Eyes of the Shadows

Eyes of the Shadows

This is just a spur-of-the-moment thing so I sincerely apologize if it stinks.

Chapter 1

The Den

by: Keller
The freezing wind bit into Nera's skin with the viciousness of a million tiny pinpricks. She wrapped her ice-covered parka even tighter around her trembling body. The well-worn mountain trail was invisible, buried by a half foot of snow. Despite the relentless cold, she forced her way up through the bending trees that had for years dotted the mountain pass. She had known a blizzard had been on its' way, but she had to see for herself. She had to know if the rumors that flew through the town were true. The fables that had been passed from generation to generation were always known as just that; legend, myth. But that what was driving Nera now. She had always expressed a great interest in the legendary, the fabled stories centuries old. It was to a place of mythical, old magic that she was now headed. It was a place that; for decades, had earned itself stories of a strange, unknown beast that stalked any traveller that happened to lose themselves within its' territorial boundaries. There were accounts of the beast taking the shape and form of a pitch-black wolf with white or pale blue eyes. One man had told a tale of his account with the beast and he managed to say that when the beast sprang to attack him, he had met its' charge but at the moment that his blade would have passed through it, it vanished, turning to wisps of mist but took its wolf form again when it had supposedly landed. This had been all he had been able to say before he had died. It was to this place that Nera was now making her way, to see if she could encounter the shifting beast and hopefully get home alive.
Now somewhat well protected from the biting snow in a rather thick stand of tall, wavering pines, Nera surveyed her surroundings. Not knowing how close or how far she was from her destination, she quickly set to work on building a temporary shelter. Taking her two-edged, serrated knife from its' scabbard, she deftly and efficiently cut several branches. Weaving them together as her mother had taught her, she soon had a reasonable little dome that she could sleep in and not have to worry too much about freezing from hypothermia during the night. Within minutes, Nera was asleep, being much too exhausted to care about what sort of dangers might be lurking in the shadows that the rapidly setting sun was making.
It was several hours later that Nera awoke from her peaceful slumber. Eyes snapping open, and suddenly sitting bolt upright, Nera hardly dared to breathe as she listened intently for the source that had woken her. The harsh wind that had only been howling and whistling through the trees trees hours before was now nonexistent. Nera knew that a hard wind like that should have still been sighing through the uppermost branches of the trees but at the moment, there was nothing. Total silence. Not even the whooping nightingale was to be heard. All was still. It was then that Nera understood why she had woken. It was because of the silence that she had woken up so suddenly. It was too still, too silent, too wrong. A sudden premonition creeped up on her, trailing its' cold fingers down her spine and at the roots of her hair, causing her to shiver violently. Something was out there she knew, something watching, waiting, stalking. Nera sat in the darkness for several minutes, watching the entrance to her little shelter. After what seemed to be an eternal, tense silence, Nera lay down again; her earlier warning system now going down. She slept restlessly for the rest of the night, waking up at dawn, just as the sun was breaking through the tops of the trees. Almost instantly after waking, Nera tore down her shelter, scattering the branches as though she had never been there. Though, of course, if someone with a trained eye wandered up here, it would become overly obvious that someone had been there.
Nera set out once more up the mountain, never forgetting about the eerie silence of the night before. Traveling ever further up the mountain, Nera had gone maybe a mile and a half when she came to a cliff-like overhang. Puzzled at this sight, Nera knew there shouldn't be any cliffs on a mountain. There were caves surely, but definitely not cliffs. A sudden, low warning snarling growl sounded from somewhere behind her. Frozen by shock, Nera slowly turned. Standing with its head low, upper lip curled to reveal glistening teeth, and with ears flattened against its head, stood a full- grown wolf with fur as black as ether and eyes the color of moonlight. Nera nearly couldn't believe what she was seeing except that she knew she wasn't dreaming. No, this was real. Now she understood why the clump of rocks had seemed so out-of-place. She had reached what everyone else called The Den.

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