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Spring Waves Writing Contest 2021: MariahKat's entry

The sound of twigs snapping and old leaves crunching is all that is heard as Nyo walks through the eerily silent forest. The sun is setting and light dimly flickers through the trees as a gentle wind blows the leaves. It's probably not best to be in the forest at sunset...They say the forests of Dragonsmaw are haunted. Though that doesn't really bother Nyo. He doesn't know where he is headed, what might await further ahead. He only knows that there must be something to encounter eventually.

The minutes pass, and the sun sets more. Darker and darker...The forest begins to grow darker than the eventual night sky. But still, the forest remains silent. With only the last dim light of dusk remaining, Nyo finds himself walking out in to a clearing. Many decrepit stones fill the area, and strange plants grow rampant. Nyo walks further forward but yelps as he steps on a chomper plant which bites his foot. He reaches down with a pained grin and carefully pulls the plant's mouth open, freeing his foot. He's careful not to hurt the plant.

He resumes walking, looking at the stones as he passes by. The sun has finally set, and it's nearly pitch black out as the moon has yet to rise. He notices something etched on a stone and kneels down, brushing away any dust. The writing is a language he doesn't understand, but a part seems to be a name. Nyo stands back up and looks around. This is...A graveyard. And a very old one at that. Nyo hears a sound behind him and turns quickly. A skeleton catbat stands near, glaring at him. Nyo tilts his head at the small animal, the fur on his head puffing up. The catbat takes off running, and Nyo notices something off. A ghostly trail seems to follow the creature. Nyo takes off running after it, and the catbat runs faster. It darts in to some bushes and Nyo dives in after it.

He'd quickly regret that. The silence of night is quickly broken by a loud scream of pain. Nyo had dived right in to a massive black rose bush and he's now tangled in it, the thorns snagged on his clothes and fur. Attempting to get out only causes the thorns to cut and stab more. Nyo stops moving and sighs shakily, closing his eyes a moment. When he opens them again, he sees the catbat standing outside the bush...But then it fades away. Nyo blinks rapidly, processing he had just been chasing the ghost of a catbat.

He suddenly starts to feel the rose bush is...Crumbling? And it's rapidly wilting. The cuts from the thorns had caused him to bleed, and being part demon his blood is mildly corrosive. Though it's always been so mild he's never seen it actually happen. Black roses are notorious for dying easily, however. The bush wilts and blackens around him, crumbling as if being burnt from the inside out. Finally he's able to get free, but the entire bush is dying. Nyo's wounds heal in an instant now that he is free from the thorns, but he watches the bush die and he frowns.

As the last of it crumbles to dust, Nyo sees a headstone had been under it. The ghost of the catbat reappears, and curls up against the stone with a smile, then it fades away again. It seemed happy that the bush was gone. Maybe that's what it had wanted and why it led him there? Nyo looks up at the sky, staring at the twinkling stars. A cold wind blows and he closes his eyes...And then he hears a whisper. His eyes open fast and he looks in the direction it came from, but sees nothing.

His attention is drawn again as he hears a faint rumble, then a roar from the sky. He looks up frantically and sees the serpent is about to pass over. It's lower to the ground than normal which must mean it only recently took off back to the sky. The serpent, despite being massive, seems to pass by in mere moments. A gust of wind blows with it, and it drags rain clouds overhead which causes a sudden downpour.

Nyo shivers as the wind blows and the cold rain hits him, and he finally stands up. He runs over to a large old tree for shelter. He leans against the trunk and sighs loudly. This is one of those weird days, he thinks. Though most days are a bit weird in Dragonsmaw.

His eyes shift to the side and he sees a strange, shiny black stone...Something about it makes Nyo's fur stand on end. Probably just another of the many cursed objects you'll find scattered about Dragonsmaw. He moves to the other side of the tree where it's not in his sight, and he sits down. A black kritty suddenly darts over and curls up under the tree beside him. This time it's at least not a ghost. Looking up in the tree, he sees it is full of bats of many kinds. They chitter quietly. Nyo looks downwards and closes his eyes...He'd just sleep a bit till the rain passes. Or, he'd hope.

Suddenly a batbat falls out of the tree and bonks him on the head, and Nyo yelps loudly. The batbat quickly retreats back in to the tree as Nyo rubs at his head. Maybe he won't sleep. Nyo hisses slightly and stares out at the rain, listening to the sound of it falling. Glowing eyes can be seen in the distance, followed by howls. What ever those are, are thankfully going further away. Nyo thinks to himself how weird and disturbing Dragonsmaw is. It might just be a normal part of nature here, but can you really consider Dragonsmaw normal? Though he was born and raised here, he still finds himself concerned by the strange environment.

Maybe nature just isn't very natural here. Maybe it's a bit...Cursed.