Categories > Games > Zelda > Four by Four

Glimpse part 4

by Kasan_Soulblade 0 reviews

Shad descends, into sewer, into nightmare

Category: Zelda - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Ganondorf - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2012-11-01 - Updated: 2012-11-02 - 2890 words

Four by four: Prologue:
Glimpses on the Edge of Sight
Shad: A flash of Gold
Chapter 4

His nose had declared war, enlisting his writhing stomach it unleashed the restless beast of his midsection, and once unrestrained it flopped and churned. He'd already been sick, twice, as he crept down the hall. Ignoring the muck about his hands -one stumble and unthinking motion to grab a wall had left his begloved hands slick with... something- he pinched at his nose. That slowed the rebellion, or at least the roiling, a bit, but given time and continued exposure to the aromas festering under the sewers he knew he was going to get sick. And soon.

Bottle held above his head, he tilted it this way and that, the angry buzzing within told him that the furious little creatures were hardly settled. All the better, given Shad's situation, and all the worse. The bugs within the jar were very unlike their cousins, the Farorian fireflies. The beasties Agitha had gifted him were of a Gerudian breed. Instead of setting off illumination to announce that they were... ahem... these bugs only glowed when aggravated. They also supped on blood, like mosquitoes. Unlike the smaller, less luminate species of bug suckers, Gerudian fireflies were known to fly in swarms. furthermore, they were almost malicious in their own way. In fact it was scientifically proven that once they supped from one man they always came back to that person. Their bites drew in more of their own kind (that or the droplets of blood the bugs took while supping was the draw, the last was unproven and no one was cruel enough to try to prove it with experimentation) until a mini swarm was summoned. At that point they came to feed until the source of their nourishment was drained dry or the bugs were wiped out.

Which was why, Shad had decided before starting this little misadventure, the bottle he'd picked for holding the little bloodsuckers was nice and thick. It's cork top was about as dense as his own thumb, and the gloves that held the bottle were bulky. Not so much that the blood suckers couldn't smell him, but hopefully enough so that they'd be deterred if there were any accidents...

Shaking his head, Shad gritted his teeth and swore to himself that there would be no accidents. No dropping of bottles in the dark for him. Shuffling forward, feeling and seeing every step on the tight walkway that clung to the sewer curving walls, Shad approached the obviously torn piping. Paralleling the wall had been an unbroken swell, a vein of iron. The base tinged red by the passing of the centuries and those incidental floods that set the water to licking at the arched "roof" of the sewer. Rust had grown, born from the corrosion of iron, and the moist surroundings had caused it to dribble off its pipe of birth and streak the walls with red brown stripes. Resolutely ignoring the inherent symbolism or red running walls -It was a device so overused it had become the staple of the poor man's horror book, and it said far too much about his taste in literature for his comfort that he knew of it- he made his inch by inch, to his goal.
Making sure every motion was both felt and seen by watching his feet, minding the pools of slime and the like, the scholar gained ground and surety that this was the most vile task Telma had every put him up to.

Next time, chivalry or no, he'd say no. No, I will not risk my neck fixing some old coots plumbing. No I will not spend a day and a half immersed in dust, drowning in my own sweat to mend the plumbing out in the middle of no-where at your request. And no, Ms. Telma, I am not available for your "lets save Hyrule one errand at a time" campaign!

Such went his litany, as the red tinged tear drew closer and closer, then all at once, the red was no longer red. There wasn't any other way to describe it, what was red turned black so quick and sure that it must have happened while he was blinking. Save he hadn't blinked. He recoiled, wide eyes, eyes burning because he hadn’t blinked at the impossibility before him. Each bit acted independent. His eyes were locked, his mind frozen, his mouth unhinging so it hung slack. In shock, the prelude to horror, he stared at the red that was red no more. It was black, gloom black, and... writhing. The motion was that almost alive flicker that the dark took when it was parting before the coming of a torch. Not the shocked swift withdrawal that came about the heart of illumination... rather it was the shuddering withdrawal about the illuminations edge. That... dancing on the rim of sight took when the fires wavered, that creeping, menacing, edge the withdrawing black partook, as if it's whole was mutely, menacing, chanting "...I'll be back, just give me one chance, and I'll be back... I'll be back..."

Shaking his head, taking his glasses off then popping them back, Shad lifted his makeshift light and stared at the pipe that was red again.

"A...a trick of the light." Shad assured himself, tone wavering, he wore a nervous smile and it was all a-shiver as his composure danced on that razor edge that preluded a total crumbling. "Nothing more... Just a trick of my eyes. I'm such a fool." He chuckled, then muffled the sound. His mirth was as precarious as his state. Letting the light drop he hugged himself, holding the light tight. "Just a trick of the eyes, clearly the wall... and the piping underneath it was a victim of advanced corrosion. Storms and iron, a poor mix if any. Nothing more sinister than that." He assured himself, his frame all a-shiver now.

