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Dreams Of Darkness


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#1 Offline Riisiing Moon

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Posted Nov 15 2011 - 07:42 PM

Darkness betrays moonlight, and in turn Nightmare preys upon innocence.Vakama.” Convulsions. “Vakama.” The rattling of chains, at first a gentle, mocking whisper, then the squeal of demons. His eyes jerked open, the world blinding his eyes and mind in unholy white light. The flood of color melted away to reveal naught but darkness. Shadows lurked within shadows. He sensed movement, felt a presence, yet saw nothing. Some wicked creature lie here… Then the pain came. His wrists were bound, bleeding. Through the wounds a storm of relentless, furious agony whipped through him. He felt his soul fracture and felt the shards knife through his limbs. He felt his body crumble to dust inside itself yet remain intact, alive, capturing the ungodly torture within. He felt death and death and death again, yet here he stood alive. Chained. A prisoner of pain, that ever-present invisible executioner. “Pain is not the only tormentor, fire-spitter.” Convulsions again. Fire-spitter? A familiar splash of brown materialized in the blackness, then faded into memory… “Vakama!” That was not the voice of Pain. ‘Twas a woman’s—sister’s! “Nokama!” His voice was hoarse. Speech was a torturous spider crawling from his throat. Hers was a sort of blackened beauty, tainted by the poison of the night. Night? No sun hung suspended above…were they outside? “Vakama! Kill him!” What madness incarnate was this? Nokama’s voice cried out, piercing through the sleepy chamber. Vakama’s Toa spirit awakened, rage billowing into his limbs, a fresh vigor launching his being to life. “Sister!” His hands lit aflame, the chamber ablaze. Onewa stood at its center, painted in insanity, Nokama’s tears raining mercy at his feet…Vakama leaped for the Toa’s throat, blade in hand, crimson eyes burning wildly… “VAKAMA!” Vakama awoke. Night hung above, flooded into his eyes. The moon rose, cackling, glaring at him maliciously. There Onewa stood, a false expression of concern pasted over his countenance. His eyes betrayed his murder, Vakama’s his rage. Hand soaring to weapon, he leaped again— His brothers held him back, forcing him to his knees. Whenua whipped a knife to his chest. For an interminable eternity, wind became menace. “Brother! What is this mad treachery?!” Whenua’s voice was a bellow, condescending and reinforcing of reality. “I…On…She…” He wheezed, collapsed. “What…?” Nokama, the Great Spirit bless her, spoke. “Whenua, he only dreamed. This place realizes nightmares…let him rest.” Onewa still shuddered. The others cast a skeptical glare at him. “It’s freezing.” Vakama concurred. He felt naked, barren of himself. Exposed. Even in sleep he could not hide…there had been a watcher, in the dream. His mind was not the only one… Matau interjected his thought, thankfully, before it could be completed. “Brothers, sister, let’s far-fly this insanity. This place gives me the creeps…I wanna be awake in it for as little time as possible.” He yawned exaggeratingly.Vakama could not pinpoint the proper words. Sleep? That was what had…made him…he didn’t…couldn’t… Sleep overtook them all.

