The Outcast

The Outcast

The woods were dark. The wind howled through the treetops, yet the sound barely reached the leaf-strewn floor. But Linus was too busy listening out for other sounds to pay any attention to the distant noise. He was concentrating more on the crackling of branches under heavy footsteps and the low growl from the creature's throat.

Why me? he thought, frantically looking from left to right, searching for somewhere to hide. There was none. He backed against the rough bark of a tree, trying to spot the shape of his pursuer. It's too dark! his mind cried to him. Out loud he mumbled, "What I would give for a torch..."

Then out of the bushes, the beast leapt at him, and the last thing Linus saw before he collapsed in shock was the red mouth of the huge black beast lined with sharp, yellow teeth.

Linus spotted himself in the village from the sky. He saw himself walk down to the river and fill a bucket of water for the well. He watched as he was about to reach the well and pour in the water, when he was deliberately tripped up by one of the other members of the Elven clan. They laughed at him, and then ordered him to go back for the water that he had spilled.

But he was lower in the hierarchy, so what could he do but nod and get on with it. He had never understood why they always picked on him. It just seemed to be part of his life and he had grown accustomed to it.

Is this a dream? the Linus in the air asked himself. If it isn't, then why am I flying? He looked below him at the goings on. Hey, I remember this day! Then he realised what was going to happen that night. No! I don't want to witness this! Not again! But he couldn't move. It was just a dream so he was going to have to put up with it, since he couldn't do anything else.

That night it was his turn to light all the torches of the village. Linus took the flaming torch that was kept lit in the storeroom at all times and started wandering from hut to hut lighting the torches that hung from the corners of the roofs.

Taking a shortcut, he walked between two huts. It was almost pitch black, but the flickering light of the torch was enough to see by. But suddenly, out of the shadows leapt several shapes. Linus jumped, the torch leaping from his hand.

But instead of getting ripped to shreds by some savage creature, only laughter filled the air as the group of Elves imitated him and laughed some more. However, their laughter did not last long. Soon their eyes will filled with fear as well, and they quickly turned and ran into the darkness.

At first Linus couldn't figure out what had made them leave, until he felt heat at his foot and, looking down, he saw the torch setting fire to the hut it had fallen against. He frantically tried to stamp out the flames, but they spread fast over the dry grass of the hut's walls.

Soon the heat was too much for him and he had to step away. He watched helplessly as the flames engulfed the building. Then the screams started. There are people in there! he suddenly realised. They are dying! But he could do nothing to save them.

He stood completely still, staring at the flames for several minutes, until the screams were too much for him. He clamped his hands to his ears, trying to blot out the cries of pain.

They stopped. He slowly took his hands away, breathing a sigh of relief, until he realised why. They were dead! He staggered back a little, trying to comprehend what he had done, then immediately wished he didn't know. He took a few steps, deciding whether to get help or water, but he found he couldn't move any further away from the death he had caused. He watched as the flames rose higher, until the fire licked against the hut next to it. Soon it was engulfed too, and the screams started again.

Linus ran.

The Linus floating above was mentally cringing. It had been bad enough when he was down there, experiencing it for the first time. But from above everything, he could see it all so much clearer. He could see the flames moved from building to building. He could see the Elves run from their houses, covered in fire. He could see them run frantically, trying to be free of the flames, but getting nowhere until they collapsed. He could see how their flesh was completely burned and blistered and could see them as they were turned to ash.

How he wished he could close his eyes, but he wasn't really there. He was really on the ground, in the hands of the Elders and the other surviving members of the clan.

Linus stood before the Elders who were seated on a log. The other villagers were seated around them on the grass. Behind him was all that was left of their village from the fire. He had tried repeatedly to explain that it had been an accident, that he hadn't meant to do it, but they did not seem to want to hear it.

"You will be banished!" the leader of the Elders called, making sure everyone in the clan could hear him. "If you are to return then you will be killed. Do you understand?"

Linus nodded, then took off into the forest, trying to ignore the tears that threatened to fall from his eyes, trying to ignore the knowledge that he was running into a forest that was renowned for containing vicious animals.

So that was my life? Linus asked himself as the scene before him faded. He knew what was happening, just as all those that are faced with the same scenario instinctively know too. He wasn't afraid. He was not going to need negative emotions for where he was going. He just hoped that he could improve his 'life' in the afterlife.

Then there was only darkness.

I wrote this story for my English exam. That's why it's so short. Do you think I passed with this? What'd yah think of it? Let me know. Please?