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Roanoke



Estimated reading time — 7 minutes

In the year of our Lord, 1587, celebration filled the spring air for the good people of Roanoke Colony. Winter had been unyielding once again, and the menace of war with the Spanish had severed much-needed replenishment of goods and supplies. As one of England’s earliest endeavors at the establishment of a permanent settlement in the Americas, they were truly isolated. Tested was their resolve of heart and faith in God. Eventually, the days grew longer, and the last of the snow had melted. Come spring; none of the one hundred and seventeen colonists had perished and in fact, the valiant people were thriving and prospering in this brave new world.

However, hardship and trials were absent from tongue and thought this warm day. Today was about triumph and victory. The rugged and savage land had not overcome their determination of will and manifestation of destiny. It was a time to congregate and make merry with their brother and neighbor. Offerings of thanks would be given to God and cups of wine would be raised to the Queen. Men bellowed in laughter; woman giggled amongst themselves and children ran and played throughout the settlement. All was good in the world that day.

A little boy’s voice sang out from the tree line to the forest that sat East of town. The voice of Thomas called out from within, “Mummy! Mummy! I caught him! He is mine! I caught him!”

At the sound of her son’s voice, Priscilla’s lips thinned with irritation. “Once, could not a single day come to pass in which the little waif would not cause me embarrassment?” she thought to herself.

Priscilla felt a mixture of guilt and disdain every time she looked upon the child, for she had married young and not for love, but for necessity. Plucked from the busy streets of Cambridge, by her adventurous husband, she despised him for the life he chose for her. Given the fact that he did not even have the courtesy to remain among the living long enough to ensure his expecting wife could escape this savage wilderness. In bitterness, she alone bore the responsibility of raising this child.

She held fast to the belief that never had there been a more disobedient child than Thomas. As the boy grew from an infant, he became such an odd and unusual child. No interest had he in the goings on around him and mostly dwelt in an inner world of his own making. Other than frequent outbursts of tantrums, little emotion was shown or shared by the child. Was it her fault that bonds of motherly affection did not form, thought Priscilla?

She did not turn or even acknowledge the callings of the voice and continued her duties of setting the tables and conversing with the other women. She ignored the curious glances over her shoulder and the looks of pity that fell upon her.

A scream arose from the crowd. The murmurs of talk and conversation instantly came to a halt. All attention had come to rest on the forest’s edge.
With a hop and a skip, the figure burst from out of the tree line and onto the grassy field that separated the colony from the forest’s edge. It approached the people with long, proud skips through the grass. As it grew closer, the people saw what approached. Mothers grabbed their children and men stood fast to protect their family from the coming atrocity.

Its was sickly pale and emaciated. Its skin drooped and hung loosely from its bones, forming striation of sagging flesh that swayed to and fro. Ropy, white hair clumped together upon its head. Patches of shiny red glistened in the sun where hair had been torn from root. The eyes stretched wide and protruded from its skull and held the consistency of soup or pottage when it has gone cold. It gazed absently past the horizon with cloudy blue and white pupils that were large and dilated. As it approached, the putrid smell of its ravaged flesh intensified.

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Once reaching the town’s edge, the creature continued its hopping from one foot to the next, “He’s mine! He’s mine! I won’t give him back! He’s mine! He’s mine! He’s mine!” he chanted. Its two gaunt arms were held high above its head with hands cupped together, much like how a child would hold a butterfly caught from the air.

Another scream pierced the air, and others gasped for realization had come crashing down on all who bore witness. It fell heavy on their hearts and filled each with dread. For despite its deformities and gruesome appearance, there was no doubt this, in fact, was Thomas.

The sky above the forest darkened, and clouds of the deepest purple, blue and green spilled out from a single point in the heavens. It bled out from the firmament like a stab wound and gathered in ominous shapes and formations. The clouds poured out with such force; it gave the appearance of a vast body of turbulent water churning above the forest. Luminescent flashes of green and white glowed from within. The silence was stunning as the clouds continued to bubble and boil.

