A Little Blog In The Middle of Nowhere

Written in response to: Write a story where hard work doesn’t pay off.... view prompt


Fantasy Thriller Sad

This story contains sensitive content

Content warnings: Break in, assault, gruesome murder.

The artist stepped outside into his garden. Well, more like his plot of the connectree woods, but to him, it was a garden. The radio sitting on the rail of his wooden porch crackled away with the usual warnings about perverted netizens, shouting the rumors like this was the first time any of these stories were heard of. The artist wasn’t fazed by these reports, but he still fumbled with the leather handle of his mace. That only lasted for a split second, as the sweet happiness upon seeing his connectrees forced that into the back of his mind. Now was the time to gaze upon his Eden of a portfolio.

The artist set foot upon the rock path and his many more animated creations leapt out of the bushes, the boulders, and even the ponds. Creatures shaped like deer clamored around the artist. 

The artist was getting smothered by velvety fur and barking. “Hey. Hey! Cut that out, I don’t have treats yet.” The artist giggled and started tousling the manes of some of his bigger creations. 

The deer started to back up and sniff the ground, allowing the artist to see the plant spirits coming out of the scenery. Many of these creatures phased out of their connectree homes, showing their flower faces or their leafy bangs. The artist beamed and waltzed onward, with his emerald green robe fluttering in the breeze. The flower spirits splashed water at one another and tended to the bushes, the tree spirits stood like sentinels over the small patches of groundcovers, and the deer hopped and grazed on the grass.

The artist passed a patch of hostas sheltered under a thin grove of trees and followed the stone path around it. He could see the little red house at the edge of its clearing. The laughter of his many creations grew distant and the sun of this realm grew warmer. 

It was Sunday. The artist reminded himself, She loved to spend her Sundays in this tea house.

The user hummed to himself as he knocked on the white door. Someone opened the door.

Her face looked like a hibiscus, but with fat, overlapping petals. Her round eyes and black spot covering her nose and mouth made her look like a cute Siamese cat. 

The artist smiled. “Good morning, Leoni. May I come in?”

Leoni trilled and stepped back into the house. The artist walked into a salmon pink room. He sat at the table at the center and waited as Leoni stooped over and reached her mini fridge to pull out two cans of soda. While Leoni herself sat down and adjusted the ring of faded leaves around her shoulders, the artist who made her and everything else in this small forest watched the sunlight pouring through one of the windows, enjoying the warm smell of lemons.

The artist put his cold soda down. Wait. None of my neighbors grow citrus trees around here.

The artist burst through the door. The hills across the clearing blocked the view of his house and topped with thin connectrees. The deer were barking, but everything else was the same. 

Then a ghostly face the size of a person appeared over the little hills. Once the face stretched a grin, white horses jumped out of the surrounding woods and trampled on the garden’s inhabitants. The artist looked around in a frenzy and ran towards the huge face, swinging his heavy mace. He heard hooves thudding behind him and ran harder. 

He heard snarling. The face! The face! I need to debilitate the leader! I don’t care if my legs feel like wood.

The face scrunched itself up smugly and sprung from its spot, propelled by its shadowy body. The artist was sandwiched between two ravenous animals, crushed into unconsciousness.

A squeaking racket greeted the artist when he regained consciousness. He looked up at the source of the sound, and it was the face, with mouth agape and armed with teeth. The artist’s eyes followed the spot of color below and realized Leoni was pinned down by the coils of the computer worm.

The artist grasped at air. Not only was he also pinned to the ground, his mace was nowhere to be found. No hands were around his neck but he choked.

Leoni lifted her head and started shrieking.

The computer worm’s black eyes shifted and giggled again. “Oh, is this one yours?”

The artist squirmed more. “Let that one go!”

The worm raised one of her eyebrows. “Why should I? I worked hard all day for this.”

The artist strained to turn his head. He could barely see the white centaurs wrestling his other creatures. Leoni’s yelping prompted him to face forward and his heart jumped to his mouth. The worm now lifted Leoni in one of her coils. Leoni clawed at her captor’s clutch.

