Exercise — “Standing in the Rain”
Dolan Bournsmouth, 17, Hunter, Single
Dolan sat hunched in the mouth of the cave, his knees heavy against the rough stone floor. His fingers dug into the caves crooked teeth, holding him tightly in place as he shivered. His legs shook beneath him causing the buckles of his mud-covered boots to softly clink. Water dripping from his brow, the boy squinted hard and peered through the downpour into expansive darkness. Somewhere, in that crowded smudge of dull brown and rotting green, a beast hunted him. Dolan’s chest pulsed rapidly against the damp stone he clung to. He pulled himself closer to it, willing himself to melt into its resolute safety and eternal restfulness. Beyond, the dense thickets began to rustle as a shadowed figure emerged. Dolan tucked backward, falling hard against the cave wall. He leaned forward and pointed his ear toward the cave entrance. A thumping beat travelled from his chest and into his ears. Rain pelted the stone ground outside as it did above. Crackling thunder rumbled in the distance, it’s broken tone revealing a gruff snarl. It sounded close.
Dolan huddled into a wet heap. He pressed his body further into the sharp edges of the cave wall. With each passing moment, his breathe grew louder and more uneven. The beast, conversely, had returned to it’s eery silence. Dolan wiped his face, pulling the blood and grime from his eyes. He stared blankly at the rocky walls around him, unable to stop heaving. The rain continued its unrelenting assault, beating at a overwhelming consistency. Dolan slowly shifted onto his hands and knees before crawling to the mouth of the cave. Once again, he peered outward into the dark abyss. A sudden flash of brilliant sky-bound light illuminated the hulking figure. The cat-like beast lurked on it’s six muscular legs. It’s tail, split into three slick tendrils, curled above its form, dancing with the distant lightning. Dolan’s quivering hand shot to his mouth. The beast stood defiant in the rain. With a deep chittering purr, its bottom jaw bisected open, uncovering a maw as jagged and sharp as the cave’s. Silhouetted by the blanket of rain, the beast turned it’s head toward Dolan. The boy’s stare fixated on its sleek form. His fingers and hands — indeed his entire body — trembled as he rattled loose his slim dagger.