Posting a short story (it’s a decent chunk of reading..you’ve been warned) that I wrote in grade 10…Haven’t looked at it or edited it since. I remember it having quite a few plot holes and such but figured it’s better than posting nothing again. School’s been intense of late, not sure I’ll be able to post next week. Neways enjoy it I hope.
The Brightness Within
The thick cloud cover blots out the stars of the night sky. The moon, normally powerful enough to pierce the clouds now finds itself with no way through. In the northern part of the quiet forest in which the Tudo’s live sits a father and son. The sturdy wooden porch they both built together five years ago when they decided to move was holding them up as though they were feathers. The same goes for the beautiful yet strong crafted chairs they are sitting on. Each has a cushion underneath their posteriors. The woman of the family wove them a year or so after they had moved into the house; each one with a different pattern on them. The delicacy with which they are woven would make even the most renown artisan weep with joy.
“So what do you think son? Pretty dark outside, I remember when you were afraid of the dark. You’d have been screaming right about now, begging me to light up the lanterns for some illumination.” The father says staring thoughtfully at his son.
“Yeah, it is fairly dark outside. But I find it peaceful now, not like when I was younger. It was stupid how afraid of the dark I was back then….that is of course if the stories you told me of myself are true.” The son responds looking at his dad with a smile.
“Well those stories are very true, but I was quite like you when I was your age. Especially the night I lost the family heirloom.” The father finishes, looking thoughtfully up at the stained hardwood ceiling over the porch.
“Really!!! Well yeah I guess you’re right. You were a kid once after all…Why were you more afraid the night you lost the family heirloom? And is it the one you always talk about, and tell stories of?”
“Well I had to escape from a monster of the forest. He only comes out at night and I happened to be unfortunate enough to catch him during that time.”
“What do you mean? Didn’t you know about him? Weren’t you more careful?”
“Oh yes my parents had warned me as we have you, but the canopy of the forest as you know blocks out all light. Well almost all of it and well I guess I just lost track of time. I thought I was avoiding him. But I forgot the one key thing that parents tell their kids about Uggoy.—“
“You forgot the fact that he is drawn to objects made of glass!”
“Yes son that is what I forgot. And in essence that is also what saved my life, although at a great cost. For you see, while I thought I was avoiding him I had no sense of direction. Thus I ended up close enough to smell him but not touch him. He was camouflaged and asleep when I first smelt him. And I am not sure what woke him up.” He pauses in thought for a moment and watches a bat dart past barely visible a few feet away. In the silence of the thought they can hear Bianca inside the house busying herself with the nightly cleanup. She is washing the dishes first as usual. She is washing them by hand and with the same grace as she made the cushions. Hands moving in a different motion but with all the same elegance she has carried throughout her entire life so far.
“I imagine it was the glass that awoke him. The smell probably got to him and jolted him from his sleep.”
“What was on you that was made of glass dad? Was it a vase made of glass you were bringing home as a present for your parents? I remember you telling me about that once. Was it the time you broke a window and had to bring it back to the house?”
“Well son as you know I did have to walk through the forest to the other side to the store to get the vase for my parents. But they are both wrong. At the time when I was young I lived on a different patch of soil then we do now. The route I had to take when I was young was far away from where Uggoy supposedly lives. Also my parents made sure that I always ran errands in the middle of the day as to avoid such a thing that did end up happening to me.” He stops and tilts his head back. No more sounds of dishes being put away. Instead they hear her walking up the hardwood steps, sandals making a slight clap on each one. As she reaches the top the sound dies away until she reaches her bedroom and they hear the moving of a chair and then the scraping sound of a typewriter being dragged across the top of a desk. The father closes his eyes and tilts his head back waiting for the famous sounds. After a few moments of prolonged silence the sounds begin. The sound of his wife typing away, the small click after each letter has been imprinted upon the brown paper. The sound that is made as she pushes the top part of an old fashion typewriter followed by the miniature clicks as it all starts over again.
With a sigh he straightens himself out and after a moment’s pause moves his neck sideways, cracking it violently. “That time I had gone to play a game at a friend’s house in the afternoon. I guess I lost track of time and left a bit later than I should have. That led to the forest being darker and me losing myself in the forest. But I sidetrack, Uggoy awoke with such suddenness that I fell backwards onto my bum stunned. Quickly recovering my wits I got up and began to run as fast as I could. The pouch around my waist was jiggling up and down. I never stopped to look back running in god knows what direction. –“
“What was in the pouch dad?” The son asks in a high nervous tone. The story seems to be overwhelming him.
