In a body that is failing, a mind wanders two realities. Divided, dying in one and hunted in another. It was never supposed to be this way.
For those not put off by the image, then welcome. Previously Wayland was thrown from the arms of his inamorata by an unseen force. He awoke in a dying body drifting between two plains of concious; the schizoid man.
If, by any chance, you are new here then it might serve plot purposes to begin at the beginning.
Wayland was back. Staring at the ceiling, through eyes that couldn’t blink, and in a body that could hear more than it could when whole. This time he remembered Tara.
The withered daisy, he’d not noticed before, at his feet where moments before it was blooming. Her kiss, the warmth of her body and the smell of her hair. A pit opened in his heart and drained him of everything. His mind screamed, but no sounds escaped his defunct mouth. Even air was still.
You are already dead in that world Boy drifted through his thoughts and he imagined a dragon laughing. Was he dead? He was not breathing and still as stone, locked inside a broken body. So why was he here? Tara had caused him to wake but why? If he was was dead here, The Black might as well have taken him there too.
He could smell incense and, again, there were three heartbeats within the room. The priest and two new ones, with strong muscles driving blood through the veins and arteries within. He could smell it now.
The priest was speaking in a strange tongue. Some old language of his religion, but it was oddly familiar. One of the other two was sobbing.
“So very young. It’s just not fair.”
The priest’s monotone chant ceased and Waylands view of the ceiling withdrew as the blanket he was under was drawn over his head.
“It is done, the pulse has gone and the heart is still. Wayland Ferrars has left this world for the next.”
No priest I am still here.
Waylands mind was racing. The Dragon said this to be true. But he was still here, locked in his head. Except his own heart was not beating along with those grieving near him. Who they were remained a mystery. Voices he recognised, but could not name.
Frustration boiled inside his conscious. This became fear, as he realised his body was no longer living, and panic as thoughts of the end settled home. He still sensed the others in the room. The smells and sounds, so very intense; curiously those bits still worked. He could hear the drone of blood pumps constant and demanding attention, drawing him in hypnotically.
The smell of sweat and death filled him from the cloth over his face. Rich in menthol and embedded in incense and perfumes of fever. Inside he screamed to no-one, the pressure of his own turmoil bearing down and crushing his spirit. If he could close his eyes and lose the world, then now would be the time. Instead he could feel another place calling him back and into it his conscience it stepped.
Wind drove through his unkempt hair, sending it whirling in all directions. The sky was angry and clouds fled left to right. Rain fell in a constant thrum, following the wind, and soon his clothes were clinging to skin; chilling it to the bone. The ground showed signs of persistent downpour with puddles forming amidst the mud and battle relics.
He was on what was the road of a village that had been burnt out. Behind him, a mountain range lay in the distance.
Home of The Black he thought.
In front, and again in the distance, a forest barrier stretched east and west, as far as the eye could see. It looked dense, and not the sort of place to wander alone and unarmed. Something made him shiver inside; like a foot treading upon his grave.
Turning away he looked at the first house in front. The roof was down along with the right side wall. The remainder was scorched. Black, with charcoal and ash all that remained of the woodwork. Vegetation had tried to invade, but looked withered and poisoned. His eyes told him this was true of the entire landscape all the way from forest to range. Dark skies pouring poison onto a dead landscape.
Why he was here he knew not. But always it involved the dragon and that rested high in the mountain above another village, equally petrified and devoid of life. Facing away from the forest, the track split. Left, towards the other hamlet, and right towards a place long in the distance where crows circled above the unknown. Something told him this was the place he should go. Not wishing to find The Black he chose to agree.
The walk was long. Hampered by black mud and, in some places, swathes of sun bleached bones of long dead warriors. Wayland’s mind became numbed by the sheer scale. In front, and strewn over fields left and right, the remains of horses and men by the thousand. Rotted out, scorched, or picked clean by crows. It seemed to be a massacre, and yet ever on they stretched out.
It was two miles before the first giant skeleton lay across the battlefield. Eighty feet, maybe a hundred, in length with a skull that bore teeth like those within the maw of The Black. This was a dragon, and one that had found untimely end amid adversaries clearly bent on their destruction. Wayland walked through the mud to stand below the rib cage. It towered over his head in an arch from the spine that lay half buried in puddles and ash on the ground. The scale made him draw breath and consider them in a different light.
Magnificent in death; could they be in life?
