The gel pen whipped over the fresh page, flowing from it barely legible writing. Hannah Greenland hunched over the essay paper as if it was the most important thing in the world. Her dark hair shielded her emerald green eyes from the harsh rays of her desk lamp as she bit her lip, deep in thought. Unable to find the answer, she looked around her bedroom for inspiration. The green bedspread was the feature of the cramped room, with the walls and other furniture swathed in white. Vivid deep-green curtains blocked the night out. Hannah sighed, stretched her legs and stood up. As she did, the framed picture that hung over her desk caught her eye. It was of a matured tree, with massive roots splayed across the damp ground. Her family emblem. She closed her eyes for a moment, remembering why to respect her family history, then crossed over to the window. She brushed the curtains aside and froze.
There was someone watching her bedroom window.
Something, she should say. The golden eyes gleamed in the full moon, and the misshapen human form was clearly outlined against the dark shapes of the surrounding forest.
Hannah flew across to the other side of the room, her back slamming into the wall. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she was gasping in shock.
How could they know I was here?
Slowly, she creeped back to the window. It had creaked open. Silently, Hannah peered through the curtains to see the creature again.
It had disappeared.
She swung the window shut, then locked it, swishing the curtains back in place. All thoughts of her essay due the next day were forgotten as she raced around the small home, making sure every door was locked and every window was latched shut and barricaded. Once the house was fully secured, she sank down into a crouch in the hallway.
This is not happening. Not now.
The Nevergreen Creatures were beings from long ago. As far as Hannah could trace her ancestors, they had always had a feud with the werewolf-like creatures. It seemed that sometime, a long time ago, something had happened when they met, which had sparked a feud that had lasted for hundreds of years. Constantly, the creatures would track the Greenland relatives down and kill them. The family was always on the move, never settling down in one place for long before packing up and moving house again. Unfortunately, sometimes there was no escaping the beasts. Hannah’s parents had been killed a few months ago when going out to the diner just across the road. Since then, Hannah had sold up and bought a small house, close to the university she was going to.
I never thought they would find me here.
A scratching noise at the living room window brought Hannah back to the present. As she looked up, the scratching was followed by a few hard blows, then a smash. A shiny black nose protruded from the curtain edge, followed by a dark-bristled, twitching snout. The nose pointed up into the air, as if sniffing it’s prey, then disappeared. Hannah backed away from the window, down the hallway and back into her bedroom. Feeling against the wall, she found the metal bat hanging next to her bed. It still had the bloodstains from the fruitless attempts her parents made to defend themselves. Hannah’s hand slid down to the handle, and grasped the heavy piece of metal as her bedroom window exploded into a shower of glittering shards. Crying out in surprise, she shielded her eyes from the flying glass, struggling to see what the dark silhouette lying on the littered carpet was. Hannah gasped in shock as the dark form that had smashed through the window stood up, growling and shaking glass shards off. The muscles rippled beneath the dense fur as it howled, an ear-splitting note that caused Hannah to shriek in pain. As the burning gaze of the Nevergreen fixed on Hannah’s green eyes, it snarled menacingly. At a terrifying speed, it hurled itself towards the unsuspecting girl. Hannah barely managed to get the dead weight of the bat up before the Nevergreen smashed it’s body into hers, knocking her to the floor and making her gasp for air. It sat it’s heavy weight onto Hannah’s stomach, the knees either side of her ribs, making it a battle to get her breath back. Noticing the bat held feebly in Hannah’s grasp, it plucked the weapon from her grip and threw it aside. The werewolf-like creature gave her a devilish grin, all razor-sharp teeth and hot drool, which pooled onto Hannah’s face. Hannah screamed in shock. As she struggled and writhed to get out from underneath the weight, she thought back to all of the defense drills that her father had taught her. Suddenly, without any warning, she bridged, slamming her hands and feet into the ground while lifting her upper body sharply off the ground, surprising the Nevergreen and causing it to lose balance. Before the creature could regain it’s balance, Hannah swiftly kneed it in the groin. She grabbed a tuft of fur at it’s shoulder and hauled with all her might. Slowly, it rolled onto it’s side. Hannah swung her free leg up, over the furry body, and finished the roll, until it was the Nevergreen underneath and Hannah on top. Bristling with anger at being out-done by a teenage girl, the beast shoved Hannah from her position on it’s stomach with amazing strength. Hannah lost her grip, flying across her bedroom. She slammed into her wooden desk. Pens, pencils and meaningless sheets of essay papers rained down onto Hannah.
