Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Sample from New Celtic Horror Novel in the Works...



As Pen-Y-Fan looms nearer now Ianto tries to control Brigadore, who has become suddenly troubled and difficult on the ride. Siôn is not fairing any better on his horse either. Both animals are spooked and whinnying in the shadow of the mountain strangely.

“I am sorry for this, these horses do not normally act like this, they are well-behaved and calm.” apologizes Siôn.

Ianto grips the reins tightly and presses his knees into the saddle to signal the horse to calm but Brigadore jerks about and stresses regardless. Down from the slopes a cold wind sweeps powerfully stirring the dust and dry grass into the air and then the horses both calm. Both riders remind the steeds who is in charge even though they have calmed.

“Let’s ride to the summit.” asks Siôn glancing at the top of the massive earthen hill. Sheep bleat distantly throughout the region. They are scattered groups or alone on the slopes, hopping about and scurrying along to the best grassy spots.

“Alright, fair enough.”

Using every technique they both know of the equine arts they direct their horses up the sloping hillside and force them to trot. With effort, Ianto keeps Bridadore close to Siôn on the incline upwards; he uses the riding crop and his spurs.

After a little more than ten minutes pass they both make the summit of Pen-Y-Fan on their steeds. Windy and cold, the top is dramatic and intimidating. Ianto slows Brigadore to a cantor and stops near a rocky cairn. Brigadore is sweaty and breathing wildly, his eyes bulging.

“This is quite a vista.” Comments Ianto, awed by the spectacle of being atop the mountain. He begins to quickly look about for any sign of another person’s presence, tracks, an old fire-pit, anything that might hint at another person.

Siôn sits atop his horse with one hand holding down his hat, and the other on the reins, “Take your time up here, and look around. We have the entire day to do so, or at least until the storms come in from the Irish Sea.”

Ianto dismounts and pats Brigadore on its neck. Eagerness is now taking over. He wants to comb every inch of this place to see what led to Mr. Llewellyn’s demise, even if it takes all day.

Without another word or thought to it, Ianto sprints to the edge of the dangerously high precipice and looks down far below at the lake. The two thousand feet drop is terrifying; it makes his heart jump and his breath falter at the thought of falling.

He looks both ways down the slopes and to the other nearby peaks. Miles of green rolling hills and scattered farmland are clear to see from this height. He is amazed by the clarity and distance viewed.

“It is an awful fall isn’t it? I am sorry for the fate of your friend.” chimes in Siôn from his horse nearby.

“Yes, terrible. If our horses had difficulty getting up the height how could Mr. Llewellyn on foot? He was not the most agile or capable man. This is simply not something he would do. Too bad there is no evidence of his tracks; the grass covers any chance of them being found.”

Siôn rides near to him and he looks down at the earth, “Too bad indeed.”

“If there were two sets of tracks we would know he was not alone and murdered after all, it would at least give me somewhere to start and something to tell his family, a shame.”

Pointing downwards at the cluster of lichen covered dark grey stones, old Siôn says, “Look there!”

Ianto follows the old man’s finger down into the rocks and something gleams in the sunlight. Quickly he fumbles through the stones and his eyes locate a pipe, Mr. Llewellyn’s favorite pipe. He snatches it up and sniffs the pipe, finding the scent of the tobacco still fairly fresh.

“This is his pipe, I remember him proudly talking about it. He bought it while on a trip to Belgium while he was in the Queen’s service.”

From behind a distant small hillock, not less than a hundred feet away, wild eyes gaze at the two men. Feral and savage, with even wilder breathing, the voyeur spies them both with interest. Every sense is primed to observe Ianto and Siôn in every way possible. Suddenly they are not alone anymore atop Pen-Y-Fan.

Ianto takes steps away from the ledge and then carefully spots any depressions in the yellow grass and follows them. They lead him from the edge and back onto the greater part of the hill, near the rocky masses that are piled close to the top. He places the pipe into his coat pocket, and stuffs it deep.

“See, he did walk up here to fall. His steps are not easy to see in the cold hard soil, but there has been enough rain to make mud and leave traces. But who pushed him?”

From behind the wind-blown hillock the spying eyes dart madly, watching Ianto’s every move. The wild breathing is now raspier and frantic with the more of him that can be seen by the hidden figure.

“That is the question of the day isn’t it? While you investigate this I will set out Eilonwy’s lunch for us somewhere down the slope a little, away from the winds. How long do you plan on staying here Mr. Vaughn?” inquires Siôn.

Stepping on each print-like depression in the grass Ianto says to him, “If you don’t mind, until I am done. It might be a few hours to the entire day. Once my curiosity is satisfied I will be done.”

“No problem, I will get us situated then.” Siôn leaps off of his horse and begins unpacking the provisions that his niece packed for them.

The peering eyes, with large pupils and white colored, watch as Ianto spins back around to face the summit. Now the interest grows intensely as an awakening lust. A lust for what is the question the observer is struggling with, blood or physical affection? Either way the peering figure doesn’t care, the two feelings blur.

Ianto returns to the peak and takes a long good look across the distant miles around them in the Beacons but the eyes do not leave him, they stare on and study him from top to bottom intently. A chill fills him and brings goose flesh causing his eyes to water again. He shivers from the familiar sensation and folds his arms to keep warm.

“Do you feel a…coldness Siôn? Not the chill from the weather or wind but from something else. I felt it here yesterday when I was gazing at the mountain from the coach and saw the figure moving about here where we are standing. It is deep biting cold.”

Siôn shivers a little while unpacking the saddlebag, “Aye, it is something that is found here only in the Beacons. The religious would tell you it is because the place is thenau, thin, and close to another world. Others would tell you it is just madness. Me? I just don’t have an answer or claim to, but it is said that no fire can remain lit up here, not since the time of the druids.”

“The winds…”

Siôn shakes his head, “No, a presence here, supernatural and sinister. No fire can remain up here since those days long ago.”

Ianto rubs his hands together to generate some warmth and breathes on them, “A fire would be nice, the sun isn’t helping.” He then returns to inspecting every tuft of grass and disturbed stone on the summit, with his hands in his coat or together for warmth.

As fleet footed as a deer, the hidden figure dashes from behind the hillock closer to Ianto and Siôn’s place on Pen-Y-Fan. The movement is such that it is but a blur with the surrounding parchment colored land, and before anyone could notice the figure was again behind a hillock, crouched and low to the earth. Primal thoughts are running mad in the observer’s brain, entangled with sinister ideas and urges.

(This is of course the rough first draft, but it is something different in my repertoire.)  

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