Posts Tagged ‘choose your own adventure’

Part 1:

Selective Breeding

Bundled

Bundled (Photo credit: Bart Heird)

Father was awoken by a screeching scream, “Violation!” No other words, but a sensation of searing in the back of his mind, like a blazing path leading from him to the cause of the disruption.

He sat-up in his bed with the burning in his mind, while still dazed between wake and dream. The sensation bared the essence of his daughter, Kk’rin, and something else… something—“Oh, god, Kk’rin… what have you done now?”

He threw back the bed sheets, and walked quickly to the intercom, commanding that a carriage and retrieval party be assembled. Then he opened his wardrobe and began readying himself as best he could.

— — —

Kk’vin’s sister’s screams could be heard almost a full mile before the carriage carrying her even reached the compound’s gate.

“You can’t do this! You can’t keep me here!”

Kk’vin stood above the wall watching as it approached, and gave a slight wave to the men below to open the gate and allow the wagon through.

“Father, are you listening? I’ll get out at the first chance I get, you can’t keep me here!”

Kk’vin just shook his head as he listened to her pleas with even more energy than last time they brought her back. If it was anyone else, Father would have simply used his gaze and kept her from even opening her mouth, but with her, he just let her go as if punishing himself for some personal sin.

Kk’vin began climbing down the wall as the gate closed. He walked passed the farming zone where a group of children laughed as they played a game chasing each other through the corn field. He took in the sights of his family in the Church of the Evolution hard at work, allowing the compound to flow seamlessly. Father was only gone a short while retrieving Kk’rin, but Kk’vin hoped that the time of him being in charge would make his Father proud.

Kk’rin’s screams died out as a couple of his brethren carried her into the medical complex. Father wasn’t very clear about the conditions that spurred the urgency to retrieve her this time, so he had at least hoped that the stop at the complex was just an overly precautious Father giving his daughter a routine check-up.

Kk’vin approached the wagon and Father just now began to get out. The look on his face was filled with concern, and regret.

“You didn’t allow her words to get to you, did you, Father?” Kk’vin asked.

Father looked up at him with eyes that looked ancient and tired, “No, my son. Your sister has a right powerful set of lungs in her, and a tongue sharp enough to stab straight through her Father’s tender heart with precision, however…” he paused in a pained search for words, “I fear that she may have done something I simply do not know how to fix.”

— — —

Father left his son by the wagon to finish whatever chores he had left, and walked towards the sterilized room where his daughter was being prepared for her induction. The message glowing in his mind had shifted, “Elimination!” with the blazing path glowing like a sun.

What am I supposed to do now? He asked himself as he stared through the observation window at his struggling daughter.

He opened the door to the sterile smell and Kk’rin’s screams that were silenced as he forced his power upon her, an act he always regretted doing to any of his children.

Men in pure white that almost blended with the walls came in, and he nodded to them to begin. They went straight to work as Kk’rin groaned incoherently.

“You can’t… you can’t do this…” she managed to get out as the building pain in her gave her surges passed his hold over her.

My child, he thought as he looked away from the source of his own pain, I wish there was another choice.

“Please!” her scream echoed in his mind.

— — —

Kk’vin sat outside, anxiously waiting for any news of his sister as the door to the sterilized room finally opened up. One of his brethren came out dressed in pure white, randomly blotched with red, carrying what looked like a bundle of blankets. Kk’vin would have concluded that he was simply disposing of a pile of soiled linen, if the bundle didn’t suddenly begin to scream with a screeching wail.

As he started to creep a peek into the bundle, Father came out of the room.

“Kk’vin,” he said with such a commanding tone, that Kk’vin couldn’t help but bring himself to attention, “I need you to find this man, and cleanse him of his sins against the Church of the Evolution,” as Father spoke, his mind projected an image into Kk’vin’s head—A gunslinger, by the name of Bahb.

“Yes, Father”

— — —

Kk’rin lay on a cot attached to the wall of a cell she had been in many times before as her version of a “time-out.” They were still examining, poking, and prodding and every other kind of test they could think of, on her neonate son in a complex just a building over. She could feel every sensation running through the child’s mild in wonder of all the new sights so clearly, they almost felt like her own. It was an odd feeling of displacement—a growing consciousness for nine months inside of you, blind to anything beyond you, but now a building over and seeing everything.

