Wednesday, February 20, 2013


The Field of Endallah
By Josh Susie

Obsidian needed to replenish, and the need gnawed deep into her core. The sun’s rays that ran through her veins had waned and ceased to pulse. Her luminescent skin had darkened and her violet eyes had dimmed. Death would harvest her fear ridden soul by nightfall. She wasn’t ready to die.
Brushing a strand of blue hair out of her face, Obsidian peered at the gathering storm. Thunder cracked and lightning flashed in the boiling black mass that stretched beyond the horizon. Her hair billowed in the howling wind as sheets of rain soaked her. The sun was nowhere to be seen.
A rumbling growl echoed in the distance. The beasts were gaining. The creatures she had created to help save humanity had turned, and it was all her fault. They were gaining, yes, but she had neither the strength nor the will to face them.
With a deep breath, Obsidian closed her eyes. Everything stilled. Raindrops suspended midair, lighting froze spider-webbed across the sky. Exhaling, she disappeared.
In a helix of fog, she reappeared at a rippling lake. The storm still rumbled and drowned the sun. Frustrated, Obsidian breathed deep, closing her eyes. Again she was gone, leaving a swirl of dead leaves in her wake. She saw the same cloud-ridden sky atop a mountain, in a desert, and amidst a swamp. Each transfer drained her power. Each confirmed the storm’s encasement of the land.
At a river’s edge, Obsidian stood gazing at her reflection in the water. Her cheeks were hollow, eyes sunk, skin ash. Her knees quaked, muscles seared. The storm’s shadow burrowed into her blood. Death was near. With only enough energy for one more transport, Obsidian closed her eyes and thought of the Field of Endallah. It was where the gods had bestowed powers upon her, tasking her with the humanity-saving duty she had failed. If she was going to die, there seemed no better place than where she had received her power and was truly born. Then she would face the terrifying afterlife that awaited her.
A loud crack echoed in her ears and the planet’s forces tore at her skin. Obsidian fought tears of blood to keep her eyes closed. Her balance wavered. When everything calmed, she opened her bleeding eyes.
Below was the Field of Endallah, a valley blanketed with purple tulips that swayed in the breeze. The scent bit at Obsidian’s nose. She tried to grin but was too weak. As she tilted her head skyward the rain stopped. The sun fought to untangle the cloud’s web, but the obscurity was too thick.
With blurred vision, Obsidian looked back to the field of tulips and tried to capture the frail image in her mind’s eye, hoping it would soothe her in the afterlife.
With a wince, she knelt, reaching for one of the purple bulbs. Fire exploded through her muscles. Fighting the pain, she snapped the tulip from its stem. She lifted it to her nose and inhaled the flower’s mellow sweetness. It brought intoxicating childhood memories flooding into her mind. She remembered skipping down the dirt path to her home, cypresses lining each side and growing together overhead to form intricate, twisted knot work. She could still taste the saltiness of the ocean breeze on the coastal cliff where she had received her first kiss under a burnt orange and cherry blossom sky. She could even see the pulsing constellations dancing across a midsummer’s midnight sky. It was an era of innocence, freedom and beginnings. A time before she was chosen. A time before the beasts. A time before she had failed.
Obsidian opened her eyes. A dark figure drifted through the meadow. Tulip bulbs bowed to the ground as it passed. The figure dragged a scythe in one hand, grinding against the ground behind it. Obsidian glanced upward. The clouds thinned, but failed to part. The figure stalked closer. She wanted to run, but her legs wouldn’t move.
The air chilled and flowers crystallized, shattering under the scythe. Obsidian’s breath froze. Her eyes watered, but the tears iced at the corners of her eyelids. Another gnashing snarl cut through the breeze. Closing her eyes, Obsidian tried again to recall her past happiness, just one more memory before the end. Nothing came. When she opened her eyes the figure stood before her. She startled. Her breath left.
The figure was cloaked and hooded, its face hidden. It lifted the scythe and planted it next to itself. The metal was blood-rusted and nicked. She gazed deep into the hood and saw pure fright. The future: cold, violent and fierce. She knew then the world she once loved was gone forever. Happiness would never fill the land again. She saw the life that awaited her after death, a hell’s hell of burning flesh and torture. She could stay and try to fight the beasts, to try to right her wrongs, to try to bring peace and music back to the land. But Death’s premonition, hidden deep within its hood, showed the hopelessness of her desire.
A bony finger emerged from the cloak’s sleeve. Ash sifted into the air as it straightened at Obsidian.
“Choose,” boomed the voice, shattering the ice caked around Obsidian’s eyes.
Obsidian wanted desperately to help her people. To rebuild their world to what it once was. But failure would bring more pain and heartache than an eternity of slavery in the afterlife.
The beasts wailed again, shaking the ground at Obsidian’s feet. Weak, she collapsed. The thought of the end numbed her mind.
Death hefted the scythe, poised to pierce her soul.
The four-legged, wiry-haired beasts appeared in the distance, licking their lips, flesh-hungry.
Obsidian screamed a throaty, passionate, raw sound that defied everything she knew, everything she feared. For an instant, she was ready to die.
The beasts approached. The scythe dropped. The clouds parted.
And to Obsidian, the world disappeared in a burst of blinding light.

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Josh Susie is a screenwriter and graduate of the American Film Institute. He has written over a dozen feature film scripts, television pilots, and short films that have received recognition from several competitions, including a Quarter Finalist placement for the Nicholl Fellowships.


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