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 1st Story Writing Comp ~ The Shadow ~ Lily

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Lily
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PostSubject: 1st Story Writing Comp ~ The Shadow ~ Lily   Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:50 pm

Chapter 1

Tobias struggled against the ropes that bound him, but to no avail. They were cutting painfully into his wrists so much that they were drawing blood. He clenched his teeth against the harsh pain and glared at the old woman in front of him.
“Who are you?” he growled.
She ignored him. She had her eyes closed and was chanting something under her breath. He cried out as a cold pain swept through his body, despite the heat from being so close to the woman’s fire.
“What are you doing to me?”
The woman kept chanting, as if she couldn’t hear his cries.
It was a few agonizing minutes later when she finally stopped chanting and opened her eyes. The cold, agonizing pain that he’d been feeling for what felt like an eternity was changed to a dull ache. Tobias panted, his sweat-soaked hair stinging his eyes.
“If you wish to be free,” the old lady was saying, “your wife must die by your hand….”

The world suddenly turned black and Tobias woke up. He frowned and sat up, one hand rubbing his aching head. Just a dream? But, no…his wrists were bandaged. From the ropes? Or something else?
“Are you all right?” Lily put her arms around him and rested her head on his shoulder, looking at him in concern.
“Yeah. I’m fine.” He put his hand over hers and kissed her forehead, looking out the window. Sunrise.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” Lily asked about half an hour later when she caught him half dressed, staring into the bathroom mirror with a lost expression. He’d taken his bandages off to reveal the scars from the ropes, which hadn’t even began to heal yet. “Maybe you shouldn’t go into town today.”
Tobias gave her a grin.
“I’m fine.” He pulled his shirt and jacket on and grabbed his hat. “I’ll be back around noon.”
He headed out, putting his hat on. As soon as he got a few meters away from the house he turned to give Lily a smile and a wave. She waved back from the bedroom window, offering him a worried smile. He gave her a thumbs up and clambered onto his horse, looking back in the direction of the house often, long after it had passed out of his sight. He rode into town and went straight to the market place. If Adam was gonna go through with his promise to meet him, this is where he would catch him. Tobias stopped his horse, but stayed mounted. Adam was probably getting into some sort of trouble, and it would be easier to clear it up if he was on horseback. Sure enough, a few minutes later he heard the crash of a market stall crashing to the ground, and the shouts of the angry owner. A moment later Adam was running towards him through the market place, followed by a mob of angry stall owners. Tobias laughed and wheeled his horse around. Adam jumped on the back of his.
“Race you to the brook!” he called.
“You’re on!” Tobias called back, urging his horse to a gallop and taking the least crowded route through the town, purposely cutting off Adam so he’d have to take the most crowded route. Soon they’d left the town and its shouted insults far behind them. They were both laughing as they reached the brook and dismounted to give their horses a chance to drink and graze.
“You’ve got to be more careful,” Tobias laughed, patting his horse. “Another trick like that and the soldiers will come looking for you. They get their main supply of food from the market.”
“Maybe we should destroy the whole lot then, and all the soldiers will starve.”
Tobias scratched his horse behind the ears, his smile fading.
“I still think we should find a way of getting the soldiers out of our land without hurting anyone.”
“And I still think you should give up on the peaceful thinking and carry a gun before the soldiers kill you.”
Tobias shook his head.
“No. I’ve never carried a gun, or hurt anyone, in my life, and I never will.”
Adam rolled his eyes and went over to his horse to look through his saddlebags.
“Think about it Tobias.” He said, looking back over his shoulder at him. “The soldiers aren’t going to listen to peaceful negotiations. They don’t care who they hurt. Think about everyone they’ve hurt and killed to get this far. Everyone they’ve harmed while pillaging. The women they’ve dragged off and raped. What if that was Lily? Think about that.”
“I do think about that. I can’t sleep at night because I’m thinking about that.”
“You can’t protect her if you don’t want to hurt the people who are after her.” He found what he was looking for in his saddlebags and held it out to him. “In case you ever change your mind.”
Tobias looked at the gun belt his friend was holding out to him.
“It’s complete with guns and enough ammunition to shoot 50 men.” Adam said, watching him. “You’ll need it if you want to keep Lily safe.”
Tobias frowned and nodded. He took the gun belt and put it in one of his saddlebags.
“Why are you giving it to me anyway?”
“What happened to your wrist?” Adam was asking, having caught sight of the bandage between his glove and jacket sleeve.
“I don’t know.” Tobias said quietly, “I don’t remember properly. I think it was ropes.”
Adam was quiet for a minute, sitting on the grass and staring at the brook.
“I’m gonna miss this place.” He said quietly. “It’s so…peaceful.”
“Miss it?” Tobias muttered, frowning. “How are you gonna miss it, you live right round the corner!”
Adam looked at him.
“I’m leaving, Tobias.”
“What?”
“I’m leaving.”
“Why?”
“I’m a selfish coward, I’m not afraid to admit that, because I know it’s the truth. I’m ashamed of what I am, but I can’t change it. I’m running away.”
“You can’t, the soldiers will catch you before you’ve gone a mile.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Won’t know unless I try.”
“Adam, they leave us alone as long as we don’t break the rules they’ve set down.”
“They’re pillaging villages and towns, Tobias. How long until they get here? You live in a big house in the middle of nowhere; they’ll go to you first! If anyone has a good excuse to run, it’s you and Lily. Think about that.”
Tobias pulled a face.
“Good luck, old friend.” He said, hugging him.
“You too.” Adam smiled at him. Then he was gone.


