[writing prompt] While herding sheep, you find an old dagger. When you pick it up, it becomes warm in your hand, and you feel a swirling deep within your body. Your father races into the field to knock the dagger from your grasp. You become confused when he scolds you for touching it and refuses to listen to your protests. Hurt by his lack of trust in you, you go to bed without dinner only to slip into a fitful sleep filled with ominous shadows with glowing yellow eyes, flying witches, and creatures cackling in the underbrush. The screams from the nightmare slow to a gurgle as you wake to the stench of wet fur and decaying meat. You jerk upright when the door shatters, revealing a chittering crazed animal-like monster. It storms inside, its claws searching for your flesh. You react without thinking, moving your arms with seeming practiced control. You parry and block the monster's attack until your hand delivers a final blow, burying the dagger deep in the monster's chest. You step back, staring in shock at the bloody dagger still in your hand, wondering how it found its way to you. As its power fills your body, making you feel invincible, you realize it is not important how you got the dagger, only that it is here with you, now and forever. Gurgling screaming interrupts your thoughts, and you rush into the front room, where your father is on the floor, blood covering his chest. He coughs up more blood as he tells you to follow the pull of the dagger. Your tears fall as he takes his last breath. The dagger tingles in your hand, signaling that your journey is just beginning.
There was always an advantage living in the countryside, or so my father said, but asides from the blazing sun and the hot breeze, I found no other said advantage. The countryside was safe and secluded and hardly recorded any crimes - yes true, but it was also lonely and no fun, and worse still I had the honorable work of taking the sheep out grazing every day with only a long staff in my hand, a water sack filled with water that would eventually be heated by the sun, making it difficult to swallow, and a wide straw hat to help protect my eyes and face from the sun.
I really didn’t like this but dad had no will to return to the city and as it was, I was stuck with him. I cursed.
The sheep had settled and were basking under the sun, I took the opportunity to stroll under the towering rocks, their shadows provided a better shade than the straw hat. I sat on the cool stone and took off the hat, using it to fan myself. The sheep were within eyesight so it was okay for me to be here, who would steal them anyway?
I leaned back to rest a bit and that was when I heard a clattering, I sat up and looked behind me, and right there, wedged in between the two stones I had been planning to rest on was an old dagger. It was mostly rusted but it looked like it would be worth something, I smiled at my luck and reached for the metal. It was a fine piece of work, well-carved handle and a stone embedded right at the end of the blade which met the handle.
I blew on it and dusted it, it wasn’t actually rusted, just caked in dried-up mud. I could not believe my luck, this would fetch a fortune! The small red stone caught the sun's rays and I could feel it brighten, it felt somewhat strange and cool in my hands and I felt the extreme urge to want to keep this. I ran a finger across the blade carefully so I wouldn’t…
I jerked at the sound of my name being called out so suddenly and the blade cut me. I stood and turned to face my father who had come out of nowhere. He ran towards me and knocked the dagger right out of my hands, then grabbed my shirt by the shoulder and pulled me away.
“Dad, let go!” I yelled in protest.
“I sent you to look after the sheep and here you are slacking!” He pushed me hard. “And you go touching stuff!”
“What’s your deal, man?” I asked, shaking his hands off of me and very angry at his behavior. “What the fuck?”
He pointed his finger in the direction of the house. “Home, now!”
I stood a while just watching him, the anger had gotten so deep into my bones and it really pained me that I could not bring myself to throw him a punch. “This behavior of yours is the reason mum left!” I yelled at him, straightened my shirt, and stormed off.
“Yeah?” He said after me as I left. “And no dinner for you tonight!”
“To hell with you old man!”
And I did go to be without eating, I had locked myself in my room after I had stormed in, I heard him enter the house a few hours later when it was dark.
I couldn’t sleep much, I was still too angry but it wasn’t only because of that, it was the nightmares I kept having, the voices I couldn’t shut out of my head, the screams and howls, the creatures and demons, my own panting breath and confused mind, the heat and the cold that raged through my body, my uneasy mind and the stinging pain from the cut in my finger that had been caused by that dagger.
The screams from the nightmare slowed to a gurgle and my eyes shot open with me panting like I had just ran a marathon. I laid in bed awhile until the stench of wet fur and decaying meat hit my nostrils. I recognized it, weird but I do. I jerk upright just as the door shattered, and standing right at the entrance was a chittering crazed animal-like monster. For some strange, unrecognizable reason, I was calm, much too calm for someone to see a creature like that right in front of me.
It sniffed the air once and then stormed inside, its claws searching for my flesh. I moved and my body reacted without thinking, my arms moved with seeming practiced control while still seated on the bed, my left hand blocked the monster’s attack easily while my right hand shot forward, straight for the monster’s chest. It let out a blood-curling cry and stumbles back, going down on the floor and whimpering before it slowed down and stopped moving.
I looked down at my right hand and in it was the dagger from earlier. Bloody and in my hands. I move out of the bed, my eyes still on the bloody weapon, how was it here? I had left it back out there but here it was in my hand. Part of my mind wondered where it had come from and part of me was freaking out from everything that was happening.
“What the fuck?”
I watch as the blade cleans itself, absorbing all the blood into its blade, every last drop until it was as clean as new, polished, and neat. The red stone in it shone brighter and I felt energy entering me, my body welcomed it, loved it, and accepted it, the blade felt very familiar in my hands and so did the creature now dead in my room.
“Dylan…” I heard my father call out my name with difficulty, he sounded like he was in extreme pain. I walk out of the room, half confused and half-convinced, and into the living room where my father was.
“Dad!” I gasp and ran up to him on the floor, his chest was covered in blood that was pooling out of a hole in the middle of his chest. I got down on the floor beside him and pull him up to my lap, holding him to myself dearly.
“Now you’ll have to follow the dagger…” He spoke and coughed out blood. I placed my hand over the wound like I could stop it from bleeding out. I knew that he was dying and I could do nothing about it. The fact alone pained me, I didn’t want to be alone.
He tried to speak again but only coughed up more blood. “The… dagger…” He said and sighed, his body fell limp in my arms. It was at that time that the tears fell.
The dagger tingled in my hand and I knew immediately that my fate had changed. I heard a soft voice drop in my ears and my brain associated that with the dagger because it was what made sense right now.
“It’s just starting.”