The Wendigo

The Comedy Button Facebook group is once again doing a writing compilation; this time the theme is horror and the word limit is 1500. I went over by 34 words, but since I’ll wind up editing the whole thing, I figure it doesn’t matter. I’m actually a bit iffy on this one, and I believe I know the somewhat crucial problem that runs through it, but time and energy are scarcities right now, so this is what it is. My apologies for basically warping Native American mythology with Christian mythology, but it just kind of happened. Anyways, please to enjoy:

 

The Wendigo

To stare into her eyes is to go back through time, back before the strangers came with their thundersticks and diseases, back before the land and tribes became fractaled with malice and misunderstanding. Back, before the fall of dreams and the voice of nature. There was a time, in the far past, when the greens in the grass and leaves truly shined with radiance and the sky was brilliant with blue. There was a time when true happiness flourished through the land that would one day become America. There was a time before the garden.

She was beautiful once. Her hair was blacker than a raven’s wing, and she could run faster than the wind, faster than the horses and deer, faster than the streams. They called her Windrunner, and she accepted the title with a grin and a laugh that made everyone around her smile. She raced the sun in the morning and the moon in the evening, and sometimes she would win. She raced through the hearts of many brave warriors and tribesman, but no one could catch her own, which beat to the sounds of freedom.

The fall started with hunger, a baseless want for power. The Chieftain’s wanted Windrunner for his son Earthmover, for he was the mightiest and bravest of all the tribe’s warriors. He deserved her. The Chieftain spoke to Windrunner’s father and made promises that stank of ash. The marriage pact was settled, and it would benefit everyone important and everyone but her.

When she was told who to give all her freedom to, she ran. She ran from her anger and her grief, from her fear and her bitterness, and as she ran, she slept. Days bowed towards nights which melted into the future, and when she awoke, she was far away and in a strange forest. Lost and curious, she wandered until she met him.

Kanon was a king, powerful and deadly. The forest knelt before his might and lithe ferocity, but the forest also knelt before his kindness and wisdom. He was the king of serpents, and he was respected. Windrunner and Kanon gazed upon each other in silence, and in that silence a sharing occurred. He saw her beauty and she saw his; he saw sorrow in her eyes and she saw loneliness in his. They shared an embrace, and in doing so, cast away each others’ hurt.

He fell in love and gave her his venom and his heart.

She fell in love and gave him her speed and her heart.

They wed in the thick, strange forest with a canopy of gold, the sun beams dancing to leaf-blown wind. For a brief moment, time stopped, and the need to run was replaced by something more freeing and passionate. They lay together and created, but in creating, they destroyed.

They awoke to screams and a red rage the color of blood and fire. Hatred and terror had found them, and both were ravenous. Her old tribe was not to be abandoned. Kanon fought with the strength of thousands and the speed of his wife, and Earthmover finally found someone more powerful than himself. The sound of his ribs breaking underneath the weight of untold coils cracked the earth into a deep cave filled with fetid soil. For a time, day refused to bow towards night, and while Kanon fought to save his lover, the greens in the leaves and grass became less vivid while the sky lost its brilliance.

Eventually, Kanon was defeated and Windrunner struck down. Night forced day into a restful shelter to keep the pure safe. Hatred and terror had won, and their final act of carnage was not for the sun to see.

Far underneath the ground on grey soil, they tied her upside-down to a thick tree root. She cried for her husband and for herself, but they would not listen. The Chieftain, in a voice colder than the deepest winter, said, “Abomination.” Her fate was sealed.

Her father performed the ritual, preparing the three spears that would cleanse her of sin and life. He affixed trinkets to the handles made of wormwood and bone, and he burned their tips with Kanon’s poison. He did not cry as he did this; he did not cry when the Chieftain broke his daughter’s legs.

Kanon’s corpse was wrapped around her neck in the mockery of a hug, a small bead of poison welling in this remaining fang. She sobbed and kissed his flesh before closing her eyes. The first spear pierced her right lung and spilled blood onto the floor. Windrunner tried to scream but only coughed as breath was stolen from her. The second spear pierced her left lung, and to the shock of everyone, the blood flowed upwards and fed the tree above. The final spear found her heart, which drank deeply of her husband’s venom and nurtured the small world around her.

Her soul tried to leave, to flee after her husband’s, but her heart would not let it. She opened her eyes and watched them leave. No one looked back and saw the slight swelling of her womb or the gentle raise and fall of her chest. No one looked back to see her eyes, which screamed with hunger.

Days came and went, and the sun looked in vein for Windrunner. Nights came and went and knew where the blasphemy happened but refused to look. Time passed. Blood continued to drip from the ever bleeding wounds of someone wronged, and poison continued to swell in the corpse of a dead king. One night, years in the future and long after the tribes grew to hate each other, the two mixed.

The drops sank deep beneath the ground and congealed, and the first thing to sprout in the garden didn’t break through the Earth; it oozed. She watched the convulsing lump of slime rage and tear at itself, forcing a face and eyes into existence. Finally, the little devil stood, dark and stooped. The Teihiihan sniffed the air, and when it looked upon his mistress, it was wrought with hunger. The woman nodded. With a primal scream, it fled the budding garden in search of food. Sniffing and shuffling through the forest, it eventually found a young boy on his first vision quest. The Teihiihan attacked, burrowing through the boy’s ear and latching onto his brain. The little devil began to feed.

The boy jumped upright as a vision bled into his mind: He needed to eat his baby sister. The forest would burn to the ground if he did not. He then needed to eat his left arm to prevent himself from alighting with flame. Pleased and hallow, he fled back to his tribe, found his sister lying on a soft blanket, and smiled. When he was discovered drenched in blood and overcome with hysteria, his left arm a chunky mess of sinew and loose flesh, he screamed poison and ran away, towards the garden. The warriors of his tribe could not catch him, but he was easily tracked. His footprints ended at the mouth of a small cave that led downwards.

The warriors and trackers descended into the cave, which stank of decay. Fear closed in on their hearts, and those that did not flee were slowly overcome with a strange hunger. They had to continue, to find sustenance. When they saw her, affixed to an upside-down tree, they cried tears of joy, for a feast was before them. They yearned for her blood and pined for his venom. They drank both and died. More Teihiihan oozed up from the ground in their place, ravenous and ready to lead more people into the garden.

With a nod from the woman on the tree, they left in search of prey.

More time passed, and slowly the garden grew, seeping downwards into the Earth. Grass the color of clotted blood grew from the ground and trees gnarled and misshapen clawed upwards towards a dirt sky. Flowers bloomed rancid meat. And all the while, the swelling inside the woman’s belly grew and throbbed until it pulsed a burning red light.

Night fled into day which paled at the worry and fear spreading throughout the land. Day sobbed itself to sleep, leaving night to stand grim over a continuous cancer that would never stop growing until the Earth itself was dead.

Time continued to pass. The strangers came with their thundersticks and disease, and when the first winters arrived, famine struck. The Teihiihan found them and turned their crippling hunger into gluttony. Blood and pain covered the snowy meadows and stained the withered trunks of sleeping trees. The garden grew.

The Teihiihan brought her food and fed the tree, which continued to grow and expand. Its branches were made of bones, and its leaves were that of flesh. During the winter, it grew flowers in the shapes of dead faces. Her influence continued to spread, and it will not stop.

One day, the woman in the garden will give birth to a son, a new king that will steal the wind and replace it with ash. The Earth will burn, and there will be no hunger ever again.

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