By: Teresa VanMeter
Copyright 2017 Teresa Vanmeter
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
Published by: Teresa Vanmeter by Shakespir.
Copyright 2017 Teresa Vanmeter
That face…That creepy doll face. It was just how he remembered it. The same brown hair, same long neck. All attached to a gangly looking nine year old body.
Hadlin could even recall he had a family. A mother, a father, and an older brother Bobbee. Bobbee always called him Nil. Teasing him that he was nothing, nil.
How can a doll remember all that? He just couldn’t understand. Nothing made sense. At that time Churl’s voice replayed in his head, “Oh shit kid you’re not even real.” What did he mean by that? Did Churl know that Hadlin was going to be a doll in this world? How did he know? Only Eidolon sees all the sons of men. Eidolon the creator of life.
Then a new question arose. Why would Eidolon do this? Seeing that expressionless doll peering up at him. “Why?” He felt crushed. “This can’t be happening…” His anger rising within. “Why me?” If only that stupid face would stop looking back at him. His mind hissing for it to go away. “Go away!” Hadlin howled, “Go Away!” Taking his frustration out on Eidolon, “Why did you do this to me?” The silence was like salt in a wound. He had to strike out at something. That creepy image in the puddle the nearest target. Down came both fists into the water, hissing, “What have I ever done to you?”
At that moment lightning streaked across the darkened sky. Followed closely by thunder rolling. He could hear the rain, but not feel it. Could dolls even feel? Regardless if he could feel or not his distorted image was ghastly. As what was left of his reflection in the ripples turned a ghostly white. He jumped at the unexpected sight, “What in Canaan?” Hadlin looked closer, and the white was now gone. The questionable fact was what was that thing? Hardly able to process everything that has happened to him thus far. Nothing made sense anymore. He just wanted to go back to being a boy, and go home.
At that moment lightning lit the sky, and the face was obscured. Hadlins eyesight drawn to the dazzling sky. As every raindrop glistened like diamonds. Strangely he could see it all, but none of it penetrated the veil over Canaan. Canaan remained in a perpetual darkness. Except for tiny sparkling pin-points of color outlining the land. Mostly greens and browns along the edge of the trees. Within the veil all was dreary and gray.
This definitely wasn’t the Canaan he remembered. It had to be some other place. No place he’d ever remembered seeing. Flabbergasted his thought churned out loud, “What is this place?” Whatnot wiggled nervously in his hand. Its muttering sounding very much like an answer, “Noc..ter..ne..a…” The muffled sounds malformed into what sounded similar to a word, nocternea. What’s nocternea mean? Though he was first and foremost still amazed the fuzz ball could talk. Secondly what was Whatnot really trying to say? He had to ask, “What?” Whatnot shrugged its none existent shoulders, but never uttered a sound. Hadlin couldn’t let the word go. Nocternea somehow sounded familiar. Like a lost bit of knowledge nagging the corners of his mind. Surely he should know this. Hadge always seemed to know many things. This nonetheless wasn’t one of them.
A thought occurred to him, “The book would know.” Hadlin threw Whatnot on his shoulder, giving orders, “Keep an eye out.” The fuzz ball gave him a grunt. Even as he began digging into his pocket. Not a normal pocket mind you. It was like reaching into the middle of a room, and never touching anything. Then all at once the book was in his hand. All he had to do was wish for it. At the cost of a pinched finger between the pages. Shocked by it all he couldn’t help but howl as he slipped his finger from between the pages. Cursing the stupid book for biting him. It had never done that before.
Holding the book before him he called upon the voices, “What is nocternea?” More importantly he asked, “What is this place?” Just the same the book was as stubborn as Whatnot. It never uttered a sound. What was going on? He shook the book trying to get its attention, “Hey!” He carped, “I’m talking to you.”
That’s when he heard a splash, and noticed Whatnot pulling on his collar. In the next moment he heard noises. It wasn’t the book. As he glanced back at the place the babasova had been. It was gone. Hadlin fearfully scanned the woods around him wondering, “Where did it go?” Whatnot was screeching, “Run!”
A thin layer of electric fog had crossed over the path in which the tree had ran. As it crackled and popped. Hadlin could no longer see the forest through the fog. Only obscured shapes. Stringers hanging here and there that had not been there before. Then lightning struck once more outside the veil. Revealing puddles of water that had formed. However it wasn’t puddles. It was a mire. Akin to the mire he’d fought Lillith. Something was hunched on a growth in the middle of the mire. The shape looked nothing like the babasova. It had to be something else. At once it slipped into the water, and was gone. The only sign it had been there were ripples in the water. Hadlin couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Positive the mire wasn’t there a few minutes ago.