The expansion of clouds soon quieted and came to a stop. All was still, but the air was electrified with the anticipation of the approach of something. A loud crash of thunder rolled out of the heavens frightening the masses. The echo of its rumble lingered in the air until it slowly faded, then another clap boomed overhead. Panic gripped the people for this was no thunder that roared overhead, this was different. The low, mournful tone was too profound to be of nature’s making. No, it held the likeness of darkness and resemblance of dread from the sound of great trumpets. Trumpets, like those from scripture, that would herald the end of days.

Magnificent, luminescent objects burst through the clouds. So bright were they that no true form could be seen of its body. Only rings within rings of light did they have in appearance, but the large span of wings that outstretched from its back was unmistakable.

A legion of creatures of light began to descend on the small settlement. Pillars of fire ignited from the beings. One, then two, then three, five, ten, fifty and so on. As they approached, the purpose and nature of the fire became understood. The fire sat upon a hilt of a sword of flames.

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Thomas stood before the crowd of people, as they cowered and looked at him with disgust. He held his hands firmly clamped around something that did not want to be trapped. A thick red and black fluid poured and seeped out from between his hands and fingers. It fell to the ground in ropy strands and began to smoke upon contact with the grass.

The fluid formed tendrils and burrowed into the hands and arms of Thomas, yet he took no notice. The tendrils spread out like a branch of veins and could be seen traveling underneath the skin of the boy’s arms.

Within the boy’s cupped hands, an inhuman scream shrieked loudly. It violently jerked the boy’s hands to and fro, up and down, side to side, but his grip held fast and unbroken. Brilliant beams of light exploded from the child’s hands as the thick substance began to foam and pour out from between his fingers in greater amounts.

Those unfortunate souls who had looked directly into the light were paralyzed from the flash. Their heads snapped upwards toward the sky, and their mouths opened wider without stop until a sickening “snap” was heard from their jaws dislocating. They stood there until their eyes bulged and shot high into the air and landed on the ground with a sickening “plop.”

The beings of light took formation on the green, grassy field that lay between the town and the forest. The rings of light that obscured its body were not soft and curved ribbons and streams. They were jagged and pointed halos of razors and blades. These were creatures of war and death.

Those who remained and had not fled behind the town’s high, yet feeble wooden wall gasped in terror and awe at the creatures of light. Between them danced the jubilant Thomas, still chanting his words, “He’s mine! He’s mine!” Now insane and blind; his entire body interwoven with the writhing and bloody tendrils that entered and exited his skin, orifices, mouths, ears and eyes.

One of the creatures of light came forward and glided toward Thomas. It hovered over the small boy, and a beautiful melody began to flow from the being. Thomas immediately stopped and listened intently to the sound. He cocked his head to the side and appeared to find the melody soothing and pleasing.

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Thomas slowly held his cupped hands out in front of him to offer up what he held. Blood flowed in streams over his face. His hand were bloody pulps of mass, no longer useful digits of touch and grasp. As the large creature approached, a mischievous grin of a naughty, little boy formed on his lips through the wiggling root-like fingers writhing from within his mouth, and he said with a low hiss, “He’s mine! You can’t take him! If I can’t keep him, then you can’t have him either!”

Thomas slapped his hands together, crushing whatever he held in the space between his palms. The reddish, black fluid sprayed out with such force it coated both men and creatures of light. The substance ate away both flesh of men and auras of light immediately upon contact.

With flames from swords raised high and the war cry of pure angelic hatred and rage, the creatures of light charged into the settlement of Roanoke Colony.

In the year of our Lord, 1590 the first of the delayed supply ships arrived upon the shores of Roanoke Island to find not a single living soul. In its three years absence, no evidence of war, famine or any other possible reason for the colony’s complete disappearance could be deduced.

What had once been a thriving settlement of sturdy, thatched-roof cottages of one and two story habitats was no more. The first presence of the English Empire in the New World, shown through the efforts of these 117 people, had left no mark, or clue of the fate that befell them. A crudely built fort surrounding the former settlement was all that gave a hint of the past presence of the colonists. And upon a post of wood, bleached white as snow was found to hold the only clue that remained. Carved deep, a single word of three letters could be seen. No meaning could be found and remains a mystery to this very day.