* * *

The sky itself was out to kill him. Wind whipped his body mercilessly. He’d numbered four cracked ribs so far, and counting. By some miracle he’d so far managed to maintain marginal control of his air-blades, but he feared the worst. The skies were collapsing, imploding, and in a not entirely egotistical sense, he was at its center. The Toa of Air was in his element, and he refused to admit he was being murdered by it. Ultimately, though, he was forced to accept the fact that he simply could not survive the sky’s merciless onslaught. Yet at this speed, a throttle toward the earth would cost him his life… He veered left and risked a gaze downward, breaking the cardinal rule of flight. Long drop… Eyes sealed and body braced, Matau tipped his center of gravity ever so slightly forward, loosing a mad howl of youthful, glorious impulse, a shriek of bravado lost to the screaming maelstrom. With startling suddenness that shriek was magnified a thousandfold, erupting through reality. Through the storm of pain that followed he barely felt the sensation of the hand of another slipping into his own, loosing his grip on his air blades, sending him in a furious tumble toward the ground, skull making impact— —And falling straight through. All sensation of motion ceased, yet the world fell ever-quick as it passed. Reality blended with fantasy until he could not discern image from thought—he saw histories recent and long-dead and mythical and future pass as he stay-floated, suspended in the expanse between dream and truth. He saw hideous, lovely evils, seductive and awful, ugly horrors, angelic beauties, life and death and pain and bliss and himself, cast about the tunnel as an immense, transparent mirror. Ineffability shrouds that which the eye gazes upon. And then, pain ripped him apart. Dark laughter bellowed down the hall, madness whispering over and over of bottomlessness and innocence and Metru. Vakama’s voice rang out silently from every presence… “Got you.”

* * *

“Spirits above, Matau, wake up!” The pain stopped. Daze… “Brother!” Matau blinked. Whenua promptly slapped him across the face. That did the trick. The land of the awoken imitated the gesture. Matau found his body robbed of all strength and will, and then found it on the ground. Vision became clouded, then absent entirely. When it returned, he found Nuju’s condescending glare glued to his face. A shiver and a shadow passed through him. Whenua’s voice became twenty, then coalesced and formed vague words. “You dreamt?” Matau believed he nodded, though the numbness made it hard to feel any physical movement. Whenua’s eyes were a bird’s, narrow and shrewd. He peered warily at the shadows surrounding the Toa. Matau felt caged by them. He wiped a layer of sweat from his brow. Onewa spoke. “No mission is worth a stop here.” The others nodded in solemn agreement. Night wrought wicked evils upon those who rested in this domain…this would be a trauma to stalk Matau’s memory until the grave. There would be no more sleep tonight. Silence hovered for an everlasting moment, shattered by Nokama’s hesitance. “Let’s…Whenua, follow me.” The Toa of Earth raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Hm?” “We’re scouting out the island. Something’s clearly wrong here. Let’s find out what.” Vakama grunted. Vakama! Matau leapt, an animal fury booming from his chest. Blade in hand, he threw a mighty blow at the Toa of Fire’s direction, only to be deflected by Whenua’s weapon, its bearer steadfast against Matau’s suddenly feeble form. Nuju still stood apart, arms crossed, expression stoic, almost disappointed. He seemed an angry parent, or god. Whenua huffed and glared back at the Toa of Ice. “Watch the kids while mommy and daddy are gone.” Matau lost himself pondering Onewa’s words. No mission was worth Karzahni.

* * *

Onewa found his current position incredibly awkward, to say the least. Not a word had been spoken in the two hours since the others’ leave. Vakama stood in his eternally irritating brooding depression at the shore, eyes midway between blazing rage and tears as they gazed off into some fantastically romantic horizon; Matau sat twitching in near-violent impatience, waiting for anyone else but him to speak, as well as quite obviously debating as to whether he should slaughter Vakama or not. Nuju stood apart, of course, silent as ever. Did the man’s legs never grow tired? Onewa clapped his hands for the tenth time, opened his hands and attempted to form words, and utterly failed. For the tenth time. That won him a murderous look from his incomparably bold red-skinned leader. He feared that emotion would soon become intention. Since the dream, Onewa had been cast as some demon in Vakama’s eyes…what had sleep shown him? Was he naïve enough to believe dreams of darkness? Footfalls. Onewa and Vakama peered up. Matau’s head jerked. Nuju remained still as a Bohrok without a Krana. “Brothers!” Growls all around. At least something was agreed upon. “Glad to know you boys’re happy to see me.” “Where’s Whenua?” Vakama’s voice was numb. Emotion had abandoned his voice and flooded into his eyes instead. “He’s waiting by a cave we found. We heard some movement coming from inside. He’s guarding the entrance, told me to go get you guys in case it’s something big.” Nuju moved! His expression transformed into one of slight intrigue. The fate of the world must be at risk. Vakama slowly rose, his body stiff, as if braced for something. Mentally and physically poised. Onewa rolled his eyes. “Little slower, please. Nokama, let’s go.”

