Early Short Stories


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Blood Of Katolinio

I woke up in the countryside, not remembering exactly how I got there. From my observation, it seemed I was far away from the big city. I could feel the wind gently blow across my soft, flowing, black hair, and in the distance I saw what looked like a Renaissance fair. An odd time to have one it seemed to me, since I always went to them in May when I was growing up.

Funny how you get used to something and think that's how it is everywhere. No one could have blamed me for being curious about this whole scene, though. What the hell had happened, had I passed out somewhere and gotten dumped here? I could smell the moldy aroma of decaying leaves on the dirt road. It must have been about five o'clock, but I couldn't pinpoint the time exactly because I had never really found the need to wear a watch, at least not until I arrived here.

I walked along the road, taking a minute or so to observe my surroundings. To be honest I wasn't really sure where I was, because the roads weren't paved, and there were no traffic lights. Actually, at that moment, not only were there not any cars, but it felt as if I were in Amish country. I took my flashlight out of my pouch, just in case it got dark enough where I couldn't see clearly. I could see cows grazing across the fields, which was definitely not a normal occurrence in my town. Farming had slowly trickled down to nothing over the last decade, and now in 2030 you almost never saw a farm animal.

I finally reached the fare site, but when I arrived, there wasn't a place to buy tickets. Not only that, but as I walked further into the odd town, the residents looked at me rather strangely, as if I were some kind of demon. My style of dressing, let's call it decidedly feminine, was not the norm. My hair cascading down my back might seem unusual too. When I arrived at one of the shops, there was not any kind of electricity. Nothing to indicate I was in the modern era. I walked up to the clerk at the counter.

"I'd like to purchase a coke please." I said, and the clerk gave me a strange look. I would have to get used to that.

"What is a coke?" The cerk said, and the confusion in the clerks face let me know he wasn't yanking my chain.

"Never mind, just give me some kind of drink, if you will." I said.

"Sure." The Clerk said, and I was impressed the clerk was being friendly enough, since he definitely seemed to think I was odd. He gave me a drink that resembled some kind of pale ale. Then he said: "That will be five pence."

"Wait, you guys don't take the dollar?" I asked.

"A dollar?" The clerk said, and gave me another of his strange looks. This time I gave him my own puzzled look. I thought: What kind of hell hole did I pop myself into?

"Ugh, never mind. Can you just tell me where a bathroom is?" I said.

Surely they would at least have running water. He pointed me in the direction of the place that apparently passed for a bathroom to him. With a quick glance, I could see it wasn't very clean. I thought: That's not a good way to generate business. I wasn't desperate enough to use it, and decided to wait until I could find a cleaner one. I started to thank the clerk and ask him where I was, and more importantly how could I get back to civilization, but he was busy with someone else at that point, so I left.

I was thinking I would just try to find some generous family willing to let me in, show me where I was on a map, and help me figure out a way home, and not too far down the road, I found that kind family. They were dressed in the Renaissance theme, and I was impressed that the whole town seemed to get into the spirit of the fair. Fortunately for me, I had arrived just in time for supper. After being invited to join them, I began to eat the meal I was offered. The plates they used were definitely unique.

They were more like a rock hard stale bread, flattened out to eat on. The man who seemed to be the father began to speak to me: "So where are you from, you don't dress like you're from around here?"

"If I told you, you wouldn't believe me." I said.

"He could be from the far east!" The wife proposed that idea." The older mother said.

I guess that would make sense to them, I thought to myself, the Chinese do dress a bit differently from people in the west. I responded: "Well, honestly, I've more interested in figuring out where I am than where I came from. I'm not hanging around. Heck, I never knew you could spend the night at a Renaissance fair."

"A Renaissance fair?" One of thel little girls said.

All the faces around the table looked at me like I was deranged.

"You mean you guys have gotten so immersed in this place that you forgot it was a fair?" I asked, figuring they would know it was a rhetorical question. Just a little joke. Nobody made a sound, they just gave me more of those odd looks, so I asked another question to test their sense of time and place. Hell, maybe it was me that was off, I had no idea.

"So what year is it anyway?" I asked.

"You're being silly, this is 1063." The older woman said, and at first I thought she was joking. I struggled not to choke on my turkey leg, but then I noticed none of them were laughing, and were staring right at me.

"I think you might just be getting tired. I can ask the children to go make your bed." The husband said.

"Yes, I would like that, thank you." I said, and was just glad they hadn't decided to throw me out. I was extremely tired.

"Ann and Bobby, could you kindly go make this lady man's bed?" The older mother said.

Lady man? Interesting, it didn't actually bother me to be called that, and he didn't seem to say it with any bad intention. They climbed the handcarved stairway, and did as they were told. Nowadays I would have expected lots of complaining about letting a stranger in the house in the first place, let alone having to make the bed for him. I guessed this family had been brought up with old-fashioned values.

