Friday, October 28, 2016

Downfall, part 1

Please keep in mind that the stories I post here are considered "rough drafts"  and will be different from the "finised product" but I like to post them here to share what I am working on and to show how I "interpet the AD&D 1E/OSRIC gamme world.

Billy was powerful thirsty.  It had been at least three days since he had any money to buy some good hooch.  He stumbled around the old mausoleum he had been living in for about a week now.  It was moldy and smelled of humid age.  There was only one crypt in the center of the large chamber.  It was impossible to move and Billy had tried several times in the hopes there might be something worth selling for a few dollars on it's inhabitant.  Nothing doing.

After awhile, Billy shambled over to sit in one of the small alcoves on the South side of the crypt.  He stared almost blindly at the stuccoed wall.  He leaned forward and used his hand to wipe off the dust and cobwebs from the wall.  It seemed like there was something on the wall behind the muck that he could almost make out.

After a few grubby swipes, lettering became more clear against the background.  It stood out in crimson lettering.  It didn't look like any writing he recognized, not that he recognized much having only a fifth grade education.  It looked like Arabic or something like he used to see in the movies.  Still though, it was almost as if he could make it it.  He started to sound out the lettering.  It's like the words were trying to form themselves in his mind.

As a matter of fact, the more he tried, the faster it became clearer to him. Before he realized it, he began reading the words on the wall with near perfect pronunciation, though he never realized it. No sooner did the last syllables leave his mouth then he heard a heavy, scraping sound behind him.

Slowly he turned to face the crypt and watched in silent terror as the lid moved on it's own to reveal a dark opening beneath it.  He leaned forward carefully to see what was inside.  All he found was a crimson satin or silk, he could never tell the difference, a cushion that filled the entire space.  Setting on it, balanced gracefully, was an ornate, bronze chalice.  It was covered in graceful designs and engraved images.  There was some kind of lettering in places but he had no idea what they might be and nothing seemed to come to him like the words in the alcove did so easily.

The chalice was full of liquid.   It smelled like some kind of spiced drink.  It didn't smell bad.  Not bad at all.  It smelled really good as a matter of fact and it reminded him of how thirsty he was.  It smelled so good.  It couldn't hurt to take a drink from the chalice.  Just a sip.  Whoever put this here wouldn't miss a little sip.  Billy reached out to grasp the large chalice with both hands.

As he pulled the chalice closer to his mouth, he swore he could almost taste the drink and it was incredible.  "Holy Crap!", he thought. If it smelled this good now, imagine what it would be like actually going down.  He put the edge carefully against his lips and tipped the chalice up.  Just then, he thought he caught a whiff of something that smelled like an infected wound.  He's had enough to know how they could get so rank.

The faint odor seemed to drift away, like a bad memory.  Billy finished tipping the chalice and started drinking.  He drank a sip.  He drank more than a sip.  He started to chug it down.  Billy drank it all and almost instantly drunk, he dropped the chalice back down into the crypt and fell backwards to land on his backside with his palms splayed out to catch himself as he landed.

Billy laughed drunkenly.  He could see himself in his mind making such a clumsy, drunken fall and he laughed more.  He laughed  and laughed until he realized he was laughing uncontrollably.  He really couldn't stop laughing.  Then he did stop.  He stopped suddenly and with an icepick of fear penetrating him to his heart as he watched a shadowy, horned figure emerge from the shadows of the alcove on the North side of the crypt.

It came forward slowly, never quite being more than a shadow yet he could see enough to know that he didn't want to see more.  It stood like a man on two legs and had a man's body but it looked like it had the head of a dog.  No, not a dog, a jackal, like the ones he saw at the zoo when he could sneak through the gate.

As it stopped before him, regarding him silently, Billy began to feel cold, very, very cold and chills ran through him to his core.  He shuddered and suddenly felt nauseous.  He pitched forward with a sudden horrible cramped feeling in his stomach and began vomiting.  He could not stop.  It became dry heaves and he still vomited.  Blood began to cough up and still he vomited and still the figure watched silently.

Billy's body was wracked with pain and spasmed as he began to die.  The figure tilted it's head very slightly to one side as Billy became still and fell silent to the floor.  After a time that could have been a few minutes or a few years, Billy started to get up.  He shambled to his feet again and stood in front of the shadowed figure.  Not breathing but still standing.  His eyes open but bloodshot to the point of seeming incredible that he could see anything.  He made a sound from his chest that was not unlike a grunt and a groan at the same time.  He tipped his head down in a submissive movement as an inferior dog in a pack would in the presence of it's Alpha.

The hyena head cackled in an outburst that was startling and would have shredded Billy's sanity, had Billy had any sanity within him to be affected.  The figure glided back into the shadowy alcove quietly and shrouded in it's fog of shadows while Billy shambled out of the mausoleum in a much different way than drunk.

After what must be about thirty minutes from leaving the mausoleum,   A scream can be heard in the distance.  A long and pained scream that dwindles as the sounds of crunching and rending teeth can be heard just beneath it.  Billy isn't thirsty anymore.  Billy is hungry.  He will always be hungry.

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