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Monday, January 2, 2012

December short story contest sixth place entry

 The Evil

by Alex Davidson

Carolina awoke to the sound of a crack and the sensation of being hit. Bleary eyed, her eyes
strained to focus on her surroundings. Carolina, rose to her feet, stretched and felt the warmth of the sun
energize her body. “Where am I” she whispered to her father. It was then that Carolina realized her
father was no longer with her. She asked the trees if they knew where her father had gone. All knowing
yet stubborn, they ignored Carolina’s plea and stood in emotionless silence. Carolina was often told of
the land she now found herself on. Her father had told her not to venture too far away from home, for
creatures, some known, many not, lurk and will snatch her up in an instant. Wishing to recall more of her father’s stories, but also needing to seek safety, Carolina found a large, smooth sloping boulder on which she could see in all directions. She also sought to recall the incidents which led her to her current situation.

It wasn’t long before this day, when her father had told his family, passionately, about the ways
of this world, the laws she must abide, and the creatures she must avoid. Once upon a time, and perhaps
somewhere still beyond the horizon, a land of beauty and peacefulness existed. Her family could once
spend an entire year, surrounded by the gifts of the world. Many different creatures existed together, in
blissful balance. However, this is not a story about what was, this is a story about what is. Her father
explained to Carolina that gradually, slowly, and inexplicitly, the world became darker, and “The Evil”
began to appear. The Evil infected its victims with bitterness and rage. The creatures that her family
once counted as its numerous friends transformed into enemies.

At first, the infections moved slowly and go unnoticed, but slowly, inexplicitly, one creature after
another began to change. Perhaps no creature became more infected than those from the Goldspring area, known to the other creatures as Lords. In earlier times, Goldspring was another land of bounty, with endless spaces covered with all the blessings of the creators. The rage infected the Lords quickly, subtly, and without reason. No one was sure why they were infected first, what is known are the consequences.

The Evil infected the Lords of Goldspring causing them to absorb the knowledge and energy
contained in the world around them at an increasingly rapid pace. What started as a trickle, within a very short period of time, became a flood. As more energy was absorbed, sacrifices to the other areas of
Carolina’s world were made. Carolina’s father told her of the day-screamers which move through the air, devouring all that was in their path. The beautiful, yet deadly Rumblers, roamed the many trails and
paths, devouring any creatures encountered, with no remorse. Often, the Rumblers would leave their
victims for days at a time after incapacitating them, in pain, only to finish them off later. But perhaps no
threat was as grave to Carolina, her family, and friends as the Omma.

Carolina had never seen the Omma; they struck quickly, and without warning. She did not
believe in their existence until the afternoon she was out gathering food for a feast with her
mother. There was no warning, just the sound of a tree branch cracking in the distance. Carolina turned
to her mother and said “How much longer before we….” but was interrupted by the sight of her mother
who had seemingly fallen dead; the sign of the Omma evident on her body. The Omma had sheared off
her mother’s coat, and penetrated her chest, death was instant and silent. Shocked and unable to move for what seemed an eternity, Carolina was finally found by her father who did not, could not weep. He
instructed Carolina to follow him immediately, as more Omma were heard in the distance.

Upon their rapid progression out of the area, Carolina and her father found themselves
surrounded by a thick black haze, nearly impenetrable. Her father shouted “keep moving”, which she did, coughing and choking as darkness entered her body. She strained to see the cause of her suffering, but could only make out countless trees, burning from the canopy. “What hell had this become” she said, “What creature had done this and why!” As she followed her father further, she heard the unmistakable sounds of the day-screamers overhead. She continued to follow her father towards what she hoped was home, and out of this nightmare.

Startled out of her daydream, Carolina heard a familiar voice. Her father was calling to her from
a field just below the hill where she was resting. Upon reaching him, she was shocked by his condition.
Though alive, he was broken, and in a great deal of pain. “Carolina, you must get home to your siblings” her father said to which Carolina replied “it is impossible without your guidance.” “I have shown you all that I know and all that I have learned. You must help your siblings fight The Evil which infects the land.” Why was her father telling her to do this, once he healed, they could live together as a family again. “Remember to respect and adhere to the laws which bind us together, and you must inspire the Lords” he said. Abruptly, Carolinas father, looked towards one of the last remaining valleys, and slowly closed his eyes.”
Saddened, but unable to cry, Carolina thought about all she had just seen and heard. She
reconciled that her father was right, and must be a source of inspiration and change for those which seek to inflict suffering on her and others in the world for no apparent reason. Carolina would gather her siblings and begin her quest to right the wrongs of her world. With that decision, she took off, flying into the forest and calling, as Eagles do, to her family.


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