Published by Emma Cameron at Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Emma Cameron
Shakespir License Notes
Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favourite retailer. Thank you for your support.
Her hair flowed, whipped and twirled, as the shock wave exploded back on her.
Her eyes snapped open with envy green, as if her memories were watching themselves fall into the abyss of forget. ‘Just another dream’ she said to herself.
‘But why the same?’ a deeper voice echoed.
Almost forgetting how these treatments work, she had to regain her lucidness, retrace her steps, and revive what memories that still lingered. Laying on the day bed of this psychiatrist’s office has become tiresome.
‘You’ve been coming here for sometime now, yet the more I see of you, the less I see of you being yourself, why?’ he continues.
She lay there on the day bed, contemplating how to respond to such a personal question. Drawing a puff of her cigarette and exhales, smiling with a snigger. ‘You know not to ask me questions I don’t know the answer to, it angers me, and you know not to do that.’
‘Indeed’ he mumbled with pride. ‘But it is when you show your anger that I see some truth to you, and since I am trying to help you, until I see more honesty, how can I do so?’
She’d never looked into such crystal eyes, it made her adamant that he had probably been through similar truths. She liked them, admired them and trusted them. So how can I lie to him? She asked herself. Knowing the answer already, she replied ‘When you hear my truths, I hope you’ll look at me just as you did right then.’
‘Have I ever stopped?’
She savoured the last remains of her cigarette. ‘This will probably kill me, but here goes…’
I remember pointing to the bridge and seeing Loch’s face react to the joke of its structure. How each line was cracked with the decay of rust, how it stated ‘embark if you dare’. Curiosity won of course and we took another fatal step, skipped and jumped the withered timber base, avoiding the empty space. Below was a river eerily still, beneath its surface was a torrent of undertow promising quick and certain drowning to any who enter.
‘Don’t look down’ he mimicked with a Scottish twang.
My mind swallowing this adventure in dread, the soles of my shoes were baked in mud, its hard crust fracturing into slippery goo.
Remember I said to myself, only a few more steps, and we will be home by dinner. I slip for a second, a small nervous giggle trumpets from my throat and I look up to reach for the certainty of his face smiling back, but all that was there was the open space of the end of the bridge.
Had he slipped too? Had he not caught himself? I heard some laughter from beyond the end of the bridge, a glimmer of ashen hair behind a wooden trunk. With what wit he sung so I continued my slow timid steps, venturing further on our adventure.
“LOOK OUT!” he swore.
I turned behind me and that’s when I saw her, the beast who must have followed our scent. Her claws tearing into the wood, its chippings falling into the river below. The splashes didn’t echo.
My heart swelled in my chest as I choked on my words to myself. You’re going to have to take another step further away than originally planned.
The adrenaline was rising in my throat, or was that bile? His eyes were pleading with me to move, just pick up one foot after the other and move it.
Was the bridge moving more because the beast was getting closer? I looked back to see how far it had come. Not far at all, it was calculating its footsteps too. I took a deep breath and looked back to where he was standing, his eyes darting from me to the huge monster gaining on me.
‘Willow!! Move now! His words were becoming frantic and angry. All joking was gone.
I swear inwardly and remove my untrustworthy boots, I felt better in my own footing. I jumped from one wooden sleeper to another. How on earth did he navigate this bridge so quickly? I made one more when her claws gouged through my jacket, slicing into my shoulder’s flesh.
The acidic venom warmed me at first but then seared deeply, almost to the bone. The beast had miscalculated with her last leap for me and she landed on a rotten sleeper and fell to the silent chasm below.
Finally away from the bridge, Loch dressed my shoulder; it was turning a stormy blue, not the best sign when we were 10 miles from home.
‘Why’d you take so long to move, Willow? This was my favourite shirt you know?’ He tried to keep the light heartedness of the day, but the burning was moving down my back now and I swore at him to drop it so we could keep moving.
