The Dance of Corpses

Submitted into Contest #117 in response to: Set your story at the boundary between two realms.... view prompt


Fiction Fantasy Suspense

She sang, and he drank it up greedily. Never before had he felt so… complete. The feeling scared the life out of him. What if he lost it? It would be like losing an arm or a leg. Like never being able to walk again. A chill ran down his back, and he shook his arms a little as if to check that they were still there.

The hum of the city grew more and more distant as the forest swallowed him. The images of the people who needed him swam in the back of his mind. Their hungry eyes, begging. He forced the pictures away, and let his legs float freely. Almost hovering above the ground, that’s how fast he ran. She would not get away. Her dress was like a lighthouse, dazzling white against the dark forest. Her tail was barely visible below the edge of her dress. The hair on the tip was as red as the bouncy locks that fell down her back. The man continued to chase. Deeper. Further.

The branches around him grew denser and denser, and eventually no light could get through their greedy claws. He could barely see the ground below him, but the song led him forward. Had he ever needed light to see? He laughed at himself. What a pathetic man he had been.

The trunks of the trees he ran past thickened, and the air around him stood still. An aura of something ancient hung over the forest. Had they reached the Forest of the Undead? Had he managed it? Excitement washed through him. He was so close.

Suddenly the forest seemed to grow thinner, and the ground was no longer soft to step on. A whiff of horrible, sweet smell met his nose. It was like running into a wall of rotten meat showered with cheap perfume. He grunted in frustration, afraid of losing sight of her. Still, he peered down, unable to stop himself. As he looked down, his heart skipped a beat.

Around him, lifeless bodies stared up at the sky, frozen in their final position on the forest floor. Larvae meandered where their eyes should have been and the farther he ran, the more the bodies piled up on top of eachother. Suddenly he became painfully aware of his own body. His lungs burned. His feet were like lead weights, unsure if they could even take just one more step. He wanted to scream for help, but no sound escaped his dry mouth. He saw his son in the sunken cheeks of the bodies on the ground. Hungry, empty of life.

What was he doing? He'd almost reached her! The knife he’d brought pounded reassuringly against his thigh.

He would need it soon if the stories were true.

As he continued to run, the lifeless bodies were replaced with piles of white bones. They gave off a dull light, and from a distance, it could've been mistaken as a hill covered in snow. A sickening crunch sounded for every step he took, and it required all the strength he had to not run back where he came from.

As if it felt his doubt, her song increased in intensity, and calmly stopped his spiraling. Once again, warmth spread in his chest.He clung to the feeling - terrified of losing it again. He locked his eyes on her instead, deciding never to look down again. Her hair fluttered as she danced forward, lighter than leaves in the wind. How nice wouldn't it be to drag his fingers through those fiery red locks?

The thought gave him the strength to push forward. He was going to reach her.

Suddenly he was spat out in gaping darkness. Except for a blood-red moon hanging over them, the sky was completely empty. As if someone had cut out holes where all the stars should have been. Around him was the lushest forest he had ever seen, with leaves shining like little stars in the darkness. A shocking contrast to the dry, dead landscape he had come from.

She turned around and walked towards him, her white skirts swirling with every movement. Soft fingers caressed his chin and gently lifted it up. He thought he had known beautiful women. How blind he had been - completely, undeniably blind.

The woman standing in front of him seemed to glow in the dark, a faint red glow from the moon dancing over her skin. She had perfectly chiseled cheekbones, and eyebrows that formed two perfect arches. Her lips almost begged to meet his. He felt himself straighten up. A smile pulled at the corner of her mouth, and something in him burst.


He thanked them all and leaned forward. Her tail stroked his back, encouraging him. Her eyes - how could he describe her eyes? It was like looking into the sky itself, as two dark holes in an otherwise perfect mask.

A voice inside him screamed. He pushed it away and closed his eyes before his mind could reach him. Their lips met, and all the senses in his body caught fire at the same time. Every touch, every stroke of her tail sent tingles through his body. As if they were both charged with incredible amounts of electricity. She kissed him harder, and each new breath became a struggle.

The kiss increased rapidly in intensity and passion. He no longer knew where his body ended and hers began. It was impossible to say how long it took, it could have been minutes, hours or days. He was so lost in the kiss that it did not matter. Her mouth tasted of fresh forest and morning dew. He needed more.

The taste of iron suddenly filled his mouth. Weird.

Something hot ran down his chin. He raised his hand to wipe it away, and barely caught sight of his fingers glistening with red before she dragged him down into the grass. A throbbing pain spread from his mouth. He didn't notice it, could not care. Wasn't sure if it was his mouth once, it seemed so deeply far away. All he could think of was her. Her mouth against his. Her breasts pressed against his chest.

Another, sharper pain suddenly cut through the fog. The knife. When they rolled down into the grass, he had landed on the sharp side of the knife, and it was now pressing against his back. In an instant, everything seemed completely clear.

The city's arid fields. His son's praying gaze.

His hands acted before he could think. In a quick motion, he tilted his hips up, pulled the knife out of its sheath, and drove it into the back of the creature in front of him. The creature gasped. Her mouth formed a perfect "o", before collapsing in front of him. Black, tar-like blood pumped out of the wound and ruined the perfect grass.

He'd done it.

For a moment he just stood there, staring at the now lifeless creature. How could such a small thing cause so much death?

In front of him were lush meadows, and trees that bore fruits he'd never seen before in his entire life. He almost jumped in happiness. Now he just had to get back. Back to… Back to what? What was he going to do again?

He walked along the forest edge. Everything around him looked similar in the red moonlight, and there was no path as far as he could see. He tried hard to figure out what he was going to do, why he had come here. Why had he come here? Once again he looked around, studying his surroundings. Nothing looked familiar.

A picture of a boy appeared in his memory. He reached for it, trying as hard as he could to cling to the memory.

Something brushed the top of his head. It was one of the shining fruits. He had almost walked into the trunk of a Star Fruit Tree. Huh. How come he'd never seen shining fruit before?

What was he thinking again?

October 29, 2021 23:28

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Harken Void
13:57 Nov 04, 2021

Hey there! I liked this story. It reminds me of my own writing style for some reason :) The opening was great - it hooked me immediately. The descriptions were good, nicely detailed. I've noticed two instances where you repeated the same word twice in one sentence; glow - glow, perfect - perfect. That's a bit clunky to read, but nothing too bothersome. I was disappointed at the ending, though. It felt too abrupt; like the story hasn't been concluded yet. Who was that man, what was that woman? What happened to all those people? Is our hero no...


Writers Pond
17:03 Nov 04, 2021

Hey! Thank you for the feedback:) I fully agree with you regarding the ending, I was in a bit of a rush to submit it. I'll continue to work on it! :)


Harken Void
20:28 Nov 04, 2021

Hey, no problem :) Good luck!


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Jon Casper
12:55 Nov 04, 2021

The sensory descriptions when he comes out under the blood moon are amazing. Well done!


Writers Pond
13:34 Nov 04, 2021

Thank you! I've been trying to focus on sensory details lately:)


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