Smoke all around him.
In his lungs.
In his stomach.
In his nose and mouth.
Albey coughed himself awake. Through the haze he saw green, a sick green, a glow most ethereal haunting him like a nested dream, a terrible nightmare unending.
“Albey,” said a familiar voice, a voice which should never have graced the Poet’s ears. “Albey, you draw breath! Thank the divine, you live!”
Albey continued to cough and wheeze, but he did indeed live. His hair was on his head, his skin was smooth and healthy, and through the warm smoke rising from his lungs he saw a low ceiling of gnarled branches tied and knotted together.
“Where–” he said until the smoke took his words. “Where am–”
“You are in my home, great Poet,” said Gobon as though he was relieved this was the case, and mayhap the fiend was, Albey thought. Mayhap he was. “You were almost lost to the blaze which consumed The Lodge, but I was able to pull you out.”
“You–” Albey coughed, tears streaming from his eyes. “Fire–”
“‘Twas not I, great Poet,” Gobon said sincerely, now with his back to Albey. “I simply tried to draw your Poet’s quill, but the blasted Mage enchanted it. There was a trap, a ward of sorts, and the quill burst into flames at my touch.”
Albey lifted himself onto his forearms to see what Gobon was doing. He could not tell, but the ‘man in white seemed busy, and Albey was very weak. He laid back down and closed his eyes, continued to cough at the smoke in the air.
“I heard three explosions, lanterns if I had to guess.” He turned around then and revealed a large smoking pipe, one overflowing with flakes of floral green. “The fire spread rather quickly, and The Lodge collapsed; you were in horrid shape when I pulled you out, truly rough indeed.”
When the coughing subsided Albey rose his right hand to look at the palm; there was no wound, nor a trace of one.
“What have you done to me?” Albey demanded, shakily rising to a cross-legged sit. “Where have yo–”
Gobon raised a hand to silence the Mad Poet. “As I told you, I’ve brought you to my home. Carried you all the way here, and it was not an easy journey.” He brought the pipe to his lips then and drew deeply from the mouthpiece. The herbs in the bowl ignited without the need for a flame; the pungent smoke hit Albey’s nose and overwhelmed him. It smelt of burnt skunk spray with no pleasantness about it. “If you were not already aware, I am a student of the art of magicks. I am not of the talent of the late Iuqon the Mage, but I do know a thing or two. I cast a healing spell on you, great Poet, so you would not feel the pain of his trespasses.”
“Iuqon made not one,” Albey growled, though he wasn’t sure of it himself. The last thing he wrote was not with his own will, the quill moved by its own accord… but still… mayhap that wasn’t something to be concerned with just then. Mayhap Albey needed to leave this awful place where bottles grew from trees, green bottles, some of which were filled with a brooding red liquid. “I need to leave, how do I–”
“You need to rest, great Poet,” Gobon hummed, then drew deeply from the pipe again. “You must rest and recover your strength, for come tomorrow you shall need it.”
“Why–” is all Albey got out. Gobon exhaled a great plume of the nasty smoke and it swarmed unto Albey like starving bees unto a ripe patch of flowers. The Mad Poet fell back then, his mind overwhelmed with a spinning sensation, and everything began to back away until only Nothing was left. Nothing at all.
This has been the first subchapter of the fourth chapter of The Face of Fear, a novel about bigfoot written by the writer in Untitled Bigfoot Project. Here is everything you need to know about it:
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
The Hillside Commons has a Facebook page. Here’s that.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~