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Jogger's Trail the Story (Part 2)

A journey begins.

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published 8 months ago Updated 7 months ago 9 min read
18
Jogger's Trail the Story (Part 2)
Photo by Kristian Seedorff on Unsplash

This is a continuation of previous works if you haven’t read The Legend of Jogger’s Trail or Jogger’s Trail the Story. I recommend visiting those first!

My eyes flew open and I found myself on the forest floor. I was close to the hike I’d been on when I lost my friends. Panic radiated through my mind at the realization. My heart raced as I realized what that meant, I jumped to my feet, scanning the area. Looking for a hiding place or direction to run.

“You run and I’ll make it so you never walk again, then I’ll drag you back here and watch you die from your injuries.” A male’s deep voice spoke, from close by but no one was visible.

“Who's there?” I called in a trembling voice as the realization hit me.

The last thing I remembered was being attacked by a Rellik, I was now in their territory which meant that I was likely surrounded by more than one in this moment.

“My name matters not, only that you listen and obey.” He replied, followed by the rustling of leaves.

Knowing I’d been beaten, I settled myself on the forest floor again. Watching the ground around me as I heard several hoof-falls and the rustle of leaves all around me.

“Good.” The male voice commented and I felt a chill run up my spine.

Trying to hide my fear but wanting to protect my limbs, I pulled my knees to my chest and hugged them tightly. Continuing to watch the leaves around me rustle on the ground as the Relliks disturbed them.

“What will you do with me?” I inquired, chewing on my lower lip in anxious anticipation.

“That all depends on you.” The male voice of a Rellik spoke, coming from somewhere behind me.

The volume of rustling leaves decreased to just one set of steps, from close behind me.

“What do you want from me?” I asked, fighting the urge to turn around. Fearing he’d present himself in his physical form and then I would surely lose control and run.

He let out a chuckle, which sounded more human than otherworldly.

“Now you’re asking the right questions.” He commented, the approval apparent in his deep voice. “We want to see if you are worthy.” He explained, his voice laced with apprehension and curiosity.

“We?” I asked, then the realization hit that he was likely talking about his pack. “Worthy of what?” I inquired further, suddenly unable to control my mouth.

“You will know soon,” he stated in a far-off foreboding voice. Then without warning, I heard the whoosh of wind and hooves thundered in a lap around me, before fading away somewhere behind me.

The scene fell silent and I finally grew the courage to turn around, looking for where he might have disappeared. My eyes fell upon a cave, several feet away and my stomach sank in apprehension. Swallowing hard I got to my feet and watched the mouth of the cave for a moment, weighing the option of possibly running but knowing they’d be back to collect me before I would get too far.

Slowly, I took several tentative steps towards the cave, having nowhere else to go I figured I’d better follow my captor. At the mouth, my hair stood on end as the sounds of several voices reached my ears. All echoing together from inside.

Fighting my better sense to run, I took several steps inside. The cave was dark and had a musty smell, like damp rocks having never seen the light of day. I crept along as the voices grew louder by proximity.

Until I found a corner where the light of a fire flickered and their shadows danced into view. Placing my cheek on the cold rock wall, I peered around and saw no one sitting long the fire, but could hear their voices and see their shadows.

I braced myself on the wall, feeling my legs shaking beneath me in fear.

“When you’re done skulking around, you can come join us.” The same male voice from outside called, the largest of the shadows moved as though he had turned to address me.

Heat rose to my cheeks, “I think I am owed some amount of trepidation.” I began, stepping out from behind the wall. Suddenly my legs were steady and my heart raced a million miles a minute. “I was kidnapped and brought to the woods by the creatures that murdered my friends. Then I was told don’t run or you’ll break my legs and then left in the woods on my own. So forgive me for showing a little caution around creatures that hide behind their cloaks of invisibility, from a being much weaker than them.” I rattled off as though there weren’t a shred of fear in my body.

Only the crackle of the fire echoes in the cave as the five of us absorbed my long-winded rant. The shadows remained unmoving, as though stunned by my sudden bout of bravery.

Abruptly a high-pitched laugh split through the air, sounding too feminine to be the original Rellik I had spoken with.

