The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
A WEEKEND STORY
As that strange collection of people with different backgrounds trudged through the dreaded Pale Lands without direction, the only thing they had in common at that particular slice of time was terror.
The forest had become progressively hostile, living up to its name as a horrendous place to be.
There were hunger and thirst, and there was fatigue, both physical and mental, but they could have survived with that. The children with them were now wailing pathetically, their voices filled with the confusion and terror they were going through.
There was no darkness inside the Pale Lands, at least not in the part they were trudging though. It was covered by a white mist, so thick and cold that it was almost physical. What made it terrifying were the hideous faces that kept materializing out of the mist as they moved along.
These were not human faces, or even ghostly human-shaped things. These were huge, monstrous depictions of gargoyle-like horrors that moaned and growled, coming out of the mists suddenly and hissing at them!
They could even feel ghostly fingers touching their skins, or hear the fierce hate-filled whispers that ratcheted through their ears.
Mavis had to call on her innermost strength to keep moving forward where all her inclinations pointed at terrified flight. She had to encourage them to hold hands and never let go or someone would disappear in the mist.
“But where exactly are we going?” many had asked since the onset of the strange journey into the heart of the evil forest, but now conversation was no longer a part of their menu.
The only thing that served as normal conversation now was the constant emission of screams, groans, shrieks and wailing.
“The Oracles spoke of a Haven to await the Breed of the Halos,” Mavis had told them before the swirling mist started. “The Oracle said the Wailing Skull will direct a few survivors to this haven.”
“Did the Oracles mention The Pale Lands, please madam?” asked a huge man called Ayoba who had been one of the finest butchers in Densua. “Because I don’t believe anything good can come out of the Pale Lands, madam.”
“It mentioned the Howling Abodes, yes, Ayoba,” Mavis had answered as calmly as she could.
“Howling Abodes?” Ayoba had almost shrieked. “What the hell has that got to do with the Pale Lands?”
“Long ago, the Pale Lands was called the Howling Abodes,” Mavis explained gently. “We only heard a lot of howling from here, but it began to stop gradually as the years went by. When the mists were seen swirling around here, it soon became the Pale Lands.”
And now here they were, after countless hours of moving through this cold, ultra-terrifying land, and they still could not see any wailing skull.
Their teeth chattered with the extreme cold, and their brains were tortured by the moans, wails, howls and the sights of the demonic entities that emerged from the mists at frequent intervals.
And then, quite suddenly, Ayoba screamed and tried to pull his hand free from the grasp of Sarai.
“It bit me, it bit me!” Ayoba screamed with fear as he struggled to free himself and flee. “Somebody bit me! Somebody bit me!”
He broke free from Sarai and tried to flee but Obed wrapped his arms around him and held on tightly, and soon three other men joined Obed to hold down the struggling man.
“Pull yourself together, please, please!” Kharisa said desperately as she tried to calm down the frenzied man. “Please, we’re all terrified, but you’re creating more fear for us!”
“Let me go! Let me go this instant!” Ayoba screamed as he struggled fiercely. “Something bit me with its huge fangs! Something has bitten me, oh dear ancestors! I have been bitten!”
Mavis walked towards that great hulk of a man, and she was disgusted with his evident cowardice! For a butcher, he sure was a poor excuse of a man! Even the little children were not screaming as exuberantly as this man!
It occurred to her that Ayoba was indeed howling like a demented man!
And that was when Mavis Tease came to a sudden stop!
From where she was standing, Ayoba’s face was not quite distinct in the swirling mists! She could barely make out his features, but she could see his flashing eyes and gaping mouth as he wailed with terror…and indeed his face did look like a skull!
“Let me go, let me go!” Ayoba wailed in an agonized, terrified voice. “Somebody has bitten me! Somebody with huge teeth has bitten my foot!”
“The Wailing Skull!” Mavis said with wonder. “Let him go! Leave him!”
“But, ma’am, he’ll get lost!” Obed said with concern.
“Let him go this instant!” Mavis shouted, her voice high-pitched and authoritative. “Release him!”
The men exchanged startled looks, and then they let Ayoba go.
And the butcher of Densua took to his heels still screaming!
And as he ran a wonderful thing happened: his feet crashed on the unseen ground, and soon brilliant red flare-light particles rose from the floor of the Pale Lands as Ayoba ran!
It looked like a path of red in the mist!
“He is the Wailing Skull!” Mavis cried stridently. “Follow the red flares! Hurry up!”
And so they followed the trail left by Ayoba’s thudding feet, a shimmering red haze that died out behind the last person in the group. Ayoba still wailed that somebody had bitten him, and he still raced crazily through the white mist.
