Attempt after attempt, it all goes to waste
And even though trying, the lost soul won't be erased
For the haunted place casts an irresistible spell
Promising new future, like a deal from Hell
Search, wander, restless like no other
and you'll survive to realize; It takes a monster to kill another
That was the only thing she had uttered before everything went to shit. Before her car left the road and broke through trees as it overturned. Somehow, she had been dumb enough to think it wouldn't hurt that much. But now that she opened her eyes, her body bent in awkward angles and her head protesting from the blood rushing to it, she realized how wrong she had been. Waking up in an upside-down car, with your head supporting the weight of your whole damn body was far more painful than she'd imagined.
Groaning both in pain and annoyance, she pulled her hand from where it was stuck behind the driver's seat and reached for her seatbelt. After a whole minute of fumbling with the buckle, she unlocked it, feeling her body immediately slump on her head, neck bending painfully. Wincing, she shifted a bit until her weight was supported by her shoulders instead and stretched her hand out of the broken window, grabbed the side of the door, and pulled.
She hissed when a sharp pain shot up her other arm, meeting resistance. Looking down through blurry eyes, she huffed at the sight of her hand stuck deep inside the wheel, right in the horn as if she had intentionally punched through it. She could practically feel her fingers tangled in a mass of hot cables, tiny sparks emitting from the dark hole. At this point, she was so pissed at herself that she didn't even think the better option was to twist her hand out of there. Instead of that, she just braced herself and pulled.
A sharp cry left her lips as her hand came free, the wheel ripping out with it. Her arm fell limp from the strain, the wheel holding onto her wrist weighing her down. She breathed through the nose a few times, willing her body to take the next step towards getting out of that wreck. Gritting her teeth, she pulled hard on her leg and broke the handbrake it was stuck under, miraculously managing not to sprain her ankle in the process.
Finally free, she slipped the rest of her body out of the window. She laid on her back, feeling the fresh snow soak her sweater while she moaned at the pain all over her body. Her breath came out in clouds, reminding her that despite being early noon, the cold was too biting for her to be so exposed to it. Though in the state she was in, shocked, adrenaline-stricken, and angry, she didn't even feel the low temperature.
It had happened again. She had failed again.
Her hands clenched into fists and she smashed the hand still inside the wheel on the snow. How was it that she was good at everything she hated but when it came to something she wanted, she was a complete loser?!
She beat the snowy ground again, slicing her wrist in the broken wheel. "Gamoto!" (Fuck!)
A few crows flew out of the branches around her, crowing at her in protest. She followed them with her eyes until they disappeared into the sky, using them as a distraction to calm down. She took in a long breath, held it, then released it. A shiver ran up her spine, her body finally starting to feel the cold snow against her back.
A muffled ringing reached her ears over the hissing engine, drawing her attention back to the broken car. She frowned in confusion, wondering how on earth her phone had survived the crash.
Getting up to her feet proved to be a hard task, but she managed with a few pained groans. She glanced down at the wheel weighing down on her hand, regarding it with disinterest. She didn't bother sliding her hand out of it, only opted for grabbing it with her free hand and yanking it off, cables, blood, and chunks of plastic flying in the air from the force. She grimaced at the pain that enveloped her hand, hesitating for a moment to bring it up to her face and assess the damage.
Her heart skipped a little at the sight. Among the deep, bleeding scratches that adorned her flesh, she could clearly distinguish something white. And it didn't take a genius to know this white thing was bone.
Her eyes moved further down, noticing that her black glove was surprisingly still intact and covering perfectly her hand at the fingers. She snorted at the irony. Figures...
Trying to ignore the burning from her injuries, she wobbled over to the driver's seat and reached inside with her good hand, retrieving the still ringing phone after a bit of a blind search. Looking at the contact name, she shut her eyes to contain her newfound frustration and pressed the answer button with her knuckle. "You really need to work on your timing."
"Took you long enough! Where the hell are you?"
She glanced around at the surrounding, snow-covered forest. "I'm not sure..."
