The Ink Chase – Episode 4


The Ink Chase
A Serial in eight parts

Nidhi Singh

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At dusk it grew cool. After Diane moved inside the house, I took to my road. The jog helped clear my head and forget the bleakness of my charge.

At the forest edge my feet hesitated, but I decided to press ahead. It was time to end the chase and face my stalker. In the dense grove, where dark foliage interweaved in one unbroken gable of leaves, under whose sleeping eaves even the shadows dared not stray, where a million dragonfly wings stirred in the moonless haze, such a piteous weeping, such a creeping murmur, and such a demented choir of wailing bullfrogs possessed the bog that I was chilled through and through with a nameless fear. I halted. I turned.

A few feet behind me floated from head to toe a protean, tangled mass of misty hair. My throat went dry and I stood transfixed. It waited to see if would flee, but seeing me determined to stay my ground, it retreated a few steps and then waited. It seemed it expected me to follow it and follow I did. It led me deep into the woods and my feet began to sink in the quickening sand. We had reached the edge of the tidal swamp and dark pools formed everywhere. Tired grey trees hoisted stark forms in the hazy sky. Blackened mud-logged roots thrust from the turgid waters. Killer vines bent trees in their tenacious grip, and bright white swamp lilies and scarlet hibiscuses lay scattered about tree trunks like precious garlands. I followed the ghoul to a giant Bunyan grove looming above the foggy swamp. Its trunk was parted to reveal a black hollow. The ghoul waited by its entrance. I saw I really had no choice if I wanted to end this. I ducked and entered the black cave.

A strange green glow on the giant trunk, which rose all around me like a dungeon well, revealed a staircase that seemed to wind down to the rank bowels of earth. I went down it, clinging to the trunk for support. Soon I came upon the landing and a vast clearance beyond. An eerie black-blue dome seemed to illuminate the field, and I faced a giant, crooked, castle-like structure, much like a Halloween spooky house sketched by a diabolical mind. I pushed open the door that had been left ajar to enter a vast living room. A few, effervescent, pale glowy candles lit up the dim hall. I blinked, trying to adjust to the semidarkness.

I jumped at a voice that suddenly came from the far corner, addressing me.

“Welcome, Governor David Barry.”

To be continued

Episode 5