A child will die. You're afraid to live. Would you go to all lengths to save him? Darkness knows no bounds, as Alcott, an African American doctor sees all too well. The man is petrified by death. His fragile existence rests at the mercy of the universe. This fact is far too much for him to handle. From unyielding nightmares to elevator terrors, he's lost in paranoia.
Assigned to look after an ill child, Alcott's horrors only heighten. Gari is a nine-year-old boy with a fatal disease. He will surely pass on within the year. Alcott bonds with him more and more each day. Part of him knows this grim fate just isn't right.
Alcott befriends a hospital patient. This lunatic forces him to lug home an ancient text on bringing back the dead. Despite the man's obvious dementia, Alcott attempts the scheme. Charging up a cliff, he recites the chant over ocean gusts.
A god woman glides in from the horizon. She instructs Alcott on the trials to save Gari's life. These fearsome Obstacles require true strength. From battling sharks to wielding a flail, he must prove fortitude against genuine danger. Alcott decides his fate at this moment.
Death's claws shall not grasp Gari's soul.
A swift slice of the blade almost severs my head. I gasp, ducking with enough speed to evade the onslaught. I swear this man doesn't just want me dead. He plans to wipe my existence from the universe.
His failed assault leaves him vulnerable, allowing me to kick his shin with full force. He wails upon impact. A flame ignites in his soul. I've transformed this beast into an all-out monster. I dart away from my enemy, desperate to find safety. Alas, the blow does not impinge on his agility. He charges with outrage.
Thankfully, before he arrives I’m able to rise into fighting stance. I aim my sword’s tip directly between his eyes. He mirrors my action. We commence circling each other. How in the world did I get here? I’m no sword fighter! I’m a doctor for goodness sake.
My memory blurs with reality. Both become a mesh of the same. The only thing I’m sure of now is that I’m about to be killed. Not willing to trust my defensive skills, I lunge forward to stab my attacker. The man parries this pitiful attempt with ease. He smirks at my naivety.
Casting my blade aside with his own, he juts forward and clocks my face with his fist. The intense blow demolishes me. I crash into the hard mountain dirt. The bombardment hurls my sword across the stadium to vanish into abyss. It’s not such a big loss. I mean it’s not like I can use it well anyway.
It’s as if the world knows my fate. Pitch black sky transfigures into reddish hues. Blood flows down my cheeks, meshing with my dark mocha skin. All hope is lost for me. There’s no doubt about that now.
Inhaling my last gulps of air, I contemplate if death will hurt. The man strides to my location. He savors his kill with each footstep. A stroke of luck suddenly arises as I detect a sturdy stone beside my leg. Never breaking our locked eyes, I maneuver my arm to the rock. Intense darkness shields my plot. His blissful stride indicates complete ignorance.
Grasping the stone, I adjust my legs into leaping position.
“Alcott…” my attacker wheezes. “You're a dead man.” The words don't faze me. He whisks over with eyes blazing murder. Just as he raises his sword to annihilate me, I hurl the rock at his face.
“Ahhh!” he wails, dropping his blade to the ground. Immediately upon the smash, the red sky evolves into a cobalt blue haze. The color alteration allows just enough light to portray his shock. Eyebrows rising, he sprints to his abandoned sword. I’m still too petrified to locate my blade. I don't even know where to start searching. My chance instantly fades. He retrieves his weapon in no time.
“You've done it now,” the man proclaims into blackness. What did I think chucking the rock would accomplish? Perhaps I wanted to show him I'm not going down without a fight. Either way I've done nothing but ensure my demise will be hell. I guess I could reason with this monster. Despite that being my only chance, I'm just too fatigued.
He sprints to my helpless body, excited to end me. Abandoning all confidence, I can do nothing but accept defeat. I've never felt so worthless in my entire life. Without warning, a high-pitched screech pierces the night. The man’s blade halts in mid-air.
It echoes against each mountain. A ghostly hawk dives into the stadium. With another wail it barrels into the man at full intensity. Blue atmosphere vanishes leaving a shimmering orange fog in its place. The hawk’s wings spread wide, enveloping the man’s face in a sea of sharp feathers. Could this really be happening?
My avian soldier bombards him. It drills with its lethal beak. The spectacle floods my veins with adrenaline. I actually thought I was done. Summoning stamina I rise despite my half-asleep limbs. I stride to him with new-found fire.
The hawk senses my approach with a screech. It abandons the man entirely. With him now vulnerable my clenched fist bashes him in the face. The punch is far more powerful than anticipated, smacking his body against the dirt. He’s clearly frantic, cursing everyone and everything that ever existed.
This universe approves of my frenzy. A bright yellow atmosphere appears. He hops back up in no time. This monster’s not going down easy. I panic once more as I still remain weaponless. Delving into the shadows, I inspect the darkness for my blade. All I can locate, however, are patches of dirt with occasional pebbles and weeds. If I don't find it fast, I'm out of all options.
Scrambling amongst the gravel I make no progress whatsoever.
“Where is it?!” I moan into the murk. I cringe as a raspy voice responds.
“Gone,” the man wheezes into my ear. I wail in utter horror. Turning to defend myself, I realize it’s too late. He stomps my torso into the dirt with ease. I can do nothing but cough out all my strength.
“Hiss…” my ears detect to the right. What could this be? The man shares my confusion. His beady eyes scan the ground. A rattlesnake barrels through the gravel, slithering my sword amongst its coils. My terror transforms to hope as I lunge for the blade and creature. Grasping them both, I block the man’s attack. The serpent hisses at the man with a glare. Its allegiance must lie with me.
I can't help but grin as he leaps back in bewilderment. Though I’m just as clueless, I smirk at the circumstances. Venom spewing amongst its fangs brings him to insanity. He slashes the reptile, chopping it into two slimy halves. The tragic killing of my new friend charges my nerves. I spring up determined to end this evil once and for all. Our blades clash in metallic uproar. Both of us lose all balance.
I attempt to jab his chest. Yet, he detects this in my eyes. He grasps my arm like a grappling hook. My skin stretches until blood rises. His strength surpasses any I've ever seen before. Despite every force in me saying to keep fighting, the grim reality is impossible to ignore. My life might actually be over.
Christopher Michael Reardon is a writing fellow at a Michigan College where he's currently a student. He says you always learn something new about writing when tutoring other students. Reardon is always searching for exciting books to read, especially new authors.
Reardon graduated with Honors from Lumen Christi High School in Jackson, Michigan. He's also an avid tennis player, being on the varsity tennis team for four years. He received the honor of most valuable player his senior year at number one and two singles.
Obstacles is Reardon's first novel. He says fantasy adventure books have always been an interest, because they challenge the mind and send you on an epic journey.
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