I actually got alittle disturbed by myself while writing this one but here it is...
Mitepi moved quietly through the thick brush, ears pricked for any sign for his quarry. As he had done for the last 3 days, he followed the fresh distinctive tracks in the mud, the piles for waste and the corpses of less fortunate animals.
But after 3 days he was hungry and tired and he longed for a hot meal, warm bed skins, and the face of the one to whom he was promised. Ultana.
But he new he must continue until he killed one of the evil beasts he had been taught to fear and hate since he was a child. For not only was this a test of his manhood and a chance to redeem his families honor. But his life literally depended on it.
He recalled only too vividly that day almost 10 summers ago, when his brother went out on his test. And the Horrible sadness 2 days later when he came staggering out of the clearing stumbling and screaming as he ran, terror on his face. He was shot with arrows before he got within a hundred paces of the village guards. It was well known that the terrible creatures that lived in these woods were evil spirits that would possess the minds of those who failed to kill it quickly. And those poor souls were sent back to the village to possess the rest of the people who lived there, turning loving mothers into cannibals who would feed on the flesh their own sons, and fathers into monsters who would laugh as they raped their own daughters. For the good of the village these spirits must be killed, their bodies burned by priests who knew how to resist them.
He remembered watching from the tower as they burned his brother’s body. And his mothers horrible wails as she mourned her son and remembered when her brother had not returned from the hunt at all. This has been the way of the world since the ancient days. And until now Mitepi had never questioned it. Not until his life was in jeopardy.
His uncle. His Brother. And now him.
“No!” he decided. He would not bring any further shame to this family. He was their last chance to redeem themselves and he decided that he would redeem them if he had to stay in the forest for an entire moon cycle.
Suddenly, as if the gods had heard his vow, he saw a large stone cave in the side of an outcropping. Perhaps this was the beasts lair and he would catch it sleeping. He tensed and Praised the Gods for guiding him. He would be home soon he thought victorious, a man in law. His family redeemed and His betrothed fully his.
He approached the cave slowly along the rock face. His spear in his hands and his axe in his belt. He looked in as he reached its mouth. No sign. Should he go in? or should he wait for it to come out and attack from behind. Surely the latter was the better choice he thought. But then he heard a low rumbling for deep inside the cave.
“It’s asleep!” he thought triumphantly. He slowly moved in to the cave making no noise as he went.
Silence except for the low rumble and occasional droplet of water. As he got further from the mouth of the cave he noticed that the rumble was more constant then he had thought. He paused. Were their two of them? Breath overlapping to make one constant sound? He reconsidered his plan. If there were two, the death of one would surely wake the other. Or others? He turned to leave. He would wait for one to immerge from the cave and kill it then maintaining the element of suprise. This was far too dangerous. But as he moved slowly back to the entrance he saw a small tunnel branching off to the right that he hadn’t noticed before. He only noticed to now because of a faint blue glow in its depths.
Curiosity overwhelming caution he walked down the tunnel and as he rounded the corner he noticed that not only was the glow getting stronger. But the rumble was getting louder. Was the sound coming from this glow? And he knew this glow was not the beast. What kind of evil was this? He turned to leave. After only a few steps, the rumble suddenly grew louder and there was a flash of blue light. He turned and his face was suddenly a mask of horror and fear at what he saw. There was a sharp stabbing pain at the base of his skull.