‘Look the sooner you patch me up the sooner we can get home and I’ll get better, she only grazed my shoulder’ I dismissed.
‘Willow, Your whole shoulder is turning grey’
‘Guess we shouldn’t wait around for it to get worse then.’
Despite the initial pain, I was feeling strong and persisted in continuing our hike back home.
‘Maybe we could just get help and maybe a lift from the road or something’ Loch’s face was looking a bit green, he hated blood and guts, but he dressed my wound quickly all the same.
‘Loch honestly I’m fine. It’s just a graze, a bit of anti septic and I’ll be right as rain, so drop it’ I snapped.
‘You’re all set then.’ He said flatly.
We continued on our hike and the birds tweeting had started to annoy me slightly, I was getting agitated more, even when Loch started whistling to join their pretty song, I could feel my detest growing.
I wish I recognised my change of behaviour sooner, Loch must have thought I was being moody because of the pain, but that had all subsided. He was beginning to smell different too. It smelt like strength and oak with a touch of honey.
‘I’m getting hungry should we hunt for something?’ I pressed.
‘Willow, you hate hunting. We’ve got plenty of food in our packs, grab a grain bar or something.’ He dismissed me and kept walking ahead, eager to get me home.
I grabbed his arm aggressively, how did I manage to catch up to him so fast?
‘What?’ he turned to look at me, I saw a glimpse of fear flash in his eyes.
‘Willow, your eyes they’re like coal’ he reached to touch my face.
‘Loch, I need to eat now!’ I growled.
I don’t recall pulling my knife from its sheath. I don’t remember slicing at his chest. I just remember him running from me and how thrilled I was to begin my hunt.
The undergrowth from the forest flicked and danced as his feet hit the ground. Twigs groaned as they snapped under his weight, all I could hear was my heart pounding. All I could feel was my mouth salivating. The wind had picked up; the trees seemed to moan, complaining of the commotion happening at their base. I collided with Loch, trying to restrain his flailing arms, to stifle his pleas. His fist connected with my temple, I watched my moment slip away as he scampered to safety. I wiped the blood from my brow. What on earth has come over me?
Loch’s bag was at my feet and I noticed his hunting rifle missing. The hair on the back of my neck prickled as the realisation that my newfound prey was now my lethal enemy. My beloved friend that fled from my threat, now held a gun to my head.
His staggered sobs dulled my drive to hurt him; his eyes became a familiar wave of warmth. ‘Willow, please whatever that was don’t let it take over.” His voice broke as he continued
“I just want to go home and I want you there with me, I… Love you!”
‘I’m sorry’ I said lamely, ‘I don’t know what came over me, just go, it’s not safe with me anymore.”
‘Willow, I don’t want to walk down this hill worrying you’ll be behind me’ he said sadly.
The sound of the shot rang through the canopy, my scream the only thing that matched its pitch.
My hair flowed, whipped and twirled as the shock wave exploded back on me.
My best friend, my heart’s home wounded me to escape the growing monster that had tried to take over me.
‘Willow…Willow?’ the deep voice was calling her back into the room, she sat statuesque on the day bed.
‘I need to find him, I need to fix this!’ panic jumped from her throat.
‘You know I cant let you leave, knowing you can harm someone’ he sounded as defeated as she looked. ‘I’ll process the paperwork; you’ll have to be held here indefinitely, until we find Loch safe. That’s all I can do to help.’
‘Please, just tell him that I am okay when you do and that what ever sanity is still apart of me, that part loves him still, and it always will.’
Her last request was affirmed by a nod from her psychiatrist before he left her locked in her cell.
About Emma Cameron
Emma Cameron was born in Western Australia in 1989. She began writing poetry in 2007 and studies Psychology and Writing at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. Willow’s Peak is her first fictional short narrative.
Willow always follows Loch on his hiking adventures. Giggling as she watches him sing along with the birds, watching the sky turn from a light pink morning to dust blue dusk. but what happens when a mysterious presence begins to follow their trail?