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Fantasy Shorts: The Man of Glass

A submission to Matthew Fromm's High Fantasy Challenge; dark fantasy horror adventure

By Ian ReadPublished 7 months ago 3 min read
12
Image by 412designs, uploaded to Pixabay

The void felt like ink, dancing and swirling into black nothingness. Henri was like the pen, thrust into the inkwell with no sense of direction, but every sense of purpose.

He remained in limbo for what seemed an age until his bare feet found footing on what felt like cool polished stone. His wet footsteps echoed through the void as we walked forward, cold and alone, casting wary eyes at the swirling black. He could feel it watching.

“Ah!” it sighed, it’s casual relief chilling Henri to the bone, “Another! And so soon after the last!”

Its voice was breathy, but uncomfortably close.

“Who are you?” Henri asked.

“Oh! A riddle! How I adore riddles. Games and riddles, riddles and games,” it sang tauntingly, “a better question to ask is who I am not.”

Henri felt frozen to the bone.

“I am everything you fear, everything you hate,” the source of the voice said, slowly moving around and around, encompassing Henri. “I am everything you desire but cannot have, and I am everything you have but cannot desire. I lie dormant in every waking heart, especially yours.”

Henri opened his mouth to speak, but found no breath. It hovered inches from his face, its presence unseen but most certainly felt.

It continued. “Nobody knows my name, but everybody knows who I am, and they welcome me just the same. I am your guide, an ancient friend. I am your willing servant, all you need to do is let me in. All you need to do is answer with just a simple word. What do you say?”

In that moment, Henri felt a sudden burst of courage. “No.”

The thing looked and grinned an impossible grin. “No matter, we will meet again soon. Farewell, Friend.”

Amidst its dreadful laughter, Henri woke up in a sweat.

He was in a bed surrounded by four shattered mirrors. Four heavy ropes binding his arms and legs silently undid themselves and fell to the floor. He bolted upright, only to find the sheets underneath him were completely soaked through with black ichor. Henri rubbed his now free wrists and wiped the sweat from his forehead, only to see too that his sweat had come away black.

The master sorcerer walked out from behind the mirror.

“What did you see?” he asked.

Henri shivered. “I saw the face of it, our adversary.”

The sorcerer smiled as the rest of the senior sorcerers came out from behind the mirror.

“Then welcome to the Brotherhood, acolyte.”

***

If you enjoyed this short, please feel free to give a like, comment, and subscribe.

This short was inspired by dark(er) fantasy settings like the Witcher and Dragon Age as well as some aspects of Lovecraftian and gothic fiction (plus the works of a few of my fantasy-writing friends on here, you know who you are).

This is a submission to Matthew Fromm's High Fantasy Challenge, found at the end of the following article:

If you enjoyed this short and would like to peruse my Vocal catalogue, check out my table of contents here:

MicrofictionHorrorFantasy
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About the Creator

Ian Read

I am an archaeologist and amateur story-teller. I publish a variety of content, but usually I write short and serial fantasy and sci-fi.

Find me on:

||Discord||Twitch||

From New Hampshire

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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Comments (10)

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  • Andy ortega2 months ago

    I know I'm late but I love the eerieness! hope you make something like this again soon!

  • Ashley Lima6 months ago

    Absolutely love the imagery you portray. Masterfully written flash piece. Well done!

  • Lamar Wiggins6 months ago

    I love riddles. They can be a frustrating son of a B**ch, lol. Well done with this entry and congrats on second place in Matt's challenge! 🍻

  • Donna Renee7 months ago

    I. Am. Creeped. Out. 🫣😁 and not mad about it!

  • Alexander McEvoy7 months ago

    Oh a dark initiation! I feel like this was done in the basement of an ancient library at an isolated university surrounded by skeletal trees and howling winds. Loved it Ian!

  • Oooo, this was so dark and sinister! I loved this so much!

  • Amanda Starks7 months ago

    Ah yes, join the dark side, Ian Read. xD So glad to have gotten to read this and honored to be an inspiration. You should do more dark stories. c:

  • S. A. Crawford7 months ago

    I love this - the perfect balance of detail and unknown. The sense of dread coming from that unknown entity is so sharp - this is a phenomenal short!

  • L.C. Schäfer7 months ago

    Everybody knows you don't get between two mirrors! 😮

  • Matthew Fromm7 months ago

    I sense a series around the corner!

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