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Retroactive Posts: Autumn Twilight part 1

May 8, 2013

(Originally posted on October 27th, 2012)

October 27th
12:49 A.M.

The waning purple and red hue of twilight was behind me now, and I had hoped my problems were much the same.
I had broken off of the interstate given the promise of an opportunity to refuel (and answer the call to nature), but the exit toward a place called Bluehaven has up to this point turned up nothing fruitful.
Instead, I’m greeted by a legion of pine trees and an agonizingly unkempt (and needlessly curvy) forest-laden road leading to God knows what sort of rural town that had been tucked back into the mountainside and has been seemingly forgotten by civilization.
“At this point old pal, I don’t know which would be worse, having stayed in the city with that bloodsucking bitch dragging me down like a deadweight, or getting caught in no-man’s land with my pisser about to burst all over my nice interior.”
As if in response to this rhetorical question, the car gently shakes, with a soft sputter, and coasts to a slow stop at the roadside.
I let out a sigh of disbelief.
“And then there’s always the third option. Running out of gas.”
Just to be sure, I turn off the ignition and wait a moment before trying it again. It turns over and whines at me, but doesn’t roar to life as I would hope.
My options flooded into my head and then quickly swept away. I wasn’t about to sit on my ass in the middle of nowhere waiting on some beer-belly slackjaw to come find me; and being this far from anyone I knew (as unfortunate as my relationship with any of those people was at this point), there was no hope of rescue. I was walking.
And walk I have, for what must have been a couple of hours down this same windy, wooded road toward a town I had never even heard of before.
The idea of how foolish I’d look if those back home knew of my current situation gave me further motivation to go as far as my legs would take me to put more miles between me and them.
“Suppose it isn’t home anymore though.” I whisper under my breath without really thinking about it, which causes me to pause for a moment and contemplate my future.
The moment of self-indulgence is interrupted though, as a faint crackle carries over the swaying of the tree branches and the chirps of insects. I pause in my tracks for a moment to listen. It sounds like a fire.
Continuing along the road and picking up stride I check the trees on either side of me for the origins of the sound.
A few hundred yards or so I manage to catch a glimpse of orangish hued light nearly completely hidden behind the legion of tree trunks to my right, and throwing caution to the wind I begin into the forest to find the source.
Several dozen paces in I begin to hear what sounds like a flock of birds chirping in unison, and becoming further perplexed I increase my stride and at last the sight of a large bonfire comes into view.
I slow down and reach to prop myself up on the nearest tree to catch my breath.
The chirping continues.
With my lungs sated I creep forward, cautiously peering out from around a tree a few yards away from the fire to discover a large group of people, dressed in tattered clothes and holding hands to form a large circle, swaying too and fro in unison around a large flaming effigy.
A haggard man whose distorted face is just barely lit by the flames in front of him lets out a high pitched chirp, and the rest of the group of no less than forty strong lets out a synchronized chirp in response.
The group then halts its swaying and moments later begins shuttering and shaking about. The line of faces visible from this angle begin rocking their heads slowly from side to side with their mouths agape.
Another chirp comes from the haggard man and the group halts. He shouts something indistinct and two of their number, a man and a woman, step forward, breaking the circle to stand at the effigy.
The haggard man holds his hands up to the sky and chirps, and the group, save for the two who had stepped forward before, follow suit and begin muttering incoherent nonsense.
I watch, frozen in shock as the man and woman both produce small knives from within their garments and in unison appear to slice their tongues before embracing one another with a passionate kiss.
This produces a boisterous cheer from the group, and the haggard man approaches the two.
He places his hands on their backs and lowers his head to say something to them under his breath. He then turns and shouts clearly the words “Bond Sacrifice” to the sky. The group goes wild as the haggard man turns once again to the couple.
They then, much to my disgust, raise their knives and slash at each others throat, producing a soft spray of blood from each of their wounds. The two fall and begin writhing on the ground as the group of fanatics enclose on them, raising their dying bodies over their heads and chanting.
“Feed, brothers and sisters!” shouts the haggard man.
Fighting an overwhelming spurt of nausea and feeling weak at the knees, I turn and begin to sneak away from the scene as carefully as possible.
I make it only a small handful of paces before I’m suddenly taken over by a feeling of belonging, followed by self-doubt.
“What’s going on,” I say under my breath. “This is insane.”
I continue away from the fiery effigy for a few more steps before a voice inside of me beckons me back to where I came. Try as I might, I could not fight the urge to escape from the grizzly scene which had played out in front of me, and I slowly make my way back to the clearing.
The group was nowhere in sight, much to my relief.
“Raze.” Says a voice in my head.
My hands begin to tremble, and I lower my head to fix my eyes on a piece of matted steel, only visible on the forest floor by the reflective glint produced by the fire.
It feels inviting; it feels like every anguish of the world could be corrected if I just had it in my hands.
I shuffle forward, toward the discarded object, never raising my gaze from it. With each step in its direction I travel, a ringing noise with rising intensity is produced in my ears, eventually culminating in a deafening screech.
Kneeling feet away from the flames, I reach down and grasp it.

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