Suddenly the din of something small herded its way through the fog. Just as hundreds of the iridescent red beetles were running Hadlins direction. That’s when he knew what he was seeing. “Oh Eidolon!” Hadlin began to yell, “Mephisto!” He didn’t even have time to get to his feet. The beetles were already upon him. Though they oddly passed him by. Hadlin was surprised they didn’t attack him. Could it be because he was made of wood. No, it was something much, much worse. It was as if they were running from something. Something that had been hiding in the bowels of Hell. Doubtful Lillith could put such fear into the little fiends. Besides he’d already taken care of her.
Hadlin watched the fog begin to clear, and the mire was now gone. Just the forest as it had always been. Not a mephisto in sight. So what just happened? Was he hallucinating? Still searching for any signs of the monstrous beetles. Hardly noticing Whatnot still jerking on his earlobe. The dust bunny had been trying to get his attention for some time. It was yapping, “Run! Run! Run!” That’s when Hadlin could see for himself why the little pest kept after him.
Something was climbing out of a puddle. Could it be the same creature from the mire? Surely not. How could it get from there to here? It made no sense. As he watched the foamy water from the mire slide over the creatures backside. The same thick substance from the mire. The creature was truly here. Hadlin started to worry if there could be more of them. Nervously looking from side to side. All the while holding the book tighter in his hands.
Then a noise came from behind him. “Wha…” He turned around. Half expecting to see another creature climbing out of a puddle. Assailed by hundreds of tiny squeaks. Just as lightning lit everything once more. Discovering a mass of tiny shades wallowing in his shadow. Each no bigger than a fingertip. Why were they there? Straight away he’d jumped to his feet gasping, and stomping. The tiny things running in every direction. Hadlin stopped short of chasing the tiny beasts in the direction of the unknown creature.
That creature was now crouching next to the puddle. Its identity still nameless. However when the thing glanced his way unfathomable fear ran throughout his body. A fear unlike any other the Hadge had experienced. All the voices within and around him screaming to run! “Rrrunnnnnnnnn!” In view of the shades running headlong into the larger creatures path. One by one the shades were snatched up, and eaten. Hadlin was convinced the book could not help him.
Whatnot screeching louder than he’d ever had, “Rrrrrrunnnnn!” Hadlin did just that. He turned and ran. Running straight into the overgrowth. Hot on his heels he could hear the pounding of the creatures feet. His mind shrieking to Eidolon, “Help! Help! Help!” Oh Eidolon he was so afraid he couldn’t run fast enough. Now he knew why the mephisto were so scared. He himself was terrified. Certain he could never outrun it, so he’d do the next best thing, hide.
Like an answer to his prayers a hollowed out tree stood before him. Hiding inside were hundreds of shades. Hadlin gave them no mind, because he was more afraid of the creature chasing him. Quickly he pushed his way inside, and the shades poured out. The shades running every which way. Hadlin could hear the larger creature chasing after them. Stopping only to crunch on its catch. Then chase after some more. Barely able to keep his wooden body from shaking. Hadlin had no idea what the creature could be, but it was deadly. Deadlier than most of the monsters from Hell.
Then his thoughts fell back upon the idea there could be an opening into the bowels of Hell? Why would the monsters want to come here? Wherever here may be? For all he knew this could be a part of Hell.
He could hear the crackling of the strange fog drifting throughout the forest. However the deadly creature had grown quiet. Much too quiet. “What’s it doing now?” Hadlins mind was at attention, straining to hear. He indeed itched for a look, yet was terrified to do so. Twitching right and left, until he dared to glance around the tree. At first Shocked to find that the tree was gone. Secondly he had no idea what happened to the tree. Then third he was left out in the open. To his horror the creature squatted merely a few feet away. With its loose skinned back to him. If he wasn’t terrified for his life he might’ve been revolted by the long loose skin.
All the while Whatnot was yanking on his ear. The fuzz ball pointing for the tall grass. Straight away Hadlin dove into the overgrowth. Shades scrambling out of his way. All the while he was hoping the beast hadn’t heard him. Soon to follow was the sounds of crunching again. Hadlin certain the unfortunate shades he’d stirred from the grass had been eaten. He had to move now. While the thing was busy.