Last edited by Lily on Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 1st Story Writing Comp ~ The Shadow ~ Lily   Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:59 pm

Chapter 2

Tobias rode home slowly, thinking about what had happened with Andy that morning. He wasn’t paying much attention to where he was going. He glanced at the sun as it appeared through a gap in the trees, and winced. It was almost sunset. He’d told Lily he’d be back around noon, she would be worried. He watched as the sun touched the horizon. At the exact same moment a wave of pain shot through his body, making him cry out, and his horse reared in terror, trying to throw him. Not expecting it, Tobias was thrown from the saddle and his horse ran off at full speed. He didn’t notice. He’d suddenly caught sight of his shadow. That wasn’t his shadow…his shadow wasn’t supposed to look like that! Another wave of pain came as the sunset continued, this one worse than the last. Soon it had developed into a continuous string of agonizing pain. Tobias was paralyzed by it, only able to scream, the pain blurring his vision so much he didn’t even notice his shadow, which shouldn’t even be visible now that the sun had set, move towards him, detaching itself from the ground.

It was rare for Lily to get so upset and worried that she found herself lying on the floor sobbing, but this was one of those times. She was sitting up against the sofa, her hand tangled in Rusty’s long fur. Rusty had, as usual, came as soon as she sensed that Lily was upset, but there was nothing she could do to comfort her aside from nuzzling and licking her.
“Where do you think he is, Rusty?” Lily sobbed. “He isn’t well…what if he’s collapsed somewhere? What if the soldiers have got him?”
She heard a horse coming up the gravel outside, fast, and stood up and went to the window. The sun had already set, so it was pretty much impossible to see anything. There was the definite outline of a horse in the gloom, though. Lily quickly wiped the tears from her face and hurried to the front door of their almost mansion-like house, Rusty following along at her heels. Lily opened her door and her eyes widened.
That was definitely Tobias’ horse. She was standing there, legs wide apart like a foal, her eyes wide and her breathing fast and irregular. She had clearly been terrified by something, but Tobias wasn’t there soothing her like he usually would be.
“TOBIAS?!” Lily called into the darkness, hoping he’d just gone to get some water or something. That he’d come round the corner and playfully scold her for being so silly, like he usually did when she was like this. He didn’t. Usually it annoyed her, but now she’d rather have him do it if it meant she was back in his arms.
She tried calling him a few more times, then sat down on the porch and held her head in her hands. Rusty sat down next to her so she could rest her head on her knee. The horse, when she had recovered from whatever had frightened her, had gone round to the orchard, so she could graze.
“What now?” Lily muttered to Rusty quietly. She had to do something. She couldn’t just sit here doing nothing, that wouldn’t help Tobias. She feared she would start crying again if she didn’t do something. But she’d cried so much already she doubted she had many tears left in her. Rusty licked her face hopefully and headed back inside, clearly tired and wanting to sleep. It was worth a try, even if Lily thought it would be impossible to get to sleep without Tobias there. She put the horse away in her stable and went back inside, praying that he’d be there in the morning.