"Have a good night sleep." The older mother said.

"Thanks." I said.

I had a particularly hard time getting to sleep that night. I was thinking about my less than honorable past, back when I used to vandalize cars and other property, and served time in a state prison. I was also suspected of about five murders, but I was never charged because there was not enough DNA evidence linking me to them. So I only had to serve about five years for the vandalism. With those thoughts on my mind, I drifted in and out of sleep, but eventually fell into a deep slumber.

The next morning, I was awakened by a horn blowing nearby, several times in a row, so that was it for my sleep. I went downstairs and asked the man of the house what was going on. He told me the horn was sounded when there was going to be an execution. Apparently some girl with a history of being a thief was going to be executed for murder that very day. Of course I was still clinging to the idea that this was all some over-the-top production for the Renaissance fair, so I didn't think they would do it. I have to admit, I was more than a little curious, as I bet most people would have been in this situation.

By the time we got outside, there was already a crowd gathering around the scaffold. Then I saw a girl in ragged clothes, with chains around her ankles and waist, climbing the stairs. She looked about fifteen. I began to have this sinking feeling, and was really hoping these people weren't psycho. At the same time I felt this sense of anticipation, and seemed to become one of the mob here to see her die. I could see the girl pray to her heavenly father, and finally she kneeled and placed her neck upon the block. I was frozen by a mix of curiosity and dread, and felt a little bad choosing to just sit there and watch. It was becoming all too apparent this was a real execution, and I was just standing there. I thought: Had anyone even proved she was guilty, and was death really the punishment for theft?

Once again I wondered where the hell I was, as I saw the axe tumble down, and then her head fall into the basket. Messy, but I had seen worse. However being up close and personal, I realized this one seemed particularly morbid to me. But I had no idea why. Maybe because she was just on the verge of womanhood, and I had briefly entertained the thought of her as date material. But either way, I saw her head fall in the basket, and the deed was done. She would not be dating me or any other.

Now it seemed obvious that I had entered some sort of alternate society, where the people had found a way to avoid the laws and customs of the modern world. I had heard of cults that separated from society for the freedom to live as they pleased, but this seemed pretty radical. I realized it might not be as simple to leave this place as I had hoped, since they wouldn't want their existence to be discovered. I decided to go with the flow, which meant another night here at least. Leaving so soon after the execution might make it seem like I was fleeing, maybe to report it to authorities in the next town. That night I couldn't sleep again, but this time it was because I could not get what I had seen out of my head. I wondered why it was bothering me so much, since I had never really been an emotional person.

I had done my share of unsavory stuff, but none of it seemed as inhumane as the act I had just witnessed. Somehow I managed to get some sleep, but then my third eye took over. I saw the executed girl in a white dress, surrounded by a blue glow standing by a lake. She was staring at me, and the confusion that had surrounded me since I had woken up in this hell hole seemed to melt away. The girl in my dream had revealed to me that I hadn't stumbled upon some alternate society in 2030. No, I had somehow fallen through a portal into the ninth century, for the purpose of witnessing her execution.

Why it involved me I still didn't know. I just knew I had to get out of there, and fast. Early that morning, I bid the man that took care of me farewell. His final statement to me was to stay off the roads at night. Strange things seem to happen to people, sometimes there never found again. I made my exit of the house, and exited the village into a forest trail. It didn't matter to me if I was going in the wrong direction, so long as I got away from these psycho paths.

It was a lighter dusk than normal, for the man in the moon was fully awake, observing my every move. I noticed there were not many signs telling me where I was, so I had to rely on my intuition. Surely it would not take long for me to reach the next village at least. I can worry about finding a portal later. A couple of hours later, I decided I would rest on the closest tree I could find. I situated myself as carefully as I could, so not to hurt myself. I drifted in and out of sleep because I wasn't very comfortable. But eventually I was able to dose off. In my third eye, I saw that girl again.

"Why did you let me die?" She asked.

It was her fault she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or so I felt at the time. Later, I woke up to find three large scratches across my chest. How did those get there? Those were definitely going to take some stitches. But didn't have time to worry about it write then. I pushed my feet up, took out my knife, and cut off a part of my pants to bind up the wound. I could feel it stinging, but I couldn't really bitch about it write now. If I had a compass with me, maybe I wouldn't have gotten lost.

"Yea, keep deluding yourself Albert, I know you feel terrible. You should go back and confess to the murder yourself." The girls voice said.

Was someone talking to me, or was I hearing voices in my own head? It sounded like the voice of a young girl. I started walking again, and found myself hoping on one leg. So much for the safety measure. When I arrived at my destination, there was not a human soul, and yet there was no indication of any kind of disturbance. It was almost as if the town went on with its normal activities, without its residents setting foot on the soil. I walked into the town square, every now and then seeing blood along the walls. Yet there were no bodies that could be found. As if the earth swallowed them up.

