Donna A Bryant - Author » Discussions


SIP - The Darkening - Mists of Curakan

  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    Billy, Sweet Billy



    Curakan trembled as he moved in on the boy. After almost 100 years imprisoned, not only did his wrath seethe over into a never-ending abyss, but his hunger was such as he had never experienced before. As he moved closer to the boy, to within inches of his face, he could see the generations past and knew that this one was a descendant of his captors. He knew in that brief instant that the last stone to seal him in was from this one's heritage. As such, it was only fitting he would be the first. Curakan's mist enveloped the boy...



    Jean was watching as Billy seemed to disappear into the thick mist. It was odd how it had completely engulfed him. She called to Billy but it was as if the sound of her voice were swallowed by the mist. Afraid to move forward, she ran back toward the front of the cave to get David who had started to leave.



    Billy snapped out of his fugue-like state to find himself surrounded by the heavy mist. The mist was so heavy. That's all he could think. How heavy it was and why he couldn't move in it. He couldn't raise his arm, couldn't walk, he was just stuck. Glued right there in place by this weird mist.



    Curakan wrapped the boy in his tendrils. The human would see it just as a thick misty fog until it was too late, but those with the sight would see it for what it is right away. Too bad for this one he didn't have the gift. So Curakan surrounded the boy in his embrace and waited. It never took long for them to realize the danger they faced. For them to see his face and for the panic to set in. After the initial panic would come a fight to get free and then, once they realize there is no escape - terror. That's what Curakan awaited. The pure terror that he feeds on. This ultimate prize that he had been robbed of for so long and it was just a few short minutes away. Curakan moved even closer, his face inches from the boy's...



    Just as he had convinced himself that he was dreaming and must have dozed off, a face appeared before him and Billy screamed. He kept on screaming at the top of his lungs, trying to work free from this death shroud. Every time he struggled, it felt like something squeezed harder but that was impossible as it was just a fog, a mist, nothing but that. He kept repeating, "it's just a mist, nothing more, just a mist", while his sanity slowly slipped away from him. He screamed and he struggled as he tried to get away from whatever this was.



    Curakan was feasting on the panic that was building in the boy. Soon, very soon, the boy, Billy, would pass the threshold of pure terror and that's when he would see the true form of Curakan.



    Jean and David ran into the room, yelling Billy's name while they did. They stopped in their tracks at the scene before them. Billy was suspended in the mist, 3 feet above the ground. The flashlights were able to light the room enough to show them a scene they wish they hadn't seen. Both were so shocked, they couldn't move. As they watched, Billy turned to look in their direction. He was screaming, they could see it, but they couldn't hear his screams. He then turned back toward the thicker part of the mist and that's when they saw a face in the mist, right in front of Billy's face.



    They screamed in unison. Screams of pure terror and that face in the mist just smiled as it completely enveloped Billy and for a brief time, he was gone. Then, the lifeless body of their friend was thrown to their feet, face up. They saw Billy's terror stricken face frozen in a scream and it broke them of their terror. They looked at the mist which was coming toward them, and they turned and ran toward the cave entrance.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    When it Rains, it Pours



    Jeremy and Kara sprinted through the woods toward the cave, oblivious to the scratches that were starting to cover their arms and legs from some of the overgrowth along the path. Their thoughts focused on the horrific screams echoing throughout the woods, oblivious even to the approaching storm that seemed to have come up out of nowhere.



    Thunder rumbled in the distance. Thick black clouds lumbered toward their location, swallowing the sun in their mass, refusing to let even a trickle of light escape. Clouds and darkness ebbed slowly toward the cave as the tide can sometimes creep up on the unwary beach-goer building his majestic castle of sand.



    Jeremy and Kara, focused solely on reaching their friends, took no heed of the subtle change in temperature nor on the steadily building rumbles that interspersed between the frantic screams of which they followed. Adrenaline pushed them faster than they had ever run before and though the branches and brambles lining the path were grabbing at their legs, they never stumbled or wavered on their mad dash through the forest.



    The cave within sight, they pushed even harder to reach it. Jeremy and Kara, David and Jean were all speeding forth towards their destinations – one set rushing in and the other surging out. It was at this point, during a particularly loud explosion of thunder that they collided and fell to the ground.



