A Fine Line: The Ancients (part I):
A Fine Line: The Beginning
Ten Facts about the Author
- I grew up in a very small town in Michigan named Skidway Lake
- I graduated with honors from High School
- I won the art scholarship in High School but went into fashion design in College
- I have three degrees: BAA, MBA, DM/OL (ABD)
- Published my first Poem in 2009
- My fist novel was started in 2010 and was based on a dream
- I moved to Arizona in 2008, first time living out of Michigan
- I saw the ocean for the first time in my life in 2014
- My favorite genre to read is horror
- The very first book I ever read Stephen King’s short story college Night shift I was 13
As the men walked through the woods looking for any signs of trespass, both were at the peak of readiness, though neither said much of anything to the other. William and Buckner were almost at the south-west line of the property and could hear the babbling of the water splashing along the rock bed of the narrow stream when a strong stench hit pervaded their senses.
“Oh…my…God, what in the hell is that?” Buckner shouted, covering his nose.
“I have no idea. Boy, that sure is rancid.”
They searched the area, spreading further apart to see if they could discover the source of the foul odor. William believed they would find a body at the height of its decay.
“Do you see anything, Jonathon?” William called, choking as the putrid stench became more intense.
“No, noth…” Buckner cut his response short, so William began walking in his direction. “No, no, stop! Will, stay perfectly still.”
“What is it?”
“Shhh, just listen,” Buckner whispered putting a finger to his lips.
William stopped and listened hard. The sound was strange but familiar and, at first, he thought it might be an animal caught in a trap.
“It’s coming from over here, Will,” Buckner said following the flow of the stream.
The men walked quickly but carefully. If it were a trapped animal, it might not take too kindly to them, whether they intended to help it or not. The sound became louder, but William realized it was being made by something quite small.
“What in the hell is that?” Buckner asked.
Then, Buckner stopped abruptly, William crashed into his back and nearly bowled him over, he’d been so focused on finding the creature making all the noise. Buckner’s eyes widened in disbelief, “I can’t believe it.”
“Believe what? You know, you need to give some warning before you stop like that. What? What is it?”
Buckner pointed to a small area just ahead of them off to the right, where a very large, very old sequoia tree stood. The tree had a naturally formed opening at its base, which reminded William of the entrance to a cave. The girth of a sequoia tree could grow very large, but this one was massive, nearly forty meters. The opening at the bottom of the tree was quite unusual and almost perfectly rounded.
After the initial shock at the size of the tree had worn off, William saw what had made Buckner stop. In the huge opening, was a nest of leaves, which held a small bundle wrapped in cloth. Neither of them could believe what they were seeing… It couldn’t be…
Buckner’s words faltered. “Is that, that…”
“A baby? Yes, that does appear to be exactly what that is.”
“I can’t believe a smell like that could come from a baby,” Buckner uttered, still cupping his hand over his nose.
“Yeah, neither can I. Just stay alert we don’t know where the parents are…and we don’t want to appear threatening.”
As they approached the tree, the baby gave a happy, high-pitched squeal. It was obvious the child was not in danger or distress, so William signaled Buckner to go to the left of the huge tree as he went around to the right.
Buckner made it around his side of the huge tree just before William did.
William heard Buckner shout, followed by the unmistakable sound of his friend regurgitating the contents of his stomach. William stopped when he heard the sound and stood with his back against the tree. He wasn’t altogether sure he wanted to see what had caused such a reaction from Buckner. He gathered his courage and finished the few steps it took to see…
“Holy shit,” William cursed in no more than a whisper.
It took everything he had not to follow Buckner’s lead, turning away to the nauseating image from his sight. William took a minute more to prepare himself mentally, for viewing the most ghastly spectacle he’d ever seen before. When he turned, he fought desperately to keep from looking (though his eyes kept veering over) and went to Buckner who was bent over, his hands on his knees. After a few more gut-wrenching heaves and a moan of pain, Buckner was able to stand up straight again.
“You gonna be alright?” William asked, knowing full well Buckner would be physically fine, but mentally…well, he might never be quite right again, himself .
“What in the fuck did that?” Buckner bellowed.
“Someone with an absence of conscience, morality, and honor… someone we both know.”
“I cannot believe even she could be so…so morbidly twisted.”
“Jonathan, I wouldn’t put anything past Aurora and that band of demons she commands. Even Amarious wasn’t this gruesome.”
The two men stood and gazed in horror at the sight in front of them. The ground was no longer covered with the serene beauty of white snow. The scene put William in mind of the stories by Edgar Allan Poe or Nathaniel Hawthorne, but neither of them had ever written anything that came close to being so gruesome. Even the men’s worst nightmares couldn’t have generated a creature that could have ripped, tortured, and completely annihilated a person in such a merciless grotesque fashion as the one they currently laid witness to.