* * *

Their movement was cautious—if dreams had rained the havoc they did, reality would be far worse. No imposing ebony figure stood at the cave’s mouth. The others cast a questioning glance at Nokama, who responded with one of equal confusion. “Sister…” “Shut up. Follow me.” Only a few paces into the blackness, something emerged from the shadows. Hands reached for steel. “Brother!” There knelt Whenua, collapsed on the damp earth. Panting…weeping? Matau cast a suspicious, somewhat awkward glance at the others, stepped forward. “B-brother...? What happened?” For a moment, the air was heavy upon their shoulders as Whenua shivered, gasping for breath. His gaze met his brethren’s, horror painted across it. His voice was a hoarse rasp, a whisper’s whisper. “I fell asleep.” Scurrying. Heads whipped. A small, rodent-like Rahi crawled under Nokama’s legs, shrieked an ugly cry. Some object lie by the wall, glistening the luster of silver armor... Nearly frantic, Nokama dragged it toward the group… Nuju’s corpse. More of the Rahi pests gnawed at the body. Bits of flesh had already been chewed away. A pool of dried blood soaked into the ground beneath it. Five necks craned backwards. The sixth was Nuju’s, and was quite alive. The color of pale white skin deepened into a hideous shade of burnt ash. Muscles throbbed and expanded, flesh ripped, armor cracked and tumbled to the ground. The air around the Nuju-thing swirled until it became a storm whipping through the cavern, an ocean of noise thundering with it. Half of the face of the beast that replaced it grinned with an insane, immeasurable malice, the other’s mouth inhumanly bent in furious agony. Eyes scarlet and sapphire blazed with the terror only millennia could inspire, from within and without. Laughter echoed from a million crevices. The Metru fell to their knees, prayers and final breaths drawn forth from their quivering lips. Two words crawled from Karzahni’s, and a silence never to end settled upon his island. “Sweet dreams.”

* * *

An entry for SSC#8. How is?

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#2 Offline zacharyd97

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Posted Nov 15 2011 - 07:56 PM

This is amazing story, one of the best i have seen. I wish you the best of luck in your contest, and you did a perfect job of describing the evil nightmares karzanhi causes
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#3 Offline Skarloth

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Posted Nov 15 2011 - 08:57 PM

Incredible! But... it seems short, despite its true length, as if there could have been more explanation, or perhaps more story. The descriptions make this SS, that's for sure, but I suppose it does fall into the Mystery and Suspense category, and I think it wins there.Still... I think a better explanation could have been given, even if you were trying to keep it all mysterious.3/5 Good, but I think it could have been better.If its possible to vote on this SS for an award (I literally have no idea what the whole contest is about), then I might just toss a vote its way.KUTGW, Moon.-Skar
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#4 Offline Aderia

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Posted Nov 26 2011 - 06:46 PM

Thanks Rising Moon. Now I've got this major nostalgia-induced headache RM. I'd forgotten how much I miss the Toa Metru. Also I'm gonna be paranoid about the monsters under my bed tonight. Its still beyond me, how you manage to bend words to create such haunting scenes!I think Skar touched on it in his review, how it seems short even though it's kind of not. But I like how it creates like this void in the story that leaves imagination to fill in the blanks. It makes it spookier.Flawless spelling/grammar, like usual. Good work here!I'd like to see this go far in the contest.
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#5 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Nov 27 2011 - 03:16 AM

