Disturbed Darkness

((The following story, “Disturbed Darkness” was written in 2018 for the #FanArtSWL - Agents & Season 2 Writing Contest, a contest focusing on Agents in the Agent Network and Season 2 of Secret World Legends. This short story has never been publicly posted before, but I felt it was in the spirit of the season of love. Witness it as it was when it was originally submitted to #FanArtSWL!))

Disturbed Darkness

Something wasn’t quite right.

The harsh heat, humid air, and roaring rapids of a rainforest were all quite normal, by some standards. The dense vegetation, like all good rainforests, surrounded all sides of an enormous body of water. All accounts would consider the mighty river that was twisting and turning, swerving and snaking through the jungle and its many boats floating on the surface to be business as usual.

Two particular men who had just traversed the river were slightly less usual.

They were Professor Montgomery de la Roche and his partner Doctor Arun Singh, scholar-archaeologists extraordinaire.

It certainly wasn’t their presence that was entirely unusual, Montgomery thought. Archaeologists have quite the sordid history with the area, its many discoveries and knowledge swept under the rug to keep the colonial status-quo in times long past – something Montgomery deeply despises.

As the dynamic duo began to trek into the underbrush, a scurrying sound started to barrel toward them.

Something was moving, and it was moving fast.

Eight legs burst from between the thick canopy above, an enormous spider diving straight toward them.

With no time to spare, Montgomery struck with his trusted tool. His cane went flying up and with extreme precision and impaled the brown beast’s cephalothorax. At the same time, Arun swiftly shot the eldritch entity.


When the bullet struck, all eight legs went limp.

With two hands, de la Roche swung down on the creature’s corpse and peeled his cane out of the beast with a scowl.

“Thank you, my boy. Timely as ever.” Gratitude swelled from Montgomery’s words. Without Arun’s intervention, he was sure that J’ba Fofi could have made quick work of the Oxford professor.

What was truly unusual, mused Montgomery as he shook his cane and took one last look at the spider before pressing, was the behavior of the local occult species.

It was but one of many creatures that had been sighted far more frequently in the area. Almost all were exceedingly agitated, striking unnecessarily at natives and tourists alike. Reports claimed even the great Mokèlé-mbèmbé appeared aggravated, attacking far more travelers on the river than before.

The behavior of local wildlife was far from the only thing to interest Montgomery.

Montgomery had been requested to take a look into the oddities that had been springing up. Not only were animals acting out in what seemed to be fear, but abandoned archaeological sites and old ruins were popping up, coming unburied in the most worrying of ways.

He is an expert on the excavation of occult wonders and their myriad histories.

It was by no means a casual jaunt to King Solomon’s sacred mines or the lost city of Zinj, but the sights they were destined to see were no less interesting.

If only it weren’t so exhausting.

“Come now, Monty! Where’s your sense of adventure?” Quipped Arun as Montgomery took a moment to catch his breath beneath a tree.

“I may be getting too old for these kinds of things,” remarked Montgomery to the hot Turk as they delved further into the heart of darkness.

“But I suppose one more couldn’t hurt…”

It was hardly a request that sent Montgomery de la Roche farther down the African continent. He dreaded the alternative of what might happen to Arun if he didn’t investigate. What those who made the request might do.

On the plus side, he reasoned, it was a chance to leave that dreary desert for a whiff of fresh air and hopefully help repair things with Arun. After what happened over the Mayan calendar debacle, any chance to make things right was a welcome one.

A loud thumping noise broke him out of his reverie. The sound was deep, guttural, and reverberated in the underbrush.

Something was near.

No animal in the area made such a hissing, booming call that occupied the spaces near the two. No natural animal.

Something unnatural.

Montgomery readied his cane, bringing it up in an en garde position as he prepared himself for what was to come.

Arun Singh pulled out his pistol.

Large stomping echoed.

All was silent save for the huffing of a beast.

It was then that the very something stalking the pair burst through the trees.

Out came a gigantic, twisted creature of coiled vine around what could have at one point been considered a skeleton. Sharp teeth bared at the pair and calculating empty orbits locked on the Oxford occultists. Both hands hung with three sharp, curved claws, and a long tail extended stiffly from its back. Each long leg, however, ended in the most striking feature: a sickle claw.

Grass and smaller vines intertwined along its every inch, creating the illusion of feathers.

The grass raptor hunched back, ready to strike.

“Well then!” began Montgomery to the beast. “En garde!”

This would certainly be an adventure.