Author Topic: Rabbit's Writing Thread  (Read 1843 times)

Rabbit

  • Red Tenshi
  • 3x More Touhou
Rabbit's Writing Thread
« on: July 30, 2010, 02:02:54 PM »
Good morning.  Good evening?

I haven't written anything Touhou-related in quite some time.  So, one day I decided that I should.  The rest is, as they say, history.

Table of Contents

The Fallen Lands
Wasteland
- Chapter 1 (OP)

----------

The Fallen Lands
Story No. 1: Wasteland

I

The desert wind licks across my body, caressing the places where my skin is bare like the gentle touch of a mother or father.  No, that's not it.  More like it is tearing at me like a scourge but I do not feel it.  The sensation of pain is as distant to me now as what remains of my former life and this land before the twilight came.  When I look at the sand around me I do not see sand.  The packed earth is solid beneath my feet and the sun is blotted out by bamboo that grew in defiance of that unforgiving sky.  Indistinct shadows flit about at the edge of my vision and I know that if I let down my guard for even a moment they will come for me.  The bamboo that gives me respite from this heat also serves to hide those creatures that fear the light and feast on the flesh and blood of the living.

Involuntarily I blink and the bamboo is gone.  I am walking through a desert once more and the sun has turned its baleful gaze upon me, promising me the bliss of death if I would only surrender to the weight of my body.  Already I could feel the sand parting beneath my feet, reaching out to claim me.  It was only a matter of time.  I could do nothing but fall.

But I do not fall.  I realise that I was dreaming again.  What is wrong with me?  Why am I here?  These questions come unbidden to my lips as they have for the past several hours.  Perhaps there is something in the air here, a faint smell of spices, that clouds the mind and causes the inhabitants of the desert to dream even when they are awake.  Perhaps there is some form of residual magic here or the malign influence of whatever being has claimed this land as their own.  I had heard tales of the fantastic treasures of the Lunar Kingdom that lay buried beneath the sands of the Dreaming Desert but they told me that no one who tried had ever succeeded.  Even with the finest divinations and wards that money could buy and the ability to fly under their own power it was all futile.  So much for the bottomless riches of the Eternal Mansion.  My guess is that someone had made up the story to lure some hapless dupe he had a grudge against into the desert so that he could dispose of him cleanly.  It's what I would do.

My parched lips feel like they will crack open as I move them.  Water!  I need water!  I reach into one of the pouches I carry at my waist and take out a large rectangular flask.  I look up.  An hour, maybe more, since my last ration of water.  The sun does me that much service at least, to tell me how long I must wait for the freezing chill of night to set in and the terror that awaits me when I finally close my eyes.

I will not close my eyes.  Not here in the Dreaming Desert.

?I will not close my eyes!? I yell as if to deny the world around me.  I hear a faint laughter as the wind whistles through my ears but who am I to say if it was real or not?  There is no sign that anyone or anything heard my declaration so I yell again, ?not finished yet!  Still have work left to do!?

Still no response.

Yelling felt good though.  Aside from the rush of the desert wind against my ears, the grinding of the sand underneath my feet, and the beating of my own heart I have not heard another sound.  In front of me there is nothing but sand and my own legs as I put one ahead of the other.  Nothing but sand, and there is still a long road ahead of me.

I do not see the night fall around me so much as feel it.  To me, the shadows around my eyes are the same whether they are cast by the blazing sun or the darkness after it sets, or the bamboo forests that used to cover this land for as far back as I can remember.  I feel the temperature drop rapidly as the sun sets, the sand too fine to keep the heat of the day from escaping.  I feel it pierce me like a thousand iron spikes promising the same death that I would have faced had I collapsed in the heat.  Heat or cold don't matter, each one will kill you just as assuredly.  I let my pack drop to the ground and dig out the heavier clothes.  Unlike the humans privileged enough to know magic and able to warm themselves we mere peasants must make do by covering ourselves in more layers.  It can't be helped, that is just the way that life works.  I do not resent them for being better equipped to defend themselves.  This was always a land that separated the weak from the strong.

It is time to stop.  The Dreaming Desert is not a place to be travelled at night.  Better to save your strength, savour the relief from the heat, and continue in the morning when the spirits are not hunting.  Dried fish jerky will be my dinner tonight, along with the last remaining scraps of a loaf of bread I managed to buy a week ago during my supply run.  It's a hard, crumbly thing that sustains the body but does little to ease hunger.  It is more lovely than a fresh-baked loaf on a spring morning after the rain.  I laugh bitterly when I think about how I cursed those days before.  I would do anything to get them back again.

?...to get them back...? whispers the echo along the desert winds.

Ice floods my veins, then the oily feeling of dread.  Though I rarely have to traverse the Dreaming Desert my ears cannot fail to heed the wind.  After a year, a lifetime of running, a tangible echo like this can only mean one thing: the enemy is here.  I see them now, smoky shapes of pure darkness flitting amidst the darkness of night illuminated by the moon and the stars.  My hand shoots to my pack and rifles frantically through the pockets.  I have made a mistake by not taking the adequate precautions before I started eating.  They can smell my fear and feed off of it, amplifying it into desperation.  I feel a cold sweat run down my forehead and my mind starts to become feverish.  Where did I leave my protections?  Where are the seals?  I can feel their presence closing in like smoke.  Like water.  I will drown.  They will steal my breath.  I will die and be food for the spirits, then for the vultures, then for the sand itself until nothing remains of who I was and what I was trying to do.  My hand closes around a white marble around the size of a plum and my lips start moving.

It is always like this.  Even through mind-numbing terror the words of power flow through my mind and saying them is as easy as breathing.  It is a charm I picked up somewhere during my travels to protect me from the evil spirits that dogged my path.  I do not know where it comes from, who made it, or how it works.  I am no magician.  It works and that is good enough for me.  The charm will protect me while I sleep, though I would wager that any common animal or youkai would still be able to send me to the Great Beyond.  As relief floods through me the weariness of the day returns and I find I can no longer deny its call.  The search for the Eternal Mansion beneath the desert sands will continue on the next day.
Too much of a good thing, and it is no longer good.