The White that Wends (book)
|The White that Wends|
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|"How long have I been wandering? I can no longer tell. The days in endless white, the cold breath of the wilderness biting at my neck. All I feel is the insistent hand of the wind pushing me forward. Where is it taking me?
Where did it start? On the boat? Was there a boat? I remember one. A storm? And disaster. If I dwell on it long enough, my mind rebels. So I walk. And she appears to me.
How many times has it been? Once? Have I seen her before or is this the first time? Did she ever leave? All my mind can do is ask questions. Each question leads to another question. The answers frighten me.
So I walk.
She stands with her head cast down. Long, white hair hangs in front of her face, obscuring it from my view. She holds out a hand. Pale. Thin. Palm up. She wants my help.
She wants my soul.
Something screams, inhuman and primal. It overtakes me from behind, wrapping me in a terrifying blanket of sound. My skin contracts as chills course through me. I turn to face my pursuer and see only a vast, white emptiness.
She is gone, like every time before. Was this the first time? Has she gone before? My stomach answers with a growl. Hunger. The beast consumes me from the inside and there is no stopping it. I must eat.
I see water. Am I seeing it now? Is this a memory? Confusion slips its fingers inside my head and murmurs softly. I cannot quite hear it. I strain to no avail. The water remains. It must be here. I drop to my knees and hear the whisper-light crack of the ice beneath my knees.
I am sitting in the lee of an ice mountain. The protection it provides does little to prevent the wind from driving the pins of snow into my flesh. I am shaking. Where is my left hand? I move it. Nothing. I look down and see it moving. It is wet and caked with ice. My head falls back against the ice and I press the edges of my memory. My brain whispers back with a soft cracking sound and a scream. Wood on wood. Tearing. Cracking. I close my eyes against the onslaught.
She appears before me again. Again? Time fragments and blows around me like the snow that obscures my vision. I am walking. My hand is on fire. I feel the needles piercing my fingers as she reaches hers out to me. She raises her head, black eyes staring blankly. Her mouth opens and closes - but if she speaks, I cannot hear it.
The scream again. Closer this time. If I still had emotion, I would be quaking. I turn as I have so many times before to see what monster has found me and she is there behind me. She puts her hand on my chest. The cold burns me through my clothes. She leans in, her mouth presses against my ear.
‘We are waiting.’
I open my eyes. I lie on the ground. I see torn fabric, rocks, a broken wooden box. An unsuccessful campfire. Where did it come from? Did I make it? How did I get here? I roll onto my back, unable to stand. Exhaustion sits on my chest and holds me down.
She stands above me. I see frozen tears on her cheeks. She does not move. She does not threaten me. But I know this is the end. Her mouth opens. The inhuman scream that erupts from within her digs through the blackness that shrouds my mind and I see her. The wood that tore beneath her feet. The water that swallowed her.
She fades, replaced by the face of the devil that has followed me. Was it always there? In my madness, did I view it in a different form? Is anything in my mind true? Time bleeds. My vision shimmers, distorting the face that approaches. Its dark eyes watch closely as it walks forward. Its fur is matted and stained. Its fangs glisten in the fading light. Its enormous hands, tipped with jagged blades, rise above my head.
I close my eyes.
‘I am coming.’"