Tobias tenderly got to his feet, leaning on a tree for support. His legs could hardly hold his weight, and his whole body was aching. Tobias looked around. He was in the Shadow Forest, where he’d been when the Shaman Woman found him. She was deeper in though. He was only on the outskirts at the moment. It was sunrise. Tobias groaned as he thought of Lily. She’d probably been up all night worrying about him. Tobias winced as another wave of pain shot through him, getting duller all the time. Suddenly his legs gave way and he was on the floor. He found himself with his back to the sun, staring at his shadow. It wasn’t back to normal…what even was it? His thoughts drifted back to the night before. He couldn’t remember much, it was all blurred, but what he could remember was enough to make him throw up behind a bush. There had been campers…a man and a woman…what had happened to them? No, what had he done to them?
Tobias got back to his feet. He was feeling a little bit stronger now. Strong enough to walk. He forced his mind not to think about the events of the previous night, in case he was sick again. He took a few shaky steps in a random direction, then froze as a scream tore through the fabric of his mind. It was coming from in front of him. He started running in that direction. There was an unfamiliar woman there, probably from the Village, surrounded by several soldiers.
“Hey!” Tobias called to them, “Leave her alone!”
The soldiers turned to him.
“What, you want to play hero?” one of them asked him. “You look like you can barely stand!”
The woman had slipped away unnoticed, giving him a grateful nod as she ran. Now it was just him and 5 soldiers. Tobias cried out and doubled up in pain as a sharp, agonizing pain shot through him again. The soldiers laughed and one of them kicked him in the stomach, knocking him onto his back. Another one came and kicked him in the head, and the world went black.

“Are you OK?” Tobias found the voice strangely familiar, but the words were slurred together, so he couldn’t make out what the other was saying. “Tobias? Are you OK?” It was slightly clearer that time. Tobias frowned slightly and forced his tired eyes to open, looking around at the unfamiliar people sitting around the unfamiliar room.
“Adam?”
“Tobias! Are you OK?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, just tired.”
Adam raised an eyebrow.
“You’ve been asleep all day. Didn’t you get any sleep last night?”
“No. How long have you been trying to wake me up?”
“I haven’t. When you first came in this morning I thought you might still be conscious, so I asked you if you were OK. That what you’re thinking of?”
“Must be.” Tobias winced as he got his aching body to sit up. “Where are we?”
“Soldier’s dungeons. What happened to you?”
Tobias thought about it for a moment. It felt like a long time ago.
“The soldiers…they were…harassing a woman.”
“Lily?”
“No, I don’t know who she was…from the Village, I think.” He glanced around the room, feeling something stirring inside him, but there weren’t any windows. “What time is it?”
“I don’t know. Almost sunset, I think.”
Tobias cursed under his breath.
“I have to get out of here…before the sun finishes setting.”
Adam looked at him sceptically.
“There is no ‘getting out of here’, Tobias.” He said, “It’s not the Goranham hotel.”
Tobias didn’t answer. He was too busy staring wide-eyed at his shadow, which was starting to move, like it was stretching after a long sleep. Adam looked where he was staring.
“Tobias, is something wrong?” he asked, looking worried. “It’s just your shadow – you look like you’re seeing a ghost!”
Tobias looked at his friend.
“Everything’s wrong.”
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PostSubject: Re: 1st Story Writing Comp ~ The Shadow ~ Lily   Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:20 pm

