君の闇私の光 (Your Dark My Light) © 2015 Gerald E Nigma
Chapter 5: Cynical Town
It was a colder today. I could feel the bitter frigid air chafing my bare skin. Everything in sight was covered in a thin layer of frost. Heading out of the woods was more of a task than it was going in, especially during the nighttime. It seemed a little more dense than I recall. But at night, it was always difficult to see past three meters in front of you anyway. I followed my uncle and we made our way through the thick first patch.
Before leaving the cottage, both of us set more traps to protect it. This time we’ve included enchantments with protective wall spell surrounding the area as well.
“Are we headed the right way?” I asked for reassurance.
“My boy, I’ve lived in the woods longer than you have breathed air in this world,” Vincencio said arrogantly, “Mind yourself. You’re still learning from me.”
“I didn’t mean any disrespect,” I replied cautiously, “I was merely trying to gauge it in my mind.”
“Never question a man’s knowledge unless you have knowledge that absolutely disproves his.” Vincencio said sternly, “But that’s quite a mind you have there yourself, my boy,” he added as he smirked.
As we reached a clearing, we heard nothing but silence. The air felt thick and dead. No utterances from the surrounding wildlife or of nature itself.
“Something feels wrong here,” I said warily.
“You can sense it too?” Vincencio asked.
“I was just about to ask you,” I replied. “Are we stuck in time?” I asked, urging for a response.
“Be cautious. I think we’re about to find out,” my uncle warned.
Just as the last word rolled off Vincencio’s tongue. A mysterious figure manifested before their eyes.
“You don’t belong here,” it claimed, “Return from which you came!”
“We’d love to oblige, but we seem to be trapped…wherever this is.” Vincencio replied and subsequently asked, “Just who do you think you are, telling us what we need to do?”
“I am Lilitu!” it said piercingly, “You may go now.” Lilitu phases out and completely disappears.
The two of them were blinded as they came out of the trance. It was daytime already somehow. Sounds of nature and roaming animals came roaring into their ears, almost deafening them. Some sort of time lapse transpired. Isaac looked at his uncle with a bewildered face.
Vincencio’s face was filled with terror. “This is a bad sign!” he exclaims, “We need to hurry!”
“Who is Lilitu?” Isaac pondered.
“Lilitu is associated with Lilith. They were rarely seen operating as solo entities,” he replied.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Isaac asked intrusively.
“I’m beginning to think we’ll find out more than we want to know, my boy. Whatever it is, we have to reach my contact in town!” he explained.
“Let’s not waste any more time then!” Isaac proclaimed.
~ ~ ~
The path to town was rough and lank. Isaac and Vincencio needed to rest before trudging forward. They were still shocked from what they’ve just experienced. One thing is for certain, more demonic activities mean the world is in trouble.
Before getting up, Vincencio observed Isaac’s behavior. Isaac didn’t flinch. He seemed even more determined to find out more than ever before.
“How are you holding up? You seem to be lost in thought. Care to enlighten me?” Vincencio asked.
“I’m just thinking of my family. I can’t keep myself from thinking this is tied in with their deaths,” Isaac admitted, “I mean, it all just happened so quickly. All of these events.”
Vincencio felt his heart drop. He wasn’t the kind to show feelings but he welled up inside and released a slight tear.
“You’ll be fine, my boy. I don’t know all of the details, but I’m sure your head is in the right place.” Vincencio revealed. “Let’s just make sure we find my contact. I know they’ll have answers.” he said assuringly.
“They?” Isaac asked, “I though your contact was just one person.”
“Yes it is, but that one person is connected to a whole different world. You’ll see.” Vincencio explained.
Isaac and Vincencio began to set off toward town again. As they make their way to an open road, they notice a carcass of a horse, off to the side. They stop to examine it and the surrounding area. There were no signs of any struggle. No trauma, just decay. It’s as if it just dropped in its place. From the looks of the decomposition, it must have been only a few days ago.