Dragging his body deeper into the woods. For what seemed like an hour. Until at last he couldn’t hear the creature no more. Sure the monster had to be out of range by now. As he peeped out over the tufts of grass. The creature was gone. Hadlin sighed with relief, “Thank you Eidolon.” Then proceeded to pray the monster kept going the other way. He just couldn’t bare to crawl any longer. Even as he raised a bit higher in the grass. Getting a better look all around. Whatnot appealing for him to stay hidden, “Its dangerous.” Hadlin hissed, “Hush…” By all appearances it looked clear. So he bravely raised up on one leg at a time. First leg nothing. Second leg nothing. Thankful he was now upright. He could cover more ground this way. However for the time being Hadlin planned to remain close to cover. He trudged onward through the weeds. Destination unknown. Whatnot still clamoring, “We’re gonna die. We’re gonna die.” Hadlin threatened to flick the fuzz ball, “If you don’t shut it…”
Stalled by the sound of a whimpering child. He let his hand fall back to his side. Whatnot incited, “Its a trap…” Hadlin pointed at the fuzz ball. Even as Whatnot bit its fuzzy lips shut. The crying was coming from the bottom of the hillside. Where several trees had fallen. Khadaver trees at that. He wondered what could kill the magical trees. That was one more difficult question he couldn’t answer. So he would just focus on the task at hand. Discovering the source of the crying. Warily they followed the sound. Unsure of what they may find. At the bottom the cries were even louder. The sound coming from the other side of a rotten tree. The tree diseased with black chanterelles. Exactly like the chanterelles in the lost woods. Hadlin couldn’t smell the mushrooms, but would bet they too smelled of death.
Just then a twig snapped under his foot, and the crying stopped. In its place he could hear breathing. Peeking around the end of the tree he could see a figure. The small figure curled into a ball. It had to be a boy no more than five. The boy wore striped pajamas. His strange short straw like hair quite telling. Hadlin leaned closer asking, “Are you alright?”
Suddenly the boy looked Hadlin in the eyes. Surprised would hardly be the word he’d chosen, as horror flickered across his wooden face. The boys face was made of burlap. While the edges were pulled tight to the scalp, and unraveled to look like hair. He had huge shiny black eyes, and a slit for a mouth. The boy cried out, and tried to run away. Hadlin caught him by the arm trying to soothe the child, “Its ok. I can help you.” However mentally he wasn’t quite sure he could help either of them. Meanwhile Whatnot had been clinging to his ear, whispering over and over, “Don’t trust him…”
Unexpectedly the child grabbed the hand on its arm, and held it in place like a vise. The boy had an evil look on his face, cooing, “You’re gonna die.” Hadlin was yelling, “Noooooooo!” Then without thinking countered with his book hand. Striking the child on the side of the head. Immediately guilt took over. As he kept repeating, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Trying to keep the child from falling. The child slipped through his hand. Falling against the rotten tree. While the sack boys body smashed black chanterelles on its way to the ground. The boy was as lifeless as the materials that formed it.
Everywhere the rotten gook seeped from the black chanterelles. On the boy, down the tree. Inside the gook were scores of tiny grayish orbs. Each squirming as if it were a newborn fish. Hadlin was drawn to one that kept flickering to a shade of black. His mind couldn’t wrap around what it could be. In a matter of seconds the nucleus of that orb turned black. Black as the pupil of an eye. The eye covered in a transparent protective shield. Then it began to rise from the gook. Blinking in Hadlins direction. Surely as if it were watching him. No matter which way he leaned the eye would still be watching. Then it flew off into the trees overhead.
Hadlin had recognized the thing. It is an ouray. An invulnerable microbe capable of killing entire planets. He watched as even more had taken flight from the gook of the black chanterelles. “Wait a minute…” Hadlin had a dawning thought, “He had seen the black chanterelles in the lost woods of Elysium.” Why were they there? If they had spread everything would have been dead, plants and animals alike. The only thing that had stopped it was the closing of the book of Elysium. So that Elysium went back to the day the book had been opened. Who would want to kill everything? Without plants and animals there would be no people. Without people there would be no souls. Lillith was a soul eater. So it was doubtful she had planted the ouray there. Churl was harder to define. He was inhumanly crazy. Nonetheless what would he get out of it? Then there was the old witch lady Egdah. How was she involved in all of this?
Suddenly Whatnot let out a screech, “Yowwwwwww!” An ouray had flew at him. Hadlin swatted the thing away. However swatting at one was useless. Since they were buzzing around them like a cloud of gnats. He was betting that being a wooden doll would make him immune to the microbes. After all he wasn’t exactly alive. On the other hand he was made out of the same wood as the khadaver trees. With these khadaver trees being covered in black chanterelles. The same substance the ouray grew from. Hadlin shook the last thoughts from his mind. Growling at the little pests swarming him. Then began to swat in earnest at them with the book. With the hope that the book would kill them. Sadly the book had missed all but one. The others had escaped off into the woods. “That’s not good.” Hadlin breathed heavily. He was rather concerned over the fact the ouray seemed impervious to the book. How could he fight an enemy like that? Hadlin had to find someway to destroy the microbes before they spread. He needed to find the one that was hit. It had fallen next to the sack boy.
