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  • Writer's pictureGrey

Silver Scars

Spring had arrived, causing the forest trees to blossom with bright leaves. Rows of bushes and fields of flowers crossing along the wide expanse of greenery, warm and airy, the air tasting fresh. A river split through the fields, its water glistening beneath the sunlight, reflecting rainbows of colors and filling the air with glitter. The wet spray of running water married the heat and turned it cool. A perfect mix in the dome of a blossoming ecosystem. 


Peggy captured the image with her brushstrokes and paint. Leaning back onto the bark of a tree, she took in the fresh air, and took in every crevice of the world around her. The pinks of the flower fields, the buzz of insects roaming the air, the slight pressure of wind that made the grass blades tilt back. With every thing she caught in her eye, she poured the image through her body, and into her fingers. Each maneuver of her hand was with intention. As she glided her brush against the canvas in her lap, her eyes were glued to the impossible details that encompassed her. 


A thin flash grabbed her attention. Her brush skidded to the left, knocking down her paint water. With a gasp, Peggy immediately snatched her jar up and collected her materials in place. Her heart was a wreck as she gathered her things close and looked up to find the mysterious thing that had flashed through her vision. 


After having been sitting in the fields for so long, she could immediately figure what was out of place. Past the fields and along the forest line was a figure she could only barely make out. It was too short and long to be human. Clearly, it was an animal. What animal it was, she could not tell. 


Very carefully, Peggy stood up, eyes never wavering from the mysterious animal on the other side of the fields. There was no way to be entirely sure whether this animal was dangerous or not, but she would not take her chances. Plus, with that stance, she was sure the animal was in no friendly mood. 


Arms full of her art supplies, Peggy began to backtrack through the fields. She was not too far from home. The few miles she never minded walking back and forth through if it meant she could bask in the fields for hours. 


But as the animal slowly began to approach, the walk started to feel dreadful. Slight fear reached her heart. 


She contemplated making a run for it. But the second she bolted was the second this animal would perceive her a threat. Besides, she wasn’t sure she could outrun the animal either. Even with the space that distanced them, the tall grass blades and her long dress would not make running convenient for her, certainly not in a race against a wild beast. 


So she kept her pace slow, her gaze watchful. No matter how violently her hands shook and her heart beat, as the animal inched closer, she kept herself as far as she could. Its gaze locked in hers. Suddenly she was able to make out its pure silver eyes. Melting iron that shimmered against the glistening sun rays. She could see its fur. Fluffy and grey. It was a fox, she realized, now close enough for her to make out its sly walk and its puffy texture. The agileness of its body and the way it kept its head lowered, eyes sharp. 


One foot behind the other. She paced faster now. Steps accelerated and rushed. The supplies in her arms toppled over, paint water spilled over the front of her dress. With a sniffled outcry she glanced up at the fox that moved through the fields way faster than before. 


Fear and adrenaline picked up in her vein; she made the decision to bolt for it. She knew it was stupid. She knew running might kill her. But she ran anyway, her steps jagged as she stumbled through the tall grass. Body infused with panic, she looked over her shoulder. The fox was now on her tail, gliding through the grass more swiftly than water could. Her eyes grew wide. The fox’s gaze shimmered. One foot crossed the other. Her dress snagged against a blade. Then she went tumbling down.

 

Her face smacked dirt as prickly grass poked her skin. A sharp pain condensed in her skull and legs, tears pooled around the rim of her eyes. Groaning, she slowly lifted herself up. Her legs shook violently as she peeled herself off of the floor. 


You have to keep moving, Peggy told herself, you must continue to run. 


But when her eyes opened wide, a world completely unknown to her revealed itself. Midday had become pitch midnight. There was no more springtime sun that made the rivers glisten brightly. There was no smell of fresh blossoms or fields of flowers. Before her was an open expanse of endless grass. She could see a river cutting along the end of a hill, but it was unlike the river she knew. Instead of reflecting beauty or warm rays, it reflected darkness and a silvery moon. The fields around her were devoid of any color. They were cast in the deep shadows of this new chilling world. Blotches of dark on top of dark as far as the eye could see. 


That’s when a new figure approached in her vision. This was no human, nor any fox. It was a monster. Made up entirely of riveting shadows. Shadows that even in this all encompassing darkness managed to be even darker. As if there was a hole in the air. As if a piece of this setting before her had been ripped out of existence, creating something impossibly deep. A void that consisted of pure nothingness. And as this shadow descended the forest, it made for her. 


This time, fear could not make her run. It did not make her pulse with adrenaline or explode with energy. Fear locked her in place. Suddenly her limbs were too heavy to move. Her legs weights that held her still. Chills made their way through her veins. Her heart flushed, dropping deeper and deeper down to her stomach. 