She forced her mind away from her child for the moment, and focused on the mind of Father, “Now that you have me here, what do you plan to do to keep me this time?”

She found him in the lab with the creature. He watched as the tentacled thing hibernated in its tube. She could hear single words being transmitted, “Violation,” “Elimination,” and “Retrieval!”

Her mind was suddenly struck with the destruction of her son’s screaming, and then images started flashing. The images made little sense, but the last image she saw was that of Bahb dieing, and a black haired woman she never saw before.

She quickly sought out the mind of Bahb, and, though it was much further away, she was able to find it almost instantly, as it was a mind she looked for many times before and knew it well. So far, he was alive and well, riding into a town towards a saloon—but the sensation of another well known mind wasn’t far behind him—Kk’vin. His purpose wasn’t difficult to determine, as his mind was flooded with determination to find his target and make his Father proud.

She immediately got to her feet and examined the cell. She escaped many times before, but it only gave Father more things to redesign after and make more complicated for her.

“Complicated… but never impossible.”

Part 2:

Process of Elimination

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead (Photo credit: andres musta)

Kk’vin watched as the tube filled and the odd liquid surrounded the other creature. Father looked over at Kk’vin and he awaited his disappointment. He failed his mission to dispose of Bahb as he was told, and lead him to their home.

“Something is not quite right…”

“Yes, I know Father,” Kk’vin began to plead, “I’m sorry, I’ve failed you—“

“Failed me?” Father interrupted, “You mean the Bahb fella not being dead? Don’t you worry yourself about that, my boy, you went up against the scorn of your sister to get to him, and you would have definitely been a much better man than I if you had succeeded through that. Besides, after examining the child, I have some interesting ideas that could make Bahb worth having around.”

“What do you mean, Father?”

“It’s gonna take me a bit of preparation to work out the kinks, but based on what happened with his and Kk’rin’s child, injecting Bahb with a pure form of our enhanced blood may make him quite powerful.

Kk’vin looked at him Father and wondered if his scientific curiosity was getting the better of his sanity, “Father—as interesting as that would be—why would we want to do that? Wouldn’t that just make him a threat to us?”

“My boy, I believe that is a risk we would have to take, for I have a feeling that this one,” Father gestured towards the newly hibernating creature, “may have set a trap for of that something completely insane may be the only option left.

“I need you to go out with your best men, and back track their path here. I need to know exactly what’s coming for us.”

“Yes, Father” Kk’vin acknowledged and began making his way outside the complex.

He gathered five of his brethren, and they prepped and mounted their horses. They directed towards the gate, and started heading towards the west where the Church of the Evolution’s attackers came from. It wasn’t too difficult for Kk’vin to pickup on their trail, with the burning of psychic energy from both of them there was the think odor of a thunderstorm deep in his own mind.

They followed the trail for almost a full day before Kk’vin’s horse suddenly reared up without warning and tossed him to the ground hard, slamming him to his back with a thud that made him gasps for breath. He stood with a fist angrily directed for the horse, “What in the hell is yer problem, ya damn beast—“

He stopped himself short, as he saw, all around him and his companions, thousands, upon thousands of bodies. Some were rather fresh, while others were at many different stages of decay to the point of barely holding together.

They seemed to go back further than his keen eyes could see. Some just lay in the open trails, while some were propped up by rocks and vegetation as if they were puppets that just dropped from having their strings cut.

Leaving their horses, they continued to follow the path of corpses to trace where they came from, and the bodies simply continued seemly forever.

Eventually they came to an area surround with an iron fence, with only the destroyed headstones scattered about to inform them that it was a cemetery—at least, it was prior to its residence vacating their resting places.

“Setup camp,” He commanded to one of his men, “I want to know what the intention was here before we go on.”

Almost a month passed of Kk’vin sending reports back from the Death Camp to Father back at the compound, which mostly informed him that an ocean of dead bodies isn’t as excite as one might initially think.

