Hell’s Spittle

It’s been busy.  I’ll try to get my groove on…

It was not right.  And it made Tesca realize everything was now possible.

Pure sunlight, beginning in the bluest heavens, coursed through the yellow leaves.  Autumn rose to its zenith today at this elevation.  The supremely yellow leaves dyed the light golden and bright—brighter than it had been.  The infusion of color then drifted softly to the frosty ground like a mote ignoring gravity.  The effect exaggerated the normally gentle contrast between the black and white of the trees’ skin.  In this light, in this sky, in this moment the trees, taken as a whole, appear straighter than they must really be.

Across, on the north facing slope of this glamorous high mountain meadow, Tesca lay face in the dirt behind the trunk of a fallen and rotting aspen.  She shivered as much from the chill morning as from fear.

The stain of a thing wrestled into the brilliant grove like a bull wrecking a make-shift corral.  Slabs of black bone and flesh protruded from the thing’s arms and legs like rocky spires.  Slick black fangs erupted from black lips.  Even from this distance Tesca could see those teeth drift up and down as the thing panted—she hoped her own frightened breathing silent.

The thing shoved two trees aside as it stepped into the grassy field.  The once golden grove lay broken and uprooted and murdered behind the thing.

Coming just those few steps nearer to where she hid caused Tesca to keep her breath.  It regarded the field upslope then down so long she thought she would burst, but she clamped her jaws tight and kept it a little longer.  Tesca closed her eyes and tried to convince herself the thing was a mere beast—an animal.  That it could not read her thoughts or find her with senses greater than sight or smell or sound.  Having made it’s decision the thing bolted downslope like a boulder coming loose of it’s moorings in a hillside.

Tesca’s breath broke the dam of her fear.  She heaved like a diver coming up for air.

“Blessed, that was close.  Huh, Tes?”  Tesca jerked around at the voice.  Her blood rushed.

“Sweet fukajimbo.  Damn. Damn. Crap!  Don’t do that.  Don’t do that.  Don’t do that.”  Corla, Tesca’s sister, just smiled.

“Come on.  Your plan worked.  We need to get back to Emva and Lee Lee.”

Day 308