16. in which danny decides to be herself

“Oh, this is not happening,” Danny muttered under her breath as she stared at the skulls, remembering her recent nightmare. The rogue forest taking over the city — the citizens’ skulls — hundreds of them —

She shook her head. For a minute, she stood at the edge of the forest, wondering how to proceed. She wasn’t sure what to expect, so she wasn’t sure how she should prepare herself. She had only the warning from the little bird, and…those things. The skulls. Why did they seem to be staring at her?

Danny thought about what form she would wear. A strapping woodsman, perhaps? She could use intimidation to press the Keeper of Names to give her the name she wanted. Or, maybe, a small woodlands animal. Who would suspect a small bird or squirrel?

In the end, she settled for appearing as herself. Often, she changed her appearance or gender to suit a situation, but not this time. She might be able to use her seeming youth and innocence to her advantage.

“She carried a bag of magical sleep sand in the purse that rested at one of her hips, and a shining dagger the length of her hand on the other,” she said out loud, weaving her words into reality.

Slowly, Danny approached the shack. Each crunching step she took sounded painfully loud to her ears. As she neared, she could see that the windows were dark, like sockets.

Suddenly, the front door banged open, and a stooped figure rushed out and past Danny in a blur.

Danny leaped back, drawing the knife in one hand with an expert flick of the wrist. She found herself standing alone. The door remained gaping open, revealing more of the same darkness she’d seen through the windows. Her gaze flicked left and right. Once more, everything was silent and still. Danny’s hackles raised, and she felt like the victim of a horror movie. At any moment, the monster would roar out and shred open her throat.

From around the corner of the house came a loud scrape and thump. The stooped figure suddenly reappeared, shuffling quickly toward the door. Danny had a hard time making it out; it was hunched over and dressed in nondescript slate-colored robes — and it was moving surprisingly fast.

The figure didn’t seem to notice Danny at all. However, as it passed, it glanced up and irritably rasped, “Go away. Not visitors.”

Then, the old hunched thing went inside again and closed the door with a bang.

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Creative Commons License
Christie “Iamba” Bailey


~ by iamba on October 12, 2008.

One Response to “16. in which danny decides to be herself”

  1. […] lining the bread crumb path to the door were several wooden poles, each topped with a human skull. next page Christie “Iamba” […]

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