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On the road

by titania177 

Posted: 11 September 2008
Word Count: 371
Summary: For the devils within challenge

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It bit her and she cried out but kept going. She was stumbling now, the road less and less paved. She felt one ankle swelling, but she knew she couldn't stop. It followed, and she could hear it grinding behind her, gnashing teeth. When the man stepped out from the woods, she should have been frightene, but she felt nothing, just an urge to scratch deeply.

"Stop," he said to her and blocked her way. So she stopped. He stared at her as if he had expected a fight, a retort.

"Yes?" she said, and she heard the heavy breathing behind her, she knew it was still there. But she knew it wouldn't come nearer until she was alone again.

"There's something there, tell me!" said the man, who raised his fists, his face darkening.


"Come on, girlie, don't give me that," he said, puffing out his cheeks.

"Excuse me," she said, for she knew she had to keep going and keep going alone.

"Do you think us meeting here, do you think it's an accident?" the man said, although he lowered his fists and he shuffled to the side.

"I...." she said. "I don't even know what the word means."

"What word?" But she was already limping off. His voice, localized and harsh, taunted her from the corner by the woods. "It's like a discipline," he called to her. "It organizes and controls us. You..." But now she was far off and he had gone from her thoughts.

She stood still. Her ankle had ballooned to twice its size and she wondered if it might burst. She felt a breath, hot and dark, on her neck and she knew it was there, again. "I could have killed you, back then," she said. "But instead, I fed you and you grew. I needed you. It's a way of living with tragedy, I guess." She lifted her arms up as if in some kind of surrender to an invisible firing squad. And then she began to turn, slowly, the pain of a thousand darts shooting through her ankle, turning and all the while imagining, when she was fully round, when she finally saw, what her own personal devil would look like.

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Comments by other Members

Bunbry at 13:09 on 12 September 2008  Report this post
Hi Tania. If I've read this right, the pursuer was just her imagination.
If that is the case, then I feel a bit let down.

It's like when one of the characters turns out to be a hallucination or the whole thing is just a dream - very unsatisfying to the reader.

Although I accept I may have misunderstood what was going on!


titania177 at 13:12 on 12 September 2008  Report this post
Hi Nick,
thanks for commenting. I won't say anything, we will see what other people think!


manicmuse at 16:54 on 12 September 2008  Report this post
Tania, I have to confess I'm not sure I 'got this' but it didn't matter! I was gripped, wonderful tension running though it, strange fated interlude with fist bearing man. Not sure what its about but I loved it! Am off to read it again. Fx

optimist at 09:57 on 13 September 2008  Report this post
This is powerful writing, Tania.

Kind of a macabre twist on the St Agnes Eve tradition?

There is a lot going on here - great tension and it felt pretty real to me.

I definitely felt there was something there...


Jumbo at 12:01 on 13 September 2008  Report this post

This is powerful stuff - a frightening idea of being pursued by this 'thing'.

I did wonder what happened to the man she met along the way. Did she kill him? Thereby feeding her own personal devil? And was he blind? Strange, but that's how I read it!

A small typo - there's a 'd' missing from 'frightened' in the second line.

Great read - very intense. Thanks for that.


Forbes at 00:06 on 14 September 2008  Report this post

we all have them, don't we? Wonderfully evoked scene, with her wasting her last lifeline - wilfully almost. It felt forlorn and isolated on her road.

Wonderful take on the prompt.



crowspark at 06:45 on 14 September 2008  Report this post
Powerfully spooky
She lifted her arms up as if in some kind of surrender to an invisible firing squad
Stunning image.
Thanks for a fine read.

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