999 years after god Nevlar’s Retribution
Legs and skirts were all Wilhelm saw when he darted out of the mage shop, clutching his mother’s cloak, blood pounding in his ears.
People fled down the cobblestone streets with the consistency of a tornado, and screeches rang from every which way. Men shoved other men down as a means to save themselves and provide a victim for the creatures hunting within the city. The crisp autumn air was overpowered by the stench of sweat and only the briny scent of the sea pierced through it. As if to offer compliment to the harrowing scene, the sunset painted crimson veins across the sky.
“May the gods help us,” his mother breathed, her gaze sweeping over the chaos. She gathered her cloak about her to hide her standard mage robes before snatching his hand. Looking down at him, she cast a small smile. “We’re going to run home. Don’t let go of me no matter what happens.”
Wilhelm nodded. Wincing from his mother’s tight grip, he plunged into the bedlam alongside her. He was too short to see the terror going on around him. He only reached waist high, and as wails crescendoed, he snapped his eyes shut to avoid an accidental view of what might be unfolding. He’d yet to see another creature, and he prayed to the godless sky that his luck held. What he’d witnessed rising from the darkness in the alley had frozen his blood. There was no name for them that he knew of, no writings or pictures of them in books he’d read, but what he’d seen he named shadowfire.
When warmth devoured the evening chill, bringing with it a hissing noise, followed by what sounded like bubbling stew, Wilhelm opened his eyes and looked for the source. Beside him, a man was clutched in the arms of a shadowfire. The creature was in the form of a featureless human, as much shadow as fire. Instead of burnt orange flames, this fire was alive like curling smoke, roiling in hues of deep gray.
However, the shadowfire wasn’t the source of the noise. The cause was the man flailing about in the creature’s arms. He was burning, skin popping like a crackling fire, scream hissing in his throat, insides sputtering like boiling water, his dripping skin bathing Wilhelm in the stench of burnt hair and baking flesh.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish