The Kruji

Silent shadows rippled through the air at an astonishing speed. Dark, formidable shapes swept over the waving grass. The wind rasped through the fields, but didn't seem to touch the nine flickering forms. They were crouched, flitting between the grasses, zipping from shadow to shadow. Not a sound was made, nor a scent distinguishable. They raced across the bleak plains with great speed.

A whole day went by, and when the sun was finally giving up, casting a deep red glow over the surrounding countryside, the nine suddenly seemed to sink into the shadows of the ground, and disappeared from sight completely. They slipped, melding with the shadows that they were indeed themselves.

The fields soon gave way to sparse trees, full of beautiful shades of gold and auburn, highlighted by the sunset. Then the number of trees swelled and multiplied, until a massive golden forest seemed to be bursting out of the ground. Red and golden leaves glittered in the dusk light like natural jewels. The odd bird fluttered to its nest, or swooped along the ground, trying to catch its last worm.

A herd of deer was venturing near the edge of the forest, picking at lush, untouched grass, attracted by the soft auburn glow at the edges of the wood. Suddenly, they shifted nervously, as insects burrowed out of the earth around them and dove deeper into the woods, scurrying in miniature swarms. Birds and small animals too, were fleeing the edge. It was over in a few seconds. The Stag hesitated and stared deeply at the edge of the forest. But the deer were numerous - 27 of them with 13 full adult males, displaying an intricate show of horns each. He bent down, attracted again by the sweet grass. The deer fed. The sun was almost completely swallowed by the Earth now, the shadows of the trees had lengthened and some smothered the deer in darkness. They continued to eat.

As the last glimmer of sunlight shot beneath the horizon, the shadows swept completely over the forest. All grew silent. Deadly silent. Even the sound of chewing stopped as each of the deer, one by one, grew nervous and lifted each of their heads.

Abruptly a high-pitched screeching racked the bodies of the deer, and several leapt up into the, writhing in pain as the shadows slithered around them, attaching themselves to the deers' throats. Squealing was heard as several of the deer were brought to the ground in a matter of seconds, shadows slipping inside their throats.

Five deer were left after only a few moments and they turned, beginning to stampede towards the forest but suddenly, each as fast as an arrow, nine long shadows darted towards them whizzing through the underbrush. They latched themselves onto the deer, smothering them in shadow.

The flesh of the deer suddenly began to disintegrate into nothingness and as the shadows swarmed the forms of the deer, all that was left were the bare bones of the deer. A faint almost inaudible whispering could be heard as the shadows muttered to each other in a dark tongue. As night settled, nine dark forms swept through the darkness.