Donna A Bryant - Author » Discussions

SIP - The Darkening - Mists of Curakan

  • Leader
    February 10, 2017

    The Darkening - Mists of Curakan is a book in progress that I'll write here on Literary Social. It did appear on my other site but have moved it here, where it will remain and where the story will continue.

    "One never knows what strange things may lurk in the abyss of the imagination. Are these truly just things imagined, or do they bode some link to forgotten memories..." ~Donna Arsenault Bryant

  • Leader
    February 10, 2017

    A little explanation before I continue exploring The Darkening: Mists of Curakan with you.

    It’s a work of fiction – thank God. I am not googling any definitions for this as I am making a completely fictitious work. The characters in the story are not based on any real people.

    The thing lurking in the mist is fictitious – or is it? Is it possible that perhaps it is something that lurks in the darkness – under the bed, or in a dark corner of a closet, in the cellar’s shadowy interior – or perhaps, just perhaps it lurks at the edge of your dreams. As you sleep, in the darkness of your room, perhaps it lingers near your bed, watching you sleep…reaching, barely touching your skin. Just a slight touch that barely registers in your sleep. As you open your eyes, still sleepy, your mind sees what you do not register…

    Have fun with that.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017

    In the old days it was known as The Darkening. It has existed longer than man. The Darkening. A swirling, mass of misty clouds that hug the ground, not unlike a fog will enshroud anything that falls within its grasp. Something lies within the shifting clouds, something that stretches its tendrils throughout its misty shroud…reaching, searching,….hungry…The Darkening…

    It has been nearly 100 years since it last fed. Almost a century asleep in its cavern deep within the caves that had remained forgotten and hidden from view until Jeremy Bloom discovered the diary of his great-grandmother, Sophie. Jeremy is an adventurer. As soon as he read Sophie’s account of the cave he was intrigued. He was made more so by the last part of the diary:

    We have sealed it deep within the caverns. There’s no way anyone will find it. We also hid the entrance with branches and rocks so that only someone that knows the cave is there will ever find it. God forbid anyone should ever stumble upon it. I shudder to think of the consequences.


    Well, he just had to know what they sealed in that cave. It could be a treasure! Though her words chilled him. He started imagining cursed treasures guarded by zombies, or magic medallions that call forth demons if taken. Maybe it's a vampire! Whatever it is, he has to know. So, he and his friends David, Kara, Billy and Jean are all going to look for the cave tomorrow morning. Whatever is in there, they’ll be prepared and they’ll share it if it’s worth money.

    Inside the cavern, it sleeps. Undisturbed all these years. Peaceful and tranquil…for now.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    The Five Musketeers

    Mary watched as her son came bounding down the stairs, covered in dust, cobwebs in his hair. He had that look in his eyes that he got when he was ready to go on another one of his adventures. He had boundless energy and wore her out, but he was a blessing. The only child she and her late husband, Jack, would ever have. As she dried the dishes, she watched as he got a soda from the fridge, some chocolate chip cookies, and sat at the kitchen table. He had an old book he was studying and some paper he was excitedly writing on.

    “So, what have you been up to,” she asked him.

    Jeremy, not looking up from his book, answered. “I’m making a map. I found this old diary from great-grandma Sophie up in the attic and I think there’s a treasure in a cave not too far from here!”

    The thought of him exploring some cave concerned her but she didn’t want to be too overprotective, she never had. She always raised her boy to be curious and explore to learn as much as he could about this world. As he looked up from what he was doing, her heart melted. He looked so much like his dad. Brown eyes and hair, which parted in the same way as his father’s. Just a light dusting of freckles on his cheeks. A smile that would light even the darkest of rooms. Mary adored her son and so, though it concerned her, she simply told him some rules he must follow if he were to explore the cave.

    “Alright, Jeremy, you can explore that cave but you have to bring friends, flashlights, cell phones fully charged and a first aid kit just in case. You make sure you don’t go in any areas that require rope to descend. That’s just too dangerous and I won’t have it,” she said.

    Jeremy looked at his mom. He could tell by the way she was standing, with her arms crossed and a “it’s my way or the highway” look that he better agree or she wouldn’t let him go. She looked tired too. Her hair had started to gray and she had wrinkles that he hadn’t noticed before. He wondered if he had given those wrinkles and gray hair to her with all his adventures. He got up from the table, walked to his mom and gave her a big hug and promised to follow the rules.

    “Thanks mom! You’re the best,” he said.

    Mary tousled his hair, knowing he was too grown up for that but still seeing him as her baby, and finished drying the dishes, hoping she wouldn’t regret letting him go on his newest adventure. Jeremy turned and ran up to his room to call his friends, grabbing the book and notebook from the table as he did. He knew who he would get to come with him as they were the Five Musketeers and always did their adventures together - David, Billy, Kara and Jean.

    David was his best friend and was the toughest kid he knew, sort of the bully of the school but he had his reasons. He knew that David wouldn’t have any trouble getting his mom to let him come because she never bothered with him anyway. She was always too tired from stripping at the Lonesome Cowboy bar and spent too much time with the bottle and never any with her son. She probably wouldn’t even notice he was gone.