He tightened his grip, muffling the light somewhat as he held it fast and hard.

Call it logic, call it conscious, but something indignant and scared roused from within. Riled, it railed at his excuses and spoke with a voice of authority that was nothing like his father's but held a ghost of him despite the differences. "That one span?" It snapped "All of five feet? Nature just took distaste at that span, hmm... And it went so far as to touch nothing else, nothing at all? There is purpose here, intent told by the selectiveness of the destruction. And here you are, in the dark, before the damage, content to say "just nature and time, tis all." And "la dee da, la ta-ta" you'll merry well go to the guard, never mind that it changes hues on you? Is that corrosion? That change of color? Is it-

"Shut up!" Shad screamed, to the dark, to the voice, his own tones shattered and shrill. There came a crumbling, from inside, a sick crack as the words or his life, shuddered and broke from the inside to let loose a rush of noxious fear. "Shut up, shut up, shutup shutupshuup! Leave me alone damn you! Leave me my life!"

Silence then, save the drip drip or slime falling into water perhaps. He shook, held the light tight, and before that gash, he knelt. For a long time he stood, shaking, as he savored the quiet. Or tried, the smell and sickness hung about him. He stood, immersed in filth, saturated from the inside out. Closing his eyes, he groaned, and got sick. On the heels of his illness came coherence, and recognition. Sound, soft but drawing closer, came from above.

clicity click

Eyes wide, drawn up he raised his hand up, and to that bared light the dark withdrew, sullen and thick.

And the sound stopped, it stopped as if 'waring the light.

"Go away." Shad whispered to the black above, ahead, tears steeling the edge from his sight,

"Leave me my life..." purred the dark, its tone sticky sweet, cloyingly soft. He gasped at the thing above, at the voice of his father that was not. Mired in rot the dark spoke with the breath of the sewers and gasp became gag. "How much would you like, Master Scholar? A day, two, a week?"

It moved, the whole gloom above moved. Not with limbs, or effort as the living must, but a effortless soundless glide deprived of wings and rustling or feathers. Defying the light, it lunged, without claws it clawed, scrabbled, across the cobbles, braving than breaking the edge of illumination it swelled than surged. And in its blackness, under the span featureless, amorphous frame, there were edges. Edges of fangs, of claws, of hooks, and barbs, and cruel steel swords. All those edges reached, and scrapped, spitting than swallowing the sparks their scraping summoned.

With a shrill, breathless, scream, Shad forgot honor and chivalry. The twin steps the ancients believed lead to Courage and Godliness, he stepped down those two steps quick and sure, than took to the road ahead. Forgetting promises, Shad forsook caution, and ran, his rubber sheathed heals squeaking and slipping against the slick stones. Thrusting the bottle and it's light like it was Evil's Bane itself, Shad scrambled for the gate, the gate that mirrored the road and path ways above. At the nearest intersection there would be a gate that ran from the sewers slimy top to its foul rivered bottom. There, with a barrier of sure, thick, steel he would be safe. Cut off from the thing above.

Before he knew it, before he could comprehend it, he was there. Oblivious to the black bars the shadow that made a bracket of bars that licked the wall behind the steel frame, Shad shoved at the partially open door, forcing it to fullness. The steel hard, his safety between there and it and the world above gave a few inches before clanging at the insubstantial shadow bars that crossed the path in the air behind their true counterparts.
It clanged, than swung the other way, swinging shut. Locked in the dark, by the dark, Shad almost screamed. This wasn't happening, his couldn't be, it was insane, inane!

Whatever it was though, it was real. Gritting his teeth he shoved at the bars again. This time prepared, he held them, braced when they clanged against the shade. A few inches were gained for his effort, not much slack, but it must be enough. Sucking in a deep breath Shad pulled his meager gut close and squirmed and shoved. Above, outside of the bottle's light here came a clatter, the whole steel gate shook from top to bottom from the force of impact.

Clickity tick...

From top to bottom it would descent, smothering the light and the claws, the mouthless jaws would descent as well... With a scream he cleared the opening and whirled on his heel slamming the gate behind him. Shade that had stopped steel could not stop Shad, it seemed. Still twisting on the force of his last twirl Shad took to his heels again, turned and staggered on. Not wanting to see what matter of hand would force the door, not willing to spy what matter of demon that lived under the cowl of dark and claws.