    Jeremy was gasping for breath, each intake burned his lungs. The impact had knocked the wind out of him and sent him sprawling, scraping his elbows and kicking dirt up into his face. Claps of thunder boomed in close enough proximity to make the ground shake.



    Kara, though shaken, got to her feet and, though out of breath, grabbed Jean and said, “What happened? Where's Billy?”. Lightning struck somewhere beyond the cave, and the air had a charge to it.



    Jean jumped at the sound and then turned and looked toward the cave. She was shaking badly, her skin pasty white and covered in sweat. She couldn't speak. Just pointed to the cave, her eyes wide with terror. Kara turned to David and saw the same expression on his ashen face.



    Jeremy, recovered from the fall, got up and said, “What's going on?!?! Dave, Jean, what happened to Billy? Where is he?”. He shook David some while he spoke. Enough to jar him out of his catatonic state and get a response.



    “He's gone. Oh MY GOD! It got him!!. Run. We have to run! There's something in the mist,” David said while pulling Jeremy toward the path, intent on leaving.



    Jean stopped screaming and ran toward the path, crashing through the bushes and undergrowth with careless abandon. Jeremy looked at Kara and then at the cave, hesitating about what to do. David, meanwhile, had stopped tugging him. The storm was picking up intensity, almost as though it was a force directing them to leave in haste.



    “I'm outta here. We gotta get help NOW!,” and with that, he was off down the path, back to where they left their bikes.



    Jeremy took one step toward the cave but the loudest crack of thunder yet, followed in quick succession by several lightning strikes, stopped him.



    “We can't go in there. Can't you feel it? It's coming! Billy's gone, I know it,” Kara said, almost yelling to be heard over the storm. While she spoke, she had a vision of poor Billy, lifeless on the ground and with a look of horror on his face, his death mask. His pale, blue eyes, soul-less now, staring at the ceiling. The wind whipped around them and seemed to push them forward, away from the cave.



    Jeremy knew she was right. He could feel it approaching and didn't want to be there when it reached the opening. He was also spooked by this storm that seemed to have come up out of nowhere. They both ran back down the path to their bikes, the wind at their backs pushing, almost making them stumble as they went crashing down the hill. As they got to the end of the path, they saw Jean sitting on the ground crying. Mud streaked tears running down her face and onto her dress. David was already gone.



    “Jean,” Kara said, “we need to go. Get on your bike and ride home as fast as you can. Lock the doors when you get there and tell your parents what happened at the cave.”



    “I d-d-don't know if I can,” Jean said through sobs.



    Thunder boomed and lightning soared through the clouds above them.



    Jean screamed and cowered further down, seeming to want to make herself invisible.



    “You have to or that thing is going to do the same thing to you that it did to Billy!,” Jeremy said as he got on his bike. “We're going to get help. I'll call Deputy Corigan. He's always been nice to me.”



    Jean got slowly to her feet and got on her bike, and pedaled, a little wobbly at first as she couldn't see well due to the tears and her hair getting in her face from the wind. She gradually built up speed as she got her confidence back and was soon out of sight. Kara looked at Jeremy as they both started to pedal home.



    “Do you think she'll make it,” she asked.



    He looked back toward the direction Jean had gone and said, “I don't know. She's pretty shaken up. I hope she makes it home.” He let out a heavy sigh and then focused on his task at hand, getting home before that thing got to him.



    They both peddled as fast as they could and went most of the way together but eventually came to the fork in the road. One to Forest Road and the other to Midway Road. They parted without a word, not knowing if this would be their last adventure together. Jeremy going as fast as he could up Forest Road, though having to maneuver around pot holes and huge bumps that could have sent him in a spin. Kara had a better path as Midway Road had been paved within the past year and was a smooth ride.



    The storm, monstrous and angry, followed behind them. Just as Kara reached her home, it started to pour. Big, thick raindrops at first, to warn of an impending avalanche of rain. Jeremy was still 20 feet from his house when the rain hit. It came down so hard once it started in full force, that he had to ditch his bike on the lawn and run the rest of the way home as his tires were getting stuck in the potholes that he couldn't see through the rain.



