The clanging of metal and the blazing of fires erupted from the blacksmith as yet another day began. Houses of oaken materials stood solemnly within the shielded confines of the hamlet known to most as ‘Lindlow’. Such a hamlet had been laid down upon the restless earth for almost 500 years and in such time has had little advancements in technology. However one thing that the small village did have was a thriving community and a distinct lack of visitors. Nevertheless, tables can turn.
Strolling past the well-crafted walls of the village, a grin flew upon Reuben’ visage as a familiar face materialised. The face belonged to Richard Willington, the town chief and notorious friend of Reuben’s. As he approached, Reuben prepared the same line he spurts at Richard whenever they meet, “Hey Dick how’s it going?” and such an honouring line always returned the same dispiriting reply of: “I’ve told you time and time again. Please. For the love of Phaunos stop calling me that.” Yet every encounter they had, Reuben continued the ongoing joke of mocking the forever-unforgiving name of ‘Richard’.
As the two sauntered amongst the passing villagers, they chuckled and shared their experiences of the day. Despite the fact that both stories were almost identical, they still found it prosperous to share their accounts of the local brawls going down in the tavern. Speaking of the tavern, such a location was more of a town hall than the actual town hall; every night when the sun went down, the beers went up as cheers spread like wildfire in the liquefied lodge. Hence as the men turned the corner to the tavern, it could already be seen via the begrimed windows that the party had begun.
After countless hours of jubilation and enjoyment, a somewhat soulless set of seven pounds erupted from the decrepit front door. Silence struck the saloon like a man’s life force leaving his body.
As Reuben approached the door to welcome the resident, a distinct but unexplained hebetude aroma embedded him as he edged closer and closer until he himself collided with the elm entryway. As the door gradually creaked open, the figure that stood before him was no ordinary figure, but an empty man made up of pure nightmare fuel, though it could not be disclosed why. This was due to nothing actually being wrong with the man.
Alike Hyde, this man had nothing truly grotesque about his appearance, but nonetheless a sickening sense of eeriness was eroding from his body. “I do hope I’m not intruding on this fine establishment.” Was the first line he spoke as the townsfolk stared blankly at the man with befuddled expressions on all of their faces. “N…Not at all sir, would you like a d…drink?” Never before had Reuben stuttered in his life, yet it was almost as if this man was plaguing his vocal cords. “That will not be necessary, friend.” The way the man spoke was alike that of nails on a chalkboard, making the listener physically recoil every aching moment.
Not before long, the stranger left without a word, though what was left was a deafening silence and a lack of enthusiasm. As recipients of the tavern began departing for the night, Richard approached Reuben with a rather peculiar look etched upon his face. As he sauntered closer, the strange shifted to satirical as he suddenly bellowed in laughter, claiming the stranger was nothing more than a stranger, and that he was probably just some lost fellow.
As Reuben arrived back at his lodge, he couldn’t help but picture that eldritch expression the stranger wielded. His face would forever loom in Reuben’s nightmares- though nonetheless he drifted into sleep, hoping not to see the ghastly guise.
Rambling across the planes of paradise known as Reuben’s ideology of joy in his dreams, he suddenly felt a warm feeling inside of him. This at first seemed to be a warm feeling of aspiration, though as it prolonged, it started to feel like burning and boiling. One eye after the other he gradually awoke, to see the flames of a thousand suns scorching his solitariness abode.
Fright struck Reuben like a match on stone, a fitting phrase as it closely resembled his current predicament. Bursting out the nearest window in an evident flight or flight situation, he fell to the desiccated soil in a heap of shards of glass and agony. Looking around, it became apparent that pandemonium had struck the quivering Bourg with such force that fear became physically visible; not just a hidden sense depicting imminent distress.
From forging blades to sweltering foundations, the inferno incinerated the blacksmith, leaving only the screams of torment and pleas for aid. Reuben watched as the autumnal armada shared its bane with his neighbouring chalet. The house belonged to someone whom Reuben had known for longer than he’d known himself.
Bursting through the door and past the combustion, Reuben ran to corner where his friend laid rest in a fiery grave. It was too late. Richard was no longer accompanying Reuben in the mortal realm.
There was going to be hell to pay.
In an overwhelming fit of rage, Reuben shattered the back door and bellowed louder than a thunderclap lacerating the heavens above. From the corner of his cornea, he saw the man. The man responsible for the bangarang. The man who quite frankly had a debt to pay. The man who showed no remorse, but merely an anaemic smirk sheltered beneath his misshapen mess of a face.
The figure stood as still as a glass lake on a windless day. Reuben trudged towards him with infinite rage yet finite ferocity. Without a word dispersed between the pair, warfare broke out between the arsonist and the betrayed. Fists met faces as anger flowed through veins. The battle was an unmatched one, with Hyde in physical favour, yet Reuben had something that the man did not. Reuben had something worth fighting for. Reuben had dignity.
The beautifully grotesque character fell to the dirt and shook both the remaining townsfolk and the hindmost houses. Reuben too fell the floor, though not in defeat but in exhaustion of success.
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I totally love the story
I’m glad you enjoyed it! (:
Wow, I love your story James. It has such vivid descriptions and world building.
Thank you so much for the appreciation!
This story is awesome! The first paragraph (especially the last line of it) pulled me in right away, and I love the friendship between Reuben and Richard. It makes sense that Reuben would want vengeance for Richard's death. A lot happened very quickly, but that's how it is in real life...so why not make the story realistic? :) And other comments have mentioned this already, but the world-building is beautiful. Two small critiques: "'I do hope I’m not intruding on this fine establishment.' Was the first line he spoke as the townsfolk st...
Thank you do much for the feedback, it really brightens my day!
No problem! Happy writing!
Great story line and use of vocabulary! I could clearly imagine the melted, distorted faces as well as the sweaty, hot environment.
Thank you so much for the words of appraisal!
I love this story, beautiful descriptions!
Thank you so much for the kind words!
I love that story! Well done.
Thank you so much!