"You're not- how can you not be sure?!" the man yelled over the line, making her flinch as the headache she already had, worsened. "Have you crossed the border?"
"Yes, I am in Romania. I can't tell exactly where, though. My car crashed on the way to the target." she said, the tiredness seeping into her voice.
"Damn it. I'm sending in a team to retrieve you. How many miles away from the border are you?"
The woman felt her arm numbing and she glanced down at her injured wrist, realizing she couldn't feel it anymore. Her eyes shifted to her glove-covered fingers, her previous feelings returning. She had failed before, lost her chance.
She turned her gaze further inside the forest, noting the masses of snow all around. Maybe she had another chance, after all.
"Hey, are you listening?!"
"Don't bother coming for me." she responded, determination masking the sorrow underneath. "I'm dropping out."
"You can't drop out! Report your location, Echo, that's an order!"
"My name's not Echo." She hung up and crashed the device in her hand, letting it crumble to the snow. "Goodbye, malaka." (asshole)
She turned to the woods and began dragging her broken body further inside. She didn't care where she was going, she just wanted to get as far away as possible. She didn't want to let them find her. She didn't care about her open wound getting infected, nor about losing her arm to frostbite. She didn't care about her body protesting, aching for rest, warmth, food.
She only cared about disappearing. From everything and everyone.
So she walked. She walked in the woods, passing through passages and bushes. She walked past a wired fence that seemed to be there for no reason. She walked over a small river, not noticing the wooden house a few feet to her right. She walked until her hands started to tremble until her body shook with shivers. She walked until her lips turned purple and her legs were struggling to carry her.
When she felt the need to sleep, she slipped inside a narrow passage between two boulders and sat down on the snow, leaning against the rock. She felt cold as if her insides were frozen. She tightened her purple sweater around her body, shivering harder when its damp back pressed against her skin. She felt the tiredness from the car crush combined with the soreness and lack of sleep from her 15-hour travel take over her body. She knew she shouldn't sleep while exposed to the cold. She knew she wouldn't wake up from that.
She reached inside her jeans pocket for her cigarette pack and opened it. Three left. They'd be enough of comfort before she slept forever.
As she drew out the first, a screeching black mass crashed on her. She screamed in surprise, shielding herself with her hands until the disoriented crow flew out of the stone passage, leaving numerous black feathers behind. The woman panted, staring with wide eyes at a few feathers tangled in her light brown hair. Slowly, she started removing them, her heartbeat slowing down with every feather. "Fucking crow..." she murmured.
If she had wanted a cigarette before, she definitely needed it now.
But the pack was nowhere to be found. The crow had scared her enough to drop it somewhere in the snow. With shaking hands, she began feeling blindly around the snow, trying to contain her trembling till she found it. Seeing it nowhere near, she moved further down the passage until she got out of it completely. Sighing in disappointment, she gave up on the search and laid back against the nearest rock. Guess she'd have to-
Her eyes widened for a second time, mouth slightly open in surprise.
There was a castle. An actual castle looming in the distance, with towers so tall they seemed to disappear into the white clouds. A thick mist seemed to cover the region around it, the roofs of the surrounding houses barely visible from her high spot. The place could have easily jumped out of a fantasy novel. Or a horror one.
Despite how beautiful and mystical it looked, the woman felt this village had something to hide, a threat lurking around ready to strike.
Yet, her curiosity was stronger than her fear. She couldn't help but want to explore. She hadn't visited a castle before, so why die now and miss the opportunity? Not only that, but the woods in the area spread so far that she could easily get lost inside and not worry about being discovered. True, it wouldn't rid her of the pain the way a freezing death would, but... in there, she could let go of her humanity and eventually, all the pain it had brought her.
At this point though, all of that was easier said than done.
She had pushed herself against the harsh cold of Romania so much that she was a trembling, damp, tired mess of a person, freezing to the bone. The desire to close her eyes, even for a moment, was so great she couldn't will her legs to stand. She wrapped her arms around herself in a fruitless attempt to calm her shivers, glancing down at her exposed, injured wrist. Her breath hitched when she saw the raw skin, once deep red, now a pale pinkish color. She quickly pulled her sweater's sleeve over it, pressing it down to warm up the skin. She cursed when the pressure didn't emit any pain from her wound, as it should.
