Today’s post is brought to you by the letter M and the category of Fiction.
This is the start of a book I was writing back in January of 2014. I was a good warm-up jog into it when my computer crashed and it was almost forgotten. I have been thinking of it, now and again, and I think its resurrection is imminent. Here are the first pages.
The Madness in the Fire
The tent glowed pale green as the lantern inside cast its light through the colored canvas. A smoldering campfire sent tendrils of smoke into the night air.
The moon, a mere crescent, did little to lighten up the surrounding woods. Giant conifers towered high above the tiny tent, blocking any traces of the moonlight. Tall ferns crowded each other nearby, filling up any available space left by the towering trees. The forest was thick, almost impenetrable. Moss covered logs blocked any straight path through the trees. It was a good place to camp. A secure place.
Inside the tent lay a couple with their infant. A mere two weeks old and birthed inside the canvas walls in which they now slept. They had been travelling, long arduous miles through this uninhabitable land. Always on the lookout for food and shelter but most of all people. Danger lurked everywhere. They trusted no one.
She was sick. He hoped medicine could fix her, but she knew there was nothing that could help. The sickness had taken its toll on her body. She was thin, her face gaunt and stretched over her cheekbones. He was afraid for the baby. The little one had been nursing from his mother, but he knew the sickness coursed through the milk he drank from her breast every day. There was no other option. So he watched - watched his wife and son slowly wither away. Tonight they slept. Feeling secure in their makeshift camp, they had not seen or heard any other people since entering the forest. The three soon fell asleep.
The ferns parted and a shadowy figure emerged. Slowly, the figure crept up on the encampment. Others began to emerge from the blackness. Soon the tent was surrounded. Once they were within a few feet the lead figure raised his hand and the group descended upon the tent with a fury.
Within a few seconds, it was over. The man and woman were bound and tied to a tree and the infant dangled by his leg, clutched in the grasp of the shadowy figure. The other shadows began to stoke the fire and soon became human as the fire cast its light.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" the man clutching the now wailing baby in his hand asked.
"We've been tracking you for days, you should have been more vigilant," he sneered at them.
"First things first, let's quiet this place down a bit and we'll have a go at the lady and then we can sit and discuss your future."
He winked at the couple and with a flick of his wrist tossed the wailing baby into the fire.