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Syndel's Spire
Syndel's Spire

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My series (10)




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Chapter 3

Added:June 14th 2007, 16:23:52
Series:[ The Returned ]
Rating:Not rated yet.

No stats this time. Just read and hopefully enjoy.

The next day Mike decided to go exploring. He visited all his old haunts: the local sweet shop, the park and the woods at the edge of town. The blue tint to his vision made everything look somehow ethereal. Looking at the haggard old shopkeeper, a woman in her late fifty's, made her look some how skeletal where normally her features were vivid and cheerful. The park has also held the same problem. The children running around, playing tag or adventuring in the outskirts, seemed like ghostly silhouettes, floating and leaving trails of blue behind them. Mike noticed that whatever new vision mode he had obtained did allow him almost perfect night vision and also seemed to colour things differently. The grass below his feet was a vivid, waving light-blue, the trails leaving the impression of mist along the ground. The trees were huge towering behemoths of bright-blue, their leaves creating a blanket of tinted cloud. The rocks, however, were almost black, such a deep blue as to rebound almost all colour. Venturing back into the town he noticed more of these kinds of contrasts, the trees, people and plants all shining brilliantly among cold, dead walls and cars. Eventually after about an hour he found himself at the entrance to the woods. The woods of his home-town had always held some mystery to him. A drunk had once come out of them screaming aliens, demons and devils. A recent council plan to tear it up and build houses had met problem after problem and eventually had been scrapped and, most mysterious of all, it was where Mike had found the gun.