Kk’vin had just finished writing yet another uneventful report and was about to send a rider with it, when a sudden surge of an unfamiliar sensation struck his mind. He braced his head in his hands as if to hold his skull together, and out of the corner of his eyes, he saw movement—movement that he knew should not have existed.

The bodies that surround him, that have surround him for weeks that he grew accustomed to as piles of rocks, and just as mobile, suddenly started rising. First, it was slow and sluggish, like a man getting out of bed after a long sleep, but they slowly increased from staggering shambles, to a pace of determined destination.

“Stop them!” Kk’vin ordered to his men who already had pistol-blades drawn only in wait for the order.

Heated bolts flew through heads, and blades slashed through limbs and necks. Their efforts brought every target made to an end, but there were more targets than bolts between any of them.

As Kk’vin had one by the neck and stabbing his blade though its skulls with a squeeze of his trigger for good measure, he heard the screams of one of his men as one of the corpse had lunged on top of him and began to devour his face until it looked like bloodied hamburger. Kk’vin directed his weapon and blasted the abomination until it stopped moving.

“We need to get back to the compound! We need to warn them!” Kk’vin yelled at anyone still living and capable of following his orders.

He began a sprint eastward, slashing and firing continuously at targets as he went.

Blazing a trail of re-dead bodies through a field of still determined bodies, with the rest of his party lost to join the piles, Kk’vin was able to reach the compound gate. Sounds of battle came from the other side, and he had feared that he was some how too late. He grabbed his pistol-blade by the hilts and stabbed them into the wall, using them to pull his way upward. As he reached the top, he saw the entire Church in the thralls of battle against one of the creatures, and mostly losing.

Passed the mass of battle, Kk’vin saw a form dressed in his usual black splayed out in the middle of the compound—Father… no.

His need to grieve for his Father was immediately interrupted by the sound of screeching, like a thousand newborns scream at once in his mind. He looked towards Kk’rin’s dorm where her and her child were being kept, and the other alien stood in the doorway, holding the familiar bundle.

Kk’vin launched himself from the gate, and charged towards the creature, “Stop!” He shot a bolt through her shoulder hoping it’d be enough to lose her grip, “You can’t take him from us!”

The creature simply gave an arrogant smile and leapt passed him and the blazing battle.

Kk’vin reached the doorway, Bahb lay writhing in pain from the screams he didn’t know how to control, and Kk’rin lay with her limb and skull sliced in half in perfect section, “Kk’rin! No!”

Part 3:

Selective Memory

The Gunslinger

The Gunslinger (Photo credit: Drewdlecam)

Silhouetted all around Gaun coming towards the compound seemed to be thousands of staggering corpses. Bahb’s eyes grew, as he remembered the odd moment with Soo in the cemetery.

They came at the gate in a full charge, with Bahb having no idea what else to do; he jumped back down and took position to prepare for the oncoming battle.

What am I supposed to do now? Father’s pistol-cannon is still over there—should I get that? What about the blood, I don’t have Kk’vin’s anymore, but what if I used Scarlet’s, or any of these other dead Evos? Why do I have this odd sensation that I should be steampunk? What am I supposed to do?

This question simply continued to echo in Bahb’s mind as the gate creaked and cracked, and eventually collapsed beneath the horde of the dead. The remaining living Evos screamed, and fought, as Bahb saw a dead claw come across his face.

— — —

I awoke in my bed in a cold sweat. I got up from my bed and walked out to the living area. Uncle Gaun was there plucking at a data pad.

Uncle Gaun looked up at me, “You had that dream again?”

I nodded, “Same one mostly, I see through my father’s mind, but he keeps making these weird choices, and eventually, he just can’t make a choice at all anymore, and it kills him.”

“Interesting,” is all my Uncle said, which is as much elaboration as I normally got from him, “Your training is in about 30 minutes, you should prepare.”

“Yes, Uncle.”

I went out the front door and took in the view of the clear golden sky, over the valley of red desert, and made my way to the training facility to train for leadership of the invasion force.