“Oh my dear, you are so dramatic.” She laughed and the shadows of the other’s seemed to relax slightly. “Who's going to play you in the movie?” She continued to laugh hysterically, her shadow made a motion as though she were wicking away tears from her eyes. “Although, she does have a fair point, Alaric.” She added, getting control of herself and clearing her throat.

Immediately, they all revealed themselves.

For four creatures that were the same species, they could not have been more unalike aside from their general descriptions. But as I cautiously stepped closer, I could see subtle yet very jarring differences.

The female had a purple sort of hue to her skin and the way she held herself seemed more like a stern motherly figure than that of an ethereal dangerous being. She sat smiling encouragingly in my direction.

The leader looked exactly like the stock internet picture of Relliks, with broad shoulders and the typical brown and blueish skin. He was both thin and skeletal but with the defined muscles of a predatory creature.

The other two were complete opposites of each other. One was small and meek, like that of a shy preteen human boy. The other was visibly older than the others, grandfatherly with a stern expression of analysis. His lips seemed pursed together in a permanent pout.

The image of them grouped in such a way gave the sense of a classic nuclear family but with a lot more complex undertones. Somehow seeing them in this light made them feel less threatening.

As I observed them, my feet had carried me out of the shadows and I now stood within feet of my captors. I continued to follow my feet as they lead me to sit beside the female.

“You’re a little small for the chosen one.” The young Rellik spoke in a high voice that confirmed my thoughts on prepubescence.

I remained silent, unable to find my voice. Watching the young one with almost as much curiosity as he watched me, his grey eyes dancing around my figure.

“Strength of size matters not, only strength of the mind.” The old Rellik spoke euphorically, smacking his lips together as he finished. Then he began poking at the fire with what looked like more of a walking stick than a fire stir stick.

“Enough of the riddles old man.” Snapped the leader, glaring at the old Rellik and then turning his angry gaze toward the flames.

“Don’t mind Alaric,” the female cooed, leaning low to speak in my ear. “He’s just grumpy we won’t let him eat you.” She explained with a good-natured chuckle.

But I found it hard to share the sentiment as a shiver of fear shot up my spine and my fearful eyes fell on my would-be killer.

“I’m not grumpy, I’m just hungry.” He explained with a fiery gaze at the female, “It’s been months since we’ve had a good meal.” He added with a huff and turned his gaze back to the fire once more.

“If you’re so hungry, why don’t you go hunting and we can look after Tesha.” The old Rellik suggested, with an absentminded smile.

Groaning, Alaric got up and disappeared into the darkness.

Waiting until the sound of his hoof-falls faded into the natural echoes of the cave, “You know my name?” I asked, looking to the old Rellik for an answer.

“Of course we do.” The female answered, drawing my gaze towards her. “Which means it’s only fair you know ours. Mine is Madra, this is Nakos and Mendel.” She added, gesturing to herself, the old man and the young one. “I’d introduce Alaric too but as you can see, he needed some space to clear his head. It’s been a tough winter for him.” She explained with a sarcastic eye roll.

My gaze followed as her long boney arm waved in each direction, ending in a caught gaze from Mendel who stretched his thin face into a smile. I attempted to return but found it hard to hide the feeling of unease.

“Do you know what we are, child?” Nakos inquired, looking down his nose at me as though he were peering through glasses that balanced on the end of his nose.

I nervously cleared my throat, “My people call your kind Rellik but I gather you are more than that.” I spoke in a small voice, watching Nakos with apprehension.

“That is correct. Relliks are what we have become but what we once were is something entirely different. Are you familiar with dark angels?” He paused with a quizzical look.

I shook my head.

“Dark Angels are a nickname given to those guardian angels who failed to keep their humans safe a few too many times.” He began, “We were dark angels who fell from heaven and became what we are today.” He explained humbly, smacking his lips in thought. His gaze was lost in the flames, seeming to be somewhere else. “After the first of us fell we soon began to breed and create the next generation of fallen angels, which intern came the creation of what humans know as Rellik.”

There was a pause as I looked at my companions in both pity and fear.

“How did you come to start feeding on humans?” I asked, fearing the answer but curiosity won out.

“That would be the curse of our existence. We can’t be sustained by any other substance, other than human flesh. We may not care for it but it’s all we can live off of.” Mendel answered in a very learned but informative tone.

