The Seven Circles (Chapter Three)

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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By J.H.Williams

 

The road was now unusually quiet again, they had only past a few cars since leaving. Discarded cartons lay at Sam’s feet, he had devoured his own body weight in food, and his empty beer cans thudded around in the boot slowly driving Noah crazy.  They took the short way home, along a winding road that curved round the river elm, even with his headlights on full beam, the light seemed to struggle to find a path through darkness, it was foggy, and blinding, he could hardly see anything in front of him, but luckily he knew the road well, he knew every curve, this was the route he took to work nearly everyday.  The road was extremely old and narrow, half carved out of rock, and trees lined up on the opposite side reaching high up into the sky, with the river far below it.  Now and then beams from the moon would carve their way through the high branches above, lighting up segments of the road, that gave them an eerie presence, he started to feel uneasy again, his chest grew tighter, the fog seemed to slowly creep its way from outside to within, pushing all his ribs closer to the seat, straining, to even keep breathing the pressure was unbearable.  Even with the heating on full, Noah couldn’t get rid of the chill within his bones, even so he needed to breathe, he wound down the window, fresh cool air flooded into the car, Noah took a long deep breath, his face started to fill with color again.

Sam stirred awake next to him, “why on earth have you got the window open”.

“I just needed some air” Noah replied in half breath.

“Noah you don’t look so good” Sam said nearly sober now. He pulled another cigarette from his jeans, holding it close to his chest, making sure to avoid Noah’s gaze, and lit it. “I thought I told you” Said Noah trying to keep his eyes on the road, he had enough to deal with right now he couldn’t see anything in front of him, and the smoke from his cigarette wouldn’t be helping his vision. “Sorry” Sam continued to puff anyway, the rattling from the boot grew louder and louder no matter how slow Noah drove the sound was making him unhinged, almost like the empty cans were thudding, and banging around in his head.

Noah slammed on the brakes bringing the car to a sudden stop, Sam flung forward, “What are you doing?” shouted Sam.

Silent Anger screwed upon Noah’s face, he whipped open the door and made his way to the back of the car in search of the noise, he flung open the boot, with so much force the glass nearly shattered, he reached inside his hands moving across boots, and all sorts of foreign objects and finally the cans, he started to frantically throw them all down towards the river. “Just fuck off, get out of my head” Noah screamed into the darkness, the thudding still echoed in his ears, long distant splash’s could be heard from the objects hitting the water far below, Noah closed his eyes a moment and leaned back against the open boot, and just sat soaking in everything, that had happened, the cool air licking his face, his breath fogging in front of him, first the gala, with the Spider, then Jessie getting petrified in the woods, by a Fox, then meeting Amber then losing her, why today, why him, couldn’t he just feel normal for once, why was the whole world against him, even Sam feet away from him today he had ruined it for him, am I going mad, do I need help, why does everything seem false, he didn’t know what was real anymore he clutched his chest pocket, and their it was Ambers necklace, he opened his eyes and pulled it out, and watched as the end spinned and swayed glinting green in the light from the distant moon, he tried to imagine her eyes looking back at him, and composted himself, wiping away the tears that started to well at the corner of his eyes. “She was real, everything is real” he said aloud, hoping she would walk through the mist in front of him and press her hands to his cheeks like she had done before, filling him with warmth.

The wind started to grow, spinning around Noah’s feet and under the car, the long trees started to sway violently, then it started to rain, it felt heavy and started to weigh down his clothing. Tapping on the roof of the car grew louder as the rain bounced upon it.  Large black lakes started to form on the roads surface. The waves of wind bought more increasing amounts of rain, that battered against him.  He could feel something watching him, this time he could feel more than one thing watching him, he felt everything, something in the distance grew closer and closer, his head darted in every direction, trying to find the source of the piercing feeling, this time he wasn’t alone, Sam was here.

He slammed the boot shut as fast as he could and jumped back into the car, he pressed the pedals as fast as he could not even giving time for his seatbelt, his black shaggy hair dropping each side of his face. “Do you feel that” he asked, Sam turned towards him, “No, but you’re driving like a lunatic, put your seatbelt on” Concernedly said Sam, “Something was back there, I’m telling you something’s following me”.

Sam sat back uncomfortable in his seat, as the car started to quicken in pace the trees around them blurring with the speed the car was climbing too, “Noah…Noah slow down” Sam screamed.

Noah caught sight of something far down the straight length of road, through the thick fog the headlights made it look even bigger casting a high shadow, he slammed on the brakes once more, Sam was flung forward this time his head barely missing the windscreen. “For fucksake Noah” Sam said through gritted teeth, slamming his enormous fist upon the dashboard.

“Look, it’s there do you see it too” he turned his head straining his eyes following the beams from the headlights until they hit a huge Fox with large black eyes, not moving just sitting in the road watching them.

Noah stared at the Fox and he looked back at him, “it’s the same one” Noah whispered, “it’s just a Fox, Noah” Sam replied his voice low and uneasy. “Was it just a Fox, or was it something else unnatural” he thought.

Noah’s hands tighten around the wheel, the rain grew heavier and heavier, his eyes transfixed upon the Foxes, the whole night, the darkness, the cold seemed to pour out of its onyx ovals, and flow into the atmosphere around him, something that had lingered within him all day, it wanted to finish what it started.

He started to reeve the cars engine, violently, inviting the Fox closer, inviting him to try and get him.  He pushed his foot down on the pedal with so much force he tried to push it through the floor, the back wheels started to spin, and the car thundered forward pushing Sam further back into his seat. Noah kept the car straight aiming for the Fox, who was still not moving, he thought he could see it smirking, mocking him once more, he was only a few meters away from him, “NO” Sam bellowed reaching his arm towards the wheel and swerved.  Noah suddenly jolted back to reality, before he could realize what he had done it was too late.

Everything seemed to go in slow motion both Noah and Sam started to float, their limbs on strings like a puppeteer playing with his marionettes, as the car started to spin uncontrollably. Then when they thought the worst was over, it crashed through the barrier that lined the road protecting it from the river, shards of metal started to fly from the vehicle, slicing through branches and trees effortlessly, like a knife to butter, the car started to roll and contort, as the world started to spin around them, ground became sky, up became down over and over again, Sam’s head flung against the passenger window with such force.  Shattered glass started to fall all around them making tiny slices on any uncovered part of flesh, Noah started to rise and fall, silent as if he were in a bubble, his bones started to crack, and splinter, but he felt nothing. Apart from a warm sensation that was trickling down his face and back, his feet were still firmly stuck beneath the pedals, dirt and leaves started to enter to car through the smashed windows, as the car pulled away deep pockets of earth as it rolled down and down the steep, slope towards the river.

The bonnet drove deep into the water, Noah’s head smacked against the wheel, the car started to fill around them, through the open windows, and it swirled around his feet, cold, icy and black. The water rose to his neck, he couldn’t move as he slowly started to take in gulps of water that burned his lungs, on the bank besides them the Fox sat watching, Noah could sight of him, the Fox glided towards the driver’s open window, the orbs of black inches from his face, the Fox started to lick him, he could see the water round him slowly turning crimson, for then Noah could only see black, as he lost consciousness.

©Jack H W Williams. All Rights Reserved

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