Voting

Voting (Photo credit: League of Women Voters of California)

You may notice that I’m almost a full week behind on my weekly posts. Part of this was being busy with a lot of things; the other part was that I was trying to decide what I want to do with the continuation of ‘Natural Selection.’ As it is, I have 2 votes (I’m not counting the one person who voted for ‘other’ on title with no suggestion, or giving a vote on the theme—that in itself irritated me enough to lead to my present state of thinking on this whole thing). This project is intended to be fun for both my blog readers, and myself. If I’m not getting any votes from those reading, then I’m only to assume this indicates that you are not interested, and therefore, no fun from you is being had. And, in turn, this means I am also not having as much fun, especially if I start to feel like I’m practically begging and spamming for votes—that part is in no way fun for me.

So, I am declaring some rules for ‘Natural Selection’:

  • There will be a minimum of 5 votes on all polls given at the end of a section. Any fewer than 5 votes and the story will not move forward.
  • A poll will run for no longer than 4 weeks, if the goal of 5 votes has not been met, the project will be over (I’m not going to keep rechecking the poll months+ after).

These rules apply immediately—meaning, the poll has now been running since June 11, 2013… today’s June 22, it’s now 11 days old; there are only 17 days left before I declare this project dead (that’s July 9). If the readers that really want to see what happens next want this project to continue, then you may want to get to work on getting some votes in. I promote most of my posts on my FB, Twitter, etc at least once after posting, but for the polls, I have been pushing a bit more to try to get votes—I will no longer be doing that; they will now be given the same one time promo as everything else—the rest is up to you.

If it happens that this project is killed off, then that is simply the way it must be. I will be disappointed, but I have plenty of other things that I have to do to take up my time, so it will be a minor loss.

I will still put out the alternative POV story for the anniversary no matter how this turns out.

Final Battle

Final Battle (Photo credit: DILA810)

Bahb walked over to the console. His fingertips brushed over the glass shield over the release button in contemplation.

“Now, Bahb—can I call you Bahb?” Father’s voice came through the PA speaker, “I feel as though we may not have gotten off on quite the right foot. Just walk on over and unlatch that door for me, and we can perhaps try starting over—have ourselves a nice little sit down and a chat about everything. We’re both civilized gentlemen, aren’t we now?”

Bahb’s fingers did a subtle dance over the glass, as he spoke into the air, “You had me hunted down—you dragged me into whatever this is. And then you took Scarlet—you hurt her.”

“Who—oh, yes, Kk’rin. She was using other names, wasn’t she? Well, I promise you, ‘Scarlet’ is just fine, she’s simply being detained at the moment—you see, she can be quite the handful when she’s emotional—“

Bahb, where are you?” Scarlet’s words rang with a searing spike through Bahb’s mind.

“You lying piece of—“ Bahb flipped the panel up and slammed his fist down on the big red button marked “Capsule Release.”

“No!” Father’s voice broke through the PA with feedback, “What have you done, you fool?”

The room was flooded with a red strobe and a blaring alarm, and the capsules containing Soo and the other alien began to drain of their fluid.

They’re waking up now…” the unknown voice announced in Bahb’s mind.

The glass chambers started rising up in sync and the two grotesque creatures slumped over and dropped to the floor with a wet slosh, and with tentacles splayed about randomly. They lay limp and seemly lifeless in pools of excess liquid. Just as Bahb began to work up the courage to try to check them for signs of life, the being he knew as Soo began to move a tentacle, and then another, and then started to push herself upright. Shortly after, the other began to do the same.

Bahb went over to Soo and crouched to her level, “Are you ok?”

The creature that was Soo suddenly began to melt into an abstract of itself, a multi-colored blob, phasing into a shade of skin, sprouting arms and legs, and becoming the woman that Bahb had come to recognize as Soo—also naked again.

Soo examined Bahb with her infinitely dark eyes that widened at the metallic sound of an unsheathing blade behind him. He turned and saw a man with long black hair, darkly tanned skin, and narrowed black eyes, standing with his right armed formed into a long blade directed at Bahb’s temple.

Stop!” Bahb heard Soo’s reverberated voice command in his mind, “He isn’t one of them.

As you command,” The reverberated voice of what Bahb assumed was the other creature responded along with the lowering of his blade, “What are our orders?

Retrieval and elimination… the experiment has been ended due to a potentially dangerous violation of parameters…

Soo’s counter part simply gave a subservient nod in response.

Are you going to save us now?” the still unknown voice asked in Bahb’s mind. Bahb looked at the two and noticed they didn’t react to the voice, “They never hear me…

That doesn’t help assure my state of sanity much…” Bahb responded, which got a silent glance from Soo. Bahb looked between the two aliens, “If you and yer naked friend here are just gonna stand here mind zapping each other, I’m gonna go back to finding Scarlet now.”

Bahb walked to the doorway leading to the outer lab, while grabbing a couple of lab coats and tossing them in the direction of the aliens, “And if you don’t mind, you two are making it feel drafty in here.”

The two draped the coats around themselves and followed Bahb to the main lab. As soon as they came into view of the large window by the door, Bahb’s two guards quickly un-holstered a set of pistol-blades. Wish I saw those earlier, would have been a lot more useful than a paper-blade.

Soo and the other moved in front of Bahb with a fluid motion that resembled large serpents with limbs forming into long thin blades. With terrified expressions Bahb had never before seen on the face of any Evo, the blades sliced through the door and window-wall like they were air, skewering into the heads of the guards. Not one got a single shot off from even a reflexed reaction before the lights left their eyes. The two retrieved their blades and the guards dropped to the corridor floor like giant puppets with their strings severed.

Soo’s counter part crossed his bladed limbs through the door and it fell to fragments before him.

“Not to sound like I’m criticizing the quality of yer handy work, there, but it was actually locked from the inside—where we presently are,” Bahb pointed out, “You happen to have a name?”

“Irfan’Ramachandra’Arjuna’Tafadzwa’Gaun” The alien responded while walking over the destroyed door and into the corridor.

“Ok…. Gaun… what’s the plan? If you two are gonna start escaping, that’s fine, but I still gotta find Scarlet before I go anywhere,” Bahb stated while retrieving his guards’ holster-belts and pistol-blades, and strapping them to himself.

Bahb! Where are you!” Scarlet’s voice suddenly screamed through his mind with its same refrain, but with an added jolt that sent a writhing pain that brought Bahb instantly to his knees, only to hear his own screaming like a distant thunder.

Soo approached Bahb and placed her fingertips to his temples and the pain seeped away like a tide, “You are still tethered. Why would their Father not have—“ Soo stopped in mid-sentence as if her line of question also drew her to an answer, “We will come with you to find… Scarlet.”

Why are—“ Gaun started in his mind.

Silence! Follow my command!” Soo snapped with Gaun simply giving a subservient nod.

Bahb looked at the two with suspicion, but seeing that he seemed to still need Soo to keep his head from exploding, he simply shrugged and gave in. So he began following the tether in his mind towards its source just like he did not so long ago, but this time the feeling was somehow different, Bahb assumed it was just because of how much closer he was.

They made their way down corridors, and a flight of stairs and coming across Evos along the way that were effortlessly dispatched by a Bahb’s escorts, with lightning fast movements of blades to vital organs, and clean across necks littering the hallways with rolling heads. Bahb got a few shots of his own off with his pistol-blades, only to just barely graze a few by almost pure luck against their heightened reflexes.

After following the tether through the maze of a construct that seemed to be a prison, a laboratory, and a dormitory all in one, they found an exit. They stood outside the building and Bahb took a moment to gain his bearings. Several yards ahead, he could see the gate had been reconstructed after Soo’s handy work.

The tether seemed to direct towards another building that looked like a smaller version of the one they just left. Bahb directed a fist armed with a pistol-blade towards the destination and began to relay to his companions the heading, but was stopped short as a herd of Evos came at them with pistol-blades of their own. Bahb opened fire with both hands, as Soo and Gaun did their dances of bladed destruction against the unending wall of Evos.

Bodies piled, and blood pooled to form rivers of death. Bahb was already losing track of how many times he reloaded; still only barely grazing anyone with each shot he hopelessly let out.

Bahb was spun and knocked to the ground hard, with a burning bite through his left shoulder that was shortly followed by another through his right calf. Soo turned in response to his pained yells, and placed her hands on him, sending shooting pain through the rest of his being, and instantly repairing his injuries as if the limbs never knew damage in their existence.

