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The Fanta Pages : A Dark Faerie Tale

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The Voyde avatar The Voyde
Level 59 : Grandmaster Architect
400

The Adventurer Who Got His Wish


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espite it being just past noon, the sky looked black as night. For the past few days of sailing the storm had raged above them, raindrops landing on boards and on heads like bullets. There was little lightning while at sea, but as
the ship drew closer to its destination thunder rolled over it much like the waves beneath. George didn’t much mind the rain. Sure it was worse than any storm he’d lived through in Wales, but to him it was merely a sign of adventure in the virgin lands ahead.
  So close, George thought to himself. The shore was within sight now, the tall coniferous trees looking like jagged daggers protruding from the Earth. He was very excited, Fantasia was almost within reach. As soon as others began seeking out the new land, George knew he wanted to join them. The stories of magic and monsters seemed too good to be true. The rest of his peers didn’t share his glee.
  The four other explorers on the deck were laden with waterlogged coats and equipment-filled packs in the dark atmosphere. The fact that Robert, the sixth explorer, had caught a cold on the second day of the storm, and was now too unwell to travel with them, hadn’t raised their spirits. They, with the exception of the gleeful George, stared out at the approaching shore balefully. As they drew closer, the rain started lightening up, which seemed to finally loosen the muscles of the other men.
  At last they arrived, and they boarded the longboat along with one of the commissioned crew and sped through the stormy shallows towards the beach. By the time they reached the shore, the rain was nothing more than a fine mist; the sky, however, remained quite dark.
“Ugh,” cried Walter—the eldest explorer who had sponsored the expedition—as he hopped out of the longboat and his boots sank into the sand. They trudged across the shore towards the meager cover of the trees. George had to admit that pushing his way through ankle-deep soggy sand wasn’t the start he’d envisioned, but he didn’t let his spirits wane. He hardly would’ve guessed it was autumn. The trees were a rich, dark green and there was not a fallen leaf in sight. The only hint was the cool wind that made him shiver in his drenched coat. He took off his hat and patted it several times to shake off water.
  “Right,” Walter started in his gruff but firm London voice. He cleared his throat, “Ben, you get the boat somewhere to dry off, an’ signal the captain that we made it safely,” he said to the sailor, “George, John, and Robert, you three go out an’ get some wood; a fire’d be lovely. Will, you and I’ll-”
  “Hey Walt,” piped up John. He was in his thirties, and like George he was an explorer from Wales. Despite that similarity, George and John had not gotten on good terms during the trip. John was a larger shareholder in the company than anyone on the expedition other than Walter, and he used that fact to hold himself above George, something George wasn’t very fond of. Unlike the other men, who were dressed in dull colors, John’s coat was a rich navy, before it became soaked and now looked as black as the sky. “Robert’s still on the ship with a cold, remember?”
  “Ah, right then… Mm, Will you go with those two then, an’ Charlie”, Walter gestured towards the last explorer, a younger man from New York, “you can then help me set up a place for us to stay. Then I’ll get us some food,” he patted the rifle slung across his back. George nodded at Walter, he darted his eyes to John and back. A slight look of disgust came over George’s face.
The Fanta Pages : A Dark Faerie Tale
The forest was strange. At first it seemed much like any other wood of conifers you would encounter in Europe or America, but as time went on the three men gathering firewood began noticing oddities: Some of the mushrooms and vines seemed to glow from far away, the afternoon sky was covered by black clouds but it looked as though it were full of stars, and several times John claimed he saw bushes walking. George didn’t believe him, of course, but there was a nagging doubt at the back of his mind. He could have sworn that he saw movement out of the corner of his eye while they were cutting down a tree, but he went to investigate and there was nothing around. The whole ordeal made him feel uneasy, and his joy from their arrival had left him.