Realizing she had to fix her stupid mistake, she looked around her, searching for a way to force herself to her feet, to make her body move. Seeing no tree or branch nearby to hold onto, she did the only thing she could think of and fell on her side, pushing herself to roll until she fell off the side of the short cliff she had been on.
Pressing her heels against the curving cliffside, she managed to gain a bit of control over her fall as she skidded towards the ground. She grunted when her feet connected hard with the ground, the impact reverberating over her whole being. Her muscles burned at the sudden effort to support her and she stumbled a bit before she regained a semblance of balance. She didn't bother dusting her jeans off, focusing instead on the houses ahead of her. She wouldn't be doing any exploring or getting lost in the woods if she didn't find a way to warm up first. Suddenly the thought of letting herself freeze to death was less appealing than it had been a few minutes ago.
And all of that because she was curious.
She slowly took a step, then another and another, until she managed to find a steady walking rhythm that didn't make her legs tremble with the effort. The nearest house was barely visible in the distance, but she assumed it appeared that way because of the mist and she wouldn't have to walk more than 5, maybe 10 minutes to get there. She really didn't want to interact with anyone right now, but given the state she had put herself into, it couldn't be helped. She had to ask for help.
A twig snapped behind her, stopping her in her tracks.
Something crashed against her side, snarls and growls filling her ears as she landed on her back. Her head banged against the ground, making her wince and bite her lip. As the snarling seemed to multiply, she forced herself to ignore the pain from her head and look at what had hit her.
Three humanoid monsters were staring down at her, snapping and growling like ferocious beasts. She had watched a lot of werewolf movies that had rendered her indifferent to their appearances, but those things in front of her were nothing like the ones on screen. No, these ones had come out of a very messed up, hellish nightmare. And if that wasn't enough, they were carrying fucking axes!
The woman didn't think she would set them off when she screamed bloody murder.
The monsters immediately jumped at her though, and she barely managed to roll out of the way before they got her, kicking the face of the one closest to her. She jumped to her feet faster than she thought possible, but instead of running, she kept her eyes on them as she backed away. She wasn't crazy enough to turn her back on them, yet she wasn't collected enough to stop staring wide-eyed either. She watched them stand up, slowly closing in on her and roaring.
"What are you, guys?! What the fuck are you?!" she screamed, her heart beating so hard she thought she'd faint.
The monsters gave her a response when they lunged at her again. One of them pinned her to the ground and roared in her face, its pals grabbing a leg each. Her mind registered a single, very obvious fact at that moment.
There were monsters in the village.
And then the one on top of her reached down to bite her throat off.
As the couple leaned in for a kiss, music started playing in the background and the credits rolled. Lord Moreau munched on his last piece of cheese in content, reaching with a slimy hand to take out the videotape from the small TV, when he heard it. The faint sound of something creeping along the mine grounds reached his ears. It was barely audible, but dragged out, as if whatever was in there was long.
Not big. Long.
Moreau stood up as fast as his deformity allowed him to and walked out of his room to see what had come into his territory. The moment he stepped outside, the sound died out instantly. A heavy silence fell all around the mine halls with the exception of the occasional drop of water falling to the damp stone floor. The fishman looked around nervously, slowly walking further down the dark tunnel, to a more spacious area of the mine, dimly lit by a few hanging lights.
"W-Who's there?" he gurgled, his voice echoing around the place. No answer came, neither a sound.
Despite having lived there for many years, the lord's eyes had never really adapted to the limited lighting and so he had trouble spotting anything out of the ordinary in the shadows of his home. Nothing seemed out of place and there was no movement anywhere near his peripheral vision.
He took a few more steps and called out again. No one responded.
He began thinking he might have misheard and turned to head back to his room when he spotted a small light in a dark corner. It wasn't unusual for lights to be situated in random places around the mine, seeing as the ceiling wasn't always the best spot for them to properly illuminate the area. But those ground lights were never oval, nor hazel. And they definitely didn't have vertical, slitted pupils.
