Writing assignment: Write two stories with the same setting and same characters, but with completely different moods. Attempt one:
Out of the Dark
The wind slipped icy fingers through the zipper of my sleeping bag, and shifted the tree branches in creeping shadows. I tugged the cloth tighter about my neck, wondering what was taking my dad so long to come back.
My eyes sought the moon, but her light seemed weak, illuminating the Earth only enough to make the shadows even darker. The stars stared at me with beady eyes that flashed as though mocking my fear. Then one of the stars broke loose, speeding toward me with a fiery explosion, all the more terrifying for the utter silence.
It disappeared, vaporizing into the Earth’s atmosphere. I dared breathe once more.
I choked on my own heart as something materialized beside me. When I looked, I could see nothing. Almost nothing. There were only little bits of movement, ways the moonlight didn’t reflect quite right.
My own gasp scared me almost more than the thing, when it suddenly became all too visible. It was a person. Only it wasn’t. He hovered in the air in a ghostly fashion, and his skin looked almost metallic. His eyes were the worst, glowing like a computer screen, with scaly hair catching the gleam.
His eyes fastened on mine, and his mouth opened. The words that came out were as twisted and strange as the long neck the vocal cord passed through. I understood only one word. “Come.” His hand reached toward me and I scrambled backwards in desperation.
It was a mistake.
The moment I left the warmth of my sleeping bag I felt a grip on my arm. A cold, tight grip. I screamed and twisted, but it was too late. They clutched me and my campsite was already falling away beneath us. We zoomed toward space. Toward empty blackness, guarded only by the eyes of the stars.
Eventually I came to the realization that we were in a spaceship of sorts. It hummed around me with the barest of vibrations, and my eyes began to pick out lights that had a nearby mechanical source, rather than the distant fire of the stars. They blinked in random ominous patterns.
The figures around continued to verbalize. I made no attempt to understand them, but only pulled back into the farthest corner of the ship. The energy inside the ship intensified, and the figures gravitated to one side of the ship, their heads bobbing grotesquely.
I finally brought myself to look in their direction. A greenish light was growing behind them. Even as I looked, it filled the screen of the ship, becoming larger as we rapidly neared it. The colors swirling among it made me realized it was a planet.
Just like that, the spaceship was gone, and I was standing on the surface of the planet. The ground was almost spongy, and rocked in a random rolling motion that made the beings’ necks quiver like jelly.
Then I saw it. Felt it. Something was clawing at my leg. It was covered with antennae-like hairs…and claws. Spiny, pinching claws. I screamed and kicked, but it only clutched tighter and began to crawl up my pants, piercing my skin with each step. Coming closer to my face.
In the distance I heard my dad’s voice, answering my panic, screaming his own reply. He was here, somewhere, caught in the same nightmare as I.
I saw him. With sudden clarity Dad was right before me, the night sky above him, and our camp all around us.
He was laughing. “I think you’re dreaming, kiddo. Wake up. It’s okay.”
I love the descriptions you used to set the tone. They were very effective. You already know how I feel about the ending. :P But I really enjoyed the journey.
Good entry. Looking forward to attempt two...