Everything was foggy, like someone had clouded her vision, yet she didn’t feel any pain. Hannah’s impaired eyesight spotted a dark shadow moving at the edge of her vision, spiking another shot of adrenaline through her bloodstream. Jumping up unsteadily, she grabbed the object nearest to her, which turned out to be her bedside lamp. As she got a good grip on it, she saw the black silhouette flying towards her right side in her peripheral vision, golden eyes full of triumph and muscled arms reaching out for her throat-
Hannah swung the lamp groggily, missing the Nevergreen’s head but hitting the arm nearest to her. The ceramic base smashed in half on contact with the Nevergreen’s limb, providing an excellent jagged weapon. As Hannah’s foggy brain struggled to comprehend this rush of information, the beast grasped the teenage girl from behind, in a choking bear-hug, lifting her off the ground. One furry arm hooked around her neck, cutting off her intake of oxygen. Hannah dropped the lamp and opened her eyes wide, seeing everything in perfect clarity.
I am going to die right now.
Hannah took in every detail of her surroundings. The glittering brilliance of the glass-littered floor. Her parent’s metal bat laying, abandoned, on the other side of the room. The shattered remains of the lamp, left on the ground below her. The vivid intenseness of the emerald green bedspread and curtains. As Hannah’s oxygen supply dwindled, her eyes fell upon the framed picture over her desk. The ancient tree roots spread out across the mossy earth. The multicolored bark, peeling slowly off of the elegant, smooth trunk. The vibrant green tones in the picture. Hannah kept staring at the picture, even when her lungs were burning beyond pain.
As the darkness dancing at the edges of her vision finally started closing on her, the framed picture gleamed in a sudden rush of color. It filled the dim bedroom with earthy colors that spun and swayed in an invisible breeze. Fresh air tasting of pine needles and summer forced itself in a rush down Hannah’s blue, parted lips, filling her starved lungs and feeding her deprived cells. As Hannah breathed in a deep, startled breath, her vision and strength returned. The Nevergreen holding her in the headlock loosened it’s grip, and as Hannah broke free and spun around, revitalized and ready to fight free and fight again, she froze with utter shock.
Mossy, thick tree roots were edging out of the framed picture, feeling the framework and wall. The Nevergreen stood, seemingly transfixed by the roots, where it had been choking Hannah moments before. As the roots snuck closer to where the Nevergreen was, Hannah edged over, unnoticed, towards where the metal bat lay, on the other side of the room. She grasped the handle and turned to the Nevergreen, still seeming entranced by the advancing roots. As one root probed the beast’s massive foot, it gave a massive shudder, like a bucket of ice had been poured over it. At the same time, the rest of the roots exploring underneath the desk and across the ceiling all focussed on the Nevergreen and raced towards it. The creature, finally realizing what danger it was in, turned to run. Seeing Hannah clutching the bat on the other side of the room, it crouched into a hunter’s stance. Before the roots could wrap around it’s legs, it leapt the length of the room, straight towards Hannah.
Remember what Daddy taught you Hannah. Strong stance, bat held at shoulder height. Don’t stop when you hit it; keep swinging through. Believe you can do it...
Hannah stared at the Nevergreen. The pure hatred burning in it’s eyes smoldered back at her. She watched the powerful muscles shifting and bulging beneath the thick, dark fur. She gazed at the shiny, sharp claws extended and ready to rip her throat into shreds. Hannah drew the blood-encrusted weapon back, to shoulder height. She breathed out, slowly and steadily. She stared one last time at the airborne Nevergreen, less than a meter away from the tip of her bat. Hannah closed her eyes, the imprint of the creature’s smoldering eyes burning on her eyelids. Moving her feet into a strong stance, she replayed her father’s words in her head.
Don’t stop when you hit it; keep swinging through. Believe you can do it...
Hannah drew the bat back. She breathed in deeply.
Exhaling sharply, Hannah swung the bat with all of her strength at the Nevergreen. It collided with the creature’s skull. There was a sickening crunch, then the beast flew backwards into the tangle of roots waiting. The Nevergreen howled, a blood-curdling note that rattled Hannah to the bone. Immediately, the beast struggled, grasping at it’s throat, but the effort was pointless. The roots were already restricting the Nevergreen’s airways. Soon the creature would be deprived from oxygen. Part of Hannah felt satisfaction at seeing the Nevergreen choking and pawing at it’s throat for more oxygen it would never receive. The other part, the more compassionate part, wanted to rip the roots constricting the airway and pull the creature to safety. Only the reminder of the eyes burning in molten, pure hatred, forced Hannah to remain where she was. Instead, she looked at the framed picture. The ancient tree swayed to and fro in an invisible breeze inside the painting, and the scent of summer and warmth leaked out into reality, filling the dark room with hope and good memories. Hannah sat on her bed slowly as the Nevergreen finally succumbed to the roots. Reaching over to her bedside table, she picked up her mobile phone and dialed the one number her parents had drilled into her over and over again.
Holding the phone to her ear, she breathed in deeply and glanced at the mossy roots, still probing the room for prey as the as the dial tone stopped. Putting on her cheery voice, she spoke into the mobile.
“Hello? Benjamin Greenland? The painting and it’s powers. They’ve been set free.”
Hope you like! I will be writing a second story to this. Let me know what you think of it!