The worm chuckled, “She feels so firm. There must be quite a bit of data, maybe even a huge chunk of innocence somewhere…”

The artist struggled again, now with the radio’s static fizzing into memory. “No! Please!”

The worm threw Leoni on the ground and started smothering her. 

The artist screamed. He tried to throw the huge centaur off his back. All the other creatures wailed. The centaur holding the artist down dropped on him and strangled him. The artist fell silent.

The man woke up lying on coarse burlap. A rectangle of light poured in from his right, further blocked by something lumpy clinging to the doorway.

The thing turned around and with a hoarse voice, it said, “Oh man. I think they’re gone now. If I didn’t break through the bushes in time, that worm would have eviscerated ya.”

The man’s head throbbed. “Saul? Where am I?”

Saul tilted his head. “You’re in my shed. That worm and her marauders left all the other groves untouched. Everybody’s saying they felt tremors, but yer the unlucky winner.”

The man felt strange chills running through his arms. “What did I lose?”

Saul frowned. 

Saul simply led the man through the thicket that separated Saul’s place from the man’s. Here, the plants have lost their color. The trees were dusty rose, the bushes were dull yellow, and the grass was just brown. There were green leaves of all types scattered across the ground, all torn off from their owners. The same could be said for the random pieces of fluff here and there.

The man stumbled forward a few more steps and stopped, staring at the torn leaves. He could still hear the worm’s cackling echoing in his head. He started walking again, now seeing something bright red sticking out of the groundcovers on the little hills. The man fell to his knees and yanked the dry stems off. 

The red petals curled around Leoni’s face. The man could still see her mouth, wrenched open in a permanent scream. Not only was she dead, but she was decapitated too.

The man’s lungs strained against his ribs. He dashed from one side of the hill to the other. When he caught the smell of wood ash, he turned to the top of the hill, shaking. The groundcover topping this hill was thick enough to reach one’s knees. The man crept up the hill, his eyes darted towards anything that looked suspicious. His foot stopped short of the teal hand. The ash smelled the strongest here, with the scent burning the man’s nose. 

The man knelt down and Saul walked up to where he was and had a stick in hand. Both of them moved the foliage aside to find a mess of green and yellow framed with crooked limbs. The man and Saul stopped and slowly looked at one another. 

The homeowner could only think of screaming.

Then came the thumping of hooves. The man slowly turned and saw his neighbors on their livestock. The man bolted down the hill. “All my work’s been destroyed! A worm and her friends grabbed my creations and forced me to watch as they tore them to pieces!”

Saul shouted to the other artists, “Look around ya! Can the constables deny the death of an entire grove?”

The farmer leading the cohort rode a purple boar the size of a horse, and he lifted his reins, directing the boar to several twisted leaves on the ground. 

Saul passed the quivering man and pointed at the farmer. “Well, Nico? Try explaining THIS away.”

Nico’s boar threw back its head and snorted. The boar trotted towards the man, and its rider dismounted. It was a little odd for the man to see Nico in his rich purple robe kneel down to his view. “I know. It’s a bone-numbing shock to suffer a raid. Artwork is not that easy to replace.”

The man’s eyes shifted to Nico’s face.

Nico pursed his lips for a moment. “But you gotta understand something. Everyone faces off with farm pests eventually. I don’t want you to blame them for this, as they’re only following their desires. Heck, I’m surprised you weren’t attacked any sooner.”

The man felt everything inside him drain away. “...What?”

The girl in her tan hat ran over to Nico. “Doncha’ get it? There ain’t much you can do about deviants snatching your animals. They ‘ave as much a right to come by here as we do. That’s the beauty of it.” 

The man lifted his hands into view. They were shaking. There must be a way to reason with them. “No... No, this is theft! Theft is against the law here!”

Nico closed his eyes. “A law that is not even worth the time to enforce anymore.”

The man searched the grass with his eyes. Not even claiming robbery worked here.

Nico got up and shook the grass off his robe. “It happens to everyone. Just get used to it.”

The man heard heavy boots shifting on the dry grass. He didn’t bother looking as he knew it was Saul. Saul’s voice was low. “Mother. Of. God.”

March 10, 2022 19:32

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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