Sunkenhush Knoll By Richard Bell


Long, long ago before man was a skinned rabbit behind suffocating screens, three old world schooners docked on the isolated Strangelstrath Island for the first time. The passengers and crew watched a cloud of black birds burst above the high tree tops and melt into the grey mists as though watered down on an artists pallet. On the shore lay a beached whale, its huge eye blanched and the tongue taken from the mouth and dragged away. Through a hole in the side of its face they could see that the mouth was filled with rocks.
A most unnerving welcome.
It was winter and the red cloud storms gathered in vast sheets blanketing the earth with bone chilling, white powdered silence. But the silence was reserved for the distant sun and blazing silver lights of the endless firmament.
It was this wilderness at the top of the world, that the settlers, lead by the one-eyed Brigadier, Kestor Vankenblud, had set out to find and create a new Eden away from the corruption and chaos after war. The omen at the beach had set tongues wagging and, as they ventured further into the island, an uneasy feeling was packed in ice when faced with the blackness of the deep forest.
Their first night, under thick canvas tents, saw four perish with horrified expressions etched on their faces and eyes blanched of colour like the snow.
Wanting to lay them to rest in the reverence of an elevated place, closer to the bosom of their benevolent god, they carried the bodies over the river, up the steep hill and into the hollow.
In this place, the soil looked black with a deep red shine and large black birds sat in menacing trees at either side, presiding over events like a demonic parliament. Kestor ordered the white-eyed dead to be buried in a pit and covered in the pages of the holy text. Their mouths were filled with stones and their hands and feet tied together in prayer. The soil that covered them sprinkled with blessed water and large stones marked the boundary where no one may set foot beyond.
The settlement grew around the river on the north bank as the south had been agreed to house the dead, swelling in numbers, night after night.
Brigadier Kestor Vankenblud knew how to allay the irrational fears as he did with his troops at Waterloo and his strong booming voice and single deep green eye commanded the respect to listen and heed the warnings to stay out of the forest after dark. Everything else was their civic duties and those who broke his laws were walked into the deep waters and taken by the undercurrents.
Soon more schooners arrived with settlers and a port grew up with roads and a little town. They fished, hunted, farmed and revelled in their bountiful haven. But death had claimed sixty-one of their number and the bodies, interred at the hollow, began to be seen at nightfall wandering the woods, white eyed and grizzling.
Were they strange hallucinations? Shapes in the night mists? Illusions formed from gases released from the earth?
All could have been an answer except that they followed the hum.
Deeper into the sprawling forest than anyone had dared venture, was the hum, a low raw throated sound that swelled above the hollow and drifted into the town, on the darkest of nights. It filled hearts and minds with dread and sparked tales of devils consorting with the dead to pervert the work of their god.
The mysterious deaths began to get less and less but the pitch black hum continued with homes shut up tight and windows and doors locked and covered.
It was as if a terrible presence walked the dark streets looking for souls to invade and their beautiful colours wrenched out of the eyes.
The legend had a name and that name was The Scrall.
It was the sixth winter and the hollow graveyard stretched beyond the curve of the river and came to the edge of the forest. Under that black and red soil lay one hundred unnatural deaths held in place by the word of their god and the blessed water from his divine communion.
But the dead were restless and followed a calling.
The grizzling gowl of the Scrall.
On a sharp toothed, pitch dark November evening, two teenaged boys defied the supernatural curfew and crossed the river to the south lands to finally see for themselves what all the hullabaloo was about. They secured the coracle on a felled tree that jutted into the fast flow and lit their battered oil lanterns. The forest rippled in a light breeze and reflected eyes studded its bristled hide like gems on velvet.
As they walked further into the myriad of spiny trunks and carpet of scented needles, they began to hear the low groan. It started as a whisper from a deathbed and grew into the gut wrenching growl that sent everyone scurrying indoors until sunrise.
In the heart of the forest flickering firelight in a clearing pushed plumes of acrid smoke high above the treetops and dusted the white clouds with evil soot.
Then the smell hit them.
This was a heady mixture of rotten fish, decaying pig meat and something else.
Something older and from the awful darkness that seeped up from hell to chase the sun away.
Walking into the clearing they stopped still, agog.
It was Brigadier Kestor Vankenblud, naked and smeared with bloody symbols. All round him the risen dead, plastered with holy text and smouldering a deep green miasma from their mouths. Their eyes glowed white in the firelight and their grotesque shapes shambled around in circles, protecting the Brigadier from the sighted intruders.
“Gaze upon the resurrected taken for ye be humble before the spirits of the roots.” The Brigadier removed his eyepatch to reveal a smouldering white eye that sent all the dead towards a hill at the back of the clearing. They climbed up and arranged themselves in circles descending to the base.
“Witness and be damned, sighted saplings of men. We have found his resting mound and tonight he will rise to crush the scourge of mankind.
Ohran gethedriac mehrest vovas
Nepas zeldorot cuth sepesto
Leprendius nowineth corocun
Pazca pazca grongurth.”
The two boys sunk to their knees, gasping for breath as a blizzard of pine needles filled the air. They could make out the dead melting into each other in a hissing green smog as a huge black shaggy shape rose high above the firelight and opened two grotesque yellow eyes. It lumbered towards Brigadier Kestor and slowly opened a giant mouth filled with barbed teeth and the unholiest of growls.
“Was that sound from him?” snivelled one of the boys.
Kestor smiled an insidious broad smile and raised a long horn tied to a leather strap. He swung it round and round his head as the low growl they feared so much sounded like a hellish siren.
After a moment he dropped the horn and raised his arms high above his head.
“I am the first taste of the flesh for thee, great beast. Devour and taste your enemy. Be avenged for their desecrating blasphemy.”
The huge mouth of the beast slowly swallowed the Brigadier to his midriff then the teeth cleaved him leaving his legs and naval spurting blood into the fiery night.
It chewed, swallowed and fixed its gaze on the boys.
That was the last night that people lived on Strangelstrath Island.
Each night two yellow eyes opened and a low growl filled the trees sending plumes of black birds high in the sky to melt into the darkness and the absence of mankind.


Original written work by Richard Bell aka Rick Nightmare

**Click on any Image to redirect to the images webpage/designer where it has been provided.
All images are found using Google Image Search and are not always labelled
I hold no ownership to any image used unless otherwise stated**

Protected by The Freewill Writers Asylum Vaults since 2015

Protected by The Freewill Writers Asylum Vaults since 2015

**Click on any Image to redirect to the images webpage/designer where it has been provided.
All images are found using Google Image Search and are not always labelled
I hold no ownership to any image used unless otherwise stated**



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