“That will ruin the whole story. Let me continue and try to restrain yourself please.” After a moment of silence he continues. “I ran away as fast as I could. Never looking behind me, to afraid of what I might see. After awhile I had to slow down, my body couldn’t handle it anymore. It was during this moment when I felt a grazing about my waist. This feeling gave me an extra spurt of energy and I ran away again. However this time I looked behind me and I saw Uggoy crouched down over something. It was only later that I realized what it was I had lost when I realized the pouch was no longer around my waist.”
The sun is setting in the sky. Only clouds for as far as the eye can see and the first stars are beginning to appear like the freckles on a little kids face appear when summer comes around. Up in his room William is preparing himself for an adventure. He has kept this adventure a secret ever since he had begun to plan it five years earlier after his father had told him the tale out on the porch. He didn’t have to ask his father if he had lost the heirloom that night, he just knew in his gut, the way you know something bad is going to happen. Not to mention the fact that throughout his short yet modest life in most cases this feeling of his was correct more often than not. Sitting on his bed is the equipment he has picked out for the trip. Going from left to right, a rough leather pack filled with food and water and a clip to make sure the contents don’t fall out is first. Next to it is a sheathed short sword; the scabbard is inlaid with emeralds and rubies in an alternating pattern going up and down. William pulls the sword out of its casing to makes sure it is ready for what lies ahead. The handle is made of plain silver while the blade has his name engraved upon it. His father had gotten it for him as a request around three years ago. It was all part of William’s plan and not long after he had acquired it he had also gained much knowledge of how to wield it and treat it. His uncle who lived in another part of the forest was a great teacher. He and William often spent many days at a time training together. Next to the sword was a piece of parchment. Dark ink was all over the scroll. With a stressed and large sigh William slings the pouch over his back, attaches the scabbard to his belt and grabs the parchment.
Once downstairs he places the parchment in a noticeable place and proceeds out the front door. He has a rough look about himself as he peers around. As he walks towards the forest in a casual manner the stillness of his surroundings shocks him into a standstill. Turning around to look back at the house he helped his dad make a long time ago he notices a hawk on the roof. Its mysterious looking wings seeming to meld into the dark hardwood roof. Below the roof and the bird are two glass windows. Both windows show dark rooms. The darkness held inside seems to be pressed against the glass as though trying to reunite itself with the darkness that is growing outside. The wood around it matches the wood on the roof, but without the black color next to it, it seems more pronounced than before. William turns around abruptly. A feeling of urgency takes him over and he runs into the forest, last bit of the setting sun vanishes after a few steps in.
The sense of urgency leaves him faster than the darkness around him consumes him. Standing literally two feet away from the border of his house and the forest he cannot see farther than his nose. This is insane…there is no way I’m going to ever be able to find the stupid thing, never mind find my way back home. The thought is interrupted by a sudden weakness in his legs that forces him to sit down. The ground feels wet and damp through his pants. The sensation is kind of like having wet yourself. He stretches out his legs to try and get the feeling to go away. Without success he decides to get up and leans himself against the bark of the tree next to him. As his eyes adjust to his dark surroundings the weakness in his legs seems to fade away. As he walks away from his support the bird atop his house fli’es up and circles his house a few times before picking a direction to fly away in.
After a few hours of aimlessly wandering William hears the sound of running water. As he changes his course to walk towards the sound of the water he unbuckles his bag and retrieves his water flask. The sound is now very strong and he stops walking and sits down. Barely visible in front of him is the riverbank. He dips his flask into it until it is overflowing. He takes a long gulp from the flask and refills it when he is done. While he goes to put the flask back into his bag he touches one of his apples and decides to eat it. The sound of him eating seems foreign to his ears. He has never gone so long without sound and it frightens him. I’ll continue after this break. I don’t want to be away to long. They’ll freak out when they know I’m gone. But they’ll also be amazingly happy when I return. After he finishes eating he shoves his face into the chilly water, eyes closed mouth open. He proceeds to lie down, head resting against some soft terrain. A warm pleasant smell seems to come out of nowhere inducing him into a light slumber.
