The snow rests pale on the naked metal of the shacks around me. The pastel paint stripped away in ugly patches, the rusted iron underneath leers orangish-red at my intrusion – like a thousand fiery eyes set in the suffocating whiteness that is all around me. There is no one here in this deserted little village – this island in an endless sea of ice and capricious cold. There is nothing else for miles, it seems. I am all alone here. All I can do is wait for the ceaseless wind to dismantle me, to chip away at me until the red rust underneath my painted façade is all exposed and I become as silent as the town around me.
I press myself up against the side of a shack to get out of the wind, whose shrieks and murmurs fade ever so slightly as I hide. I slowly ease myself onto the porcelain-white ground, and draw my knees to my chest to protect the waning heat in my core from the lashes of the cold.
No louder than a whisper; I’m sure I’ve imagined it. My name called from across the village, sounding as if it was shouted. But the wind rushing through the squat houses almost stole it away before it reached me. I stumble to my feet, heaving my body upwards and craning my head towards the voice. I take a few steps towards it. The ice and snow forces deliberate and careful steps; taunting me who has no energy for such things. I walk onward, and even as I approach I feel the wind rushing by my face, taking with it bits of warmth – chips of paint.
I reach the farthest-flung house. There is no one here. Everything is silent and still besides the shuddering of my shoulders as the cold lifts the warmth from them in sheets. The wind strips the paint from everything – I am raw, red, rusty. The orangish-red eyes grow wider, amazed that I persist in moving amongst them.
Again, the voice calls. No louder than before; I might have missed it in the din of shrieks and murmurs. This time though, the voice comes from behind me – on the other side of the village, back where I was. My eyes water as the wind tries to pry them out. I begin trudging again towards the voice. Perhaps we passed each other. Perhaps whoever’s out there is pursuing me just as I pursue them, and as the wind pursues us both. I march in loose, fumbling step towards the voice, back through the town, back through all the red eyes. I fall once or twice, and it feels so good to rest that I might just fall asleep there. I rise each time, however; the voice draws me onward. I reach the other end of the village, looking out into the stormy sea of ice on all sides of this little island of paint and bleary, red eyes. There is no one here but me.
The voice calls once again with muffled insistence, no closer than ever. Somehow now, from the opposite side of all the decrepit shacks, it beckons me. I’d turn to it, but I can’t face those eyes again, and I’m so very cold, and it feels so good to rest.
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Check out David Feuling’s critically-acclaimed trilogy of novellas, The American Demon Waltz, now available on Amazon.com.
All three novellas in the trilogy described below are included in the compilation:
“Bravo Juliet” is a survival horror military thriller, and the first novella by acclaimed fiction author, David Feuling. It tells the story of an elite soldier serving under US Army Special Project: Acrylic Geist, before she is betrayed and left to die in the wilderness of war-torn Vietnam. Brutal injuries, debilitating sickness, and the growing Lovecraftian threat of “The Maw” test not only Bobby’s will to survive, but her grasp on sanity itself.
“Witness to Those Waiting” is the second book in the “Bravo Juliet” series. Master Specialist Barbara Balk returns to investigate the subterranean mazes carved out beneath Kosovo’s towns and streets. From her entry through the Ngordhje churchyard, she must face undead horrors and ancient evils alike in her quest to return to the surface with answers.
“Vechnaya L’Vitsa” pits Corporal Barbara Balk against new foes in the depths of U.S. Covert Command Outpost (USCCO) #241. Leading a team of six soldiers and tasked with defending the experimental LISEMEC superweapon until it is ready to fire, can Bobby hold out long enough while under siege? Her resolve will be tested by supernatural forces, enemy sabotage, and the expansive Antarctic wasteland itself.