Stay here and keep them back… I am going with him…” Soo commanded to Gaun.

As you command…” Gaun responded, never breaking his rhythm of destruction.

Bahb made his way to his feet and started towards the building the tether lead towards.

“Stop! Damn you, boy, stop!” Bahb heard the voice of Father commanded over the commotion of his “children’s” dieing screams.

Bahb instantly turned and pointed the barrel of a pistol-blade between Father’s eyes, “Let’s bring this to a stop, then!” Bahb squeezed a bolt that grazed Father’s temple with a wet line of red marking its trail.

Father brought up a hand and gazed at Bahb with extreme focus, and Bahb could feel a tinge of pain creeping through his nerves and muscle, only a slight tickle of before.

“If that’s the only trick in yer book, yer gonna be out of luck. I’m a bit more prepared this time,” Bahb said as he let out another round.

“I will take care of him,” Soo said before launching herself at Father, with bladed limbs cocked back and directed.

563623_4669777535383_2128099952_nFather responded pulling a weapon from a back holster Bahb had never seen before. It had a barrel not much different than that of his pistol-blade, but below it, instead of the blade, another barrel was mounted with a much larger caliber than the top. Father squeezed off a round that announced itself with exploding thunder, sending a missile of a bolt through the chest of a surprised Soo.

Soo let out a screeching cry that sounded like nothing of this world, as thick, dark ooze seeped from the gaping hole tunneled through her.

Bahb started firing off series after series of bolts towards Father in a furry, “You bastard! What have you done?”

Father dodged each round with a finesse that Bahb had only seen rivaled by that of Kk’vin. He fired a round from the smaller of his pistol’s two chambers, quickly followed by another, and struck with a direct hit down the barrels of Bahb’s own pistol-blades, bringing Bahb’s charge to a hault.

Soo’s was putting herself back to her feet at her wound began repairing itself like black threads being quickly drawn across by an army of unseen spiders. Father turned with his pistol-cannon taking aim towards her and Bahb drew the two other pistol-blades he had strapped to him. Bahb sent the bolts to a course, with one at Father’s head, the other at his chest. Father reacted to the sound of Bahb’s thunder, but only just too late, as the round to his head only blew-off his brimmed black hat, but the other made home where his heart lived.

Father let out a gasp, as his feet staggered and danced for control below him. He fell to his knees as he continued to struggle against his failing body. Bahb knew from his experience with Kk’vin that despite Father’s injury that would have been mortal to anyone else, he would recover, so Bahb sent another bolt between his eyes, snapping his head back, and knocking him hard to the ground, splayed like a frail broken thing with a lake of blood forming beneath.

“No!” the echoing cry came from the building where the tether lead.

Bahb took an adrenaline induced sprint in the direction of the plea. With Gaun still holding back the horde, he covered the ground between with nothing standing in his way. He made it to a door that seemed to practically throb as his tether drew him to it.

“Scarlet! I’m here!” Bahb said as he quickly shot at the lock, jolting the door to ajar.

Entering, Bahb saw simply an empty cell that appeared to be almost like his own, accept with better view, “Scar—“

A heavy jolt came down across Bahb’s back, knocking him instantly to the ground, forcing the wind out of him, and sending stars across his vision. Through the ringing in his head, Bahb heard a familiar gasp, “Oh’my—Bahb!” Scarlet send in surprise as she dropped the torn off sink she made into her weapon, “I am so sorry—are you ok? What the hell are you doing here?”

“What am I… what the hell do you mean what am I doing here? You put a damned beacon in my brain telling me to come or face my exploding grey-matter!”

Scarlet looked at Bahb with a puzzled look that started to concern him, and flood him with more confusion than he could give voice to.

Without warning, Scarlet grasped her hands around Bahb’s head, “Bahb, look in my eyes.”

Bahb did as she requested, and her eyes did their strange dance through the full spectrum of colors. His head swirled as her eyes strobed, but despite the sensation of dizziness that strongly requested throwing up, he remained conscious this time.