Moreau cried out in surprise, a wall of greenish slime, algae, and toxins rising up to close the corner whatever had frightened him had been curled up in.
A panicked screech bounced off the rocks of the mine, so piercing it made the lord wince before a mass covered in shadows jumped over the slime wall and landed noiselessly on the ground, dashing away from him and towards the exit. The stranger was so fast Moreau randomly raised toxic walls all over the place in hopes of stopping them, only for the intruder to maneuver between them with surprising ease. He didn't have time to plug the exit before they reached it.
"W-Wait wait!" he thought out loud, his voice stopping the intruder right at the mine's entrance. The light of the winter evening illuminated the trespasser on the entryway, giving Moreau a clear view of them that had his eyes widening in awe.
A tall creature, human-shaped yet animalistic panted heavily as it looked at him. Dark blue scales reflected the evening light, a forked tongue coming out of its long snout to flick in the air. But, the most striking, clear feature that Moreau could see was a pair of big, almond-shaped, hazel eyes staring at him suspiciously.
The lord let out an awed gurgle at the abnormal beauty standing at his entryway. Never before had he seen a beast so beautiful in its monstrosity.
His hand unconsciously made a move to reach out to it, even though he was several feet away from it. The movement though alerted the strange creature that turned away from him and darted out of the mine, a long, thick tail following behind. By the time Moreau had managed to reach the entryway and look outside, hoping to catch another glimpse of the creature, it had vanished deep in the woods.
The woman stood over the bodies of the monsters, her bloodied hands limp against her sides.
She had left earlier. After dealing with them before they dealt with her, in the nick of time no less, she had run away. The crazy thing was that she had run inside the woods instead of scaling the cliffside and rushing out of the village the way she came in. She didn't know why, she just ran. It didn't matter where to, so long that it was away from those monsters. She had wanted to find a dark corner to hide in, somewhere that she'd feel safe enough to finally rest, shielded from monsters and cold alike. And when that corner, that refuge wasn't found, she kept running.
So, why did she came back to where everything went from shit to an absolute nightmare?
She stared down at the bloody mess at her feet, her breath coming out in puffs of smoke as she panted. Bringing her hands up to her face, she flexed her blood-covered fingers, a grimace of disgust taking over her features as the stinky substance dripped down to stain the white snow. Her eyes shifted upward, to the cliffside from where she had slid down to this hellhole, wanting to think something besides the memory of the beasts' slaughter. She had managed to not get eaten alive. What now?
Her car was a mess, ruined beyond repair. There was no discussion about it taking her anywhere away from this place. Not that she wanted to go back to it. Despite everything that had happened to her in the past hours, she stood by what she had said to that prick over the phone. She didn't want to go back to her life. She wanted to get away from it, forget it. That left her two options; the woods or the village.
She glanced down at the monsters, then at the woods. The idea of getting lost in them didn't bother her much, but it wasn't as appealing as it had been a while back. Surely there were many more of these beasts roaming around the forest and she didn't want to risk becoming dogfood a second time. She was suicidal, not paranoid. Besides, danger aside, her initial desire to explore, maybe even start a new life here, remained. If she had found a temporary shelter, where she could be safe from the werewolves and protected from the freezing cold, she'd head for the woods right away. Seeing as this wasn't the case though, left her with option number 3.
Going to the village didn't sit well with her, though. She didn't want to be around people that were sure to isolate her, if not worse, and the fact that this was a village and not a town meant the news about her arrival would spread like wildfire and she really hated having the whole village on her. There was just zero privacy in such a tight society. Besides, she had left home to get away from judgemental people and she wasn't about to make the mistake of staying in a village and hope the residents were polite enough to leave her alone. Her best bet would be to try blending in with the villagers as if she'd always been there, at least until the weather was favorable enough to search for a resolute place in the woods that she could make her new home. She doubted the villagers were unaware of the werewolves lurking so close to them, so she assumed they either knew how to protect themselves, or the beasts didn't attack them at all, except for when an outsider like herself came to visit. If she stayed, maybe the monsters would get used to her being just another villager. Maybe. For that to succeed, though, she needed appropriate clothing and an idea of how the villagers lived and behaved to each other, which would have to wait for a few hours until morning came.