    Billy was next on his list. You wouldn’t expect him to be such a wild kid on adventures but boy, he sure could dream up some great stuff. He was a dead ringer for Harry Potter and was picked on mercilessly in school, well when David wasn’t around to beat up any that tried. Billy was shy and scared easily, hell a flea farting would probably send him into a panic. He was smart though, probably the smartest kid in school and when he came on adventures, he cooked up all sorts of inventions and got them out of sticky situations many times.

    Jean is always on his adventures. She makes them all laugh and does the silliest things. Her red hair and freckles make her look like that old character Pippi Longstocking and she acts like her too, just like the movie. She made it so their adventures took on a hilarious spin and he couldn’t have one without her in the party.

    Last is Kara. She’s like a sister to him. A lot of people don’t like her, they’re scared of her because of her “gift”. They just need to get to know her but people just don’t even try. Kara is a tomboy. She’s not afraid of getting dirty, going in haunted houses or anything at all for their adventures. She’s usually the first one in to explore and takes risks just to solve a mystery. She’s got a tough shell though. Maybe because her parents don’t show her much affection, they’re afraid of her. It took a long time before she let him in and started confiding in him, and even longer before she joined the group on their adventures. Now though, they’re all good friends and look out for each other.

    Everyone said they would go and so it’s set for tomorrow. The grand adventure begins!
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    The Adventure Begins

    Jeremy met his friends along the path that led to some once popular hiking trails. They all had backpacks with supplies and the eager expectancy of treasure hunters. Jeremy had drawn a map of where he thought the cave should be located based on the descriptions in Sophie’s diary. He brought it with him too, just in case.

    Time had taken it’s toll on the old hiking trail, and the forest had reclaimed all but the vaguest remnants of a path. The kids left their bikes at the foot of the path and started weaving their way through the branches, brambles and vines.

    The forest was thick and did not allow any movement to the air, which made it seem hotter than it actually was. The air seemed to get thicker and laced with a scent that bespoke of decaying leaves or perhaps something else as they slowly made their way to their destination.

    Jeremy stopped to look at his map, certain that they were nearing the cave, when Kara screamed. They all turned to look and saw that her skin had turned a sick, ashen color and she was shivering though it had to be at least 80 degrees.

    “What! What is it Kara!” ~Jean screeched as she ran to Kara’s side.

    Kara had been “sensitive” from the time she was 3. Some people called her gifted, others a freak and some just avoided her. Kara had days when she thought it was a curse and others when it was a blessing. Today she wished she had stayed home because she could sense something, something really, really bad. She tried to convince herself that it could just be the atmosphere of the crowded, overgrown forest freaking her out.

    She didn’t want to scare her friends so she said, “I saw a spider! It was hanging from a branch right in front of me!”

    The others groaned, turned and headed toward their imagined treasure. Kara followed, still feeling the icy tendrils that seemed to be wrapping around her and trying to pull her down – down to some place she didn’t want to see. But, she could see it: her mind could see caverns, huge caverns in the darkness with small trickles of light from above that weakly illuminated a section of the cavern. In the darkness, she could barely make out a shape lying in the corner asleep – but aware. Whatever it is, its aware of them and in its sleep is reaching out to her.

    It stirs. Still sleeping, it can sense something approaching. Something that it reaches out for and it knows. It knows that these are humans. Humans, like the ones that imprisoned it here. It starts to awaken, its hunger building and its anger rising.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017

    It could sense their approach. With every step they took closer to the cave, its awareness of them sharpened. It could hear the branches and twigs crackle under their feet, could feel the essence of the human’s auras, could smell the distinct scent of human souls that only IT knew and could feel the power of the two (one female that was vaguely aware of her unique abilities and with whom it had shared a brief encounter; and the male that was unaware of his hidden capabilities). It would have to be careful with them, very careful but they would still belong to it in the end. Of that it was certain.

    It opened its eyes as it sensed the humans reach the mouth of the cave. It could hear them shuffling stones and branches to gain entrance to its prison. As it became more awake and aware, the mist that had been forming at its feet grew thicker until it rose around it, its shroud.

    It remembered. Remembered the past, the essence of human terror as it tracked them and fed, and later, the humans that imprisoned it. It had a name. A name that humans had given it long ago. Curakan. It knew that the mention of its name, Curakan, instilled fear in the humans and it embraced the name given it. Curakan.

    And now, fully aware, Curakan awaits.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    The Cave

    The kids worked quickly to remove the rocks and branches that had hidden the cave all these years. It was Billy who removed the branch that caused the rocks to fall and open the cave. Billy, who’s great-grandmother, Katherine, was the one who put the final touch that sealed Curakan in his chamber. Billy, who’s only thought was of hidden treasure. Soon, Billy’s thoughts would be on other things…

    Freedom was within Curakan’s grasp, he could feel it. The opening of the cave sent a stream of fresh air into the chamber, stirring the mist surrounding him. He now knew for certain that these humans were connected to those that sealed him in. Rage coursed throughout his essence. The mist thickened and the earth trembled slightly as Curakan rose and stretched.