    Curakan watched from the cave as they left. He watched each of them go and followed in his mind to see where they lived. Now that he had fed and regained some of his strength, he could focus and find them – the ones responsible for his imprisonment, and make them pay. He knew that some had passed on, could feel it. Saw it through the one they called Billy's memories. Knew that each of these kids that had come today were descended from his tormentors, his captors. Revenge. It's sweet when it's waited so long and Curakan was in the mood for sweet.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    Sweet Cora Jean



    Cora Jean Emerson, long time resident of Sunshine Retirement Home and favorite of all of the nurses, was tired. Lately, she'd been having bad dreams, even during her daily naps. She sat and looked through her picture albums as that usually relaxed her.



    “How's my favorite sweetie pie today?”, Sue Lancaster asked as she entered Cora's room. She absolutely adored Cora, thought of her as family in fact. She was worried though because, lately, Cora had been lethargic and not her usually peppy self. She could see something was troubling her as her face held a worried look and her eyes, usually a sparking blue, were now dull as she looked up from her photo album.



    “I'm ok,” Cora said, in a tone lacking her usually spunkiness.



    “Well, I can tell that's a fib,” Sue replied, going over to Cora and kneeling next to her and putting her hand on her arm. “You can talk to me about anything, you know. You're like family Cora and if you aren't feeling well or if something's troubling you, I can help.”



    Cora looked at Sue for a time, considering telling her what's been bothering her, about the dreams, but she couldn't. She knew from past experience to never talk about her special gift. People didn't understand and never would, not if they didn't have this same burden. No. She couldn't share this with anyone here. There were only a few people that would understand. Her daughter, grand-daughter and great-grand-daughter, all of whom knew what it was like to carry such a “gift”. A curse was what it was. Following each generation of women, skipping the men in her family completely.



    She put a hand on Sue's, gave it a squeeze, and with more enthusiasm than she really felt, said, “I'm fine Sue. Really I am. I didn't sleep well, drank too much tea before bed and was up several times last night for potty runs.” She smiled, hoping to convince Sue that she was ok.



    Sue frowned, shrugged and said, “Ok Cora. If you say so.” She stood, took Cora's temp and blood pressure as part of her normal routine and glanced at her photos. The one that caught her eye was one with several children, a very old black and white photo. She recognized Cora in the bunch, “Oh hey! I see you there,” pointing to a skinny girl with braids.



    “Yes, that's me with my gang. Well not a gang like today. We never had that sort of thing back then. Lord no. Our gang used to have some grand adventures in our time. That all stopped one day when...,” she trailed off, deep in thought.



    “Cora, are you ok?” Sue asked, concerned about her patient and friend.



    Cora snapped out of the vision, one that she had locked away long ago, and shivered. “I'm fine. I promise,” she said with a smile.



    Sue, concerned, left for the rest of her rounds. She promised herself that she would visit Cora again before her shift was over, just to check on her. Cora watched Sue leave, wishing she could have told her what was bothering her, what had her up nights. She knew though that it was a burden she couldn't share for fear that someone might go release the creature that had so long ago been sealed in its make-shift tomb. She shivered, as a cold that reached into her soul overtook her for a minute, and then looked back to the photo that Sue had pointed out. “Oh…that day,” she thought as images started filling her mind.



    It had been warm, almost too warm with the humidity and no breeze. Cora, deep in her memories could almost feel the warm air clinging to her, making her clothes stick to her skin. In her mind, she heard her friends – Sophie Bryce, Mark Hills, Katherine Sims, Jimmy Garris, Mike Smith and Johnny Black – as though she were right there again. Laughing, giggling, care-free days. The morning this photo was taken was the last time the gang laughed and joked together. They were bored and it was Mark's idea to hunt the fabled monster Curakan. According to legend, it was time for Curakan to have awakened and be stalking his victims. There had been two unsolved murders already, and the town was abuzz with rumors of the dreaded Curakan.



    Of course, she and her friends all thought it was nonsense cooked up by parents to scare children and keep them from straying too far into the woods. They were too old to believe in boogeyman stories. However, they loved to explore and check out haunted houses and debunk myths. The Curakan myth seemed like a good one to debunk.