He thought about The Black, and cast an eye on the sea of bones stretching into the distance. The ruined villages and barren landscape.
The creatures had laid waste, as far as the eye could see, right up to the edge of the forrest, way off to the south. This land was as dead as the skeletons that lived there. Even the air tasted of brimstone through the rain; or maybe it was the rain that tasted sulphurous and acidic. Either way between man and beast this part of the world was sterile.
In front, and heading toward the cliff, the large skeletons were more numerous. Wayland thought it odd. It was like they were backing off, defending something on the ground. In the air there would be little infantry and horsemen could do. Perhaps that was why the villages were decimated, and the toll high for men behind and further away. Something had dragged the beasts to the floor, and it was likely this was the objective for the advancing legions.
It seemed lives were expendable. As far as he could tell from here, the advance had been semicircular toward the cliff. With the centre directly in front of him, but still a ways to go. He sighed, blinking off rain that was streaming off his flattened hair and into his eyes. There was something he was forgetting. With his eyes shut, his mind remembered everything. When he opened them again it was dark.
If you reached this ramble, then thank you for reading. Pressure is building on Wayland as confusion about his perception of life drifts between worlds. Imagine existing locked inside a body that fails to recognise you. What becomes your sense of self when dreaming is all that staves of the madness?
Part of this is a reflection on Locked in Syndrome; in particular the end game of motor neurone disease which, sadly, took my mother several years ago. That reality is far more terrifying than anything I can conjure.
© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.
As always you keep me waiting for more. And you certainly touched on a real-life fear with Locked-In Syndrome. How frightening and frustrating it must have been for your mother. I’m so sorry.
Ahh, you hit it on the head. Locked in was my childhood fear…to see my mum enter the world of MND was where the inspiration for this came from. It’s a few years back now and I appreciate your words so much. I never pretend to know what she went through though. I was outside looking in trying to understand what it might feel like… full conscious capacity in a body that had atrophied into nothing. The Madness Within was inspired by that concept. X
Wow powerful stuff Gary! Why aren’t you published yet? 🙂
Confidence tricksters mostly! Silly though and in truth, I’ve not really applied myself properly yet to that path. Must remedy that this year though!!
Thank you for the positive mojo though 🙂
This is so very haunting Gary and so very well written x
I rather think the last part is where people find trouble in the haunting department. I’ll put that up with a warning next week!
Thank you Hayley; writing mojo fluctuates and comments here really help navigate that x
Ooh I’ll look out for that!
I’m looking forward to you feedback after reading it now! It’s something that is one of my own personal terrors lol
I need this to be majorly imaginative as it is truly frightening. Super work
Thanks Orla, the last part is possibly more challenging in terms of outcome…just saying 😱
I can’t wait to read the next part in the series, Gary! I LOVE it! The imagery makes me feel like I’m experiencing the story at every turn – wonderful. You do have another part to share, right?!? Hopefully 🙂 Oh, and I love the image you featured!
Thank you once again for such a positive comment. Sadly the next part winds up the test chapter. I do have snippets of different areas and ideas of other parts of this tale and might put them up at some point too. I’m going to be fascinated to see how the last part of this sits with you too. Reactions have been mixed. I find it a chilling prospect!!
Well now you have me very interested 🙂
In that case, if you can read the last part I’m looking forward to seeing your feedback. Maybe I’ll dig out the other pieces to reveal other aspects of it too!
Fantastic writing. Great imagery!
Thanks Phil, this one is something that really needs to be fleshed out. This chapter has been received better than I expected so it’s backfired on me to write more!!!
Loving your storytelling as always Gary!!! #GaTu
Thanks Ritu…now if the other writing matched this then I might be onto something 🤔
You ARE on to something!!!!
Ha, ha. Would you be saying that if you’d read a book manuscript I wonder 😱
I still reckon I would 😜
You’re biased and I’m over critical… hard place, harder place…me…rock…bigger rock 🤔
What to do with you!!!
Lol, I ask myself that daily!
Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to next instalment.
My pleasure and thankyou for reading it. There’s only the final part of this chapter left to go, but if you missed the previous two the links are in the post.
Poor Wayland! Another great installment, Gary!
Thank you Traci, one more to go for this chapter now. In fact that’s as far as this one goes at the moment. It was a trial piece for something else that’s getting bigger than expected. I really ought to move this one on because the ending is possibly not the best place to leave the blacksmiths plight !