It had been a dark day almost a week ago. He had been playing football at the local sports centre, his team losing 4-1 against their rivals from a town a couple of miles north. It had been a dismal day for both sides. Shortly after play had begun the heavens had opened and a torrent of rain screamed down onto the pitch. The home team, equipped in shorts and light T-shirts had not been prepared at all but the away team had arrived in long, thick trousers and jumpers. It wasn't long before it was bitterly cold and visibility was so poor it was almost impossible to spot the ball. Mike was playing goalie and was stuck shivering in the rain, desperately trying to pick out the ball between blinks as the rain and wind assaulted his eyes. He heard a shout, opened his eyes and saw the ball, suddenly visible a few feet in front of him. He jumped, dived, but was a moment too late. The ball hit the back of the net with a damning clink of chain. He landed face down in the liquid mud. The combined force of the rain, wind, poor visibility and his now-muddied condition led him to concede another three goals without a single save. Somehow someone managed to score against the wind but this was lost on Mike who hadn't even noticed through the storm.
The coaches soon decided that play had become impossible under the conditions and the match was abandoned shortly before half-time. The players sat shivering in the locker room. It seemed few players had escaped the mud. One mid-fielder was caked in mud all along his left side, where he had hit the ground going for a desperate slide tackle. Another had a long, thin cut along his side where he had been kicked by the opposition's defenders. The ref, of course, had completely missed it as he was squinting for the ball at the other end of the pitch.
The coach entered the locker room and announced that the showers were broken and flooded. The storm showed no sign of stopping so he suggested they find their own way home and get cleaned up there. "It's not like your going to get any worse then you are now." He said simply.
Silently everyone rose and departed, disappearing into the storm. Mike sat deep in thought and concentrating on not freezing to death. He debated heading back now. His house lay on the other side of town, at least a twenty minute walk away. He wondered how long it'd take someone to discover him if he collapsed of hypothermia. The coach glanced at him. "You can stay here if you want, here - I'll give you the keys, just remember to lock up when you leave." He said.
Mike nodded dumbly and accepted the keys in a shaking hand. The coach left solemnly, his footsteps quickly disappearing in the torrential rain.
"Hey, wanna see something cool?" A voice suddenly said from behind him.
Mike jumped and twirled round suddenly alert. It was his friend, the same who had shot him.
";Damnit Travis, you scared me." He said, heart racing.
"Heh, Your such a wuss sometimes Mikey." He replied laughing.
"Hey cut it out, and for future reference my name is ‘Mike'"
"Your still a wuss though Mike." He replied. "I didn't just come here to scare the pants off you though, I've found something up near the woods, it's really spooky."
"This isn't going to be like that dead rat thing again is it?" Mike asked, frowning.
"No - better, but I'm not going to spoil the surprise. Follow me." He said, rising to his feet.
"Out there? But it's still raining!" Mike protested.
"Heh, if your scared of a little rain your never going to find it." Travis replied.
"What exactly is ‘it'?" Mike asked, rising to his feet, his pride stung but his body still shivering.
"Why, the secret of ‘The Haunted Woods'" Travis said spookily. "Come on." He said leaving in the direction of the woods.
Mike stood hesitantly at the entrance to the locker room. Outside the storm still raged strongly but he could see that it was beginning to loose its strength. He braced himself for the cold, locked the locker room door, and headed out after Travis.
The woods were literally just around the corner from the sports centre. The road out of town lead right by the edge of the woods, the nearest building to the woods was an abandoned site office, left behind when the construction crews had left. The council had thought of moving it but since it didn't pose a problem where it was they saw little point. Littering the dirt road into the woods were various building supplies and half-cemented bricks. The builders had left in a hurry, taking everything that was easily movable and not cleaning up after themselves. Mike found Travis at the edge of the building site.
"You have to promise that you will never reveal what you are about to see to another human being" Travis said mysteriously.
"Aw common cut the crap Travis, I'm freezing out here. You gonna show me or what?"
"Say it." Demanded Travis.
"Gah, ok. Cross my heart and hope to die." Said Mike, shivering in the rain.
"Good, follow me." Said Travis with a smirk.
He led Mike through one of the old tracks in the woods, the cover of the dense foliage protecting them from the worst of the storm. Mike debated the sensibilities of being in a forest during a storm but was determined not to run away. Suddenly, Travis ducked off the trail, forcing Mike to run to catch up. He glanced around but couldn't see Travis anywhere. "Where'd you go Travis?" He asked.
"Patience Mikey," Came a voice from an unidentifiable direction. "The legend goes that ghosts have infested this forest for centuries, appearing on dark, stormy nights. The stories grew to the extent that it brought ghost hunters from all around the world. Many took one look at the place and decided that the infestation was too great for them to deal with. Most packed up and left straight away, eager to be away from such a raw source of negative energy. But one man, bearing a gun and cross stood silently at the edge of the woods. After all others had left he stood standing, staring up towards the haunted woods. Eventually the mayor of this very town spoke to him. "Will you clear this infestation?" He asked the hunter. "I'm not sure. But I will try." He replied and with that he entered the forest."
"Cut it out Travis, I didn't come all this way for a ghost story" Said Mike.
"He travelled down one of the well trodden tracks, the very same we have walked down today." The voice continued, unperturbed. "Eventually he sensed something to his left…"
Instinctively Mike looked to his left.
"He walked slowly forwards until he felt an odd presence all around him, he fumbled in his coat for a weapon, torch, anything, but remembered too late that the thing about forests…"
Mike reached a thick branch and moving it aside…
"…Is that the enemy can attack from above!" Travis shouted, dropping from a nearby tree branch.
Travis had jumped down behind a corpse on the ground. The body had been viciously attacked and had what looked like both claw and teeth marks covering it, both too large for normal animals such as cats and dogs. Mike gagged at the sight before him.
"Cool huh?" Travis said with another one of his trademark smirks.
Mike fought for breath and said ";Dude… what did this to him?"
"The ghosts, duh… You still with me? You've gone all pale." He said clicking his fingers in front of Mikes face.
"Yeah… I'm good." He replied.
"That's not the best bit. Look what he was carrying." Travis said, grabbing a large handgun and jewelled cross off the ground.
"So this guy was a genuine ghost hunter?" Mike said in awe.
"I dunno... I just made that up" Said Travis smiling. He did tend to add drama to anything he found.
"We've got to tell someone about this." Mike said suddenly decisive.
"No - I told you. Your not allowed to tell a single soul, besides then we wouldn't be able to have a little fun with this" He said motioning towards the handgun.
";Dude, I'm not playing with guns!." Mike declared.
"Fine, more fun for me." Travis said with an evil glint in his eye.
Suddenly an alarm went off. Mike checked his watch. ";Dude I was suppose to be home like and hour ago! I'm out of here."
"Your such a kill-joy Mikey." Travis replied.
"Whatever…" He said leaving towards the town.
The storm had all but boiled over now, with just a light patter of rain on the streets, sun peeking through the clouds. Mike headed home, imagination reeling at the thought of the ghost hunter in the woods. When he got home he showered, got changed and went to bed, the combined fatigue of the match and his adventure in the woods sending him instantly to sleep.

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