"Come back Shad." Breathed the dark, the chink a link of claw on steel almost musical, like bells. "Oh do come back!" The dark screamed, using Telma's voice then. As if it held the whole of their conversations in its hands like a script, it flipped through endearments, using a mockery of Telma's voice to shrill through the slime choked dark. "Come stay a while, child. My dear, sweetheart, whatever the rush? We've much to talk about! A cup, have two, take three lovely! Take three!"

Gripping the ladder that had lead down he scrambled up, up and out. Oh dearest Nayru, please be out! As he ascended the thing in the dark spoke a final time. The dark spoke in a slick sick whisper at his heels, each word licking at his retreating toes, growing softer as he went away.

"I killed her you know." It confided quietly. "I'll kill you too." It assured. "There's no place in this world for heroes. Only fools with swords and dreams. Swords and dreams, a Wolfos' dream. Oh how they drink. And they drink, dearest Shad, they drink on red, and they drink deep, and..."

"She's not dead, damn you, she's not dead!" Screaming, weeping, he threw the light into the dark. With a screech the black receded at the attack and the glass shattered sounding far too loud, sounding far too heavy.

Like a breaking heart.

"Not dead." Half in, half out, he slumped, then rolled out. Not caring about the filth, he found fear fast retreating as something heavier took its place and choked him. "Not dead, damn your eyes." Shad choked, curling away from the dark mouth of the open sewer. Ringed round by red, by gold of fires light held high above. Gold licked at silver, then coherence fell away and angles became lost in a blur, a haze, as his glasses fell off his nose and skipped against the ground.

"Sir?" The guard queried, poking the curled man before him with a tentative boot. "Are you alright?"

Lifting blind eyes, Shad stared at the blur of silver and steel that was vaguely man shaped.

"What in Goddess's name are you doing man!" The scholar screamed. "Close it, close it, there's a monster down there!"

To that the soldier laughed, steel cink-a-linking as the man within it chortled with his all. Monster? No such thing! The sound assured and dismissed in equal doses. So did the sound, so did the man. Stepping around Shad the soldier thrust his torch past the rim of the hole, only an inch or so -minding the muck and all- and looking down he spied nothing more sinister than a pair of beady rat's eyes glaring up at the intrusion.

"Nothing there!" The man assured, then seeing the safety hazard he did close the sewer by setting the thick steel plate over the throat of the dark. "And done!" Still chuckling the man whipped his gauntlet hands on the sides of his chain mail as a normal man might wipe his hands on his trousers after some mighty labor. "You need a guild to walk you home, you sure don't seem alright. What in the Three's name were you doing down there..."

"My name is Shad." the scholar choked, shaking still. With tentative hands he groped in the dark, found his glasses and put them on. The world snapped into focus and he sat, cradling his head in quaking hands. "I was... fixing... trying to fix... cellar, there's a hole in the pipes down there, a tear." Looking up, he dared a smile up at his present companion. Nameless, faceless, for the features were stolen by embalm and symbol all cast in silver and steel. "Guess... something gave me a scare..."

"Guess so." The guard chirped. Relief obvious in that he wasn't dealing with a complete crazy.

"Might want to nail that down." Shad suggested, struggling to his feet, his aroma causing the guard to not offer a hand. Ignoring the incredulous look the armored man cast his way, the half protest "How can anyone go down to fix things if it's nailed?" Shad looked by the torches light. Spying a signpost declaring this Kakiro Street, he nodded. Two blocks to Telma's. He'd walk it, no matter the smell, the squeak of his boots, or the shake to his step.

He'd walk it.

"Sir?" From a world away the guard tried tentatively to call the scrawny man back. "Sir, where are you going?"

Oblivious to the man's concerns Shad put more speed to his step, never mind the shake, the wide burning to his eyes.

"She's not dead." Shad whimpered. "And I'll prove it."

An odd sound teased his ears. A flutter of fabric. Curious he paused, packs were open, waterproofed satchel had come undone while he was running. No waning to drag half the muck of the sewers into Telma's tavern he paused, turned it upside down and didn't have a care for how tools and parchment poured out on the street. His eyes were locked on the first thing that fell. Staring at the dead things glossy black hide Shad shivered, wanted to scream, but found he could not. All his screams were used up for the night it seemed, were taking some time off for a while. So, soundless, he stared, the tink-a-clink of steel shoed boots retreating told him there would be no saviors, no knights to step in and take this over. Looking at the thing that was a mad melding between tar and a rat, jellyfish and rodent. Shad scooped it up. It was dead, still and dead and liquid feeling despite the stiffness that rigorous mortis had taken onto it's little features.

And it was smiling, up at him, fangs all a bare it was smiling and unrevokably dead.
Snatching it, he shoved the beast into his packs and to the Three's darkest hells about the shake to his steps, he ran to Telma's.
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