“Good.” Nakos praised him with a weak smile, although his eyes twinkled in pride.

I nodded in absorption, thinking how terrible that curse would be.

“Is there a way to reverse the curse?” I inquired, looking at each of their faces in hope.

“There is only one that we know of…” Nakos began.

Part three:

SequelRevealPlot TwistHorrorFictionCliffhanger
18

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

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Comments (9)

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  • Paul Stewart8 months ago

    the plot thickens...loving this, Donna!

  • Thavien Yliaster8 months ago

    Fallen angels that appear more like thestrals, but are also bipedal(?), that are doomed to consume human flesh for the rest of their existence. Huh, guardian angels that have fallen from grace since they had failed to protect human flesh must now consume human flesh as their only form of sustenance. I feel like that's a test in it of itself. "Since You have failed to protect flesh-of-my-flesh from external forces that are both random and at times malevolent forces, You, Yourselves, must learn to protect the flesh from Yourselves. Yet, how much of a self-sacrifice are You willing to partake in?" Hence, they would be forced to battle with gluttony. Even if they don't eat excessively, need to eat at all, or have to eat due to starvation causing them to perish, the desire to consume flesh that they should have protected is a battle in it of itself. I was told that in the Bible angels bred with humans, and thus giants were made. They were people with terrible powers, so God wiped them from the face of the earth with a flood. The relliks might have to fight against lust. If they don't reproduce and have the potential of dying from old age, then they can no longer harm humans, being that they've been turned into human's natural predators. You might see envy come up being that if Tesha needs her current needs met, such as food, she can eat deer, rabbit, wild berries, etc. Being a human, Tesha has all of the world's resources available to her, but the relliks only have human flesh to consume. Imagine Alaric running Tesha's meal since he can't eat, or having Mendel being saved from starvation only to have Nakos or Madra perish from giving the younger one their food. This would drive a further wedge between Tesha and Alaric, and I think that Alaric shouldn't be the one perishing in that scenario since as a leader he provides a naturally pivotal role and even an obstacle for Tesha even though he knows that he needs her. There can be character between those two. Plus, just me being me here, but I naturally assumed that Madra and Alaric were romantic partners already, and that if Mendel's not their kid, that he's somebody they adopted sort of like a little brother. Nakos doesn't give off grandpa vibes, but more of an elderly teacher vibe that's taught Alaric and Madra everything. Alaric: "F*ck Your soup, Tesha!" You could have Tesha get a sunburn and feed them her peeling skin as a type of human jerky or have the relliks rob a blood donation van having their fill of human blood, robbing cemeteries to get their fix of humans, or even rummaging through hospitals' dumpsters for consumable biohazards. "Placenta, Score!" Wrath is just naturally gonna pop up because they ate her friends, and she's needed for them to survive or attain redemption. Why would she want to redeem murders that victimized her cohorts? Alaric's probably not gonna want to put his faith in such a frail human being. Strong bodies do help to make strong minds, because mental fortitude improves when the body is pushed to its limits, not doing what it wants to.

  • Rob Angeli8 months ago

    Poor family of cursed beings! they certainly lost their sense of horrible dread and menace when their somber little nuclear family life appeared. Strangely cute, and a great twist!

  • ThatWriterWoman8 months ago

    Oh, THIS is your magnum opus, Donna! I am so so intrigued and more than ready for the next chapter! Your descriptive language is excellent. I felt as if I could see the relliks and hear the environment around the main character. Well Done! The pacing is brilliant, you brought the main character into the new world with enough hesitation and fear while not stifling the flow. VERY Well Done!

  • Oooo, I wonder how Tesha would be able to help them reverse the curse. But like, they brought it upon themselves. Why did they breed, am I right? So horny, lol! I loved the name Madra, Nakos, Mendel and Alaric! Can't wait for the next part!

  • Mark Gagnon8 months ago

    You had my attention from the beginning of episode one. Where will you take us next?

  • Kendall Defoe 8 months ago

    I'm in... This is excellent!

  • Dana Crandell8 months ago

    Well, you've definitely got my attention, Donna!

  • Alexander McEvoy8 months ago

    Oh! Enticing! I can’t wait to learn more! Absolutely adore the idea that too many generations removed from Heaven turned the off spring in to monsters. It has so many implications and I love it!

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