But, suddenly, after about thirty minutes of frenzy running, Ayoba came to a sudden stop and just stood stiffly.
The group still followed the red blaze behind him, and it was Kharisa who got to Ayoba’s side first. She gasped with deep shock and stood still.
One by one, they all joined Ayoba to stare!
Even the little children were no longer screaming!
What spread in front of them was a thing of beauty.
“The Root of Densua!” Mavis Tease whispered with awe. “I heard about it! Never thought I’ll ever see it!”
There was a serene lake in front of them, and standing in its middle was a gigantic tree with a huge trunk! The leaves of the tree had formed a wide arc over the lake, and it was filled with an assortment of strange fruits!
There were strange rocks inside the lake that glowed like diamonds, giving out radiant glows all around them. Under the tree were huge pod-like membranous things that bore an uncanny resemblance to tents!
Hovering just in front of them was a fine, elderly gentleman dressed in a big, white, flowing gown. There was a white turban around his head, and he was holding a staff that had a curved tip.
His eyes were completely white as he glared at them with fierce intensity.
“Welcome, citizens of Densua,” he said, and his calm voice did little to assuage the grim terror his appearance portrayed. “You will sojourn here with the Root of Densua! More of your ilk will join you here. You will eat from her fruits, and drink from her lake. You will sleep in her pods until the Chosen One comes!”
He was beginning to grow dimmer and shimmered almost indistinctively.
“Who are you, sir?” Mavis asked quickly. “Are you the Sage of the Spirits?”
“You speak as one learned, dear maiden!” the man said as he quickly became invisible, and now they could hear his voice without seeing him. “Indeed, I am Prosper Freeman! I seek the Halowan!”
And when he became completely invisible, Ayoba rushed forward with a cry of gratitude, his earlier fear of being bitten by something with white teeth forgotten!
He was not alone, though.
Obed waded to a deeper path of the lake and scooped water with his hands into his mouth!
The wearied travellers drank water, and many more walked towards the strange pods!
Soon, however, Ayoba plucked a fruit from the tree and bit hungrily into it.
“Ahhhh!” he screamed with great shock. “It indeed tastes like mutton!”
He ate hungrily.
Kharisa, smiling with relief and happiness, plucked one that was square in shape and bit into its crunchy depths, and then she shouted with indescribable joy.
“Holy Mama, it tastes like rice and beans!”
“And this circular one tastes like mashed yam pudding and chicken!”
And so, it came to pass that the wearied people began to eat voraciously for each fruit tasted differently, amazingly different!
She did not have to move from branch to branch to pluck fruits, though!
As soon as she plucked one, another fruit instantly grew in its stead, and so she stood at one spot and ate three fruits with maximum relish because they tasted like three of the best food courses she had ever eaten.
They drank from the lake, and then some of them went farther upstream to bath.
And when they crawled into the pod-like things, they were surprised to find that it had a lined interior like a bed, and was more comfortable than the beds they had left behind in Densua!
They found rest, those shattered souls!
The pale form of the Sage of the Spirits slowly became visible on top of a jutting black rock in the Underworld!
Below him was a wide circular entrance that was spinning around fast with fire all around it! It looked like just a flaming, spinning circle in the air, but the Sage knew it was the entrance into that secret place where even he had not been allowed to venture: the heart of hell where the boy had been taken and trained for fifteen years!
Prosper waited with bated breath, and then with worry as the flaming circular entrance began to grow smaller as if it was closing up.
“Where are you, boy?” Prosper asked with great worry in his voice. “Where are you, Sena? What happened to you in there!”
And just as his heart thudded with worry, and he thought something must have gone very wrong, a masculine leg suddenly emerged… and he stepped out!
The Halo Breed!
He was a boy, but he was no longer a boy!
He stood there, with a wild growth of hair on his head and face, completely naked, his body glowing with the golden fire of the doorway.
His body was perfectly toned, and he was tall and spectacular.
His eyes scanned the surroundings coldly, noting everything and missing nothing, but he did not see Prosper standing silently on the jutting rock.
“Not yet, son,” Prosper said softly. “Now, you take the Walk of Life, and then you will see me if you succeed. I do not think of failure because, somehow, I don’t think that word is part of you!”
Dark, brooding, and extremely handsome, Sena Kukah took a step forward, and another, and another!
This man, born of man and Halo, denied the milk from a motherly breast, raised up in strife and great pain, has been made perfect in the hands of the spirits physically and mentally.
Prosper floated above the prince as he walked casually through the Underworld.
“Are you a weapon of the spirits, or just a breed?” Prosper whispered softly to himself. “Take the Walk of Life, Sena! Let me see what you have become!”
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