The unknown lured him, despite its danger. Branches reached out and grabbed at Dakri as he passed through their shadows. He ignored them and pressed on. A faint rumble drifted through the air, making his hair stand on end.
Hours ago Dakri had left familiar land, the land in which he had grown up. Always the stories of The Beasts had intrigued him, but the danger that filled the stories had kept him from investigating.
So here he was, creeping closer to The Pathway. It was there The Beasts made their trek through the land. Where they came from and where they went was unknown. What was known was that they raced with deadly speed, destroying anything in their path.
The very air was laced with danger. Acrid smells coated the underbrush as thick as the dust that was kicked up from The Beastsí feet. It clung to Dakriís hair, to his whole body, until he himself smelled of the unknown, declaring to the world that he had entered the enemyís territory.
Then he saw it--The Pathway. It was just as the stories had described, black and worn smooth by the constant tramp of passing beasts. The very sight of it sent shivers through Dakri. His breath came in short spurts. Between the fear and the thick stench he could hardly draw enough oxygen.
For a time, it was enough to crouch in the shadow and stare. To even be here and look upon their path was more than any of those back home had done. Dakri was afraid to move, afraid of each sound the night brought. Would something come from above? Or creep out of the dark before him? He did not know. The stories were full of confusion, full of gleaming eyes and roars and death.
As time passed and nothing happened, the thought grew on Dakri that he wished to touch The Pathway. He wanted to walk upon the ground they trod. At first even the thought was terrifying. But soon it seemed that it would be foolish to come this far and not walk the path.
The ground rose a bit as Dakri crept out of the shadows and into the moonlight. The path was hard and smooth, and yet not smooth. It glistened with the oil of The Beastsí bodies, of their feet that tore across the ground.
Dakriís head swelled with foolish pride as he walked upon the sacred ground and nothing happened. He even pranced a little, and thought of what he would tell the others back home. He almost did not notice the faint rumble. It muttered from a distance, the same as he had heard earlier in his travel and for a moment he froze.
It was the saving of Dakri that he stumbled off the path before he saw the eyes. They were hypnotizing eyes that gleamed unlike anything Dakri had seen before. The mutter grew louder. The eyes grew brighter. Then suddenly he could see the rest of it--a huge, dark form that caught the gleam of the moonlight against its skin.
At the very core of his being Dakri knew that this was no mortal beast. For a terrifying moment, time stood still. In the darkness Dakri had no measure of distance and it was not until the thing was nearly on top of him that he realized how fast it was moving.
Dakri stood frozen at the edge of the path. The Beast fastened its eyes upon him, roaring and muttering as it raced straight for him. Dakri closed his eyes as he felt the hot whoosh of The Beastís breath.
Then it was gone.
For whatever reason, The Beast had swerved in its course and followed The Pathway. So here Dakri was, left with only his adrenaline and the lingering vapor of The Beastís breath. Left also, with the knowledge that this time, despite his nearly-fatal curiosity, this time he had escaped death.
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Amy, this is wonderful. What a parallel to our own flirtation with the way of darkness, the path trod by so many. A path whose glamor and dark shining splendor call us to prance upon it in false security. But safety never lies within this pathway. To live, we must escape its lure. May the Spirit of Truth which enables us to discern ever alert us to the need to escape, into the the arms of Grace. Terrific job ... I could see every rustling tree, hear the nightshades ... feel the pounding heart. Great, great job.