Hell to Pay: Chapter 10
The sun burned at the fog that hugged the ground around him. Tievel’s cold feet sunk slightly into the matted grass and moist ground. He could feel each hair on his body stand up, and his teeth threatened to chatter against one another.
The sun, still low in the sky, was enough to guide him through what seemed like a never ending maze of trees and underbrush. Hard rough oak branches scratched him through his thin sleeves. His toes were crumpled up in the tips of his shoes, losing feeling bit by bit. His hands as well, gripping tightly to the straps of the sack he had slung across his back.
A cold wind cut through the tall grass that seemed to have never been trodden on by humans before. As the whistling of the gust died down, Tievel heard rustling in the grass ahead of him. Pushing his way through, he was met with the flapping of wings, some sort of hawk taking off, startled at his sudden appearance. There was a large puddle f water formed into a depression in the earth, creating a clearing in the grass. Grey feathers were strewn across the ground, and in the middle was a smaller bird, eviscerated and partially plucked clean.
Teivel had interrupted the hawk’s simple meal of dove, maybe pigeon. There was not enough left for Teivel to even find a scrap, but it left behind a proper glistening of crimson on the dried grass around it. The inner workings of the small bird were a beautiful contrast of pallor and sanguine. Teivel sat down in front of it, running the tips of his fingers along the blood-painted grasses. He rubbed the sticky substance between his fingers, and brought it to his mouth. It was coppery, unctuous.
His shoulders were met with relief; a feeling of floating; as he slipped the straps from his pack down. He extracted the rolled up papers that were his notes. There were patches here and there of bare paper that lacked notes still. However, there was only so much now he could gain through studying, only doing would bring him insight.
Side by side with his previous notes and a blank piece, he took the blood little by little and placed the appropriate markings. If he wanted to be efficient, he would eventually be required to scrawl them out at a moment’s notice. The papers, spread across the ground as neatly as he could, rustled in the breeze. The points of the pentagram connected one by one against the outside circle. It was small, but the necessary markings where there.
Wind once again whistled through the grass and trees. A shiver went up his spine. As the last note sounded in the air, the paper on the ground went still. Teivel could hear nothing except his own breathing. He closed his eyes, one second, two seconds. The air seemed to grow colder than it had been before. He opened his eyes. A shadow crept forth from the paper. It seemed to hug the sheet as if it had only one dimension itself. Teivel concentrated.
The shadow was shapeless. There was no rage fueling it, and it hadn’t a target. Teivel had no malice towards the dove, nor the hawk that had killed it. It was simply nature taking its path. Nature was a cycle, passing energy into the next being and eventually back to the start. If he allowed the dove to sit there, nature would take its course and return it to the earth. However, if Teivel could harness its life force in his own way, he could make it his. He imagined the beating of a tiny heart, like he felt in the mouse by the fireplace. The shadow started to move.
It separated itself from the paper. There was more blood , life force, from which it had been summoned. Floating across the ground like a mist, it traveled to the pillaged corpse. It was smothered. The shadow became engorged, with what he was not sure. Seeming satisfied, it crept low to the ground, entangling itself among the grass and loose feathers. The blood that once adored the blade of grass was no longer. The shadow seemed to sink into the earth, and disappeared without a trace.
A ray of light caught Teivel in the eye, who had been intently watching his creation. It could be controlled, if not simply out of rage, but by pure concentration. The fog was clearing up, being slowly turned into Emmental by the sun piercing through the thickets of trees. There was still more walking to do. Teivel continued.