Caliban cautiously stepped through the trees, his heart pounding in his chest. In the centre of the clearing was a large bonfire, surrounded by several menhirs that radiated outward in a spiral pattern throughout he clearing. and around it were several figures dancing and waving their arms in the air.
Despite the fear that Cal felt from being chased by the men and the aching gut wound that he was clutching with one hand to slow the blood loss, he was momentarily mesmerised by the scene before him. He had never seen anything like and could only watch a little awed at the sacred aura he could feel centred around the fire. He painted a little as he watched and leaned up against the tree for support as t he figures moved in a slow languid yet coordinated way. Their voices rising and falling in a strange harmonic counterpoint.
Suddenly, one of the old women noticed him and pointed in his direction. The chanting stopped and all eyes were on him. Daniel felt a chill run down his spine as he realised he had stumbled upon a sacred site used for ceremonies. As if a lightbulb went off inside his head Cal immediately put two and two together and came up with five. No wonder the hunting party had been out patrolling to ensure their elders were not disturbed. No wonder that they had immediately become violent upon seeing him.
Cal stepped forward stiltedly, the motion causing the pain in his side to flare up again as he struggled to keep moving forward.
The head elder jumped up from his position as he rapidly spat orders to the others. Cal couldn’t understand what was being said but he didn’t think the man was telling the others to rush to his aid with tea and crumpets. As he limped forward the men abandoned their places amongst the spiral of menhirs and began to surround him. Cal managed to croak “help….please” as he walked forward and he almost made it forward onto the large almost perfectly flat circular stone that was the centre of the spiral.
This seemed to aggravate the chief elder even more and he started gesturing frantically to the men nearest to Cal as the franticness of his voice picked up. Cal was so far beyond the edge of his strength by this point that he didn’t even try and fight the men as they restrained him. He just sort of went limp in their arms as they were forced to hold him up.
It didn’t take long before the young men from the hunting party made it to the clearing as well and stepped out from the tree line that surrounded the nation’s oldest and most sacred site.
“Birrani, Juki….Noah.” The chief barked. “Explain why there is a bleeding white man standing a step away from the Makari.”
The old man stood tall despite his age and his eyes swept the three young men both daring them to talk back and demanding answers at the same time. His demeanour, authority and presence cowed the three young men though Juki almost immediately threw off the intimidating presence scowling back at the demand. His anger at white men more than enough to break the chief’s hold.
Yet it was Noah who answered. “Chief, we were out fishing when this white fella stumbled out of the groves down by the inlet, we were going to try and scare him off but Juki speared him.” Noah said, his voice turning a bit hostile as he got to the part about Juki. “We spread out to try and find him but we couldn’t find him. The fault is mine.”
Cal meanwhile couldn’t understand a word but he did understand the tones of the exchanges. There was a great deal of anger, frustration and recriminations being thrown about. He was really starting to get worried that they were just going to dump his body in the bush rather then help him so in a fit of irrational fear he pretended like he was going to face plant and pulled one of the men holding him a little off balance before pushing with all the force he could muster and pushing back.
However, he did this a little too well and unbalanced himself, falling over as his arms windmilled trying to stay upright but in vain. It felt like time slowed down as his leaking blood first hit the stone and then he turned and closed his eyes as he relaxed to try and make the fall hurt as little as possible.
The sensation of falling continued much longer for Cal then it aught to have when falling from a standing height. Subjectively it felt like time had slowed down to less then a tenth of what it normally was. Almost as if he’d taken a hit from this drug in what was that movie called again Fudge Bread? No that wasn’t it, Cal giggled to himself at the absurdity of a movie called Fudge Bread.
In a very small part of Cals mind there was a voice screaming at him trying to get him to pay attention that this level of mania wasn’t normal. He’d never been one to take drugs and he had only ever gotten drunk enough to not care like this maybe once or twice in his life. However it was hard to keep his mind focused on that sense of wrongness as the waves of mania kept washing over him and silenced the voice trying to warn him of danger.
The feeling of falling then morphed into a sinking one; like he had fallen into the ocean and was now headed to the bottom. At the same time the manic cloying giddiness subsided as Caliban also got the impression that he wasn’t alone. He could feel the presence of whatever it was, looming in the dark as her presence grew larger and closer to Cal.
He could feel her rage tainting the water with a visceral hatred of something. He didn’t know how he knew that it was HER rage, he just knew it surely as knew that he himself existed. He tried to twist around in the dark, now thoroughly afraid and desperate to face whatever was coming head on when he felt it brush up against him. In that instant it was like he’d touched a million volt power cable, his vision going white as her power flooded into him from that briefest of contacts.
KILL THEM ALL….
Was the sole overriding thought, nay compulsion he got blasted with before he was flung away from HER by the power that he had inadvertently touched. The contact however brief was burning within, consuming him from the inside out as he was violently expelled from HER presence.
Gravity it seemed however while delayed would not be denied, the force of his transition catching up to Caliban all at once as his back slammed into the hard and cold stone with some force stunning him momentarily. He forced his lungs to suck air in as he rolled over onto his side. Spluttering and coughing he felt like shit, as if he’d been run over by a ten tonne truck or what he imagined it felt like to go twelve rounds with Mike Tyson. As he curled into a fetal position he felt the residual power from the overwhelming being he had come into contact with dissipate.
He just lay there curled up on the stone and panted a little. He probably would have been content to lay there for a while longer as his body normalised after the trauma that had recently been inflicted on it; except for a what he could only descriptive as a deep cough was heard that caused him to still as a cold sweat started to form on his back. This was accompanied by a repetitive clicking sound that could have been lifted straight from a predator movie as whatever it was moved around behind him.
Ohh fuck, Cal thought…..what now.