my son?” Aldon’s voice was deep and stern
“We were at the edge of the village…near the cove…when Octavius appeared…” Aldon stood up abruptly, his chair scraping across the floor causing Bernard to cringe away.
“And what about my son…”
“We must head to the ocean…sir…I’m afraid the boy knows”
“That cursed Octavius! What happened?”
“Simeon do not stray too far from the cove” Bernard warned the younger boy.
“Yes uncle…but the smell of the sea…it draws me.” Simeon looked out at towards the dark rocks that lined the coast and the dark waters that crashed into them. The sea called out to him, drawing him towards it but he knew he was never to get too close without his father’s permission. Bernard smiled at the boy.
“Yes yes I know but we must make haste before your father…”
“Before papa knows his little protégé is gone! No?” A young man, dressed in a dark green robe similar to Bernard’s, appeared behind Simeon. He gently placed his arm around the boy’s neck, resting his hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“You move…you die.” he whispered into Simeon’s ear before grinning happily at Bernard.
“Why Bernard, it has been long hasn’t it.”
“Octavius!” Bernard exclaimed in surprise though his face had turned dark at the sight of the younger man.
“It is Lord Octavius to you old man!” Octavius spat, rapidly pointing his finger at Bernard with his free hand “Or have you forgotten your manners?”
“Manners!? Why you wretched little…” Before Bernard could move, Octavius had spread his fingers apart, his palm facing towards Bernard as streams of light formed on the outstretched fingers. Simeon felt heat radiating across his face as he watched streams of light, liquefy into a burning red ball of pulsing fire. The ball shot out from Octavius’ palm and struck Bernard square across the chest. The old man flew back from the blow, hitting against the rock surface behind him.
“I’m here for the boy, see.” Octavius calmly explained, tightening his grip on the now squirming boy “The king has sent out some ships and…well…let’s say I have a sinking feeling about the king’s ships.”
“No! You cannot!” Bernard breathed, rising to his knees, blood dribbling down one side of his face.
“Oh but I can…and I will. Besides…” Octavius turned to look at Simeon and he could see the boy’s eyes, grim with anger, flash from a dark green to a bright blue. “Besides…it is time for him to know the truth.”
“Octavius! Stop! He is…”
“Was I ready!? Bernard!” Octavius threw the boy to the ground and rushed the older man, holding him up by the collar of his robe. “Was I ready to lose my entire family to…to that beast!”
“He is but a boy” Bernard pleaded
“Boy?” Octavius spat at the ground. He let go of Bernard with a brisk toss and walked over to the boy; Simeon eyed them curiously.
“What does he mean uncle?” Simeon looked past the enraged Octavius towards his bleeding uncle.
“You are the great beast of the sea…” Octavius replied…cutting off the old man “You are…Leviathan.”