Reification

The Woods of Dunwhick Hill

Collaborative Story

Continues in ‘Return to Dunwhick Hill’ & concludes in ‘How Many Bear Can Bear Grylls Grill if Bear Grylls Grills Bears’

They reached the high gates of the estate and Daton found himself quite put-out and not a little embarrassed. Where pristine white gravel and manicured lawns should have stood, only a dark and foreboding woodland welcomed them beyond the wrought iron. Where once there had been a small copse, now there was a dark woodland.

He took his key to the gates, locked, or, mayhaps rusted closed, for the ironwork looked to be a century older than it had been on his last visit to Dunwhick Hill.

“I can only apologise, I know the staff and family have been sent home while my uncle convalesces, but this is quite beyond the pale, the thought-forms will have to be re-summoned. This level of neglect is most unacceptable! – and I’m afraid we’re locked out, one moment, I’ll summon us a brute to force the matter.”

He produced a piece of chalk and began to describe a summoning circle on the paving stones.

“Not every problem needs a hammer… or, like, a demon Granddad”

He looked up to see the newest member of his family produce her own chalks and depict a simple almost cartoon like resemblance of a wooden door on the aging brickwork.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way…” she shrugged, ‘opening’ the double thickness wall and stepping through. Nodding in acknowledgement at the more elegant mage-work, Daton followed.

Before them the woodland look centuries old, Tilda gave her grandfather a confused look and he shook his head, confirming he had no explanation to give.

Although the dark dense woodland made their going difficult they made respectable progress across the grounds, doing their best to follow what was left of a trail of artificially white gravel, aged to grey by the apparent decades.

They had been walking for perhaps ten minutes before they began checking over their shoulders, they could hear a soft thudding sound behind them, but the source was unknown. In unconscious agreement they quickened their pace. At the sound of a low throaty growl they broke into an urgent trot.

“What the actual fuck was that, what do you keep in here?!”

“Language! … I mean… it sounded like a bear or something, but a bear, on these estates, I mean I hardly think…”

The sentenced was left unfinished as the speaker was swatted a good 3 feet away from where the denial had started.

From the trees a large brown grizzly lumbered in to the clearing the pair found themselves in, roared in defiance, and stood on it’s back legs, making itself large before the interlopers, it threw wide it’s paws dismissing to the ground the over-dressed old man with absolute disregard.

“Shiiiiit…. Shit shit shit!… erm… Bad… Bear?!” … “shoo… shoo!”

“Flamethrower… no.. we’re in a forest”

Seeing her grandfather down and struggling to meet the ref’s 10 count, Tilda’s mind whirled, searching for what you were supposed to do when suddenly: Bear! Grabbing two downed branches she waved them above her head

“Fuck the fuck off Bear, I’m, er, larger than life!” she insisted, backing away slightly, unaware of the form taking shape around her.

The beast stopped for a moment, paused by the ethereal shape of a larger, ghostly Ursa-sow that the human was covered with. It still smelt of man though. It roared it’s warning again.

“GRANDDAAAAAAD!”

Dazed, his world spinning, Daton tried to pull himself to his feet, and proceeded to lose his lunch. Splatting to the ground a little horror twitched for a moment, then grew, cracking and tearing, into a four legged creature of human height, it’s muscular three fingered hands twitched as it looked for instruction.

“Defend, oh my… the girl, tilda, see that beast off!”

The last thing Daton saw as he tried to stagger after his Granddaughter was the grey/black hulk lopping off into the dark woods.

Continues in ‘Return to Dunwhick Hill’ & concludes in ‘How Many Bear Can Bear Grills Grill if Bear Grills Grills Bears’

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