    Billy rushed forward, in his mind running toward his treasure. David & Jean were not far behind. Jeremy was having second thoughts. Somewhere within him, certain abilities were coming to the surface – but slowly. Whether it would be in time to save him, would remain to be seen. Kara was all but glued in place. She could hardly breathe and she felt as though their impending doom was a reality that could not be thwarted.

    As Billy reached the chamber, Kara snapped to her senses, grabbed Jeremy’s hand and ran, screaming for the rest of the kids to follow them out of the cave. Unfortunately, her friends were too enthralled in their treasure quest to hear her.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    The Chamber

    Billy, Jean and David, completely oblivious to their friend’s warning screams, continued on into the cave. Enthralled and mesmerized by thoughts of some long forgotten treasure, they excitedly raced each other through the passageway. Dim lights bobbed left and right as their flashlights tried to break through the darkness. They eventually came to the end of the passage – a large, damp cavern that was filled with a mist that curled and twisted in the flashlight’s narrow beams of light.

    They explored the cavern but found nothing. Absolutely nothing. Disgusted, they sat in the center of the cavern, angry and disappointed.

    “It’s not fair!,” shouted Billy.

    “Yeah! What a total waste of time!! I can’t believe we wasted the whole day on this shit!,” yelled David as he threw a small stone he had picked up.

    “Well, I could have been babysitting and making some money so I lost money coming on this wild goose chase!,” Jean said.

    None of the children noticed that their voices went no further than their immediate space. A cavern this large should have echoed, but it didn’t. Blinded by their anger and disappointment at their dreams of wealth slipping away, none of them noticed the tendrils of mist getting closer to them. The mist that seemed to thicken with each passing moment, swallowing their voices and the light from their flashlights.

    In their anger, they could not feel the chill that touched their skin as the tendrils of mist swirled at their feet and wrapped around their ankles. They were oblivious to the mist and that which lived within it – Curakan. Too late would they notice the danger that surrounded them.

    Curakan waited for the humans to enter the chamber. Watched the lights bob back and forth as they approached. When they entered, he did not immediately attack. Instead, he waited and savored the moment.

    They were angry. They shouted and screamed in their anger. This exhilarated Curakan, empowered him. He fed on the anger, felt it course through him. It had been so many years since he had fed on human anger and he savored every moment.

    Slowly, he moved toward them. His hunger would not be satiated with simple human anger.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    The Mist

    They say, that given the right circumstances, a person can die of fright.~Donna Arsenault Bryant


    Curakan slowly encircled the children in his mist, wanting to satiate his hunger, but intent on savoring the moment. Slowly, gingerly, his tendrils wound around the children’s legs in such a way that to them it would simply feel like the damp chill of the cavern upon their skin. He was waiting for just the right moment to reveal himself to them fully. His anticipation of their fear made him shudder slightly, which sent mini tendrils of mist wafting in the air around the children.

    Out of the corner of her eye, Jean noticed a slight movement and turned to look in that direction. At first, she could not make out much due to the mist swallowing the dim light from her flashlight, which for some reason was losing power rapidly. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she saw how much the mist had encroached upon their space. Saw how heavy it was getting around them and how it seemed to almost have a life of it’s own in the way it appeared to be wrapping around them. For a brief instant, she thought she saw a face in the mist but dismissed it as her mind playing tricks on her in this creepy cavern.

    Billy watched as a small puff of mist curled through the air in front of him. He watched as it twisted and turned – a dancing, translucency that piqued his curiosity. He reached to touch it. As his finger touched the mist, for an instant, his mind was filled with images. Images of people screaming in terror, wearing clothing from various eras. As the mist dissipated, so did the images. Billy, unable to process the horrors that his mind had just seen, dismissed it as his over-active imagination, but he was badly shaken.

    Curakan felt the boy touch the mist. He could feel the terror in the boy as he witnessed the fate of those that had been his prey. He shifted his focus on this one. Could feel the boy’s inner terror building. He knew that this would be the first of his victims and he started to move closer to him.
  • Leader
    February 10, 2017
    Going Back

    Jeremy and Kara stopped when they were halfway back to their bikes. They realized that their friends had not followed them and were trying to decide what to do.

    "We should get help!," Kara said. She watched Jeremy as he tried to decide what to do. He was pacing back and forth, obviously struggling to make sense of things.

    "Just what are we going to say? 'Oh gee we think there's a monster awake in a cave and that it's going to eat our friends'," he said as he turned to look back in the direction of the cave. "You know they won't believe us, not without some proof."

    Kara knew that Jeremy was right, hell she could hardly believe it herself. She had an idea.

    "I'll take video of it on my Droid. Then we'll have proof!," she said as she started back toward the cave. "Come on! We have to hurry and get the others, video the damned thing, and get the hell out of here!"

    Jeremy absolutely dreaded what they would find back at the cave, but he followed Kara. He knew they were headed into danger, as his senses were starting to awaken and he could sense the evil that lurked nearby. He hoped they would get there in time to save their friends. So, he and Kara ran back toward their friends and the evil that they had awakened.

    That was when the screams started...