  “I think we’ve got enough,” John said oddly. George turned around to scoff at him, and before he did so felt a little better when he saw that John looked unhappy after all of their walking; it had been around 2 hours since they first set out. No, he got a better look, John didn’t look unhappy. He looked scared, he looked very scared. George stopped himself, John had never been fearful about the lands they were going to explore. Something had to be wrong.
  “John, everything alright?” George asked him with obvious concern in his voice. John opened his mouth as if to say something, it hung open for a few seconds before he seemed to think better of it.
  “Yeah, yeah… Eh… Just think we’ve grabbed enough wood ’s all, Walt ’s probably waiting for us anyway,” he looked between the other two men and swallowed, with difficulty.
  “You sure, mate?” Will said, George’s concern spreading to him, “My pack is almost full, we can find a few more pieces and head out, alright?” John looked uncertain, but calmed himself a little. He nodded at them.
  “Yeah, you’re right, a couple more logs wouldn’t hurt.” As they headed off to find more wood, George was confused. John’s answer to Will didn’t seem to be solely responding to what he had said, as if John had interpreted something from Will which wasn’t said. He pushed the thought from his mind as they continued their search. It was now even darker somehow. The idle chirping of the birds had stopped, leaving only the soft sound of the wind and the rustling of trees that followed. George found the relative silence eerie, and it made the hairs on the back of his neck stick up. He wouldn’t have been able to explain why, but he felt like something bad was about to happen.
  They searched for around 15 minutes but couldn’t find any more of the loose wood or thin trees they had been finding before. The explorers were closing to ending their search when George saw what looked like a clearing up ahead of them. He reasoned with the other two men that they would likely find wood in there. George led the three into the clearing, and all thoughts of wood left his mind at that moment.
  He had heard stories of monsters in the new lands, but his expectations were surpassed. Stretching across the trees in the clearing were massive spider webs, glistening in the limited light with residual rain drops. The webs reached across the trees forming a canopy of silk. George was stopped in his tracks. Under different circumstances he would have found the sight truly beautiful. Instead of noting beauty, George was held in place with fear. The webs disappearing into the darkness above made George feel like there was something waiting up there just out of sight, a feeling he didn’t like. The clearing felt terrifyingly magical. He turned around to look at the others behind him, the look of fear back on John’s face, more intense than it had been before. Will’s mouth was hanging open, disbelief in his eyes. George jerked his head back to the clearing, he had heard something, the sound of wood creaking and needles rustling.
  To his horror, one of the trees– two of the trees were swaying, and the swaying was moving between trees. George knew it couldn’t be the wind, the forest hadn’t been severely swaying like this for over an hour, and he felt no wind, nor were any of the other trees moving. As the trees bent they seemed to be passing something clockwise around the clearing, as they did the webs were stretching, and glistening, and dripping. John let out an unnatural sound, George didn’t need to ask why; he had seen it too.
  For only a moment, something (or maybe somethings) had dipped out of the veil of darkness. It was long and thin, somewhat stick-like. It looked hairy. Suddenly, multiple trees started shaking, and a horrible mixture of low hissing and clicking began. Will reached for his gun, but George grabbed his arm and pulled him before he could use it. Without fully thinking, the three men were running through the black woods, the terrible sound echoing behind them, stalking them.

None of them kept track of how long they were running for, none of them knew if they were heading in the right direction. Will, who had kept his hand on his gun and frequently looked behind them, had misstepped and twisted his ankle on a protruding root; at least George thought it was a root. They went to pull Will up, but his foot was still caught on the root. Will yelped when his ankle was pulled.

