The day was still and cold.
The night was cold, and its silence was pregnant with tension.
Better, but no. That wouldn’t do, either.
Write. Strike out. Re-write. The cycle continued many times as Damon tried to write a story for his bored teacher to read. He was wasting paper. Each false start cost money he could only barely afford.
Finally, he set his paper aside and began to write on a slat of white stone with some char as his pen. As he made mistakes, he simply wiped them away. This, he decided, was much less expensive. As his candle guttered in its own wax, he finally settled on the beginning of his story, and laid his tablet down for the night. He undressed and crawled into his bed, ready for a night of peaceful slumber.
Sleep took him many places– from mountains to valleys deep under the ocean. He dreamed of a strange land and a man with a short figure and an intimidating guise. He dreamed of heroism, love, lust, and vice. The short man wandered long, and stopped rarely in his travels.
When the strange hero finally did stop, it was in the crater of a volcano that seemed both active and inactive. The stranger held a frightening staff above his head and looked around. He shouted in challenge, and drove it into the center. He turned, and he began to run, a terrified expression on his features. Lava began to flow, and only chance got him out safely as he leapt from a high hole in the side of the volcano, and rolled down.
When he reached the bottom, he grunted as he rose to his hands and knees. A crazed grin lit his face as clouds began to gather. The light from the molten stone in the crater of the volcano gave that swirling gloom a bloodied appearance. The short man began to laugh, his vividly green eyes wild with manic delight. His tangled hair blew about as he cackled, the locks tangled and dirty.
Damon jerked awake. His body was covered in sweat. He clutched his blanket against his bare chest and cowered. Never before had he dreamed so vividly, nor of anything like hat. He stood and shook his head slowly.
As he pulled a hand up to grip his head, he paused. His hand was shaking. He released his blanket and looked at the other. It was, also. He hugged himself and rose from his bed. Bare feet slapped the cold stone floor as he hurriedly lit candles and stirred the fire. Slowly, he warmed and lit the apartment, until it was bright as day. Only then, did his shaking stop.
Slowly, he flexed his hands before he reached for the slab Furiously, he erased everything and began again, stories for his teacher be damned! Damon quickly wrote out the story of the man, the staff, and the volcano. As he wrote, time slipped away like oiled marbles in a too-tight grip.
When he finished, he was shocked to find the entire story fit on the tablet. Had his dream truly been so short? No, he remembered more details now. He gripped his stick of charcoal and began to write frantically on the stone walls of his home. It would wash off, he was sure.
He write on and on, and ignored his hunger. His eyes became wide as his charcoal became the tiniest stub that he couldn’t grip any longer. Desperately, he looked around, a snarl on his lips as his eyes landed on the fire place, before he recalled he had a box of them in one of his desk drawers. With desperate hands, Damon grabbed the drawer and carried it with him as he frantically wrote.
As the final period marked the last inch of space on the wall, the last piece of charcoal shattered between Damon’s trembling fingers.
Finally, he snapped from his reverie. Night had come. He could hardly see. He looked around. His candles were burnt down all the way. His fire was out.
Damon decided it might be best to just sleep. He pulled the sheets of his bed down and flopped between the covers. Sleep came swiftly, and he woke in the morning from a dreamless slumber, only to find his unused paper ready laid out still from two days ago.
Without knowing why, he went to his desk and began to write. The letters flooded onto the paper. Words and sentences were born, and the story of the strange man, his staff, and the volcano soon hung across the ceiling, suspended by clips on string, to allow ink to dry.
He paused once the last page was hung to dry. Was he not supposed to write a story for his teacher about the dangers of Hotazhek Volcano? He sighed. It was too late to change his story now, and too late to get more paper. Instead, Damon lit a fire again and waited for the pages to dry as he began to clean the walls. Now and then, he noticed certain words refused to wash.
An uneasy sensation settled in his gut, and he tried to wash harder. Under the coal, he began to find dried blood. Startled, he pulled his hand back. Only then, did he notice that the tip of one of his fingers was scabbed and blackened, with stains of blood on it.
“What manner of insanity was that?” He asked himself as he barked out a rough, frightened snort of laughter. “Oh, Light.” His voice became very small. He didn’t even know what his story entailled, save that it was about a volcano, a very short man, and a strange, creepy staff.
Damon began to tremble. Here he was, in the Roi Saldeclan University, at the glorious age of twelve, and he was writing so much that his fingers were bleeding, because he was telling a story about events he knew nothing about.
The young man allowed himself to fall to his knees beside the fire and cry. Only here a week, and he was already being driven to madness by school life! He had to get out!