Who knew death could be so cold and warm at the same time. The blood that soaked his uniform was warm, but losing blood kept me chilled. They were dying, if not already dead. At least his death would not be in vain. But was it truly the end?
The trees swayed, singing with the passing breeze tempting all those who heard to travel deeper into their clutches. It was a warm summer evening, and the sun was just beginning to start its descent behind the woods that surrounded the area.
Its eight legs snuck around its newfound territory. The boy didn't feel the arachnid trail up his grey sweater, even as its legs struggled to free itself from the fabric that caught upon it. The rhythmic breathing almost caused the spider to fall, but with determination, he kept climbing until it was able to peek all eight eyes over the boy's shoulder still unnoticed. It relaxed watching the sunset.
“What am I doing here?” the boy complained.
Even though his voice was soft and docile, it made the arachnid jolt. They were in the middle of the woods, where all and any sounds were swallowed by the surrounding trees. Suddenly three others appeared from seemingly nowhere.
The three stood in a circle, the sun beaming and showering their skin in warm kisses. Sweat trailed down the first person's forehead into his eyes. He screamed in surprise, throwing his glasses into the dirt below, furiously wiping his eyes. The other two stood and waited for him to give his full attention. The three seemed so different. You never expected for them to be hanging together. The fellow with the sweat in his eyes was wise, even for the young age of 17.
The way he walked with a hunch in his back from obvious hours of gaming and internet surfing, and a terrible pot belly from lack of exercise. The girl who stood next to him was dressed as black as night from her hair, to her clothes, she was dressed head to toe in the same shade of inky black. Her eyes and her skin, a soft brown, were the only two things that weren’t such a hard shade of black. The last person who stood in the circle towered over the three in height and build. He was large but not in fat, but in muscle. His clothes hugged him tightly, and he looked like at any given moment he could pop.
The girl spoke, “Quit bitching; you know what we have to do.”
The burly guy next to her just nodded. She produced a large curved knife from her pocket making eye contact with the other two boys.
“Is he on his way? We are running out of time.” The boy picked up his glasses and put them on.
“Yea, he should be here any moment now. Everything is ready.”
The boy smiles awkwardly as the three kids surround him. “So, where's the cameras n’ stuff?”
He looked around for other people holding equipment.
“The film festival's in a couple of weeks you know.”
The kid with the glasses spoke up, “We're going to be practicing our lines without the cameras this week, and next week we will be filming.”
They stood a bit to close for comfort, but somehow did not see the spider that laid on his shoulder, or they simply chose to ignore it. The maiden dressed in black approached him and landed a hand on his shoulder. She saw the spider resting on his shoulder, and a small breath escaped her lips. Her eyes drooped as if she hadn't slept for days, and at any second she was going to fall asleep.
“Follow me,” She said softly.
She stood at the altar, staring at the knife that presented itself from seemingly nowhere. How long was she expected to subdue this creature? Shakily she picked up the knife, studying the curved blade. She was scared, but she would do anything for her other half, her soul mate.
A black butterfly emerges from behind the altar and landed on the curvature of the blade. The atmosphere was still and it seemed as if time did as well as the girl studied its beautiful wing pattern.
“Is this what you want my love?” She asked aloud.
The woman then appeared from the shrubs and trees that surrounded them both.
To the girl, she was a goddess incarnate. Her body was thick and thin in all the right places. She had glass skin that seemed to glow whether or not the light was absent. She wore a black bodysuit that just seemed to make her colored skin stand out more. Her posture was perfect as she ran her hand across the girl's cheek, while their curly hair hooked and intertwined.
“Yes,” even her voice was heavenly to the girl.
‘How was I so lucky for our paths to cross?’ the girl thought.
She would do anything for the creature that stood before her. She would kill for her, even die for her if need be. However, she didn't know if this was love, some days she told herself it was, other days she would say it was an unhealthy obsession. This creature, whatever she was, was the reason she got up in the morning, why she put up with everyone's shit, and never showed anger when things didn't go her way. If she was an addict then this woman was her drug.
The four traversed deeper into the thick of the woods, but two strayed a bit behind. The girl couldn't stop staring at the spider that relaxed on his back. She knew its real identity, and it knew hers. They were almost one in the same, wolves in sheep's clothing. The only reason why she hasn't killed the beast is per her goddesses order.
“What's your name?” The boy's voice was as soft and docile as ever.
He knew they both knew he shouldn't be trusting them wasn't something a normal person would do, but he walked with such a confident stride that it sent a chill down the girls back.
She studied the boy as he walked. Even though the sun was almost gone, she could see him, unlike other things perfectly. He stood, not much taller than her, but his frame was much thinner, like he could use something to eat. His clothes, which were dress pants and a sweater fitted loosely in him, almost hanging off his shoulders.
“Bebe.” He said matter of factly.
She knew he was lying about his name. She obviously did her research. His true name was Shanton Iles. He was what she would call a ‘homebody.’
No after-school activities or friend groups, just him and his family. He was an only child and lived with both his mother and his father. He couldn't know she knew, so she played along.
“Bebe, cute name.”
The concealed knife felt to be getting warmer. She found that strange. At first she didn't think anything at all about it, however, it got warmer the closer she got to the altar.