A dim light wakes William up, shattering the hold of sleep into a thousand bright disorganized lights. He rubs his eyes and they clear up. His eyes need not adjust that much because of the new light source which seems to have implemented itself into the darkness of the forest. William makes sure he has his pack before standing up to look around. In front of him a few yards away appears to be where the source of light is emanating from. For a closer look William jumps over the small gap and begins to walk closer, light growing stronger with each and every step. As the distance closes between him and the source he notices that a large stone structure is holding whatever is dispersing the light. The structure is roughly twelve feet high and ten feet in width. Odd creatures have been carved into the structure. One of them appears to be a dragon but much smaller in size but larger wings. The one next to it appears to be a type of centaur but instead of horns it has spikes protruding outwards from the head. None of the others really catch Williams eye until he has walked all around the structure and notices the figure engraved onto what appears to be the door of the arrangement.
A large furry creature with a pale belly is imprinted on the door. The face appears to be that of an owl but is pushed into the skull so that the outer part of the head could be wrapped around the face. On top of the head are two stumps like the ones you see on deer. However these stumps are not round at the end but flattened and extend outward left and right, making a small platform at the end of each one. The body of the creature is immense and appears to be rather large unless that is the perception of the imprint. The arms are the same as the body in terms of thickness and go down to the creatures hips, (or where the hips appear to be) black claws extend out of the arms where hands should be but instead you find the paw of a dog. The legs are short but very well built and sturdy enough to support its large frame. Claws protrude from the feet of the creature but don’t look all that dangerous.
As William finishes examining the creature he knows it is Uggoy. At the same moment he takes a few steps back from the door and notices that all the creatures engraved on the sides of the stone giant are bowing to Uggoy or appear to be bowing. That’s why he appeared so much bigger than every other one. They’re bowing to him! It has to be a temple!! As if all this realization isn’t enough William takes note of three triangular holes in the door. Each hole is filled with a triangular block placed inside of it, each one coming out a little farther than the previous one. He reluctantly touches one of them but nothing happens, his hand only gets slightly chilled from touching the cold black stone. With a purpose he begins to look for a way in, searching everywhere for a handle of some sort. After having walked around a few times without hope he stares at the three triangles again and begins to push one in a little bit further but still with much of the same reluctance he had before. Nothing happens and William stands back to look around again. But instead he pulls the flask of water from its place and takes a gulp of water. The chilled water sends tingles down his throat as it passes through momentarily. With the flask back in its place he heads back up to the “door” with renewed vigor and hope. As he puts his hand on the stone he notices something a few feet above the triangles. There are two areas fairly close to each other (about a heads length) where the stone has been indented in a rectangular platform kind of shape. William manages with some effort to climb up onto the triangles and inspects the indents. They appear very worn down and old. With some effort you could push the indents forward.
He notices that the engraved Uggoys horns are directly underneath these indents as though indicating something. He also realizes that the stumps platforms are just as long as the indents and look as though they could be placed inside them. William jumps down and pushes in the middle triangle. Once the stone is almost fully inside the hole he hears a click. Curiously he pulls out a different triangle and hears another click right before it looks like it will fall out. Now realizing that he is on to something he grabs the final triangle and pulls it out all the way, slowly as to not miss the click. But it never comes, he pulls the triangle out as far as he can and nothing happens. With a look of disgust he pushes it back in as far as it will go no clicking sound. William turns violently around and falls down energy seemingly being sucked out of him. He takes another draw from his flask and then puts it back. Turning his butt around to stare at the door from another angle he notices that the triangle that won’t click isn’t fixed in a triangular mold. But instead it appears to be wedged into a circular mold with room for it to be moved around in. With some faint hope he grabs the triangle and tries to rotate it within the mold. But with no luck it, appears to be stuck. I need some leverage he thinks as he climbs back up onto the triangles. He places both feet on the triangle and forces his heels down. He loses his balance as the triangle swoops downwards and then stops with a click. He manages to regain his balance but has to jump off as all three triangles are sucked into their respective molds. William watches in awe as the giant stone door is sucked into the earth, vanishing completely as though it was never there. An amazing bright light floods his senses.
The light seems to take a hold of everything around him and drag it towards the inside of the stone temple. As much as the light is strong it fades away as quickly as if you were to snuff out a candle. With his eyes adjusting to the dimmer lighting he notices that the inside of the temple is only one room with a giant furry creature standing at the very end of the hall. Its face is staring intently at an object on an altar in front of it. Mustering up his courage William grabs the hilt of his sword and slowly enters the temple. The sides of the walls are covered from top to bottom in glass objects, most of them ordinary things that you might find in someone’s house, but in this setting appear very forlorn. These must be all the objects he’s collected over time. As William gets closer to the creature “praying” at the altar he notices how much bigger the creature is than him. It’s about double his height and width.