    In Cora Jean’s mind, she watched the movie of her past. Watched as her younger self went into the woods with her friends - her heartbeat starting to rise as she knew what that adventure held in store. Oh how she wished she could yell to them to stop. The mist was starting to form around them as she watched, helpless - her heart rate continuing to climb as she sat in helpless reverie. As she watched the mist form, she noticed some of the tendrils coming toward her. She felt odd this time, more “connected” to this dream.



    Now, as she focused more on the mist, she felt something on her skin and looked down. Around her chair, a mist was forming, but that was impossible. She was indoors, in her room in Sunshine Retirement Home and mists didn’t come indoors. She felt something squeezing her ankle and saw the vague outline of a tendril in the mist. Her eyes widened and her heart rate quickened as beads of sweat formed on her forehead. Panic started to take its grip on her. Her clothes clung to her sweaty skin and she wet herself as she felt the monster from her past reaching out to her. It was then that fate stepped in and Sue walked back into the room.



    “Cora, I just had to come…,” Sue stopped mid-sentence as she saw the state of her patient. She ran to her side, took her vitals and hit the alarm for assistance. Cora Jean, dear sweet Cora Jean was having a stroke. More nurses and the on-call doctor came running in. An ambulance was called as they did the necessary steps to get her comfortable and in a more stable condition. Her family was called as she was rushed to the hospital. In the rush, no one noticed the message Cora Jean had scrawled on the old photo while she still had the strength.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    Curakan Waits



    Curakan started into the rain to follow the children. He stopped as he reached the path and the rain started to come down. This presented a choice. Continue on and get his revenge that he had waited for, for so long, or wait for the storm to pass and darkness to fall. Going now would mean that his protective mist would dissipate in the rain, leaving him much easier to spot and making it harder to play with their minds. He did so love to play with their minds as that was when the meal was sweetest and more fulfilling. Breathing in deeply, he could smell still a faint scent of the children, mingled with the fresh scent of rain. How he detested that. Rain! It always washed away the satisfaction of taking in their fear. The lingering aroma of human terror that he savored was just too easily washed away by the dreadful rain. A curse, perhaps, or perhaps it was simply a challenge to finish with his victims faster next time.



    He wrapped his tentacle around the nearest oak tree, searing through the bark and into the soft pulp beneath. Even plants have feelings, he had come to know over time. Not as satisfying as human fear, but he considered it a simple snack while he waited for his feast.




    Small whisps of smoke escaped from beneath Curakan’s tendrils as the tree suffered deep burns into its core. The rain served to keep the tree from bursting into flame, but it also served to prolong its torture. Within a few minutes, Curakan’s grip eased off and the tree, dead at its core, would never again produce green leaves and acorns for its days were done.



    Curakan moved back into the cave and focused. The name that came to mind was Cora Jean Emerson. A name he knew well and one whose location he was able to procure from the girl they called Jean. He paid a visit to Cora from within his cave, using much of the strength he had gotten from his latest meal. Had he been stronger, he could have done much more than scare her, but as such, the scare was enough to satisfy him for now. He was always surprised by how frail humans got in their age. Cora was not much more than a husk at this time in her life, though she still had a strong life force and that’s what he counted on for his next visit to her. He had to be a little more careful with the older humans, if he wanted to savor the fear and terror he would bring to them. He found that out many years ago, older humans would die quickly if frightened too fast. With them, it had to be a gradual scare into a total terror in order for him to feed well. He would take his time with Cora and he would savor every moment of it. He couldn’t say the same for her though.



    With that, Curakan let out a sound that, to human ears, would sound like a death scream. This was his laughter, as it was and he laughed for a good long time, frightening animals for miles. The woods became barren of sound as all of the animals hunkered in dens, caves, and whatever they could find to escape that sound and what it brought with it. A few farm animals just keeled over and died on the spot. House dogs started howling. Cats spewed and ran for cover, hiding under beds, sofas, and anything they could scramble under. Such is the way of the animals. They know what to fear and when to run. Humans don’t tend to run, they stand and fight. That was what Curakan was counting on.