Prose Poem

This is targeted to be 200 words, based on the scene where the adventurers approach the town of… hmm, it was ‘Whitecourt’ in the original adventure, but I guess I should change that. How about… Whitechapel? Alright. So, what’s the scene? The adventurers are approaching the town of Whitechapel; their horses are being abandoned because they refuse to approach the town; Whitechapel has a high fieldstone wall and a wooden gate; there are sentries, but something about them is odd; the sun is setting as they approach. That’s probably enough for 200 words.

The sun is setting. Whitechapel is ahead. The horses have been abandoned. Surrounded by woods and high hills. Sounds of the woods at night. The appearance of the town. The gate. The sentries.

Here’s the real question: can I fucking write this without regurgitating metaphors from other writers’ works? UMBRAL presence of the forest giving way to something darker… or something lighter and yet all the more foreboding for that… ooo spooky

The horses balked at the approach, seeming to prefer the black uncertainty of the woods to what lay ahead.

Here’s an idea: the woods are an orchestra of woodwinds – flutes and piccolos – but the instruments are wrong somehow: dead, broken, rotten, lifeless, hateful, arresonant (what’s a word for that? discordent?).

The village was visible ahead now, its fieldstone wall marking the boundary between civilization and wilderness.

The village of Whitechapel was our goal and the surrounding forests became an orchestra conducting… mmm orchestras don’t ‘conduct’.

As the sun disappeared behind… bleh

Take one:

Even the Sun seemed afraid of that impenetrable forest. As we entered its fastness our shadows quickly lengthened and then merged with the spreading gloom as the Sun cowered behind the distant jagged peaks, first sillhouted as black teeth against the sunset and then becoming one with the all-encompassing night. We rode an umbral path accompanied by a strange march. The trees bordering our trail seemed to stand with backs turned and boughs twisting above them like mad conductors to a strange orchestra of woodwinds arrayed before them. Flutes and piccolos playing a discordent symphony on dead and broken instruments.


 Mmm. Take two:

As we entered the fastness of that mighty forest our shadows lengthened and then merged with the spreading gloom. The Sun cowered behind the distant jagged peaks, first silhouetted as black teeth against the sunset and then becoming one with the encompassing night. We rode an umbral path between strange orchestras, the nearest trees seeming like mad conductors, twisting their boughs into commands for the legions of discordant woodwinds arrayed behind them. Flutes, piccolos, and instruments too foreign to be named all fashioned from things dead or broken or rotten accompanied us in a mocking march. When Whitechapel materialized out of the gloom ahead, our horses balked and would go no closer, seeming to prefer the trodden ground behind despite that dissonant symphony to what lay ahead. The fieldstone wall still stood, as high as a tall man’s head and cleft by a wooden gate hanging ajar, marking the terminus between wilderness and the village. The building beyond were visible only as deeper black shapes against the surrounding night. We approached afoot, the sound of the horses’ loping fading quickly behind us. Through the murk of filtered starlight we could see shadowed figures guarding the old gate. They seemed eerily undisturbed by our advance and stood waiting with an aspect of inevitability while that village like a lodestone drew us by the very substance of our blood.

Better. I’ll work on this a bit more and try to finalize it before the end of the day.



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