Dreams of a Warrior
By: Kane Williams
I looked up through the far branches into the air. I watched as the star-clad wolves of the night chased the sun from the sky. The sun falling over the horizon being eaten by the creatures, bleeding its sweet colors of purples and reds. There was no way to stop this battle, night was creeping slowly into the sky leaving the world covered in darkness. Pulling the cozy blanket of day off of the creatures nestled below the heavens. I got lost in the beauty of the slaughter of day and was only pulled back by the crackle of the tiny fire burning nearby. Soon this would be the only light besides the giant, white eye that followed the sun in its never ending pursuit.
I thought about what had happened at the birth of this day. How I wish I could say that I fought a beast, rescued a village, or liberated a nation. But I didn’t. This day passed on from birth to death in such a dull moment that I cried. I’m a tough man, but nothing gets to me like the thought of being without use. Ever since the day I left. In my defense, however, I wouldn’t be any more useful lying in the ashes of my home. Crying myself to sleep in both emotional and physical pain. Here I am though, crying myself to sleep again. Dammit. I should be fighting. Why is that the only thing I can think of to do? I’ve been doing it all my life, and so far it’s caused me nothing but trouble. Is it the victory I strive for? Maybe it’s the thrill? Neither of those on their own give me joy. It must be the combination. There’s nothing more graceful than the flow of combat. Each swing orchestrated into a beautiful fluency that fills one with adrenaline. Death, sitting on the edge of his seat, waiting to reach out his hand and steal another life from the battling humans that can never agree on any matter. We are all so different, but sometimes I swear we do it solely for the purpose for the fight to be.
I dried my tears as I laid back into the chilling embrace of the cold autumn ground. The dead leaves rustled as a sudden gust of air blew through the woods. I closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them I was taken by surprise as I heard the dried leaves now being crushed under the force of some creature hurrying into the woods. I rolled onto my chest and got up nearly falling with sleepiness. My tired eyes were wrenched open by the sight of a black beast tearing off the path I was camped by the side of. I fumbled with my footing at first, but I grabbed my blade which hasn't drawn blood since the day I left. I grabbed the rest of my supplies which consisted of some dried meat, furs, a bow and a few arrows, and a torch which I lit on my fire. Then I was off.
I found myself questioning this decision to run off into the woods without thinking. Why couldn't I just stay and mind my own business? I suppose the answer to that has something to do with boredom. I have felt so useless lately, that the thought of chasing something, that could just be a figment of my imagination, has filled me with actual physical comfort. The feeling of my feet hitting the ground in long strides made me quiver. I was so happy that I forgot which direction I was heading and before I knew it, I was falling.
I hit the ground and my torch followed with shots of sparks as it hit the hard surface. I was dazed and injured. I no longer had a smile on my face, especially not after my first clear view of the creature. It came out of the trees staring deep into my eyes. All I could see of it was its bright white eyes and teeth. My gods, its teeth gleamed with such pure absence color that I felt my heart sink deep in my chest. I flailed my hands out reaching for my sword in the darkness. I finally grabbed it and prepared myself for the beast, but its white features disappeared so quickly that I only saw a flash of white tear off to my right-side. I starred out in the direction I thought I saw the beast go to.
I saw light burning from the corner of my eye and turned so quickly I tripped over my own feet. The torch had set the dried leaves ablaze and the fire spread in all ways. Soon the ancient trees would burn brighter than the sun and hotter than molten steel.
I reached down and grabbed my bow. I was completely surrounded by burning trees. Then I saw the fiendish eyes peer through the wall of fire and I took the shot. I heard a muffled grunt over the sound of crackling wood. I drew back another arrow looking around once again. Then, out of the hellish inferno jumped a beast blacker than the depths of a tyrant's souls. The large, evil, wolf-like creature dove at me. I shot and it turned in pain mid-air. Its heavy, limp body slammed into me knocking me back by a pile of trees fallen to smoldering embers. Without thinking of my hand I reached into the pile and grabbed a flaming limb. I swung it just in time to meet the beast's face. I then dropped the stick in pain and attempted the run to my sword. Halfway there the monster caught hold of my leg and whipped my body to the side nonchalantly. I rolled multiple times before I regained my footing.
I looked at the beast. It was still smirking its sly grin. It gave a laugh unlike any other beast or man I've ever met. It lunged and I swung, it went low and my blade went high. It went right back at the same leg and I toppled over it landing on my side. It jumped up digging its teeth into my shoulder. I thrust into its belly causing the bite to go deeper, then loosen.
I pulled its head away. I looked at its still gleaming teeth that were now covered in crimson syrup. It still had that damned smile on its face. Luckily its glowing features were no more than a contrasted silhouette in the dark forest oulined with fire. I slid it to the side and gazed up through the blazing treetops.
Why couldn't everyday be like this one? Laying on the ground with wounds in my flesh and victory in my heart. I closed my eyes only for a moment.
Then I woke up...