I look to the right, feeling the sinew of my neck send a complaint to my brain, and then to my left, in an attempt to shift focus from the fog waiting ahead. It is then that I notice the trees. Those behind me are bent, their naked limbs crooked as they bowed, barren, towards the road. Those beside me are straight, smooth, and dressed in a rich emerald. They stop abruptly as my eyes meet the future. Those trees stand tall, broken, upended, yet somehow surviving, through rock. Their roots wind and weave across the rock and take hold on the ground below, as a brittle cloak of leaves protects them from the elements tossed their way.
Her face looms before me again, between the trees, its shape defined by the rock imprisoning it. She is smiling this time, laughing in that way I remember. She remains unchanged by age or elements, and I realize the future holds nothing for her, only for me. I turn my back to the fog long enough to ensure my past is behind me, not creeping up on me or holding the fog at bay, though still I have come no closer to it. Shaking off the fear of the past, I step further toward my future, determined to face it, even though she is not in it.
The rock shifts. The trees trapped within it groan and shake. A small wind kicks through the dead leaves and they swirl upwards, encircling me in my own private tornado. The wind toys with me, threatens to knock me off my feet. I stand firm, waiting, without understanding what it was I waited for. The sky turns black and a shadow hovers over the rock. Lightning strikes one of the trees, and a crack breeches the silence. The tree splits in two and smoke rises from its bowels. A dark figure emerges from the shadow and darts to the rock on two legs, its hair thick and wild on its head. It screeches, and I cover my ears in pain. The creature taunts me from the rock, disappearing behind the broken tree, popping up in the center of its wound only to dance and weave from trunk to limb, laughing wickedly, yet never leaving the safety of the rock or the shadow.
It plays the game with me as I take new steps, darting in a new direction with each new footfall. It glides and glistens occasionally in the light. It is fearsome yet beautiful at the same time, ever moving, ever laughing, ever teasing. A chill kisses the air and the creature freezes. It seeks refuge within the rock and a new face emerges on the rock face. Dark, sinister, and brooding as it watches me from its still place.
This is the face of my future. Only by seizing it can I begin to change the past. A past filled with memories of her and all that I had done to her.
This is part two of a four part story. The first part can be found here, written by Eric Storch of Sinistral Scribblings. The next part will be come from David Wiley, another member of the Fab Four of the Master Class. We have a few simple rules to follow for the Fab Four Fables:
1 – No one will be privy to the story until it’s time to write their part.
2- The next person won’t know who they are until a post is published (the person writing the post chooses the next person after the post is published).
3- The person who published the most recent part not only chooses who is next, but must also provide a new and original visual prompt.
4- The story must continue as a whole.
5- There is no time or word count limit.
And now, here is the new image for David to use: