Dark Triptych Part III
(see her prompts here)
The burnt out stable, razed to the ground two centuries ago, glowed green in the thick black night. The boy had first seen it three nights ago, lured into the tree grove by a young fox that had been stalking his chickens.
The wind sounded like phlegm-laden snorts as it dripped through the hollowed out trunks, the bark dripping like remnants of palsied skin.
The glowing beams shed flakes of ethereal wood into the grass below. They stood proud, mathematically imprecise but sturdy, holding up the strips of jarrah that side-by-side made up the roof.
The horse whinnied as the boy approached them, but they didn’t bolt. He suspected they were encased in the stable, locked into the peculiar reality of it. He walked slowly to the horse. Reached out for its bristled mane.
His hand disappeared into the green glow. Frightened, the boy jerked it back. He stared at his fingers, feeling slightly embarrassed that he expected them to come back as anything but whole. He looked back at the horse. A hand was there, stroking the coarse mane, slowly at first but then with increasing confidence. The truncated wrist bubbled until a boil grew and stretched out into an arm, then sprouted a shoulder and a torso, a second arm and a pair of legs, and then, finally, a head.
The boy’s head, actually.
The ghostly clone turned to face the boy, its blank eyes seeing nothing, but peering into him. It pointed at him, then at itself.
What did it want?
The clone gestured for the boy to come nearer. He pointed to his chest, where his ghostly heart would be beating. Should be beating.
The boy’s breath caught in his throat, thick like whipped butter.
The fog dripped down the mountain, rolling over the plain. The boy lay panting under the trees, and watched as the now empty stable was consumed by the syrupy purgatory, until its existence was reduced to a green haze that vaguely pulsed through the gloom.
A very human cry of joy sounded out over the cold night. The boy, his stagnant blood clotting in his veins, closed his eyes and died.