  “Bloody hell!” George exclaimed. Whatever the root was, it had tightened around Will’s foot, and was pulling it into the ground. Will cried out in pain as his bruised joint was pinched between rough soil and firm root. “John!” John’s face was pale as he jerked it to look at George. He seemed to remember something and jerked in place, some of the color returning to his face.
  “Oh, yes,” He reached into his coat and unsheathed his polished company sword, which made a slight hiss, “Will, be ready to pull your leg towards you fast.” Will whimpered in response. George watched as John swung down with all his might at the root. Green plant juices sprayed the air, and ruined the sheen of John’s sword. Will gasped and yanked his foot towards him. The plant was writhing on the forest floor. George and John pulled Will up and carried him, limping, through the woods.
  George could hear his heartbeat in his ears, which deafened him to the heavy breathing of himself and the other two men. The three of them hobbled like a wide, five-legged (Will’s twisted right foot wasn’t doing anything) creature until they finally reached the coast. They could barely see, now nighttime had actually fallen and the world was almost back.
  “There you are,” rumbled Walter as they pushed out of the thicket, “my arse’s freezing off an’ we had no way to cook–” His eyes passed over them, settling on Will. “What happened?”
  “Got caught by a root, it was moving Walter,” gasped George, he clutched his hand to his chest after he and John set down Will. John kneeled down on the ground and rested his weight on his sword. “something’s out there, there were giant webs, something moved...”
  “George, calm down, we’re safe here. Let’s get a fire started and then you can tell me what happened.” George collected himself, then nodded in agreement. He heard Walter asking Charlie if he’d found Ben yet, apparently he’d gone missing while they were out. George turned to go help John up so they could get a fire started. He’d begun walking when he noticed that one of the bushes behind John looked different. It looked almost like the body of some deranged animal with a large cavity for a mouth. Then the bush turned its head to look at George. His mouth went dry, he didn’t believe John earlier, but he was right; the bush was moving, it was walking.
  It was walking towards John who was now looking at the frozen George, confused. George struggled but was finally able to get words out of this mouth.
  “J-John… move forward, behind you…” John seemed stuck for a moment before he began to clamber to his feet. As he did, the bush drew closer. It began swelling and making a sound that seemed like a mix of sizzling and a kettle boiling. John pushed himself away and turned around as he did. The bushes eyes and mouth glowed white and then… There was a loud boom and a bright flash of light as a fireball blew John past George and George fell over. His ears were ringing, and the dark scene around him was blurry and green. George pulled himself up and stumbled around trying to steady himself.
  He saw a shape that he assumed was Will based on its location hobbling towards him. George heard a muffled voice asking him something. His vision cleared up a bit and he saw where John had landed. There was no use checking on him, George knew that he was dead. He stumbled over to John’s body and kneeled down next to it, his vibrant coat now tattered and charred, his sword tossed to the side; his eyes were still open. Walter ran over followed closely by Charlie, both with their guns in hand. Walter opened his mouth to say something, but something in the trees caught his attention.
  “What the devil is that?” George turned to see what Walter had seen, and a chill crawled up his spine as if what he was looking at were doing so. It was something he’d seen briefly before in the clearing. A giant spider almost two meters across was crawling down a tree, its many eyes staring hungrily at them. Several more were scuttling down surrounding trees. George turned back to John’s body, closed his eyes for a few seconds while bowing his head, then grabbed the sword lying next to John and stood up, facing the descending spiders. They never arrived at the ground, they descended below the large branches, and waited there, watching.
  Then he heard it, he heard why they were waiting. From further within the thicket came a low groan, which sounded somewhat human. A few moments later the creature who emitted the sound came into view, it was a horrifying sight to George. From the darkness emerged a walking corpse. It looked to have once been, like them, an explorer. It was wearing pieces of a dark coat with tarnished buttons, it wore a tattered travel pack on its back by one withering leather strap. What it was wearing could not conceal what was underneath. The creature’s skin was sickly green and sunken to its skull. It only had one eye, which was cloudy and obscured by rotting flesh. Where its other eye should have been was just a hole into which its skin sank. The corpse stumbled towards them, its arms outstretched trying to reach them.
  “By the lord...” Charlie gaped. Walter raised his musket at the approaching thing. A loud bang rang out and flame erupted from the barrel of his gun. The bullet struck the creature in its forehead, which caused its head to fall back. The spiders retreated from the noise into the trees. While its head had fallen back, the creature was still standing, and it began to raise its head and continued shambling forward. Walter fired again, this time directly into its chest. After this shot it toppled to the ground, twitching. It started to crawl weakly towards them. Walter stared at it in disbelief. From behind them they heard an unusual sound. It sounded like biting into a fleshy apple, followed by a whimper.
  George turned around and saw Charlie with something behind him. He fell forward, showing the bloody hole on the back of his head. Standing behind where he’d been was another of the walking corpses, but this one looked much older and much hungrier. Most of its flesh had rotted away to time, and cracked bone was showing all over it. The rags it had on it looked to be about to turn to dust. Its eyes were merely two black holes staring at them. Unlike the other one, this didn’t quite look human. It was taller, its proportions were vastly different than they should be, and its knees were too high up. Most peculiarly, the side of its face that still had leathery skin to it showed off this creature’s ear, which was long and pointed. It’s mouth, what was left of it, had only a few teeth, was hanging crookedly, and was covered in red. It slowly made its way toward the explorers.
  The spiders continued their way down the tree. George stretched out his empty hand to help Will up. George, Will, and Walter moved back towards the shore. As George helped Will hobble back towards the sea, Will pulled out his gun and fired at the pointy-eared undead creature. The bang startled the spiders, but didn’t send them scurrying away. The bullet struck the creature in its abdomen, and it hunched forward but didn’t fall. The gunshot must have attracted something because an arrow flew from the shadows and landed in Will’s chest with a thud and a crack.
  Will fell from George’s grasp. George couldn’t believe what was happening. He may not have liked John, but he never wanted him dead, and now Will was dying as well. Will raised his gun in a shaky arm to retaliate against his killer. George followed his hand and saw what had shot him. In the woods holding a bow with a quiver slung across its exposed shoulders was a skeleton; a human skeleton was standing and was firing a bow and arrow. In his amazement, he fell still, and the skeleton fired another arrow, this time at George. This action sent him into action, and he dodged to his left, but the arrow still embedded itself in his right arm. George screamed in pain as his forearm snapped from the impact. Will fired at the sentient bones, and its head exploded into shards. With that action Will’s arm fell limp, and George cast one last look at him.
  Despite the destruction of the skeleton, the other monsters continued approaching. The pointy-eared carcass raised its head from its slump and continued towards the two surviving explorers.
  “George… ” Walter started, he looked down at George’s limp, bleeding arm, “you can’t fight like this. Run to the longboat, try to get in the water–”
  “Walter please–”
  “I’ll be behind you. With any luck I can buy us enough time to get off the shore, we can figure out what to do next.” George’s mouth was hanging open, uncertain what to say.
  “Bu… what if–”
  “Now’s no time to argue, George!” He cocked his rifle, “go, now!” So he did, George took off at a sprint and ran for where the longboat was. He heard the bang of a gunshot from behind him. Following the sound he heard a horrible hissing and clicking that could only have come from Walter’s apparently arachnid target. He saw the boat on the shore.
  After 5 gunshots, they stopped coming. He turned his head over his shoulder and saw Walter falling over with an arrow in his throat. His heart sank, but he forced himself to keep running. He was almost at the longboat when he skidded to a halt on the sand, spraying it everywhere. Another of the walking bushes was creeping its way toward him from the other side of the longboat. He sprinted to try to make it to the boat before the bush did. He heard a sizzling sound and then… George was lying on the sand, everything a bright blur, his ears ringing with the faint sound of an explosion. He sat upright and shook his head, this made his head hurt a great deal. Horror struck him as he saw splinters of wood where the boat had been. He felt a sting in his abdomen, and looked down to see a plank lodged in his gut. He looked behind him and saw the pointy-eared creature followed by other monsters approaching him. He stood up, pain shooting through his right arm and lower abdomen. He shifted John’s sword from his broken arm to his left hand, and raised it to face his approaching doom. The creature grumbled and groaned as it came closer, its voice hoarse and dry. The monster lunged at him, and George ducked. Its arms went over his head and it was almost hangin off of him. George swung the sword up and caught it in the neck, slicing its head off. The body of the thing fell limply on top of George. Pinned to the ground, George heard footsteps of the other beasts and waited for his death to come. But for reasons George would never know, they never came to finish him. He pulled his head up from underneath the carcass, and saw them staring at him; and then, slowly, they began to turn and leave. One by one they walked back into the dark woods from whence they came, and George was left bleeding and aching on the beach, trapped under a rotting body with no way to get away from this land. He had always wanted to see a new world of monsters and magic, after all it had seemed too good to be true; he’d only gotten what he wished for.
The Fanta Pages : A Dark Faerie Tale

