228/366 – The Cairn of the Body

Day 86 of 100 Word Prompts: Bone


Flint’s fingers brushed the rough-hewn stone cairn before him, sending tremors through his arm. The room went dark as his friends vanished around him, and he found himself standing on a solid surface that he could not see.

“Who are you to have come here?” a deep, resonate voice asked in the dark.

“I am Flint. I’m trying-”

“You are not welcome in our domain, Flint!” the voice interrupted. “The Bone is broken, you must leave now before-”

A sudden shudder passed through Flint’s body, emanating from the ground beneath him. Something moved deep beneath, something in the darkness that he couldn’t see. He could feel the writhing mass of something, or many somethings, shifting beneath him.

“What the-” Flint said as a blinding flash of light emanated from the floor.

Around him, Flint heard several sharp cries of pain and terror as he felt himself flung through the air.

“RUN!” the voice that had been speaking to him before screamed as he slammed into the floor of the cave.

Flint’s friends rushed to his side as the cairn stone creaked and cracked violently, jutting segments of stone forth in every direction as the runes vanished. Black smoke trailed from the cracks in the rock as the sound of a deep sigh echoed through the chamber.

Flint watched in horror as the smoke shifted and formed vaguely humanoid-shaped creatures with glowing purple eyes and sharp looking fingers. The closest figure to him shrieked an ear-piercing cry and charged the goliath, leaping through the air and slicing its claws into his shoulders. The creature followed with a chitter of its jaw as the face formed something clearer, resembling a human with razor-sharp teeth and bit down into Flint’s neck.

The pain coursed through him as he stumbled for footing, straining against the creature. His hands pushed through it as it continued to claw and bite at him, though the effort of pushing it did move it far enough away for it to lose its purchase.

“What are these things!?” Gwen asked, pulling her sword from its sheath.

Judah loosed an arrow, watching it shoot through one of the creatures. “I don’t know,” he said, but I think it may be time for us to leave.”

“We can’t leave yet. This is the most information I’ve gotten about this cairn since discovering it,” Harley said, producing a glass bottle full of a chaotic mix of sparks and embers. “Everyone, take cover!”

Zhen grabbed Judah and pulled him behind a rock outcropping. Gwen dove with Dylian behind another, and Flint moved behind the cairn as Harley tossed the bottle. Though he didn’t see it, he could feel the heat of it coursing through the cavern as he assumed elemental flames spilled out of the spot where the bottle smashed. A creature’s screams of pain quickly fell to silence while the others rose in angry concert with each other.

“I don’t think they liked that,” Harley said as Flint rounded the corner once more.

“I do not like it!” Dylian replied as he ran from one of the creatures pursuing him. “Does anyone know what these things are?”

“No,” Zhen replied, spinning into a roundhouse kick against the one chasing Dylian. His attack landed squarely in the chest of the creature, knocking it backward and distracting it from its target. “Flint, we could use a little help here!”

Flint barrelled around the cairn, gaining speed as he ran toward one of the monsters. He roared a terrible battle cry as he drew his sword and slashed down with it in a single smooth motion. The blade sang through the air, striking true against his enemy, rendering the monster in two pieces.

The remaining monsters shrieked again but were set upon by Gwen and Judah. Gwen plucked her lute with perfect skill, producing a sound so beautiful that even the monstrosities before her paused in their cries of anger to appreciate it. At that moment, Judah flew past, a blur of feathers and fury as he knocked and loosed two arrows in quick succession, each finding their mark in the chest of one of the creatures.

The creatures’ faces twisted from delight to pain as their lives drained from their bodies, and they collapsed to the floor, becoming dust.

“What the hell was that?” Harley asked, bending down and poking the dust with the tip of a dagger.

“I think it was some kind of guardian,” Gwen said, “They came from inside the stone.”

“Do you think that was what was trapped inside?” Judah asked, looking to Flint.

“I don’t know what these are,” Flint replied with a shrug. “There was a voice when I touched it. There was something inside it, but I don’t think it was any of these. It sounded protective of the cairn. The voices wanted me to leave and run away from here.”

“That sounds more like a guardian,” Gwen said, pointing to Flint. “I wonder what happened. You just touched the stone, and it broke.”

“There was something else in there with me,” Flint said as the mountain violently lurched beneath their feet, knocking them all to the ground. “Yeah, this is what it felt like!”

“It felt like an earthquake?” Harley asked, “We should go outside! It’s not safe here.”

Everyone crawled, ran, or flew, depending on their ability to deal with the shaking of the mountain, out of the cavern and back into the open air of mountain pass. Below them, rocks and boulders broke away from the mountainside and tumbled down the face. Behind them, a loud crack sounded, and they spun in time to watch the cavern collapse in on itself. The shaking stopped a moment later, leaving all six of them confused.

“Alright, Flint,” Judah said, walking in front of the goliath. “I think it’s time for you to answer some questions for us.”

“I’ll do my best,” Flint replied, scratching his head. “What do you want to know?”

“What happened when you touched the Cairne?” Judah asked.

 

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