Tales Of The Apocalypse: Book II - The Rift
The forest took on a new life of its own under the cold baleful glow of the lurid green moonlight. Shapes and shadows danced crazily in the wind that was blowing. It was very disconcerting to behold. I know it was frightening Andy as she snuggled up close to me and asked me to stay up with her a while longer during what would normally be my bedding down time. I gladly agreed, not looking forward to the nightmare which was waiting in the dark, behind closed eyelids.
We discussed what was happening and I gave her my hypothesis.
The earth had been bombarded with cosmic forces during the event with the sun which had created a rift between dimensions. That shimmering object which was gaining ground on us was the actual rift and the creatures had passed thru it, and were loosed upon our world. She snorted at this revelation, but snuggled closer nonetheless.
While we were discussing the finer points of this theory, we noticed that the frenzied drumbeat of the mad drummer had slowed to a more rhythmic beat that was no less disconcerting. The humming had also grown louder, and was getting louder by the minute.
Then we saw it moving through the trees: The Rift was overtaking us. The humming grew louder until it was so painful we were barely cognizant of our surroundings and were rolling on the ground in pain.
And then it passed, as though someone had turned off the sound system. In a few moments we had recovered enough to sit upright and look about. I could no longer see the Rift as it moved up the mountain. It was as if it had never existed! It seems that it must be visible from one side only. Now if it were not for that horrendous glow from the earthly satellite things would seem almost normal.
We must have fell asleep sometime after that experience, for we awoke and found that the morning of day 9 had come, and with it a sullen strangeness in the air, like the heavy electrical feeling before a thunderstorm.
The drum throbbed its' abhorrent tempo, rising and falling with no sense to it. It seemed as though it was to become a part of our consciousness, a mad heartbeat pounding in our mind. It seemed that the trees undulated to the maniacal beat, but it was really just the wind blowing them about.
Neither of us felt like eating as we were feeling nauseous from the effects of what had happened. We slowly packed up our camp and began our trek up the trail. It took a while to notice it, but there was an alien strangeness upon the landscape. Nothing seemed the correct color and the trees seemed to be different also.
During a break I consulted the map and found we were almost there, perhaps a couple of hundred yards away. It was getting quite overcast and we decided to make camp at the cache so as not to get caught in the rain that was coming. The prospect of resting up for a bit was a welcome thought, so when we found the cache spot and dug it up, we also setup camp. Wood was sparser here for some reason, but we found enough to keep one fire all night.
It seems to be our doom to suffer the strangest events. While we were eating our dinner we heard this sound as if something gigantic was being torn and then followed by a stupendous thunder clap and a huge seismic jolt that threw us off our feet. The sky, my god the sky, it was as if it had been ruptured and all was darkened except a mile or so wide Rift that daylight poured through, our daylight, that which we had just been living in! All else was the blackness of night and the night time stars of a clear sky.
That lunatic drummer began to increase in volume as if in celebration of what had just happened and it seemed so much closer to us now. We built up the fire and dragged in more wood, to prepare for the early night. The Rift was closing, and daylight becoming scarce when we finished our preparations’ for the encroaching hours of night.
With the additional items from this cache, we restocked what we had consumed, but there was still too many valuables that we two could not carry unaided. We unpacked all the packs and only repacked what we felt was necessary for the miles ahead and securing the cabin. That meant all ammo, the tools that we carried, water purification, our clothing and as much food as we could carry. We resolved to conduct a portage of sorts, and carry the buckets to a location nearer to the cabin, which lay 10 miles away even yet.
We decided to sacrifice one more day, to eat and drink heartily, and to get some more needed sleep, in spite of the drum. We each had earplugs which we could wear that would diminish the drums intensity, but it would not block it out entirely.
Fearing that which lurked in my sleep, I put it off by giving Andy the first choice to rest. I would keep watch with all my troubled thoughts, kept company by the drum and that horrible green orb that came out each night.
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