I could feel my heart pounding again, and gasped for as much air as I could. When I arrived at the market center, I could see a scaffold, a bloody headmans block, and a weeping willow swaying in the gentle breeze. I climbed the scaffold to take a taste of the blood. I dipped my index finger in it. And then I had that voice in my head again: "Do you like the taste Albert, its your own blood. Your own fresh blood."

It could not be her. After all, there was no way for her to get inside my head. And then I woke up, and found myself laying on the tree of where I thought I originally woke up. I wondered how much time had passed. It was early, but I decided to press on.

Nothing much happened this morning, although my wounds have healed a little bit. I took off my bandages, since my wounds needed some air to breath. It was now the second afternoon of my trek, and It was a colder type of hell, but at least for now that voice has not bothered me. I didn't know why I worried about it so much. I could feel something watching me from further in the woods along the trail. It didn't feel quite human, so I decided not to hang around. I thought it would be safer to follow the mans directions a little more strictly this time. I could not turn a flashlight on, since I didnt have one. So I needed to take the safest route.

I decided I would try to get away from the sound as quickly as I could. I didn't exactly want to know what was behind me. And then I hid behind one of the signs along the dirt road. I never saw it directly, but from what I could tell, it was a silhouette of a small headless body. Whether it was a male or female I could not tell. and then I heard that voice again.

"Come out come out wherever you are, you know you can't hide." A girls voice said.

Was the voice coming from that thing over there? And then I saw the feminine creature dissipate, and dissolve before my eyes. I could feel myself getting tired again, and could not resist the temptation to sleep. I blacked out with tiredness, for I could not force myself up any longer.

In my third eye, I was in that isolated town again, but now the heads mans block had somebody kneeling on it. It was a feminine silhouette, I could not see its face. I could not save the girl, for my body was frozen, and I could do nothing. Then I woke up from a loud scream, resting right behind the road sign.

When I walked along the road, I saw another silhouette, but it resembled more like a seven foot tall man. It was holding a bloody shovel, and the humanoid began to slowly crawl toward me. So I took out my knife to defend myself. However, something else popped out of the woods that had more of a parasitic appearance. It was holding a baseball bat, and beat the human creature to death.

My headache was gone, and it was now daylight. Oddly enough, I was unharmed through the incident last night. But I still had to be careful. It was now day three of my misadventure, and I finally arrived at the small forest village covered in a thick green fog. I could see the burned walls where the cabins once stood, and the smell of iron clenched my throat. In the distance I could see human figures chained to a wall. I thought: Is this a form of prison?

I went to go see if they were alive. Went I got close, I found they were nothing but stained skeletons. There legs and arms have been horrendously dislocated. I thought I could see one of them twitch, as if they were still alive. I looked, and didn't see anything unusual. I however did not want to hang around, as any man with any bit of intelligence would not. I struggled to find a place top hide, before it got dark. Did the man send me into a death trap?

In this small cabin I've been staying in until morning, I tried to nab whatever supplies I could find. However the place was completely barren. I then walked out the door, being careful not to run into anything, and made my way to the abandoned to church. Surely they must have some kind of library, and I could look there to find out what was going on. I walked inside, and closed the doors.

After I closed the doors, I found myself in the worship hall. I guess it was a better smell than outside, but not by much. There was still a scent of mold polluting the air, as if it had not been cleaned in a while. I walked down the hall, and heard the giggle of a little girl in one of the halls. I went to go look, but I didn't find anyone. I was the only here, which was sort of a mixed blessing. Then I realized I was walking in the wrong direction. So I retraced my steps, and finally found the book hall. I grabbed a book on the churches history and place in Katolinio's society.

According to the information presented, the towns history was known for indiscriminate executions of anyone, regardless of the age of the accused. But then five years ago, a plague broke out which created a famine, which was theorized to be gods wrath for murdering his own children. Whatever the case, because of the lack of edible crops, they had to resort to eating dogs and cats. When that ran out, they began to turn on each other. I thought: That would explain the dislocated skeletons chained to the churches wall.

It also mentioned something about the unique appearance of the residents. Because of the lack of a great deal of sunlight, they were more pale than other people in the region. They were known for their bright blue yes, and light brown hair. Then I had images in my head again about that girl from earlier. I remember she looked similar to the description described in these pages. I exited the church, but before I could exit the town, found myself being attacked by a humanoid. I was able to hold it off until it passed out on its own. And then I exited the village never to return.

I decided along my path that it would not be worth going back to the village. I was a selfish creature by heart, even if I felt guilty for not saving the girl. Then along my path I found some portal back home, but before I could exit, I was overpowered by the parasite and the humanoid that snuck on me. And then I woke up back in my apartment. and I wondered if it had all been a dream. I looked in the mirror in my bathroom. In my minds eye, I saw the village were I was taken care of in, burnt to the ground. And then a black headless silhouette stared at me in the mirror.

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