“Voices From the Marsh ” 2015 #2


The spine-tingling cry pierced a hole in her sanity, and she knew she wouldn’t survive the night. “What could make such a bloodcurdling sound, with such defining pitch, and sonancy?” She asked herself.

From the ancient, hollowed oak tree, she had ducked in to hide, Samantha Hellman, dared not move a muscle. Lying there on the cold, damp, ground inside the tree’s opening, Samantha, a skilled scuba diver, and long distance swimmer, nearly lost consciousness before letting her lungs purge her near – hyperventilation causing breath.

The night was still, with a harvest moon hovering eerily over-head. Not only could Samantha hear every beat her heart pumped, but, was sure anything that could make the kind of sounds she was hearing, most likely heard it beating as well. “Can probably even hear my eye lids close” she thought, trying her best not to blink.

“In my 27 years on this earth,” Samantha silently reasoned, “I’ve never heard anything like whatever that is out there tonight—not just the screeching, I remember that sound well, but there’s something else out there.” 

Starting as a low moaning, monotonous hum, and instantly rising to a nerve jerking shriek, the creature seemed to have more than one voice deep inside. “Maybe it’s possessed, or filled with more than one spirit,” she thought, as the roar seemed to take on two uniquely resonant locations of origin.

The moan turned shrill. As sharp, and cutting as a scythe. And yet, somehow, simultaneously, she heard a strange comforting low tone resonating as if from somewhere on another side of the universe. “Only it’s much closer”, she thought.  Pulsating the very ground she was lying on. But unlike the bloodthirsty, bone chilling screams, —the deeper roar emitted comfort, and solace.  like a bell ringing to guide her out of a dark foggy night. Deafening, shattering, excruciatingly ominous—and—yet—in perfect harmony. Culminating somewhere in the middle. Deep, vibrato, bellowing beneath the shrillness of an atrocious scream. It sounded like a war of love between two different creatures, howling, cooing, screeching, in agony. “Blissful Agony?” she thought.

Samantha felt—it must all be coming from one voice—one entity… Some entity, or—some—thing? “I’ve heard it before—I think, I must have, but where,— and when?”

Listening intently, again holding her breath, as the early morning  sun stabbed a blinding beam in through the opening of the tree she’d spent the night fearing for her life in, Samantha felt more at peace. It wasn’t just because the night had ended and turned to-day, she thought. “There’s something else.” Something she couldn’t explain.

“The perfect conflict”  Samantha said, almost aloud, beginning to feel she could no longer keep quiet. It was as if something was growing inside of her emotionally… Something screaming to get out. Something that made her feel safe.

“A melodic Arpeggio!” she almost sang, as the ground beneath her began to tremble and shake. She’d barely noticed the trimmers till the shrieks and moans took on accompaniment of thunderous footsteps of Behemoth proportions.

Now. She couldn’t contain herself, even as the sound of the steps reverberated through the tree that was her only protection. Though sounding as if some gigantic monster was stomping just outside her oak tree fortress, Samantha was completely oblivious. Comfortably numb—totally—serene…

But, not quiet.

“A cacophonous crescendo of beauty and noise!” She shouted.

At that precise moment, Samantha realized she’d been wrong to think the sounds she’d heard the creature making earlier were the worst sounds she could ever imagine…

At that precise moment Samantha undeniably heard the worst sound her 27-year-old memory would readily divulge.

At that precise moment she knew fear like she had never known before. From the sound.

The deafening sound.

of silence.

Suddenly something ran by the opening of the tree. It ran so fast Samantha couldn’t even begin to recognize what it was. But she heard its shrill scream, and snarling growl, and knew deep down that whatever it was, it wasn’t good. And then there were more of them, and more…and suddenly one grabbed for her inside the crevice, and the ground shook even more.

But, just as the soothing roar bellowed an almost deafening decibel, Samantha felt the ground move beneath her. It made her feel dizzy. She began to feel the wind rushing in, and suddenly realized that the refuge she’d mistaken for a hollowed out tree — was suddenly taking flight.

 

“EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!” a boy shouted.

A group of towns people had gathered on the street in front of the old newspaper office, back on main street, listening as one man read the latest paper hot off the press.

“A local woman went missing last evening around 8 o’clock, according to witnesses. “I saw her trailing off into the woods off main street, said one witness, after hearing strange noises from the saw mill road area.” The witness, who chooses to remain anonymous at this time, said that he also, and several other citizens heard the noises, and could only describe the sound as: “Nothing I’ve ever heard before. It was a shrill scream, and a very loud roaring sound. Quite frightening it was.” The witness said. The young lady, a Miss Samantha J. Hellman had made earlier claims of being lured into the woods following strange noises. In her earlier reports, according to her friends and family, Miss Hellman, said she came face to face with some atrociously monstrous looking creatures that made advances to try to capture her. According to the reports, Miss Hellman, managed to escape the creatures by running away, just as she heard another deeper, rumbling kind of sound, from where she could not say. Miss Hellman claimed that as she ran away, she turned briefly only to see the creatures running away from her direction, while staring in apparent shock, and awe, at something up in the sky. When asked who, or what she thought the creatures she had seen might have been, Miss Hellman promptly answered: “They were the Marsh People.”

The Marsh people, according to local legend, were the ancient predecessors of the Island. A band of giants. And as legend has it, accursed for killing all the dragons on the island hundreds of years before. Many of the town folk believed they had passed that curse on to the new settlers of the island, and that they too were accursed. Through the years dozens of people had gone missing from the island after being led into the woods following strange sounds. The few who had survived with any soundness of mind at all, told the same terrifying, death-defying tale of being attacked—by a group of atrocious giant beings, called—The Marsh People.

LOOK! The newspaper boy shouted, pointing up into the sky. As everyone’s attention veered, squinting into the air trying to shade off the glare of the morning sun, with their newspapers, hats, and hands, a scene of uproar, and confusion ensued. Women screamed, men shouted,  cries of “What is that thing?” were heard from among the entire Main street vicinity, and mayhem.

People ran under awnings, and into doorways of all the shops lining the street seeking cover. The paper boy shouted. “It’s  a  Dragon!” just as the creature came swooping down, landing in the middle of the street, and politely stretching out one wing to reveal Samantha Hellman, sitting pretty, perched on the left forearm safely behind one of the dragons talons, smiling like a Cheshire cat.

Samantha Calmly stepped off the Dragon’s leg, as everyone stared in amazement, and slowly poked their heads out from their hiding places to try to see what was going to happen next.

“It’s okay everyone!,” Samantha beamed, “The dragon has slain the Marsh people.”

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14 Comments

  1. Wow, what a roller-coaster ride! It’s such a joy to know the sentence inspired such a thrilling tale. I loved the way you described the sounds – I was on the edge of my seat crying ‘what is it? what’s making that sound!’ The dragon’s appearance was the perfect ending – gotta love those dragons ;-)

    Like

    • When I found your contest- I was compelled by your starter sentence, so I started from there before I realized it was to be in the “Fantasy” genre-so, sad to admit…but Dragons are the only Fantasy I know I suppose. Not to mention, I’m a guy and the old adage apparently holds true about us guys-only reading the instructions after we finish the job with spare parts left over. Even after realizing it was to be a “fantasy” I wrote almost a 3000 word story before going back to your site to find… there was a 2000 word limit. So, I actually have TWO stories to work on later now.
      Thanks for your interest in the bloggerhood.
      thanks for the visit.
      paul

      Liked by 1 person

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