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Adventure Thriller Suspense

The divide between the shadows of the night and the dazzle of daylight becomes truly apparent at the dawn of dark. ‘The dawn of dark’, some may call it sunset yet those of society who choose to live at such a time decide it’s true purpose. That of which being the time when words turn to whispers and abysmal horrors unfold.

Duncan’s dreary head laid rest upon the begrimed bench, overlooking cliffs that competed with skyscrapers. As he calmly stared forward he couldn’t help but acknowledge the flames of a thousand infernos staring back at him. With agonising fury, the impeding star of the sky declined upon the horizon with an autumnal blaze. His head hung low as he knew what followed.

Without a moment to think he leapt from the elm and dove forth over the colossal overhang, avoiding the incoming bane of civilisation.

To the naked caveman eyeball, this may seem like a peculiar and rather unexplained occurrence yet to Duncan this was his natural way of living. For 3 years now he had lived in a Schrödinger’s cat methodology of life. Both dead and alive simultaneously. This was due to him being dead in the eyes of the law and alive in the contorted vision of darkness. 3 years. 3 years Duncan had survived such a lifestyle and it had become imperative to him that he must pursue it. For if he neglected it for more than a moment, he would no longer be both alive and dead, only 6 feet under…

As Duncan soared down the descending gale of despair, he positioned himself accurately and dove forth into an inconspicuous lake of cerulean. He stood up, brushed himself off, took a breath and looked up at the quite frankly unwelcome sight of people.

Evidently his tricks were finally matched as his last concealed environment had been discovered. A smirk slid upon his face as he turned and initiated his flight response. As he ran with the speed of a caffeine induced cheetah he briefly turned back to see the odd sight of no one on his trail. But how could this be? He had been in this exact situation more times than he could count and every time he had a constant barrage of humanity accompanying him. Duncan knew something was out of the ordinary right until the point where a steel blade flew into his abdomen.

A bellow of pain arose from his vocal cords, shunning the tenfold culprits and animals alike. Fighting back for the sake of his sustenance, he ripped the blade from his belly and struck it straight back into the user, tearing through swarms of cells and scattering carmine from every visible orifice.

With little to no hesitation, Duncan once again attempted his escapade as agony engulfed his senses and rendered him redundant as he fell to the ground in a state of denial.

After his unwelcome elongated slumber he awoke to the distressing cry of parakeets, screeching through his ear canals and shattering his adoration for winged creatures. He had not a moment to waste however, leaping up and out of the desolate environment and into the oncoming ocean of cedar.

He sauntered onwards, encroaching upon the even more darkened canopy of tenebrosity, though this time it was not self-inflicted, but merely Mother Nature’s depiction of torture. If there was one thing Duncan could count on, it was his sight, though in this land even that had stabbed him in his back. Nonetheless, he walked and walked until his legs dragged like anvils and his back broke like a biscuit.

Unfortunately in an inconveniently expected turn of events, his past had once again caught up with him. The repetitive armada of agony and enemies had arrived for his head once again and this time his manoeuvres of escape appeared limited.

“You knew this day would come Duncan, the day when your crimes catch up with you!” this particular message arrived via the mouth of his own brother, a man that Duncan had no respect for, the same man that had lacerated his stomach with steel not long ago. “The day my schemes end will be the day the world does the same you naïve brute,” with that comment an arrow sliced past his cerebrum and stifled the swaying of the leaves in the gushing wind. 

As to why his enemies were manipulating sycamore sticks instead of lead slugs he knew not, though one thing he did know was that he was an unwelcome visitor in this battle of wits. Pulling a pistol from his pants he unloaded an armada of bullets upon his foes, yet they repelled back at him as shields stood valiant in their arms.

With a mix of admiration and fury, he ran forth into the crowd, no longer ‘guns a-blazing’ but ‘swords a-swaying’. After a presumed eternity of slashing and stabbing, he fell to his knees with an army’s worth of blood upon his cloak. A cloak that had been passed down for generations, not by family but by victory in battle for it had been stolen a dozen times, until finally resting atop Duncan’s breastplate.

He arose from the ground, peering around at the battalion of no longer breathing men and women alike, before marching onwards in his journey of solitariness.

He knew not what to do nor where to go, though one thing was certain in his contorted mind, secrecy was now a necessity. He sauntered northbound in the hopes of some abandoned shelter for him to rest his dreary head upon once again. Sadly all that appeared was the continuous swarms of cedar and more cedar, now becoming his most hated tree. 

However not all was lost, for in some twisted plot he stumbled upon a familiar yet unknown beech bench laid rest upon an overhanging cliff edge. He sat down on the splintering seating and rested. As he looked up, he saw the sun appearing on the horizon, marking the dawning of day and the cycle of a journey. Finally feeling at peace with the world, a sudden solemn streak of sycamore struck through his skull in a cruel act of irony as his now truly lifeless soul fell down over the edge, his cloak flailing in the zephyr. 

June 22, 2021 10:11

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10 comments

Alex Sultan
17:25 Jul 11, 2021

Interesting story & take on the prompt. I think your writing style has great potential - a good sense of urgency to it. Endless Embers is a great name for a story too.

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James Holgate
19:35 Jul 11, 2021

Thank you so much for the words of appraisal!

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Clinton Siegle
23:01 Jul 09, 2021

Wonderful. Please share here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1346217065712905 and thank you for writing.

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Clinton Siegle
23:01 Jul 09, 2021

Wonderful. Please share here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1346217065712905 and thank you for writing.

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Ruth Smith
20:55 Jul 09, 2021

I guess I am not sure what this story is about exactly. Duncan is running from some organization, that his brother is a part of, and they are trying to kill him. At least three times in one night he is attacked, the last one when he is on the bench he started on in the beginning. Did that summarize it? The story has a fast pace, kind of urgency to it. I like how you write here, giving it a life or death feel it the story.

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James Holgate
22:39 Jul 09, 2021

Thank you so much for the comment!

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Cris Abigail
03:19 Jul 02, 2021

This was amazing! Engaging from beginning to end.

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James Holgate
07:19 Jul 02, 2021

Thank you so much for the appreciation!

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Karen Lethlean
05:55 Jul 01, 2021

Interesting... not sure if this is my cup of tea. I cringed at the violence. Putting my editor's hat on for a moment, I would replace numbers with words, especially if you are talking below ten. I also didn't get, from context clues, the meaning of tenebrosity? even now spell check wants to change it generosity?? So it can't be just me.

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James Holgate
07:18 Jul 01, 2021

Thank you so much for the feedback!

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