You sneaked this one past me…great continuation of story, powerful imagery and apocalyptic anatomy…loved it 🙂
I should hope so!! It’s a chapter broken into segments 😱
There is an apocalyptic edge to it themed in a wizards walk through this landscape too. I rather think this trial chapter and the other belong in the same story now. Not as two attempts to see which best fits an idea that has grown.
As for sneaking past….err…I deliberately did it at a different time to see if you were awake 24/7 😇
Yes, I gathered it was broken up, but the pieces all hang together nicely, is what I meant…( Senseless Saturday…) The story is evolving…
And I was definitely awake-just ironing..!!
Ahh lol…ironing is a sound excuse…let you off. Thank heavens for that too re hanging together…be a bit naff if it didn’t 😱
You have done a tremendous job here of bringing to life the terror of inner turmoil (such as that created by motor neurone disease). Thank you for using your creative mind to present this story in a way that entertains and educates. You took a fierce, ugly dragon and applied it to a world that embodies (pun not intended) what it would be like to fight such a beast.
Thank you 😊 I find musing about this sort of issue quite fascinating and macabre. To some unfortunate people it’s a reality, although I don’t pretend to know what it’s actually like. I can only run conjecture on how my mind might react. As for the dragon…it’s also got a mind that is fuelled by past events. It’s the last relic of a species that was slaughtered in betrayal. It’s pretty angry at stuff so to speak. I guess the overarching theme wrt them inside the story in which this sits is prejudice and intolerance of something different. Although I may be over analysing my writing now 🤔
Glad you enjoyed the read though, stuff like this is quite intense to write!
We have our own dragons to slay. Thank you for sharing
That we do. That we do. Mind, you…by the end of this chapter dragons might not be the only ponderance to consider 😊
No battle is ever one-sided
Very very true. Always two sides to things…although in truth, I do like The Black so might get defensive out of turn 🙃
Oh, such magnificent writing/storytelling…I just loved it, Gary….this is AWESOME! 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂
Wow, that was quick Truly! Thank you again for your positive comments too. Of all my writing Wayland is one of my favourites, well, to date. I do have another set of characters that has a few I’m really warming to. Hoping to flesh then out in NaNoMoWri next month. I’m rather glad you are back online 😊
I love, love, love Wayland/this saga…utterly fan-freakin’-tastic! And, thank you for letting me know that it means something that I stay connected. There are a select number of bloggers who really make a point of letting me know how much my feedback/support means…so, I am going to focus on supporting them…there aren’t enough hours in the day to read/comment on everyone. So, I need to start being selective (after initially connecting/commenting/encouraging)….otherwise, I won’t have enough to give to those I’m meant to (in other words, those who see the value in the time I invest in them). I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant–it is simply evidence of my desire to do my part…my recognition that I am not meant to make a difference for everyone…others will have others…you have me…and, I have you. What a privilege. Thanks for being a great friend 🙂
I hope you still feel that by the end…it goes into a place many people are troubled by! Can’t say anymore for spoiler reasons 😊
As for the rest, I fully get what you are saying. It’s easy with a few followers, but having grown a bit now, I absolutely love engaging, but it’s impossible time wise to be everywhere at once. My reader flashes past and email counts are in their hundreds. It’s not arrogant Truly, it’s reality. I do what I can and really appreciate everyone that visits. But I’d never get anything done at all if I chased every post that gives out. I’m following about 900 blogs!! Everyone of them has brilliant things to say but time is time and you have to decide what works best for you. That means compromise and selective scheduling is the only real way to do it….or hire a PA 😁
Oh, have no fear (pun intended)….I will still feel that way by the end…don’t forget, I fell in love with Stephen King’s work years and year ago…I have a considerable tolerance for daunting places 🙂 And, you are following 900 blogs…bless your heart!!!!!!! You are incredible!!!! The email alerts, alone, would cause me utter anxiety….and, I know you are making sacrifices to stay connected…what a capacity for generosity you have…I admire that in you 🙂
Oh yes, the master of horror himself…bit of an inspiration for me his works are. Especially the Dark Tower. Also good to know you read his works as mine, by comparison, will be quite tame 👻
Yes, email alerts are very stressy…on my other account I get equal amounts from Twitter!! It’s becoming increasingly obvious I need to start scheduling time now. I can no longer keep up and do other things !!