Oct 20, 2011

Everything That Clatters Is Not Bone

By Ilsa Rashid

Q. In 350 words create an atmosphere of horror, mystery or suspense.

What is more painful? Extreme noise or excruciating silence; or the bite of a snake; or the cracking of a rib? Or, perhaps, being helpless, alone and, yet, alive.

The crunch of every leaf under my feet sent an echo that only I could hear before it, too, drowned into the night like my unheard screams. I was out of strength, hope, adrenaline and water. But something kept me trudging through that place where I wouldn’t send Isabella to; or maybe I would.

The dense air that enveloped me reeked of rotting moss and flesh- human flesh- and it pushed at my bleak chest, suffocating me with every passing minute…

The icy breeze, that I would have loved while on my terrace at home, felt like knives against my cheeks, freezing my jaws. However, it seemed a little more welcoming than the howling of seemingly hungry hounds, whose howl made my throat drier than it already was.

The vast landscape was nothing but loose, eroded earth; the only adornment being scattered mounds of earth and shrub that dotted the area. The only piece of greenery other than the moss covering scattered bits of bone was a huge Banyan. In the eerie moonlight, it caste a shadow four times its own radius. Its trunk was green with decay and branches, spread out like a witch’s skinny arms. The gigantic figure leaned threateningly over me, leaning to a side. Its steel-like roots snaked in and out of the ground and stretched as far as the thick canopy did. Vines that came all the way to the ground hung like ropes that could come into life and strangle you to an agonizing death. A strange- almost supernatural- mist swirled in its boundary. With its distinct hue, it was almost enchanting.

An owl, as golden as my hair, was perched upon a piece of pale bone about ten yards from me. Its eyes, milky white, shone in the moonlight. Its claws were tight around the round, sculpted bone. The obvious realization came to me a little late. I stepped back with my eyes still on the skull and tripped on another. I cringed in horror and took refuge on a mound of mud similar to the dozens of others around. Ofcourse, mine had a different name. It was called Katherine McAfee, 1972.


Farwa Haider said...

You've done a really great job of creating such an atmosphere. The ending comes as a shock. Hence, I love it!

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