Interview with Lee Earlywine

Why didn't Elan listen, for goodness sakes!
1012 A.D.; near present day Chernobyl, Ukraine....

Elan's dark brown eyes darted wildly from side to side as he ran. His short, stocky legs pumped and his chest heaved as he gasped for air to fill his burning lungs. Clutched in his right hand was his only real weapon, a short-handled small-ax. That and the old knife stuck in his belt.
Elan was more frightened than he'd ever been in all his twenty-seven years. More frightened than the day men raided the village when he'd been a small child and the terrible fighting came and went in violent waves, like some horrible flood surging all around their tiny hut. The raiders were so few, but so much damage was done before they'd been driven off, leaving three men and one woman dead, along with two children. That fear had stayed with him throughout his life, but paled into faded memory at the thought of what now chased him.
He sighted the low cliffs and redoubled his efforts to reach them. Once inside the jumbled pile of boulders, he could turn and fight. Find the right place and the monster would have a hard time reaching him.
Despite warning after warning from the Elders of his village, he'd continued to come to this part of the forest beside the lake for firewood and to set traps. No-one hunted or gathered here because of this fear instilled in them from childhood, and so these woods provided a good bounty. That had been his thinking and in several trips he'd never seen anything to fear in the waters of the lake.
So Elan had slowly become accustomed to this place and no longer watched the lake closely.
That was his reasoning. It was the same faulty reasoning that caused him to dismiss the advice of the Elders. The same faulty reasoning that had brought him hunting near the lake beyond the spit of land.
After all, the Krailiaki were tales to scare the children, were they not? In his lifetime, he'd never seen anything in or near the waters. But the Elders were insistent. Never, they said, should anyone go around the long, narrow finger of land jutting out into the dark waters of the lake and into the forest beyond. It was a terrible place full of monsters and all sorts of strange and horrible things. Elan had scoffed at such tales after growing up.
Until today.
Now, this thing...this Krailiak....was after him. A demon from the darkness of the deep waters had come for him and now he was a believer in the old legends. Now he understood the Elders' fear of these creatures. Rare they might be, but one was more than enough...now that it was too late.
When he reached the cliffs, Elan turned sideways and slid into a narrow passage more than five meters long. The rock was sharp and jagged and his heavy woolen tunic tore but he made it, slipping through the cleft and into a chamber in the rock. He'd found this place during one of his first trips into these woods. There was only one way in and Elan turned to fight. He would have just enough room to swing the ax. His lungs on fire from his desperate run, Elan drew the knife from his belt with his left hand and breathed deeply, trying to slow his racing heart.
When the creature reached the narrow slit in the boulders, it never hesitated, squeezing through and into the chamber with Elan in one fluid motion.
Muffled screams came through the dark passage for a moment, and then stopped.
Grunting sounds emerged from the rock chamber and then the Krailiak appeared, dragging Elan's mangled corpse. Once clear of the boulders, the predator picked up the body and carried it easily, heading back to the lake, back to the darkness of the deep waters.
In moments, only the wind stirred in the forest. A faint splashing came from the lake for a few seconds, and then stopped. The woods remained eerily still...for the creatures of the forest were hiding, trembling in dens...huddled in nests...squeezed into any hiding place they could find.
They knew the creature that lived in the lake and feared it.
Published 2016-05-23.
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Books by This Author

A Wintering of Evil Book Two The Pandora Affair
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 172,590. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl, it is a place Russian soldiers have named, The Zone of Alienation. Mutants, ancient Predators, bandits and more roam its land seeking profit where-ever it might be found. Robbery is common. And now, war is coming to the Zone, brought by a renegade Russian General, Nikolai Petrosky. His unbridled ambition is to gain power and project Pandora can do it.
A Wintering of Evil Book One The Pandora Affair
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 170,120. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » General
The Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl, it is a place Russian soldiers have named, The Zone of Alienation. Mutants, ancient Predators, bandits and more roam its land seeking profit where-ever it might be found. Robbery is common. And now, war is coming to the Zone, brought by a renegade Russian General, Nikolai Petrosky. His unbridled ambition is to gain power and project Pandora can do it.