Oh. Dark.Geez that was a horror story if I ever read one. Very good job RM. I can't even begin to describe the chill of this story. I agree the plot points were a little vague, but that's really what made it what it was. And the fear was just so will done, including the characters of each Toa who you just nailed. Man your sense of dark settings are the best I've seen on the short stories forum. I don't know anyone who matches them.Great plot, scary and effective. Fearful characters but within character at the same time. Dark settings. I can't find any other words to type up, it was just brilliant. lol
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#6 Offline Toa of Dancing

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Posted Dec 08 2011 - 09:41 PM

Best entry I've read thus far. Despite me being rather confused that this was supposed to be Karzahni until the end, this is well done. Really, really well written. Maybe another nightmare or two would have been nice, but overall this is great.
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#7 Offline Peach 00

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Posted Dec 11 2011 - 09:25 AM

First off, I would like to say I really enjoyed your descriptions of the dreams (or nightmares, the phrase fits better). Very well thought out, horrific - your expression of the horror in the dreams is something very real, something that a person would believe. To put it in simpler terms, it isn't a horror story that you're going to predict easily with each sentence. You really don't expect what's coming next - I applaud your ability to do that.Secondly, you really nailed the personalities of the Toa Metru. Usually when using canon characters in fan fiction is difficult to do because you have to work hard at fitting things to their characteristics. You succeeded in hitting that mark - I could definitely see that in such characters as Matau and Whenua. You did give me some nostalgia of the Toa Metru throughout the story.Third, your way of describing Karzhani was briliant. You made it just as insane as it's supposed to be, full of pain, darkness, and a truly terror-filled, twisted island - great job on that level.One complaint I have: Your descriptions are slightly purple prose. Now, because I'm a writer that generally has that problem on a regular basis, I've been more careful in my writing and eyeful of others' stories to see if they have the same problems. You do have a few areas that definitely have a large use of adjectives, but other areas aren't as strong with the influence of adjectives. Here is on area:

Vakama stood in his eternally irritating brooding depression at the shore, eyes midway between blazing rage and tears as they gazed off into some fantastically romantic horizon

I bolded the few parts I thought could be a little shortened. If you notice the first section, it is a little long - I can relate similarly because I have the same problem. The only thing I could say to both of us is that short and sweet is a better way to go, or keep it in the middle of the road between purple prose and beige prose (no adjectives, slightly bland writing), but probably leaning more towards purple. You could shorten the first section by getting rid of 'eternally' and 'brooding', or just get rid of 'eternally' and 'irritating'. One to two adjectives with a noun is good enough.But, it's not like it heavily affected the story, but it was something I noticed that you could probably improve on. Fortunately for you, I didn't spot any spelling mistakes, despite the fact I'm an expert grammar and spelling Nazi. =PBut honestly? You're an awesome writer - I've only read this and a CoT story you posted not long ago. I genuinely enjoyed and loved this story - you do great horror stories. Good luck in the contest, I hope this goes far.Awesome story, Rising Moon. Great job. :)

Edited by Peach 00, Oct 24 2012 - 06:50 AM.

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On the day the wall came down / They threw the locks onto the ground
And with glasses high / We raised a cry / For freedom had arrived
 
On the day the wall came down / The ship of fools had finally run aground
Promises lit up the night / Like paper doves in flight
 
I dreamed you had left my side / No warmth, not even pride remained
And even though you needed me / It was clear that I could not do a thing for you
 
Now life devalues day by day / As friends and neighbors turn away
And there's a change that even with regret / Cannot be undone
 
Now frontiers shift like desert sands / While nations wash their bloodied hands
Of loyalty, of history / In shades of grey
 
I woke to the sound of drums / The music played, the morning sun streamed in
I turned and I looked at you / And all but the bitter residues slipped away
 
slipped away...
 




#8 Offline Yukiko

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Posted Dec 11 2011 - 12:30 PM

In regard to the purple prose business, I would probably just toss out the entire description of his emotion. If his eyes are somewhere between rage and tears that is description enough of what he was going through. When talking about the emotions of main characters, its usually better to show, not tell.
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