She was thinking nonsense, she knew that. But heck, she also knew what she was capable of and the dead werewolves in front of her were proof enough.
A cold wind blew, sending a violent shiver down her spine, reminding her of the most pressing matter right then. For now, she had to find a warm place to spend the night and figure out what to do with the bodies of the werewolves, since she couldn't just leave them lying there, so close to the village. But, what could she do with them? Where could she hide them?
A low growl emitted from her stomach, reminding her how long it had gone on empty.
Grabbing the three monsters by the legs, she dragged them away from prying eyes, leaving a thick blood trail behind.
Five minutes later, she was making her way towards the village, rubbing her arms in an effort to warm herself. The village was quiet, despite the early night hour. She could faintly hear noises from inside the houses, sometimes accompanied by voices of a family dining before bedtime. She tried to keep away from the windows, especially the lit ones, wishing to avoid anyone spotting her walking around the empty dirt path. She'd have to find a place to pass the night, preferably abandoned, without attracting any attention to her. If she wanted to blend in, pretend she belonged here, no one should see her before she disguised herself accordingly.
As she was passing by yet another house, she spotted a rope tied to a tree, a few garments hanging loosely from it. Among the garments, moving softly with the breeze, was a brown, simple dress.
The woman wasted no time approaching it, ducking out of sight as she passed the windows. She cautiously looked around for any peering eyes and then reached up and snatched the dress. The fabric felt cold against her fingers, though remotely dry. A symphony of howls pierced the silence of the night, causing her to turn her gaze to the woods. She hadn't been in the village for long, but at this point, she'd recognize those howls everywhere. Unfortunately, they didn't belong to your typical pack and even though they sounded far inside the forest, she had no intention to wait around until they reached the houses.
Grabbing a light grey cardigan from the rope to keep her somewhat warm, she hastily made her way further down the dirt path. Her eyes darted right and left at the houses, struggling to make out the differences in the growing darkness of the night. The cold became harsher and a wind picked up, rustling the bare branches of the forest. She set her jaw firmly, trying to muffle the sound of her chattering teeth. Her body began to tremble, feet numbing from the cold.
She had to find shelter fast or else-
A wide smile spread across her face, rushing to the barn without a second thought. Pulling hard at one of the double doors, she managed to open it a crack, big enough for her to slip inside. The warmth immediately hit her, making her sigh in contempt. She looked around, noting the two cows and the horse resting in their respective places. No other animals seemed to occupy the relatively big barn, the only other thing taking up the space being an agricultural vehicle she didn't know the name of.
She made her way behind the said vehicle, kicking some piles of hay to one side, creating a makeshift mattress. She dropped the stolen clothes on top of it and pulled her snow-covered sweater off of her, her now dirty jeans following next. When she tugged the dress into place, she hummed in disappointment. It was big, somewhere near two sizes bigger, maybe even three. She'd have to find some rope to tie it around the torso so as to not let the cold wind slip through its openings, and not look like a sack of potatoes. At least it wasn't too long for comfort, reaching just above her ankle.
The woman made sure to put on the cardigan as well before she folded her old clothes and used them as a pillow to lay her head on. She shifted a bit, finding a comfortable enough position. Finally, after such an eventful day, she let her body relax, glancing down at the wrist she had forgotten it was injured. Not seeing anything worrying, she turned on her side and closed her eyes, muttering a quiet 'shut up' when another chorus of howling was carried over the village with the wind.
She slept easily that night, unaware of what dangers were lurking around and the Lycans sniffing furiously the pool of blood from their comrades just outside the village.
So, this will probably sound cliche, but it's my first time writing for this fandom. Had to try though, the urge was way too much to handle. Let me know if you liked it, what you think and, of course, whatever you didn't like, so I can improve as the story progresses! And remember;