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First 1000 word excerpt from Occulum (Working Title):

He was lost. No matter where he looked, there was nothing he recognized. There was no sense of direction guiding him and no sense of purpose as he found himself walking down a muddy path beside what seemed to be an old mill, and the tall bushes that grew right out of a gigantic wall he could not see beyond. It was as if his consciousness had appeared out of nothing in his body, since he had no memory of how or why he was there. He quite simply was. The sharp biting pain of a stone hidden in the mud made him aware of his bare feet, and slowly his confusion started turning into fear.

He soon found himself next to a tree that leaned over the thatched roof of a granary, right beside the mill. The moon, peeking out of the reaching arms of the clouds, cast a very ominous shadow across the path. The silence filled him with dread and his lack of self-awareness or purpose started to cause panic to take root in him. He needed to find something familiar, but he did not know what it could be; He remembered nothing. The emptiness was utterly frightening. Yet, even more frightening was the feeling that the darkness was somehow enveloping him and becoming more and more solid by the second. He heard plopping footsteps, and looked around to find a girl with her hood drawn down so he could see nothing but her lips. She did not seem to have noticed him as she trudged along the muddy path.

“C-C-Could you please help me?” was all he managed to say but it appeared the girl had been completely taken aback by his sudden appearance from the shadows, since she hurried away quickly. He felt his anger rise but he managed to stay composed. “Please! I just want to know! … ” he half-shouted at the girl, but the girl continued to hurry away, now breaking into a sprint.

It had started to rain. The cold had numbed most of his senses and he realized he must find shelter soon. He hurried on walking beside the tall wall with its dark battlements till a small river, flowing out of what was quite certainly a city within the walls, cut between the muddy path and the gigantic wall to his right. He trudged along on the road climbing steadily uphill, and emerging from between a clump of trees, finally, he saw a bridge in the distance illuminated by torches. Just beyond, a little further in the distance he saw an enormous gate; a gate that was sparkling in the little light there was, as if made out of polished silver. The sight of the gate was heartening and he now broke into a trot from a trudge, uncaring of the sharp pain he felt in his feet every time he stepped on a stone or a thorn. Finally, he came up to the bridge, to find his path barred by two halberdiers wearing matching sets of very imposing steel armour. Their coat was highly polished, glittering even in the torch-light, just like the gate. But one could easily fail to see that, since the most frightening aspect of the armour was the helm. It was fashioned out of solid steel to the frightening likeness of a boar head, and the guards’ eyes inside it made the helm come alive.

“Entrance to Caput is barred in wax hours!” one of them barked through his helm, his voice slightly obscured. These words deprived him of the little hope the sight of the city gates had given him.

“Please, help me. I am lost. I do not know where I am” he said, now nearing tears, “I need help.”

“You are in Caput, as I said, and come ask for help during whilst there’s light. There is none that can be given now.” said the guard, holding the handle of the halberd across the path. The second guard must have seen some of the hopelessness inside his eyes though, because he added, “There is an old inn just a little further down this road. You can lie out of the rain there for the night. There should be others there”. There was a note of finality in his voice though, and both the guards turned to return to one of the small obelisks that grew out of the bridge abutment.

Having some direction now, he started walking toward the trees further down the path to where his shelter was supposed to be. He was tired, and the cuts and bruises on his feet were starting to take their toll on him. A little further down, his feet started to give out. He sat down beside the road, under a tree that gave him a little more protection against the rain than the others, and put his head under his arms. He could have cried but he needed to think, and in this bizarre situation his mind was panicking and darting about on thoughts of what to do next. The rain seemed to be inside he very head though, leaving him little room for thought, so he started talking to himself. “I need someone! I need someone to tell me who I am! I need the Inn… Need the inn. Need to fill my stomach… My feet hurt… my feet hurt! I must be helped. Someone help me! Please!” he was pleading to the air, rambling on, on the verge of hysteria. Anyone coming down the road would have heard his words to be little more than frantic whispers in the night but no one answered, except silence. It was then, that he became aware of the silence.

It was as if the world was completely still around him, even though he knew it not to be true. He could feel the rain falling on himself but could not hear it. And the darkness around him was slowly becoming solid. He was still in wonder of what was becoming of his mind when in the very heart of darkness, he become aware of two eyes staring at him—Two red eyes. In a gasp that delivered no air to his lungs, yet froze him, he became aware of the dark mass that the eyes belonged to.

Occulum excerpt 1.