Sep. 16, 2017
For a moment, the two regarded each other silently as it started to snow lightly.
“Follow the old man.” A voice echoed through Nick’s headed that sounded much like his own, but much older and more weathered.
“What old man?”
“Follow the old man!” The voice commanded again as the body began to flicker, as if it was about to disappear.
Nick opened his mouth to question again but the man vanished before his eyes leaving one last whisper echoing through his skull.
“Follow the old man…”
Nick woke with a start; a fire crackled in his fireplace and the room felt warm and comforting. He was sitting in his rocking chair in the living room of his cabin, a warm wool blanket draped over his legs. As Nick tried to stand pain shot from his neck down his back and into his legs, forcing him to collapse back into the chair with a yelp.
“Easy there, it will be best not to move right off.” The voice was gravelly and rough, it came from behind him near the kitchen.
“Who are you?” Nick’s throat burned as if it was on fire as he tried to speak the words, it was dry and raw. His voice came out harsh and sounded more like a croak than the english he usually spoke.
“Shh, shh, now. Here, drink this.” The man walked around the side of the chair with a steaming bowl of green liquid and held it up to Nick’s lips. “Don’t worry, it won’t burn you.” Nick gulped the liquid down, suddenly realizing how thirsty he was. It was sweet and coated his throat, he could feel the burning sensation waning already. As the man pulled the bowl away Nick caught his eye for a brief second before he headed back to the kitchen. His skin was wrinkled with a slight grey tint and a long, white beard flowed from his chin. The whiskers under his nose blended with the beard, completely obscuring his lips from view, but when he talked his toothless maw could be seen flapping underneath. His head was bare and shiny, devoid of both hair and wrinkles and his grey eyes had a sparkle to them that Nick had never seen the like of in his life.
“Who are you?” Nick asked, his throat now soothed and his voice familiar once again.
“Names are unimportant. What matters is that you have been infected.”
“Infected by what?”
“Don’t be foolish, your memory can’t have faded yet.”
Nick shook his head slightly as he remembered the beast pulling him out of the window, the infected claw marks on his neck, and the horrible fight in the woods.
“The tonic will push the infection away, but it won’t cure you. Unless you find the cure, your body will fail and the eggs in your neck will spew forth thousands of creatures like the one that attacked you upon this town.” Nick began to panic. “But relax, I know the cure.” The man was standing before him again with a sick smile on his face, offering him the bowl. “Take it, your arms should work fine now.” Nick lifted his hands, ready for the intense pain but nothing came. He tenderly grabbed the bowl and drank the sweet green liquid, feeling his muscles strengthen with each gulp. “Good,” the old man beamed, “now follow me, we’ve work to do!”