“No…” Scarlet said with a concerned gasp as she lowered her hands, “I’m so sorry, Bahb… it was my fault… I… I just didn’t know.”

Bahb stared at her searching for words, and desperately searching for understanding, “Scarlet, you really need to elaborate a bit. What the hell’d you do?”

“I didn’t put anything new in your mind, Bahb, I only turned on a connection that was already there. I didn’t know, Bahb… you’re the first. No one could have known, that’s what made you so dangerous… that’s why—“ Her word broke off as a shadow was cast over them from the doorway, “You!” She yelled, as she suddenly picked up Bahb’s pistol-blade from the ground and fired off several rounds.

Bahb took up his other pistol-blade and turned, expecting to see Kk’vin’s behemoth frame, only to have his barrel staring down Soo’s tattered body. Before Bahb could get a word of explanation out, Soo immediately extended a bladed limb through the barrel of Scarlet’s pistol-blade, continuing to slice through her hand, and on through her shoulder, bring the blade up and back, slicing Scarlet’s skull in a diagonal half.

Bahb stared at what remained of Scarlet’s body as it dropped. His mind raced ‘til it was numb, searching for explanation, trying to convince him that what he was seeing wasn’t real.

He looked back at Soo with a face filled with a furry he had never seen from her usual cold expressionless demeanor, “Where is it?” She asked with a growling yell that didn’t even resemble human, “Tell me—“

As Bahb was about to command his gripped pistol-blade to send a bolt to Soo’s head, a scream of pain shot through his mind, like the sound of a thousand newborns crying at once, echoing, and screeching, shattering his mind like glass.

“Thank you, Bahb,” Soo said, “You made this a lot easier for me.”

Through barely slit eyes, Bahb saw Soo leap from the doorway to a room off to the side. A moment later, she leaped back carrying what looked like a bundle of blankets in her arms.

“Stop!” Bahb heard the roar of Kk’vin from outside, and a hole exploded through Soo’s left shoulder, “You can’t take him from us!”

Soo leaped out from the doorway and the light pour through and bathed over Bahb liked fire as the screaming continued. The fire lowered to a light searing as Kk’vin’s giant frame blotted out the sun, and Bahb could hear Kk’vin’s screams only barely over his own mind, “Kk’rin! No!”

Kk’vin paced the short distance like a caged beast a couple times muttering to himself, inaudibly against the destruction and tearing of Bahb’s mind. Bahb tried to get out words, any words at all, but nothing could form, nothing could be commanded to his limps beyond mindless groans.

He saw Kk’vin kneel down in front of him with his pistol-blade in hand. As he brought up the blade, Bahb thought—he hoped—Kk’vin was taking his vengeance on him and taking the chance to end his life—end the screaming. But as Bahb waited for the sensation of life being drawn out of him by Kk’vin’s blade, he saw him crouch down lower, his hot breath inches from Bahb’s ear, “Father told me that you are somehow special,” Kk’vin began, “I don’t know how much of this you can understand right now—assuming yer small mind ever could—but our blood, is a hybrid of theirs. We were created to be the new species, separate from you… we were their weapons—their defense against enemies they convinced us we had. Kk’rin… Scarlet… she was special too, she and I… we were Father’s true children. When she met you, things went wrong… she broke the rules.

“Our blood with yers, it created something powerful—something that made them fear their weapons—their tools. Bahb… it’s yer child—yer son.”

The words rang through his mind and through all the screaming and the pain, understanding seeped through. But what more can I do—I’m dieing.

Kk’vin continued, “I’m not strong enough to beat them, Bahb… but… I can make you strong enough. My blood… it’s not as pure enough to make it permanent, but it will make you like us—better than us—strong enough to beat them. You have to beat them, Bahb.”

Bahb wasn’t sure what Kk’vin was trying to say, until he saw him sit back up and drape his blade down the entirety of his arm, and then to the other, flowing blood from him like a stream directing its flow into Bahb’s groaning mouth. And with a final thrust, Kk’vin brought the blade across his neck, turning his body into a fountain, drenching Bahb as his body fell on him like a fallen mountain.