The creature turns around and stares at the small thing in front of it. No threatening vibes coming forth. William freezes, his hand sweating all over the hilt. After a few minutes of staring William takes a small step forward, trying not to shatter the frail peace that has been setup. I can’t believe I’m actually face to face with Uggoy. It must be so old now. No stop, don’t think about the beast focus on the object it’s praying to. I need to get that back to my dad, that’s what I came all this way for. William takes another stride forward. Uggoy not moving but not breaking the staring contest simply scratches its behind. Eventually after many slow and calculated movements William is behind the altar and can see the family heirloom. It is simply a raindrop shaped lantern, not much bigger than the size of your palm. No chains to hold it up, and no wick inside to light itself. Instead the light is always shinning forth from the middle of the raindrop. So much so that no one can see what is in the middle of the lantern.
Not thinking William quickly reaches up grabs the object and carefully places it in his pouch. Uggoy in an outrage begins to shriek, and after a moment violently thrusts both its long powerful arms forwards towards William. He ducks just in time, the claws making a loud crashing sound as they make contact with the stone. The few years of solid training he has makes him grasp the sweaty hilt of his sword and swing it in an upwards arc, cutting the wrists of both Uggoy’s paws. In a cry of pain Uggoy tries to move its arms but struggles and only is able to free one arm. Not waiting for the next move William rolls sideways away from the back of the altar. Uggoy frees his other arm and lunges it at William. Standing he jumps up above the paw and swings his sword in a downwards arc, making a deep gash across the full length of the arm. Blood explodes from the wound but never becomes visible because of all the fur. With a screech of agony Uggoy thrusts his other arm at Williams head, angry that he has cut him and that he is standing on his wounded arm. William jumps off Uggoys arm a bit to slowly and lets out a scream as one of the claws buries itself in the top portion of his arm. As he falls away from it blood begins to pour out of the wound. Counteracting William quickly runs towards Uggoy, dodging one of his arms as he approaches. When he gets close enough he swings his swords at one of Uggoys ankle and cuts it. He swiftly changes directions and runs forwards again, making the same wound a little deeper than it was before. William stops running and turns around at the entrance to the temple. The bleeding on his arm has slowed down quite a bit and the pouch is still intact and on his back.
Uggoy lurches forward slowly, the abrasion on his ankle slowing him down a considerable amount. Good he won’t be able to catch me with the wound around his ankle. William sheathes his bloody sword, turns around and runs out of the temple. On the way home he takes no particular direction, trusting the memory of his feet to bring him home. He stops once and tears part of his shirt to wrap around his injury to stop the flow of blood. He continues on and after what seems to be forever he finally exits the forest. The brightness of the sun surprises him and he trips over a small branch. Lying face in the ground he closes his eyes and rests for a few minutes, panting. He hears footsteps and doesn’t bother to get up. As his parents lean over him he flips himself over and smiles up at them. His parents have a look on their face that says I want to kill you but the fact that you home now will postpone your punishment. Williams’s eyes feel very heavy and it takes great effort to keep them open. He manages to sit himself upright and he pulls the pouch in front of him.
“Dad, I did it.” William manages to say weakly.
“Did what son?” his father answers not wanting to believe it’s true.
“Here I’ll take it out for you to see in the lig—
“No!!! Don’t do—it is already too late. William pulls the heirloom out of the pouch and holds it up in the light. The glass begins to crack and as though it never existed it shatters into dust right before their eyes. Shock sets in on Williams face and he falls backwards onto his back. Tears begin to flow from his cheeks at a furious speed. No sobs however, only a giant waterfall of salty liquid flowing from two sources on his face.
His father pulls him up from the ground and caresses Williams head against his chest. William only cries more at this notion and in an effort to erase the tears like he erased his dad’s treasure he only makes more tears come out. Now sobbing he hugs his father digging his fingers into the thick brown sweater, father copying the motion. As the three of them stand in the bright strong heat of the sun, two in an embrace that seems to last forever as the other one watches, silent tears flow down her face another hawk lands on top of the house. Its brown wings melding with the color of the house.