The Dread Species in Dread Romantic | World Anvil

The Dread


2 years ago

The Woods are thicker than before. The direwood is definitely growing. It's a shame, really. The letter box will be impossible to reach before long.   Snap! A twig breaks underfoot nearby, a sudden breach of silence.   Corey turns and notices the silhouette of a woman, or possibly a young girl. His eyes go wide. Though indistinct, the shadow's hair, her gait, even the way she breathes… it's all so familiar. There's a connection here, a chain never meant to be broken. "Faith?"   Sorrow came first. Corey's face shifts and twists as he fights the tears.The shadow steps closer, silent and calm. That's when the shakes came. It couldn't be her. It just wears her frame, a facsimile of his deepest regret. Corey's hands twitch as the adrenaline flows. There's a moment of worry. He should run, but where? Would it make a difference? He can't fight. He could never fight her.   It takes another step, standing no more than twenty feet away.   Corey takes a step back. He can't see her face. The longer he looks the worse things get. Now came the dread, the past catching up and forcing him to feel what he's since avoided. "Nope," Corey backs even further away. He turns on his heels. "Nope." He then breaks into a full sprint and won't stop till he exits the wood.

A Hunter

The Dread is a manifestation of trauma, a hallucination only encountered by the doomsday therapists on their quest toward healing. Its appearance varies, if it even has one. More often than not, it appears as a shadowy figure or simply a feeling of disquiet that grows the longer the therapist remains.   The dread represents something that occured before the fall. The end of the world traumatized everyone, but this is deeper and far more impactful. It occured at a time of normalcy, a time when everything was supposed to be going well.   The only way to counter the dread is to flee from it, making doomsday therapists nomadic by necessity. No one really knows what happens when it catches you.

Snail trails

The dread creeps along on an endless quest. It is free of weakness. It doesn't grow hungry. It doesn't sleep either. It is always moving, forever chasing you until your quest is done. A therapist knows it's intentions, at least they think they do. It longs to watch the light fade from their eyes. It yearns to feast on their innards. It is, however, dreadfully slow.   The dread is easily escaped. It follows, yes, but it does so at a snail's pace. It acts less like a hunter, and more like a helpful reminder. It doesn't stop but it's also unusually polite. It never seems to appear at night, or while one sleeps. It never gives chase if escaped or attacks if it has you cornered.   It only appears when no one else is around, so therapists just don't talk about it. They're actually quite agreeable. It may be that the dread couldn't harm you if it wanted too, but no one wants to test that theory. Seeing the dread means it's time to go. It is the only reason a Doomsday Therapist would leave without warning.

The fool's journey

Therapists are an easy going sort of people. This makes laziness a common trait among them. Getting them to do anything can be like pulling teeth, but once they start, they seldom stop, though they tend to take the path of least resistance.   It is no coincidence that the dread is a powerful motivational force that sometimes appears just to point ominously in a vague direction, a way to let their quarry know they're slacking in accomplishing their goals. They have a role to play in this predator/prey dynamic.   These manifestations of trauma love the thrill of the chase. Settling down and getting comfortable simply won't do. While the dread may have nefarious intentions, it can't deny the fact that its very existence is dependent on the therapist it hunts. It's only natural to ensure the hunt lasts as long as it can.  
It's morning now, the light slips in through holes in the sheet metal shack. Cory's eyes Crack open. He sits up, and like every morning, reaches for his most prized possession.   The guitar rests on the wall, the 12 strings calling his name and each with a different note. He picks it up, her namesake, and begins to play.   He never wakes up this early. Maybe there was still time for breakfast before the day's tasks needed to be done. The trial loomed over him, a diligent future torment. It seemed so dedicated to its goal that it sought to start its torture hours early.   He felt frozen. The thought of having to do much of anything overwhelmed him in comparison. He would bolster Toby's resolve as best he could, handle a few chores, and hopefully find some leftover courage for himself. He knew what to do. In fact, his todo list was short, even for him. But doing it?   He sighs then turns his head when soft fur grazes across his arm. Cider purrs beside him and he scratches the cat's neck as commanded before standing.  
He exits the shack just as a group of clouds pass in front of the sun. The light dims and on his right he spots movement.   "No." He groans. "Not now, not today." He turns, and sees nothing, then again, he sees movement out of the corner of his eye.   He turns left, and there she is. Standing in the distance is the shadow, the dread, hunting him and getting closer with every passing moment.  


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The Dread

I've got a ghost in the hallway grinning
And a heavy head that won't stop turning...


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Jul 31, 2023 10:37 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Oh no, worst timing. D:

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Aug 5, 2023 06:03 by Molly Marjorie

Wow! What an interesting article design! I had a bad feeling as soon as he woke up :(

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