The Rites Of The Moon

A choice part from my new survival horror novel. available now. Click HERE

Below him, about four meters down at the base of the tree, three of the strange painted people had gathered. They weren’t acting aggressive so Thomas stood extremely still, balancing on the tree branch and watched them closely. It was a small man with a backwards baseball cap and underwear on and two women, the first looked to be in her mid-sixty’s and wore only a pair of cargo shorts, the other was probably mid-thirties and was fully clothed in a tank top and short shorts, they all were painted gold and had black markings painted on them. The strange gold painted people seemed to communicate in clicking noises and hand gestures, almost a crude form of sign language and both the older woman and the male seemed to be getting instructions from the younger woman. It didn’t appear that they had followed Thomas’s tracks which made him kick himself for not being smart enough to cover them up, but it seemed as if they were resting by the tree and getting some sort of debrief with the younger woman going into long periods of gesticulation and clicking whilst the others nodded. It seemed odd, these people all seemed as if they were normal and well looked after people, both of the women had clean looking hair and outside of the paint they seemed to be of normal appearance, the man looked as if he was a simple IT professional but had somehow tripped into a vat of gold paint, how could these people who looked like regular middle income westerners act like howling and screaming Neanderthals hungry for blood. Suddenly the trio of gold painted people looked to the west in unison then a shrill screeching filled the air that melted into a long deep bellow, it was unbearable and Thomas had to lean against the tree and hold his ears. The sound slowly faded and the trio below him looked at one another than ran off in the direction of the sound, Thomas looked up and through a tiny gap in the leaves could see the moon, not fully pale blue anymore, but now holding a hint of magenta. He waited what he felt was a few minutes then descended the tree and slowly contacting the soft ground. He peered off in the direction that the trio ran but he could see nothing, the blackness of the dark swamp swallowed them. He rounded the tree trunk and orientated himself toward where he saw the gap in the treetops and headed toward it, not at walk but not at a jog either, shuffling to get some blood moving and to get him out of this situation quicker. He was trying to think what he would say to the people, if there were any people, and how they would react. He would sound crazy, babbling about a strange group of feral people and robed weirdos…. and the slaughtering of a man he had just met, and of course, the three people he had killed. He was in the right, it was self-defence, he knew he would have been killed if he hadn’t acted the way he did but still, how does one breach the subject of a wild story that is peppered with killings. He pushed on and pushed the thoughts from his mind, he would tell the tale as it came to him when he got to wherever he was headed, and just let it fall out of him organically. His legs were burning and cramping up, he noticed that without his permission his arms had begun to reach out and grab the trees to pull and push himself along, his body had entered survival mode without his brain noticing and this made him think just how much longer he had without going into shock. The beams of moonlight that shot through the gaps in the canopy like a Laser beam were beginning to get more numerous and closer together now as the trees started to be more and more sparse, alarmingly the beams of light that gave off an almost undetectable beauty in their ethereal pale blue where now tinted by that same hint of magenta that Thomas had seen in the moon before, so many burning questions, and no time left to wonder about them. Up ahead he could make out the clearing he saw, he was right on the mark with his direction, there appeared to be a metal structure although he was still a solid fifty meters away and the trees where still thick enough to obscure a lot of what lay ahead. He slowed down and removed the pistol from his waistband, bringing it into the ready position that was still natural from his days practising on the range. His steps where slow but determined, scanning to his left and right at 45-degree angles from the point in front of him searching for movement. Finally, he came to the last tree that stood between him and the clearing, looking into it he saw that it was about ten meters across and almost a circle, as if it was man made, in the middle stood a small wooden shack that looked new enough that it may hold some supplies, but Thomas doubted if there were any people in it which at this stage could still be a good thing. He cast his eyes over the clearing and when he felt satisfied, he entered the knee-high grass that inexplicably sprouted up around him. The whole area was bathed in the same magenta and pale blue light that seemed to confuse the eyes. He walked purposefully up to the cabin door and raised his hand but brought it back down, if there were people on the other side, and they weren’t friendly, then Thomas would want to have the drop on them, he took in a deep breath and brought the pistol to the ready position and entered the cabin. 

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