"The Specimen" is one of the September Writing Challenge entries that was chosen to be a featured story.


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there resided a strange specimen who lived an abnormally lengthy but secluded life at the edge of Willows Peak. His days were filled with a continuous stream of curiosity from others, who travelled for years to hear their prophecy — their long-awaited fate.

The specimen wore a long, grey cloak which framed his frail body. His face had a peculiar, consorted expression, a pale blue orb at the centre of what looked like his face. From all the millennia being hunched by the cauldron, he could no longer stand. But he needed no food or water to thrive, for his shrunken body had long adapted to survive under any severe conditions. The citizens believed he was immortal, that his soul would never be laid to rest.

It was thought he had proved his cunning ability shortly before the disastrous war that had separated the realm into two peaks. The specimen had spoken his blunt but wise words, warning the king of his inevitable fate if he was to go to battle. However, the king disobeyed the specimen’s orders, and marched on to the other side of the realm at the next sunrise.

“A foolish man. His own desires infiltrate his mind so deeply, he thinks he can outwit the cloak of death. Ha! That taught him that disobedience leads to doom,” the specimen murmured to himself when the horrific news of the king’s death had been announced.

From that moment, he was praised and spoken highly of, from all the thousands of people who dwelled nearby, as well as others who lived beyond Willows Peak. He had prevented countless battles, wrong decisions, and saved many lives just from his words. But a few had thought of his actions as peculiar. The specimen was humble and had never asked for anything in return for his good deeds. Some thought he was part of a scheme that would endanger humanity for eternity — that his true and most powerful form of his ability would be finally revealed and he would soon cripple to become the galaxies worst enemy. However, the conspiracy theory was soon dismissed as the few who spoke badly of him had gotten his very aid.

Thunder and lightning had engulfed Willows Peak suddenly one quiet afternoon. The creatures that milled around the forest had scampered to hide in the luminous greenery while all the residents retreated to the portal that lay at the centre of the peak. At times of danger, it would be used. But some youngsters had never used or even seen the portal until this very moment.

Willows Peak was soon deserted, and silence lay beneath the paths.

However, the specimen knew nothing of this commotion, but if he had, he had chosen to ignore it. His gnarly fingers had worked quickly as he mixed potions and brewed them in the cauldron that sent wavers of cloudy smoke compressing to the glass ceiling.

An unknown figure walked through the cloudy atmosphere, but at a waver of their fingers, the once billowing smoke had disappeared from the small room.

The specimen did not look up, just simply said, “Prophecy readings are halted today. Insolent fool, read,” slurring the last word, pointing at the crooked sign at the door. But when the figure did not speak, the specimen set its beady eye on it.

The figure could easily be mistaken for a shadow. It was suffocated in black; a long cloak puddled at its feet. Red eyes gleamed from the two slits in the fabric.

The specimen showed no sign of fear. He did not believe that fear was real.

The figure spoke in a low growl: “Lucius Avro Vincent.” The specimen was suddenly immersed with tremors running through his body. Fear. It was fear pumping through his veins.

For countless millennia, the specimen stayed anonymous about his real identity. He escaped from his home after he discovered his ability. The specimen’s name was Lucius Avro Vincent.

“Who are you? The devil?” he shrieked in anguish, still shaking in fear and anger. The figure laughed.

“I? The devil? Do you not remember me, Lucius? Do you not remember who you tortured and mauled like an animal. What gives you the right to play God?” he shouted, rage pumping through his blood. The specimen whimpered and cowered back as the figure stepped closer, pulling back their cloak.

“Hello, brother,” the figure hissed.

The specimen’s body was found at the early hours of the next day. For every person he had helped, an unbreakable curse was put on someone else which lead to their suffering after a few moments. The specimen’s brother had known, because he was the first person to experience it.





Laila Ismail

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