Carved were the letters “CRO.”

Credit: Killhawke1

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20 thoughts on “Roanoke”

  1. I love reading anything about Roanoke, and this was interesting; just not enough details. Why was Thomas suddenly a monster and what was he holding? Instead of those weird imagery cloud paragraphs an explanation would have made the story better.

  2. I think that I may have been correct in only you being able to see the comments for the accuracy of Roanoke; I can see Dallas now, but when I (and others) saw your initial comment, his was not visible. Doesn’t really matter, but I thought I’d let you know I’m not crazy :)

    You are correct; this story DOES provoke the imagination and it does spark ideas and images in the reader’s mind; you write well and the descriptions are very vivid. I would just say that perhaps for this site, or for the average reader, this story is a little too vague.

    As far as creating a synopsis for people who don’t have enough biblical knowledge to catch onto the clues, well, I don’t think people have a problem recognizing (or assuming) that angels came from the heavens. The part that I don’t think many people (or really most people) would get is the full explanation of what’s going on, specifically with Thomas. We can see that it is probably biblical in nature based on the descriptions, but the specific details are not ones that many people will just be able to bring together from the “clues” given in the story. Just a personal opinion, and not meant in any hostile way.

    Thanks for your response and have an awesome day!

  3. The imagery is gripping! Like others I did find the course of events a bit unclear and I’m not sure what was going on, though from the writing I can picture it all

    quite well. I like ambiguity, but instead of clearing up the mystery of Roanoke, you deepen it, not necessarily a bad thing, though some kind of explanation would be nice.

  4. The idea was very interesting. I really liked the horrible deformed appearance of Thomas and the beautiful angelic creatures. The thing that was in his hands was very creepy. I also liked the way everyone who looked directly at the light died and how the remains of that thing dissolved the flesh of humans and the angel’s auras. It was very gruesome. However, huge chunks of information and explanations was left out. Why did Thomas transform into that thing? What was the thing clasped inside Thomas’s hands? What was the connection between them and how were they connected with the angels? Why did all this happen? All these missing explanations and reasons make the story pointless. The ending doesn’t make sense either. What do the letters “CRO” have to do with this story? And if no one found a clue as to what happened, how is this story written? The writing style was very good. It is very descriptive and the style fits a story in that period of time. The story in itself was very good to read but I never read a story with so much holes in it. I give it a 5/10.

  5. Bizzare and not at all grasping. Plz use small but meaningful words. Also a little background would be helpful.

  6. The style of writing, occasional typo aside, was very entertaining.
    The plot however needed more detail. What did Thomas find? Why did the beings of light care about it? How and why did the thing have that effect on Thomas?
    These missing details really hold this pasta back.

  7. This pasta really had a solid foundation to go so many different awesome, terrifying, disturbing and amazing places. Unfortunately, even though all the ingredients to create a unique & delicious dish were present, I think the chef walked away, forgot the burner was on & went out for pizza?! I usually reserve taking my time to comment on compliments to the chef, but in this case I’m making an exception. What happened here?! Maybe it is my 12 hour work day getting the best of my palate? If so can anyone fill me in on what flew right past my head then! I actually would love someone to point out what I missed because like I said, the setup for this story really had solid potential and now I just feel hangry ?

  8. LOL. Now normally, if I write an ambiguous story I usually won’t elaborate because its meant to be there, but this story is interesting and elicits a very strange response. All of a sudden everyone is an expert on Roanoke colony and how dare I change history and end the story with the carving of CRO instead of CROATAN (nevermind that I also had Angel came out of the sky and slaughtered everyone)
    I am more than happy to clarify, Thomas stumbled upon God while playing in the woods. God will leave Heaven from time to time to enjoy His creation alone. He usually takes the form of a glowing dandelion floating here and there on a soft breeze. In this form, he is vulnerable and weak.

    So Thomas was referred to as an unusual child. By today’s standards, he might have been diagnosed as autistic. For whatever reason, (maybe his parentage/father?) he was able to see through the disguise and see God. Thomas relentlessly chased and eventually caught the powerless deity between his cupped hands.

