Strange New Dreams.
Hunters are Stalking.
the Journey continues...
Get ready for it! The sequel is on its way!
I wrapped up the film script and am back at work! As you can guess from the picture, there are some new characters you're going to meet.
...for those sick of waiting, I've added an excerpt from the sequel.
"Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake"
-Henry David Thoreau
Dante shook his head, trying to remember where he was and how he got here. It all seemed to be a blur in his mind. Nothing around him seemed familiar. He was standing, surrounded by a sea of slowly shifting mist. The mist moved in layers of waves, piling upon each other then moving separately, so thick he could not see anything below his thighs.
There did not appear to be anything else around him aside from a dim light that seemed to be everywhere- and yet he found no source for it. He was wearing his uniform of Illamar, the familiar dark blue breeches with white stripes down each side with the matching jacket, the emblems of his status and his city clearly visible. Though he could not see them, he could feel the tall leather boots snug against his lower leg. Tapping a foot against the ground, he did not hear the expected click of paved stones beneath his heel. Nor did he feel shifting sand. The ground made no sound at all. His boot sank a short ways into its surface before popping back up as if gently pushed.
Alarmed, Dante spun around and reached for his sword. To his great dismay his hands clenched around empty air. A quick check confirmed that his sword belt was missing. The mist reacted to his movement, swirling up around him in thick bands that wrapped around his torso. If anything, he would have sworn it got even thicker. With each step, he felt the strange surface moving beneath his feet. Taking a deep breath, Dante stood still and wondered what to do.
"Hello?" He yelled, picking a direction at random. He listened, but heard no reply. Actually, he heard nothing at all, which was more than a little unnerving. Cupping his hands around his mouth, he tried again.
"Hello? Is anyone there?"
"No need to yell, dear." The soft sultry tones of a woman's voice answered, seeming not far from his right elbow.
"Who are you? Where am I?" Dante demanded, spinning around to face the voice.
"Maybe I'll tell you," came the voice, now near his left side. He turned again to where the voice had been, jumping as the voice suddenly sounded from directly behind him. "Maybe I won't."
Dante silently cursed the mist, which wrapped tighter around him with every movement he made. He stopped moving, stopped reacting, and took a deep breath to clear his head. He quickly filled himself with a sense of calm certainty. After a moment he was rewarded with a low laugh that echoed all around him.
"You learn quickly. That is good." Her voice now also held notes of amusement.
Still Dante waited, listening with all his senses. His instincts were screaming at him. This woman was expecting him to do something, wanting something from him. He was Dante Monterro, leader of Illamar. He was no one's pawn. The air was charged with danger. Inwardly he tried to prepare himself, steeling himself for whatever was to come. He itched to move, to try and find her, but he already knew that would prove useless.
The unseen woman grunted. "No fun," she announced flatly, her tone sharp and low. She was apparently displeased. Dante surpressed a smile. Maybe this would coerce her into revealing herself.
A strange, inhuman noise came from off to his left. Dante turned his head just in time to see the mist fall away and reveal the most bizarre figure he had ever seen. The layers of mist seemed to recoil from her, circling around her almost angrily at knee level but leaving a gap between itself and the woman. Dante could not help but stare at the woman. He was fascinated, perplexed, and repulsed all at the same time.
Her skin was faded yellow with large, messy, square brown spots that varied in shape and size. Her orange hair had once been separated and braided or twisted into a myriad of rows, but now it was a mess of matted hair with pieces sticking out at all angles. The base of each row of hair was caked through with white paint, but the rest had been left alone. Large black circles were painted around both eyes, and a bright blue spiral had been drawn on her forehead and chin. She was nearly naked, wearing only a short tattered skirt that seemed to have been made from long narrow leaves or perhaps grass. It was clear she was not young, but her exact age he could not guess.
Her eyes narrowed as he continued to stare, and while the sight of her made his skin crawl, Dante could not quite tear his eyes away. "You," she said, raising a hand to point at him. "Are not what I was fishing for."
Her nails had grown unnaturally long and were jet black. Her arms seemed too long for her torso, not much more than thin skin draped over the bone. She crossed her arms beneath her sagging breasts, then lifted one arm and tapped one of her long nails against the side of her forehead.
"So what am I to do with you, hmm?" she drawled.
She paused, cocking her head as she looked at him, and Dante knew she was trying to provoke a response. He said nothing, carefully watching her.
She smiled, a gesture that was more like a snarl, revealing crooked teeth that were in various states of decay. In the blink of an eye, she moved. She leapt forward, moving faster than was humanly possible, landing within easy reach. The mist moved almost violently to avoid touching her.
For a brief second, they stood regarding each other. At this distance, Dante could see that the brown spots were marks that had been stamped into her skin. Without warning she moved again, raising an arm and raking her long nails across his face before he had a chance to react.
His cheek burned, and he could feel the welts swelling up around the slash marks. He didn't have to check to know his cheek was bleeding. Ignoring the pain, Dante immediately backed away and crouched into a fighting stance, expecting another attack. The mist thickened at his back, almost supportive.
The woman stood seemingly at ease, her arms relaxed at her sides. Her head again cocked to one side. "Do you know the warrior with golden hands?" she demanded.
His expression must have told her all she needed to know, for she hissed like an animal, her disappointment clear. "No use have I for one such as you. Stay away from here! Stay away from me!"
With that, she turned her body slightly and plucked a dagger from thin air. Even as Dante realized what she was about to do, she was already in motion, launching the dagger towards him. He tried to fall and turn away, but his left side erupted in searing pain as he felt the sharp metal sink into his chest.
Dante jerked upright in bed, gripping his chest and gasping for breath.
"It was just a dream," he whispered. "Just a dream." He was soaked with sweat, and his sheet was plastered to his chest, almost pinning him down to the bed. His heart was pounding like a drum in his ears. When he lifted his hands to rub his face, he held them in the air watching them shake before putting them back on his lap.