The monster enveloped everything in its path. Rolling over the grass and shifting through the air as an all consuming entity would. It was hungry, feasting on every inch of the world it touched. Black liquid salivated from a full set of sharp teeth that grinned across the shadow’s head. As it inched closer, Peggy could see slits for eyes. Two crescent moons that felt like taking a look into infinity. These moons gazed at her, twinkled with fervor. They smiled at her, clearly hungry for her. As if her bones were sugar, her flesh roasted meat, her legs harvested carrots, her eyes caviar. As if her blood was wine. 


The closer the monster got, the larger it grew. Every step it took tripling its height, like an incoming wave that was rolling into a tsunami. Peggy was sure it was going to consume her. She could already feel the teeth sink into her flesh, the feeling of her limbs being stripped free, the feeling of her skull being crushed flat. Her own blood a bright red, the only color in this penetrating darkness.

 

Then the monster was right before her. It looked down at her with a striking gaze. Peggy’s breath halted still. Her veins went cold. Every nerve in her body had gone numb, ready to take the blunt of this beast’s hunger. It leaned close, smelling of burnt ash. Its mouth opened wide, flashing teeth longer than her head, dripping black liquid and chunks of gore. 


But before the shadow could get any close, a cold feeling wrapped around her ankle. The feeling turned to chilling pain. Her eyes grew huge as she quickly looked down, gaze scanning whatever it was that was gripping right into her skin. She could feel her skin tear, blood soak her sock, the crack of her bone. A scream ripped from her throat as her body was dragged into the floor.


Her stomach hitched as the feeling of falling encompassed her whole. The surrounding grass blades shredded her skin as she hit the ground. Dirt filled her mouth and she immediately coughed it out. Gagging and groaning as agony rolled through her whole body. 


Shivering, Peggy forced herself up and grabbed her leg that throbbed. But when she stood back up, behind her tears was a world of brightness. It was the world she knew. With beaming sun rays, fields of colors, fluffy clouds, a dreamy blue sky, lush greens, and lush blossoms. Peggy froze. 


Still grabbing onto her leg, she glanced down at the wound on her ankle. And right at her feet was a fluffy fox, eyes silver, teeth glistening red. Its gaze was locked in Peggy’s before it looked down at the blood gushing from her ankle. Then it waddled forward and began to lick at the wound. 


She startled and for a moment could only stare in awe as the fox whined, pressing its nose to her tattered flesh. 


Reanimating all at once she settled down on the floor and ran her hand through the fox’s fur. “It was you,” she whispered, “You brought me out of that world, didn’t you? You saved me.”


The fox replied with a small huff before returning to her wound. Vaguely she realized that his comfort made the pain around her ankle grow numb. There was still the penetrating tingling sensation, small jabs that continuously agitated her skin, but the root of the agony was gone. 


Peggy grabbed the fox’s face, flexing her fingers through his fluff, “Is that why you ran for me? To warn me? You knew what would happen?”


The fox stared at her blank-faced, tongue sagging. 


“You’re a cute thing, aren’t you?” she pursed, then reached to pat his head. “Perhaps you’ll be the next subject of my paintings. Within this beautiful setting I found you in. And then my walks along the fields wouldn’t have to be so lonely anymore. D’ya think ma will let me bring you into the house?”


The fox stood up all of a sudden, walked around her, then began to totter away. 

Scrambling to her feet, Peggy turned for the fox, limping as she tried to keep up. “Where are you going?” 


With a stop, the fox glanced at her and let out another small whine. Peggy paused at his small cry. She wasn’t sure what he said; what he was trying to tell her. Only that she knew he wanted her still. It was something about his cool gaze, something about his hard stance, or perhaps there was truly some communication that existed between the two of them. But she fell still, her breath halting just the same. 


“What is it-?”


But before she could finish, a darkness tainted the bright air. Shadows condensed from out of nowhere, a cold chill rasped against Peggy hard. For a moment she could see nothing besides the cyclone of black fumigating wind. Then the figure condensed. A shriek whined through the air, making Peggy’s heart freeze. Flashing teeth barred. Crescent moons twinkled. Fresh blood sprayed over the tall grass. Clutched between the grasp of the monster’s growl was fluffy grey fur smeared with crimson red. The fox did not squirm, its cry dwindled quiet. Sharp teeth sunk into his skin like blades, crushing deeper and deeper until the fox’s front leg tore free. 


Peggy screamed and fell back. Her ribs felt crushed, an impossible weight passed through her veins in waves. Her gaze locked with the fox’s. He smiled at her. Tears pooled her eyes. 


Then the shadow collapsed, the whole scene disintegrated into the ground. Black liquid and fresh blood remained, a pool that shifted between the grasses. It isn’t hungry anymore, a voice trinkled in Peggy’s ear. It sounded familiar. The fox’s deadish face filtered into her mind, You are safe. 


With a small sob, Peggy glanced down at the ugly scar that clutched her ankle. She was soothing her skin with slight fingers when, behind the fog of tears, she caught her art supplies scattered around her. Sniffing, she grabbed her things and began to draw. A grey fox, she drew, eyes silver.


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