Nestled between the banks of the river that ran from the top of the Shefgough mountain, the crystal clear water filled with multicolored leaves that slowly ran under the fallen branches that laid on the banks. The swiftly running water slipped round the rocks sticking out of the river making a crooked walkway to the dying meadow. As the water runs south, the sun sets in the west, just over the deep, mystical grove that sat on the left side of the river was a village. The leaves of the trees above the dark grove were already in full color, the trees made the water look as though it was a crimson rainbow wrapped in old rustic coppers, with a hint of green. The air of the early evening was slowly turning into a suffocating cold, the village knew that by night fall, the darkness would emerge. The village was preparing for night fall. The triplets gathered water from the river,  Mr. and Mrs. Johnson finished boarding up the last window of the market, while Miss Mary finished gathering the children into the market, and Mrs. Emma helped the village settle onto the hand made benches, lined with small hand carved animals.  As the others paid mind to what was going on and to the dangers of the night to come, little Liko was standing at the edge of the grove. The edges of the grove were starting to turn black, the air was starting to fill with the cold, and every single animal had gone quiet. Little Liko heard no crickets, nor did she hear even the faintest foot step of her lost kitten. Little Liko knew the story and the reasons not to venture past the small line of rocks that separates the village from the grove. She knew them all to well. Her father had been telling her the story for as long as she could remember, her mother always thought that little Liko was too young to understand. Father would always say “You are never too young to hear the truth.” Little Liko took one small quiet step over the rock line. Little Liko thought that if she was quiet quiet enough she could find her kitten and not be found by the darkness that hid in the forest. Her breathing quickened as she continued to slowly make her way into the grove. A dark presence was starting to make its way towards little Liko. As she moved deeper, the darkness stretched out a smooth long arm, and on the tips of its hands were claws dripping in a thick dark substance. “Liko! What are you doing?!” Little Liko spun around. The panic on her mother's face was something that she would never forget. Mothers face seemed to age ten years, her light grey eyes shined, and from them started a fast trickle of tears. Why was she so upset? I crossed the line and nothing happened, thought little Liko. Running back to her mother, the hope for finding her kitten before night fall lingered, but she was the only one who knew the secret to the grove, quiet is the key. Mother grabbed her daughter and collapsed to the cold hard ground once they were behind the rock line. Mother shook with fear as she held little Liko tight against her chest. “Don’t ever cross that line again!” Mother said with a quiver in her voice, although it was hard to tell because of her thick accent, or simply because mother’s voice was tremulous. Sometimes it was so thick little Liko could not tell if mother was mad at her or happy. Mother stood and dragged little Liko toward the market. The sun had finally set and the air started to suffocate the life of everything it touched. 

“Ladies, gentlemen, and children. The time of Venzor has begun. We have all heard everyone’s own versions of the story, so we all know that we will be safe in the market for the next twenty four dark hours.” Mr. Johnson was the man that had quite the unbelievable talent for being able to calm the members of the village, with his ringing voice. Though living next to the grove on the night of Venzor, no member cared less if Mr. Johnson had three eyes. “Tonight we will start off Venzor with a story.” Mr. Johnson stood in front of the room, then walked around the room to the left, for he wanted to keep his scratched face away from the others until the truth gets out. The villagers sat with their families, each family prepared meals to last them through Venzor. The market was just big enough to fit the village, and was the first building to stand in this valley. When the first Johnson family settled down they built this market to protect themselves and the villagers from the grove. Mother, father, and little Liko were in the back of the market next to the locked door. Father did not want word of what little Liko had done just before nightfall to spread, for it could bring danger to the village. Mother could care less about everyone else, she was just relieved that little Liko was safe. “Let’s begin this night.” Mr. Johnson drew the village back to him as he placed a tall stool in the middle of the room. He sat with his hat touching the low candles that were scattered across the ceiling. His body facing father, mother, and little Liko, for Mr. Johnson knew everything about the village and the people that lived their. “Venzor was once known as a man. Many, many years ago he set out into the grove to destroy the darkness that comes out every five years. Venzor told his brother to stay back and make sure that nothing crosses the rock line, even Venzor. So Venzor set out that night into the groove. No one knows what had happened to him but the only thing that we know for sure is that after he left, horrible sounds came from the grove. It was not more than three hours into the twenty four hour night fall. Venzor’s brother knew that something had happened, because when his brother came to the edge of the grove, it was not just Venzor. He was surrounded by a dark hovering thing. Venzor moved forward but it was not at his own free will. Quickly Venzor’s brother thought fast and took the enchanted rocks out of his satchel and threw them at the dark thing. The enchanted rocks formed a line. Venzor took a step forward but was thrown back, for the rock line kept it back. So, the village is forever protected from the dark thing that took brave Venzor from us.” He lifted the candle that was resting in his left hand to his face to show his battle scars as he tells his wife. “I got this because I was  very unlikely to concede the truth, I was little and wanted to see if the truth was real. So I crossed that rock line. And I was attacked by something that was not from this world. I can’t tell you how I lived but I can tell you first hand that you should never cross that line.” He took a sharp ragged breath and said. “No matter what you have to pay.” Mr. Johnson was just telling half of the story. What his wife did not want everyone to know was the real reason for crossing the line was to save a small crying newborn. It had been three hours of storytelling, and the village was falling asleep. Everyone knew the story, they also knew that they would be safe as long as the rock wall was kept in place. The candles were blown out, blankets lined the floor, every child curled up with their parents. 

Little Liko waited for mother, father, and the village to fall asleep before she snuck out under the table that sat under the window where her parents slept. If you opened the doors and pulled up the rug you could crawl out from the market. Little Liko headed to the grove with her mothers coat wrapped around her body. Step by step she made her way farther into the grove. The cold air made it hard to breath but little Liko kept quiet, kept her breathing steady and softly calling for her lost kitten. The grove was in full darkness, the only way to see was by squinting and placing your hand in front of you to feel your way. About four clicks away the darkness heard little Liko’s call to her lost kitten. The darkness knew just where to find Little Liko’s kitten, for she was on the right path and if the darkness left right this second, little Liko and the darkness would meet. A small meow cut threw the suffocating air, little Liko heard her kitten, she was just behind the tree in front of her. Little Liko was so full of anxiety that once she grabbed the kitten she would run back, and did not care about making a single noise. For even brave little Liko was terrified. The darkness jumped right in front of little Liko making her scream bloody murder. Although little Liko had never seen the statue of Venzor, for it was in the dying meadow, but little Liko knew who was standing right in front of her. Little Liko’s body was in full tremors as tears ran down her face, she could no longer feel the cold. She turned to run but the darkness was still in front of her and in its hands was her lost kitten. “Please do not-t hurt me.” Little Liko cried as terror took over her florid features behind a wobbly voice. “I am- I am so - so sorry.” The darkness bent down and blew the  hair out of little Liko’s face and said toneless, “Why are you crying my daughter? I am not here to hurt you.” Little Liko’s expression hardened as the darkness studied little Likos features, she did not match all of Venzors features only some such as his light complected skin. Her bright white hair was tied back, she had beautiful mahogany eyes that sparked against the blood red moon behind the darkness. Venzor’s eyes burned, nostrils flaring, his mouth twisting against his mottled face, with something that was not a thing that this world could, nor should ever handle, and who was to blame him? For little Liko was much bigger than when he had last held her, but to be fair she was just a newborn then...

November 22, 2019 03:44

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