Afterword

Dear wonderful readers, I would like to note that while the events I depicted in this story were my specific fictitious creations, they were based upon true events of various explorers who traveled to Fantasia and didn’t return. This story can serve to readers as solely reading entertainment for Hallow's Evening, it may also serve as a cautionary tale to any would-be travellers that these new lands are as dangerous as they are beautiful.


Actual Afterword

This was a short spooky story that I wanted to write for the Halloween season. This is a slightly different edition to the Fanta Pages than most; previous entries and all foreseeable entries are directly from the world of Fanta Craft, being either accounts from people in the world or directly about them from an omniscient viewpoint. This entry was a short story called The Adventurer Who Got His Wish that was written in the world of Fanta Craft, not outside of it looking in. It was written in 1888 by a realistic and supernatural fiction writer Bill S. Carlyle who was fascinated with the historical expeditions of the Americas and the modern expeditions of Fantasia, hence this story. All illustrations seen in this short story were done by the fabulous ASketchCat, please check out her work as she helped bring this story to life. I hope you all enjoyed this short story, and I wish you a happy, but very spooky, Halloween!
CreditAll illustrations done by ASketchCat
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10/27/2021 12:10 pm
Level 18 : Journeyman Birb
Doyler5725
Doyler5725 avatar
Awesome!
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