“What do you suppose happened here?” Vincencio asked Isaac.
“This must be food fodder from the creature we fought. There’s no blood and the timing seems to follow.” Isaac replied. “Do you think we’re close to where it came from?” he asked Vincencio.
“It’s a possibility, but we can’t investigate this right now. We’ll have to come back to this soon.” Vincencio replied.
The two of them darted off toward town.
~ ~ ~
The town’s east entrance was terribly unpleasant. Nothing flashy. No welcoming committee. No guards to speak of. Not even any locals traversing about the streets. It was desolate. As Vincencio and Isaac walked down the street, they heard commotion coming from the center of town. They followed the continuing sounds and quickly made their way to the town square.
As they came into view, they saw colorful streamers, confetti drifting about in the breeze, and noticed that most of the townspeople were gathered in a circle. It’s some type of festival, it would seem. There was music and people cheering within the circle. There must be a performance.
Some of the townspeople noticed the newcomers and stared at them like they were invading their territory. They snickered and talked amongst each other, all the while looking at Isaac and Vincencio as they passed by them.
“This town doesn’t seem to be very friendly,” Isaac said abruptly, “It’s as if we are disturbing the peace, even with all of the music and noise amongst them.”
“Yeah, let’s keep our distance. We don’t want to cause any trouble.” Vincencio agreed, “Let’s just move toward the circle.”
As they drew closer to the crowd, they saw a man juggling a knife, an apple and a wooden bowl. The man placed the bowl on the ground, threw the apple back up, followed by the knife, and added two more knives. He continued to juggle as he propped the bowl up onto one of his feet, holding it right side up. This guy was amazing. As the apple came into rotation, he threw it much higher than before. He then followed it with all three knives aimed toward the apple. Bingo! The apple was struck by the knives and it split apart. As the apple pieces were falling, he kicked the bowl up to his hands and caught it. The knives started coming back toward the juggler. He quickly flipped around and each one landed in its proper notch on a makeshift leather belt, which he wore like a sash. Then as soon as everyone knew it, all the apple pieces were caught in the bowl. It was fast. He moved so fast that he seemed to just stand still. Everyone applauded as he took a bow.
Vincencio watched Isaac as he became amazed. Due to his reaction, he knew that he was trying to figure out what just happened.
“You seem to be at a loss for words, my boy. Can’t believe your eyes?” Vincencio asked in humor.
“That’s just not possible!” Isaac expressed, “How can anyone move that quickly and make it look like he either moved slightly or not at all?”
“They are trade secrets, my boy.” Vincencio began, “This… is my contact.”
The juggler noticed Vincencio had arrived. He quickly gathered the rest of his things and made his way toward both him and Isaac.
“Hey! Hey Vincencio! I didn’t expect to see you this soon.” as he extended his hand out for a shake.
“It seems that this is awkward timing Mauricio.” Vincencio said as he shook his hand.
“So is this the one? Apple?” asked Mauricio as he motioned the bowl toward Isaac.
“The name is Isaac, if that’s what you’re referring to,” Isaac said skeptically, “and no thanks.”
“Pardon me, I’m Agostinone. Mauricio Agostinone. Nice to meet you.” He said apologetically and smiled, “People call me Agost. Most people do.”
Although Isaac was amused by his performance, he couldn’t help but feel like there was something sinister in town. He looked around and everyone seemed to be staring at him and whispering to each other even more than before.
“Enough with the formalities. As you know, us being here seems to be stirring up the crowd.” Vincencio said as he looked around.
“Yes, Yes. You must excuse them. They’re not into outsiders,” Agost explained, “Meet me at my place in a few. I’ll distract the townspeople with another performance.”
“See you soon.” Vincencio said as he began walking. He pulled on Isaac’s sleeve and admonished, “Let’s be quick. These people give me a bad feeling.”
“I thought it was just me.” Isaac agreed as he followed.