That’s when Hadlin became aware that the boy was gone. Had the boy gotten up and ran off? Surely he would have noticed something like that. Evidently not, seeing that the spot was now vacant. Oddly in the boys place was a page from the book of Canaan. The page smeared with some of the gook. “What?” Hadlin was confused. He hadn’t even seen a page fall. Though he was swinging the book like a madman.
Hadlin started to retrieve the lost page. Looking it over for any signs of defects. However the page appeared faultless. Through the blue flames Hadlin caught sight of the ouray on the ground. The page magnifying the microbe. He inspected the ouray even closer. A transparent honeycombed membrane encased the clouded eye. The cloudy fluid began to fade. Until the nucleus became visible. Then the eye blinked several times before becoming fully black. It had merely been stunned. Then just as suddenly it took flight. Buzzing nervously here and there, but never getting too close to the book again.
Hadlin had a unsettling thought, “Two things had survived a hit from the book.” He had gave a questionable sigh, “How could that be?” The notion propelled his mind further, “Could something be wrong with the book?” It was strange he hadn’t heard any voices from it so far. From his experience being the Hadge he’d never ran into this problem.
All at once the ouray darted to the left in front of him, and then to the right. Was the microbe testing him? Then the ouray darted over the rotten trees. Hadlin was determined not to lose the little blighter.
Snatching the page in his free hand. An odd feeling came over him. It started at his hand, and up his arm, and halted within the entrance of his mind. As he tuned into its worldly knowledge. Understanding this place is Nocturnia. Nocturnia is where the night creatures dwell. A shadow realm that coexisted with the earthly planes. Why was he here? Then answered the question just as quickly, “A living doll is unnatural.” Whispering, “Unnatural as all the night creatures in this realm.” Then a trumpet sounded loud and clear. Inescapably a sign from his world about the end-times. Times far beyond the Apostolic age. Far into the future. The age of awakening. As each and every vision warned of natural disasters, famine, and so on for many years. Then an even darker warning played in his head. Be wary of those in positions of trust. For trust may not be helping hands. Rather wolves in sheep’s clothing. Those wolves will herd the suffering into camps for slaughter. A depopulation zone. Burying millions in disposable coffins. Keeping only those who will be managed. He could feel his heart breaking. Unable to witness anymore atrocities.
Hadlin shoved the page inside the book like it was on fire. It was the only way to stop the terrible visions. Praying Eidolon, Yahveh, Kami, God, to whomever every individual called upon would stop these events from unfolding. A sadness rolled from deep inside upon the understanding of such evil. Hadlin knew that that same evil had something to do with why he was now stuck in Nocturnia. It was also in direct correlation to his doll form. Evil is a master manipulator. The question was, “How?” And, “Why?”
He begged Eidolon for the answers. Steadfast that he alone had to find the answers. For Eidolon helped when help was needed. Then Hadlin began to wonder, “Do I have to save this place?” Better yet, “Can it be saved?” Glancing at the book he didn’t see how. The book of Canaan doesn’t seem to work. Nor did he have the key to bind it. Besides this place was full of dark creatures. Eidolon wouldn’t so freely let them go. So it remains, “How can he save a world when he can’t even help himself?”
First book (Hadagery, Book of Eysium) here: Look for the first book here:
Second book (Hadagery, Book of Canaan)
All stories can be linked here:
An odd feeling came over him. It started at his hand, and up his arm, and halted within the entrance of his mind. As he tuned into its worldly knowledge. Understanding this place is Nocturnia. Nocturnia is where the night creatures dwell. A shadow realm that coexisted with the earthly planes. Why was he here? Then answered the question just as quickly, "A living doll is unnatural." Whispering, "Unnatural as all the night creatures in this realm." Then a trumpet sounded loud and clear. Inescapably a sign from his world about the end-times. Times far beyond the Apostolic age. Far into the future. The age of awakening. As each and every vision warned of natural disasters, famine, and so on for many years. Then an even darker warning played in his head. Be wary of those in positions of trust. For trust may not be helping hands. Rather wolves in sheep's clothing. Those wolves will herd the suffering into camps for slaughter. A depopulation zone. Burying millions in disposable coffins. Keeping only those who will be managed. He could feel his heart breaking. Evil is a master manipulator. Evil was why he was here.