Bebe opened his locker, the black letter falling to his feet. Upon picking it up, he pricked himself on the edges. It was so clearly and professionally made he wasn't sure who it could be from. Carefully opening it, as to not prick his fingers on the edges again. He was invited to help a small group of students for a filming project. A horror piece that they were going to submit for competition. He had nothing better so he figured why not?
They reached the altar, just when the sun was retreating under the earth. The darkness worked with the singing of the trees made their surrounding unnaturally eerie. The arachnid flawlessly jumped off Bebe’s shoulder and made its way to the altar. Destiny watched it, giving it a slight nod. It knew it was almost time. Crawling upon the altar, it waited for the right moment to show its true form.
Bebe did as he was told and lied down in front of the altar, crossing his arms across his chest like a vampire would in a movie. The three stood around staring glaring down at him. Bebe rolled his eyes backward to study the altar before him. The base or what he could see of it reminded him of a gravestone. He found the symbols etched into its hard surface weird, but assumed it was ‘just apart of the decoration or whatever.’
He did start to worry however, when they tied his hands and his feet, along with rhythmic chanting in a language he couldn't understand. He tried to see if he could recognize the words, however, it seemed to enter one ear and simply waltz out the other. He simply couldn't make out what they were saying.
Destiny stood over him, knife in hand. She knew that Bebe was starting to realize that this wasn't for filming. It was strange that it took him so long but it was too late. She swung the knife down into his stomach, the blade carving itself into his skin.
The arachnid stared as the boy screamed in agony. Its eight eyes bore into the boys literal soul, so that it may watch his life prior before it is lost, like the others. Somehow, when viewing the soul, the beast connected with it. He and it were one. The pain was immense. It was so painful in fact. It forced the arachnid to change into his true form. The trees stopped their song and the earth stood still. Even hunched over it towered over everyone.
Hanging from its almost equally long arms, its nails were long, black, and sharp. It large animal skull-esque head floated and twisted, looking at the three attackers. Bebe simply stared at the creature from down below. Normally he knew he should have been scared, but he was surprisingly calm, even with the large hold in his stomach. It picked him up, softly and carefully as if could, groaning when Bebe’s skin tore from the movement. It stared at him like a mother when she holds her child for the first time, before promising to never let go. Bebe’s skin was pale, and his eyes felt so heavy. The smell reminded Bebe of burning wood. It relaxed him as he made himself comfortable in the creatures arms. He turned his head to look at the others, who were all shaking in fear, all except for Destiny. She was as calm as him.
“So he's like me, compatible with your kind?” Destiny understood.
It made sense why they chose someone so young to sacrifice this time around and not just some old homeless geezer that was ready to kick the bucket anyway.
The woman spoke, “Exactly. Finally with someone compatible, we can turn it into a blood child, find out its purpose, and figure out what to do with it, depending on the answer.”
Destiny nodded. She felt bad for the boy but knew by tomorrow morning, whether or not the boy was alive or dead she wouldn't care in the slightest.
With its free hand, it snatched up one of the boys. Even with his large anatomy, the creature didn't have to use much force. Not even a scream escaped the boy as he went limp into its hands. It didn't stop squeezing, however. It squeezed so hard the boys guts and all filtered itself onto the floor. Within the same time span, the other boy ran into the woods, screaming. The creature got onto its knees, hiding itself behind the Altar with Bebes body still in its hands. Its form changed and when it stood from behind the altar, it was Bebe. It looked exactly like him, thin frame and all, but it walked with such an inhuman confidence.
Destiny stood, watching the creature walk towards her. They stared at each other for a while. It was deciding whether or not to kill her, but she knew she would get away unscathed. As if on cue, the black butterfly landed on her face. Bebe, no that thing spat on the ground. It knew if it wanted to live to see the sunrise, it wasn't to lay a hand on her.
“I assume she wants something from me. Only releasing me to do her fucking dirty work, ain't that right, Destiny? ”
He gave her a smile only a complete douchebag could love, and she clenched her teeth. He hit a nerve and she knew it was all apart of his game.
“She wants to see you so go clean up your mess Vörðr, you lowly wraith,” she spat.
She knew this made him upset and wasn't surprised when he got up in her face.
“If I'm so slow, then why am I one of the few wraiths left? Wake up Destiny, this isn't your stupid fucking time period where a kid gets a fucking scrape and dies from the plague. If she hadn't found you, you would be someone's little plaything. Not that you care, but Shanton isn't dead. Seems like we're sharing a body from now on.” He walked past her cracking his knuckles. “I hope she enjoys the show!”
He was exhausted and leaned against the nearest tree. If he thought the sweat burned his eyes before, they sure as hell burned now. He knew he wasn't safe, but he was so tired. The trees swayed around him, and he heard a soft singing that came from all around.
“Hush, little baby,
Cuca is coming to get you,
Papa went to the fields, mama went to work.”
Suddenly, the boy was feet away.
‘How did he get so close without me noticing?’
Before he could move, in one swift movement, Vörðr punched the boy in his throat, with a loud crack! His body dropped to the earth below, but his head stayed still above the fist until gravity took over, the head falling over to the side, along with the tree.
Vörðr licked the blood off his fist. To him, it tasted better than anything he could experience. The blood of those who thought of all the different things they could have done to not end up where they were in that moment. It made him laugh. It made him laugh so hard the trees stopped singing and began laughing with him.