Chapter 3

Lily spent the next day and night sitting staring out of the bedroom window, wishing Tobias would come up the road. She hoped whatever the problem was would just be something they could laugh about later. It was dawn, and she was resting her head on the windowsill, watching Rusty, when there was a knock on the door. Rusty ran downstairs immediately, barking, and Lily looked down at where the door was from the window. It was impossible to see if anyone was standing there from here. She hurried downstairs and opened the door, gently shoving Rusty aside with her leg and wiping the drying tears from her cheeks.
“Agatha?”
“What’s wrong?” Agatha asked instantly, seeing her red eyes and the tear marks on her cheeks. “Something’s wrong, what’s wrong? Have you and Tobias had a fight?”
“No.” Lily shook her head quickly. “It’s nothing like that. I’ll tell you inside. Come on in.”
As soon as Agatha was sitting down in the large living room with a drink in her hands, Lily sat down opposite her.
“So what’s up with you? Why are you here?”
“Oh no, you’re not shirking out of this that easily. Tell me what’s up with you first.”
“…It’s Tobias.”
“I knew it! You two have been fighting, haven’t you? That’s why he’s not here.”
“What? No. It’s just like…everything’s perfect, and then…it wasn’t.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. He just…went to Goranham the day before yesterday to meet up with Adam and…he didn’t come back.”
Agatha frowned at her.
“It’s not surprising you’re like this then.” She thought for a moment. “Was anything going on between you and him until he left?”
“Yeah, like I said, it was perfect. Except….”
“Except what?”
“The day before, he came home in the middle of the night in a right state. All sweaty and nervous. And he had injuries on his wrists….”
“Injuries?”
“Yeah…from ropes, you know? When I asked him about them, he said he couldn’t remember where he got them.” Lily hesitated, scratching Rusty behind the ears. “Then the next morning, he was acting strangely. Like he was…sick.”
Agatha thought for a moment.
“I wouldn’t worry about it, Lily. Adam can spend months away from home at any one time without sending any kind of word. I’m sure he’s just roped Tobias into one of those hair-brained schemes of his, and he hasn’t had a chance to send work and let you know.”
“That’s what I thought at first. But on the night, his horse came back. She was really freaked out, like she’d been seriously scared by something. I was grooming her yesterday and something fell out of one of the saddlebags….” Lily could feel the tears coming back.
“What was it?”
Lily picked up the gun belt from next to the sofa and gave it to her friend.
“Huh. This is Adam’s…he’s been planning on giving it to Tobias for a while now.”
“But Tobias would never take it…why was it in his saddlebag?”
“Don’t worry; I’m sure Adam must’ve put it there when Tobias was looking the other way. It’s a stunt he’s pulled many times before.”
Lily gave her a sad smile.
“Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that Tobias is missing.”
“He’s probably with Adam, I haven’t seen him since the same time. Actually, I only came round to ask you if you’d seen him.”
“Sorry, I haven’t seen Adam since the two of you came round here the week before last.”
Agatha nodded.
“I was just about to go and ask around Goranham. You should come too and see if anyone knows where Tobias is.”
“All right. Thankyou.”

Tobias picked himself up and slumped against a table leg, trying to ignore the dead bodies around him. Their faces were frozen in terror. Whoever said death was peaceful clearly didn’t have a clue what they were talking about.
What had happened the night before? Adam had started banging on the door, shouting for help when he saw how much pain he was in. The soldiers had come in, but they hadn’t believed him until Tobias started screaming and it became obvious. They’d taken him through to this room, away from the other prisoners. Tobias looked at the door. It was shut, but not locked. There were huge dents in it, and a few holes, from where he’d been slamming into it, trying to get out all night. There was a small hook next to the door, with a set of keys hanging on it. He waited a few minutes, then stood up shakily and went over to the door, opening it and grabbing the keys. He headed down the corridor to where he could hear some of the prisoners yelling, asking for their breakfasts. He unlocked the door and went in, ignoring the prisoners’ stares, going over to Adam.
“How’d you get away?”
“You don’t want to know. Come on, we’ve got to get out of here.”
“You’re right. Fast. Did you hear about that?”
“Hear about what?”
“The lead soldier…he heard us talking last night. He’s going after Lily.”
“What?” Tobias’ eyes widened, and he ran out of the room, Adam hurrying after him.
“So what are we gonna do?”
“We’ve got to get back before the soldiers do.”
“That’s impossible. It takes about a day to get back on foot, and they’ll get there in about half a day, since they have horses. On top of that, they left in the middle of the night, so they’ll probably be there by now.”
“All right, so we see if we can ambush them on their way back.”
“How do we know they’ll come back here?”
“They’re using Lily to punish me even more, they’ll bring her back here to try and torture me with the fact that she’s in their hands.”
“All right. So we set an ambush…there’s only two of us.”
“Excuse me.” Said a voice behind them.
They turned to see the crowd of prisoners that had been in the room with them.
“We owe you for freeing us.” The one at the front said to Tobias. “And we want to get revenge on the soldiers for locking us up in here. We will help you ambush them, if that’s what it takes.”
There was a yell from the back of the crowd. Tobias and Adam ran over to the one who had cried out, who had found the room full of dead soldiers. Adam crouched down next to one.
“It looks like they were killed by…an animal.”
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