Guten Morgan Xangaland!
I was issued a writing challenge by my Kween of the Kween_of_the_Queens weblog, for Halloween. I believe she can best explain the perameters of this challenge.
Your stories, adventures, experiences! Have you ever been spooked? Frightened? Surprised or down right scared right out of your bvd’s? I want to know about it and so does everyone else! Or do you simply like to scare the living pooh pooh out of the rest of us? I don’t care which it is! I need your entries! Never had a spook encounter? Make it up! Fiction is perfectly fine! Heard a story that curled your toes that someone else told you? Great! I want that too! All credits will be given!
For smiliar stories go HERE.
Though Ryan and I don’t celebrate Halloween I have always been one to enjoy a spooky story and so I decided to try my hand at writing one.
And so without further ado…
The Night of the Jackal
by Courtney Laube
She opened her eyes in the far too quiet dark of her tent… what noise had awakened her? There it was again… a soft snuffling sound… not unlike the sound her faithful hound made when he sniffed deeply at the skin of her neck.
Time lengthened and she did not hear it again… it must have been the tailings of a vivid dream following her out of sleep. As she closed her eyes and prepared to woo Morpheus once more it came again, louder this time and more persistent.
She instinctively drew closer to her husband… or the place where her husband should be. She put out her hand to feel for him. His pillow was cold and unwrinkled as if he had not come to bed at all this night. Deep relief stole over her as she realized it must be he that made the noises beyond the walls of her tent.
Even as the relief came the fear crept in once more… If it was Edwin then why was there no light stealing through the canvas? If it was he then his lantern would be burning brightly as he worked on his papers late into the night, or at least the fire would be burning low, but the camp was dark and cold.
Squaring her shoulders she crept slowly from her warm bed and began to dress in silence leaving her dressing gown and slippers over the chair on which she had placed them before going to bed… if something truly was amiss she did not want to be caught in frills and bows. She wanted to meet it in her sensible boots and trousers. A lady she may be but foolish she was not!
Though her movements had made little sound she became aware of an unnatural stillness outside of the tent… almost as if the very night held close its breath. She removed a small dagger from her bedside table as the tiny hairs on the back of her neck began to rise and images from the latest Rider Haggard novel she had fallen asleep reading began to rush across her minds eye.
This was so silly she berated herself. And with far less caution than she had intended she marched to the door of her tent, dagger held tightly at her side, and threw back the flap to face whatever waited for her. Raising her dagger high she bolted from the doorway and shouted a battle cry at her unknown adversary.
There was nothing.
Utter silence and stillness shrouded her form. She stood arm raised and breast heaving from the effort of dressing quickly and the fear that plagued her mind. She was bathed in the silvery white moonlight of the desert night. It glinted off of her mahogany hair and sparkled in her eyes as she glanced quickly all around her.
“Edwin?” she called with more calmness in her voice than in her trembling heart…
A sigh so low that its direction could not be determined was her only answer. She crept forward noting even as she did so how the glimmer of the moonlight in the sand like diamonds had become sinister and cold to her frightened eyes.
As she moved stealthily forward something pale and ethereal moved swiftly just out of her vision… As she turned her head to follow it she saw nothing but she knew, with a horrible certainty, that the safety of her tent, her home in this desolate place, was no longer empty. The deep gloom of the interior no longer held her sanctuary, it now held her doom…
“Fanciful thoughts will get you nowhere!” She said to herself, in a strong cool voice with the last of her bravery.
A small breath of laughter shattered the quiet dark interior of the tent she even now studied so fervently, the tent that even moments ago she had slumbered in so peacefully.
Her courage left her then on wings and she bolted blindly into the shimmering moonlit desert with no direction or purpose but to rid herself of those awful sighing sounds and the feeling of being watched.
It seemed she flew forever but once more sanity and sense came back to her and she forced her body to obey her and cease this blind and senseless flight. She came to a stop and crouched in the glimmering sand to survey the desert around her. She could see her tent gleaming whitely in the moon light, it was roughly a quarter mile to the south now. She had blindly run to the mouth of the wadi that she and Edwin had been working in this season. She trembled for there were so many places to hide and yet so many places for someone or something else to lay in wait… Panic threatened to once again claim her mind.
And then, as she turned her head to look up the wadi she saw the glow. The light was coming from the tomb she and Edwin had finished working on only the week before. Unable to control herself she crept slowly forward, as a moth to a flickering flame, needing desperately to know what meaning the light held, and she must find Edwin, he could be in great danger
Reaching the mouth of the tomb was but the work of a moment and she could see that the antechamber was empty and dark, full of shadows… the light came from the second room and so she quickly entered and continued forward, somehow feeling safer with the walls of stone around her.
As she stepped into the second chamber of the tomb a welcome sight met her eyes. Her husband sat on a camp stool in the center of the room, his back to her, and it was the flickering glow of the lantern he worked by that she had seen. Of course, she thought in relief, he had come here to work in order not to disturb her
She let out a little whoosh of air, and said in a rush;
“Edwin, I’m so relieved to find you here. Some noises woke me in the camp… I’m sure now I was being silly and it was nothing more than a stray dog from one of the nearby villages, come to think of it I had thought at one time it did sound like a dog. However, my imagination carried me away with it and in my mind, I let it become a much more sinister presence. All the same I’m so glad to find you. I need the warm touch of a human hand I’m afraid.”
The man in front of her did not stir. He did not speak or laugh as she had expected. A cold prickle of fear crept back into her heart…
“Why Edwin aren’t you going to berate me for reading such novels that give me nightmares? I had expected you would be glad of the chance! As I always claim that they do not affect me in the slightest!”
Still he did not stir and she slowly closed the distance that had separated them.
“Edwin my love?” She said uncertainly… She reached out a trembling hand to touch his shoulder… His head turned and her fingers brushed his cool cheek. Blessed relief flooded through her… of course nothing was wrong.
“Oh Edwin I…”
The moonlight feel full upon the face of the man she loved.
Her screams echoed far over the silvered desert hills, heard only by the jackals that answered with their mournful calls.