    Now, It is said that no man can look upon the face of God. This is what caused his deformations and drove him insane. It is also the reasons why the flash of light killed the ones who looked into it. And of course, the creatures of light were Archangels. As some might know, Ezekiel described angels as rings with rings.

    As for the message in the deserted town, there were actually two messages found: CROATOAN and CRO, and no one knows what they mean. I decided just to use CRO because it made for a better end, I think.
    I hope this clears things up a bit

    1. This does, yes. But no one claimed to be an expert on the Roanoke colony and I didn’t see any comments upset because of the ending with the letters CRO. We just wanted something a little clearer, that’s all.

      1. Carol S. & Allison. Thank you for your comments. Saved me a lot of time typing! Author; how would anyone ever infer from the information in your story, the precise explanation you then gave in the comments? I read it twice. Faeries and changlings was the closet guess I could come up with! You are a good writer but there is vague, leave some things up to the readers imagination, and then there is Vague!

    2. I don’t know if you can see comments that the rest of us can’t, but I haven’t seen any comments criticizing you on the accuracy of Roanoke’s history. The only notes I’ve seen of issue was the lack of explanation.
      I really appreciate the explanation you have provided; it wraps the story up together and makes complete sense. I only wish you would have put a bit of that into the story, so we aren’t relying on the author to come here and explain it. I get that ambiguous writing may be your style, but what’s the point of making the story like that when you’re the only person who will understand it? You’re explanation was pretty specific and I don’t think anybody could have drawn that conclusion without your input here.
      Anyway, since I can comment you directly, I’ll say again that you write really well and I’d love to see more of your stuff! Although I didn’t really get parts of the story, I enjoyed the writing style very much (and now that I get it, I like the story, much, much more).

    3. Ok well firstly your choosing of this odd God myth makes things pretty meh, it might have worked had you included that story of the dandelion (though probably not as its not a very engaging concept) and the autistic aspect is so poorly eluded to as to suggest that you don’t no much about the spectrum of disorders. Secondly croatoan was the name used to refer to an island as well as a native peoples that lived in the area whom the village is believed to have had some level of conflict with, this is the reason that Roanoke is believed by some to be tied to the birth of mulungeon people. Also most historians believe there are really only two possible explanations for Roanoke. Please research before you write. You clearly have the bud of a talent, now work on it and make it a skill and not just a party trick.

  9. This was extremely well-written, but I’m disappointed that right as the story was picking up, it was over. I understand the whole “leaving things to the imagination” bit, but Roanoke was a real colony and there really was no explanation. I was really stoked to see a story about it, but this is just filled with questions which have no answers. I think the MOST disappointing part of this is the fact that it’s written so incredibly well, cause I had high expectations for the plot. The description of Thomas is unique and very creepy. And I love that he wasn’t smiling in a creepy way, that is so overplayed on this site. How could you start writing such an incredible story and then just let it fall flat like that? I’m feeling so many mixed emotions right now.

    1. I wouldn’t exactly say this was well-written. I think this is another case where someone has access to an online thesaurus, and visits it a bit too much. In other words, the story uses big long words to look fancy, not because the words are accurate. A glaring example:

      “…the valiant people were thriving and prospering in this brave new world.

      However, hardship and trials were absent from tongue and thought this warm day”

      So, they were thriving. However, hardship was absent.

      To break it down: Everything was great! HOWEVER, everything was great!

      1. While I agree that the story could have been better, I believe you are misinterpreting the words. It says that there were issues, but they got through it, and on this day, no one was going to think or speak about the hardships.

        1. No, I don’t think I’m misinterpreting anything. The end of the first paragraph speaks completely about how the people are doing well. The next paragraph speaks about how “today was about triumph and victory”.
          These are not contradictory points, so the use of “however” was definitely unfitting.

  10. I liked this (I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Roanoke and what happened there), but I’d like a little more explanation as to why Thomas turned into that creature and what he held between his hands. I loved the idea, I just wish it had been fleshed out a bit more.

    7/10

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