The Guardian Eclipse: Part 1 - The Rise
Prelude - 1632 A.D.
Not one sound could be heard over the vicious roars of thunder. The night air blew quick and strong over a small village. A few farmers nervously stared at the distance, past their potato fields and into the dense forest. The sky lit up as lightning crashed onto the earth. An average man would say God was upset, but if one looked closely, they would see that the forest was being attacked by the storm. Strike after strike the ground grew fuming hot as the surrounding trees were set ablaze. The center of the forest began to cave in on itself as the forest creatures tried to escape what seemed to be impending doom.
Then, all to suddenly, it stopped. The night sky cleared and the stars resumed shining. The fires in the forest laid to rest and the sounds of the night came back to life. The chirping of the crickets hummed over the hooting of an owl. The river gently washed over its bed.
A young husband steps out of his cabin and walks over to the stable to check on his livestock. The animals look tense but none of them are harmed. He stares up into the sky and smells the air. A strange smell of smoke and blood lingers in the atmosphere. All of a sudden he feels dizzy and stumbles to the ground. His body scrapes against the freezing soil as he is overcome with frantic shivers. He opens his mouth to try to scream but silence drips out instead. Tears begin to run down his eyes as his vision grows foggy. He raises his head to the forest and for just a fraction of a second he sees a tall white figure staring back at him.
The air was drowned by the sound of William’s laughter as he ran through the forest. His older brother, Arthur, was panting behind him trying to keep up. The young pair of brothers would often times run into the forest after they had finished their chores and play games. Arthur had problems breathing from a young age, becoming breathless quickly but he tried to hide it because he was only fourteen and he hated being the weakest among the children of the village. William on the other hand was quick, strong, and very agile. All the kids in the village would stare in awe as Will would climb trees with his eyes closed or move around the water without sinking.
For now William ran through the forest, effortlessly staying a few steps ahead of Arthur who was gradually losing speed.
“Slowdown Will! Mom doesn’t like us going pass the creek” yelled Arthur.
The entrance of the forest was light with a few trees every few feet, but once you passed the creek, the forest grew dense with heavy vegetation. The trees became tightly knitted with one another and the brushes grew large and menacing.
“Why do you fear any kind of adventure?” taunted William as he hopped from rock to rock to get to the other side of the creek. Arthur came to a complete stop as he stared at the calm flowing water of the stream. He hunched over and stretched his leg over a stone and tested his weight on it. He trembled as he set both feet on a stone and then another and began to move along the brook. When Arthur finally reached the other side William started sprinting into the deep forest.
“Bet you can’t catch me!” said William as he turned around and saw Arthur kneeling over trying to catch his breath. William suddenly felt bad and slowed down. He called over to his big brother “Come on, this part of the forest is so much nicer than the part we normally play in.” Arthur finally caught up to William and they began to walk at the same pace discovering every detail of this new world. The plants had a heavy musky smell and there was no noise except for the leaves crushing under the boys’ feet.
Suddenly, there was a loud crack and the ground beneath Arthur and William tore apart and they fell down a large abyss. Arthur screamed as his body banged against the walls and twigs, feeling flicks of skin get scraped off with every bump. William tried to break his fall, grasping for air as he fell deeper and deeper. Thump! They finally stop falling.
William’s heart is racing as he lies on the floor and tries to figure out what just happened. He tries to understand his surroundings. He looks up and he sees the entrance to the hole he fell in. The hole looks a far way up. The ground beneath him felt muddy and cold. He tries to get up but his body is over come with extreme pain. He looks down and sees his shirt is completely ripped and his skin is cut open as blood slowly slips out. He tries to turn over but realizes his arm has been snapped back. He tries to stand up but sees a sharp branch has been stabbed into his leg. It is hard to breath.
He begins to feel a cold sensation run down from his head down his spine, it felt as though someone was pouring chilly water down his back but it was coming from inside his body. He felt it spread over every inch of his body. It was as though the inside of his body had been dipped in freezing liquid and the pain he was feeling was still there but it felt distant. He could no longer feel his broken arm, torn skin, or impaled leg. It seemed as though the pain was outside of his body and he was looking in on it, like someone cringing as they watch a graphic scene. He was able to stand up on his legs and that is when he saw his brother. Arthur was suspended in the air with a thick branch stabbed through his body. His arms and legs were dangling as blood fell to the floor like heavy raindrops. His head was turned facing William and his eyes were open, hollow, and dead.
William limped to his brother’s side as tears ran down his face. This could not be, Arthur can’t be dead.
“Arthur, please, don’t go! Wake up!” cried William. “Mom! Where are you? Please help me!”
He pushed Arthur’s body relentlessly trying to make it move on its own until the branch snapped. Arthur’s lifeless body hit the floor of the abyss and William kneeled next to it.
“I’m so sorry; this is all my fault Arthur. I should’ve listened to you. I won’t do it again, just please come back.” His voice became strained as they turned to wails. William curled down and cried as he clenched his fist and hit the floor. His elbow jolted and snapped back into place as the torn skin on his body began to stretch over its cuts. William tried to pick up his brother’s body to hold it and he felt the branch stabbed in his leg snap and fall off. William hugged his big brother and cried for his mom as every inch of his skin repaired itself and every bone healed until there was not one scratch left on his body.
© 2014 Joshua Alexander