The weight of Kk’vin’s limp body crushed Bahb beneath, but as the thick, salty fluid made its way through him, he could feel Kk’vin becoming lighter. The screaming began to seep away like dieing embers. Bahb could feel power coursing through him, charging him until his muscles ripped with eagerness.

He threw Kk’vin off of him as if the mountain became a pebble. With a final enraged glance at Scarlet’s remains, Bahb took up his and Kk’vin’s pistol-blades to hand, and charge through the door, scanning the compound, seeking his prey. Gaun was in the center of everything still battling Evos, and off, standing by the gate, waiting as if she now possessed all the time in the world, was Soo, embracing the bundle that contained his son—the last essence of Scarlet.

Bahb charged toward her, stray bullets from the Gaun and Evo battle whistling past him, with him giving them only a flinching dodge with reflexes that seemed almost possessed. His heart thumped in his ears as he took aim towards Soo, firing both barrels to her chest and head, just as he assaulted Father not long ago. She just barely slithered out of the path before the bolts made home behind her. She placed his child to the ground and charged towards him.

“I’m coming for you, you bitch!” Bahb roared as he continued his charge, firing with precisioned sight, every round striking home in some portion of Soo’s body—all fazing her, but none stopping her.

She thrust her blade arms at Bahb. He ducked and dodged her left, only to be struck down by her right, slicing a gash down his back from his neck to his tailbone, going deeper as it went. The pain burned, but his body healed and repaired with a thick, pink scar before he even had time to react.

As he began to push himself back up, he saw Father’s body laying lifeless a few feet away, still intently gripping his pistol-cannon. Bahb leapt and shoulder-rolled the distance, grabbing hold by the barrel, and prying it from Father’s hand.

Father moaned, and Bahb jumped, almost sending a bolt through him before he just barely stopped himself, “…so arrogant… I failed them… I failed my children… I was so arrogant…”

“It will be ok, I’ll stop them,” Bahb said as reassuring as he could to a man he was certain was still racing towards death, guided by his hand.

“You… you… stop them… all… they’re coming… you have to… stop them…” Father got out before the lights finally left his eyes, and the hand gripping the hilt of his pistol-cannon opened and fell limp.

Before Bahb could gain a steady grip on the pistol-cannon, Soo sent a blade across Bahb’s wrist, severing his hand from it. Bahb yelled, more in alarm than pain, as the amputated limb barely had a chance to be exposed to air before it was already creating a new, fresh skinned hand. Bahb flexed his new fingers that were now better than ever.

He turned just in time to catch another of Soo’s blades aimed for his head. He dodged, and moved in, taking her by the neck. He squeezed his fingers around as she fought and flailed, screaming her displeasure.

Soo sent a blade through his gut. He could feel it all the way through, as it nicked intestines, pieced his stomach, and attempted to sever his spine on its way out through his back and making an exit slicing through his side. But his body continued to heal as quickly as the injuries formed.

Through Soo’s death-thralls, Bahb threw her down to the ground hard enough to leave an impression of her body indented beneath. Cocking back a tightly clenched fist and holding her with the other, he threw his fist through Soo’s face, and didn’t stop its charge until he felt the grit of dirt.

Her body started phasing between her human form and its original in a fit of chaotic confusion until it finally fell motionless. Bahb didn’t release his grip and he stared into the grotesque abstract in front of him, he wasn’t certain of her demise until the creature’s body suddenly began shriveling up into a dry, empty husk.

No!” Gaun screamed through his mind.

Oh, yeah… and yer next” Bahb responded as he set target on his new prey.

There were only a dozen or so Evos left as far as Bahb could see, and those remaining didn’t look like they were in much better shape than their fallen comrades—but they didn’t take them hits without serving up a significant amount to their enemy. Gaun was looking only slightly better than Soo presently did, but he was still stand and charge straight at Bahb.

Bahb stood his ground and waited for his prey to come to him. But Gaun didn’t come for him. Instead he broke off, and made his way towards Father.

Before the question could form in Bahb’s mind, Gaun was already answering as he seemed to adsorb the very existence of Father into his own, instantly repairing all the damage he had received. He continued taking in Father until even his very appearance became that of Father’s, and all that remained of the original body had become a pile of dust.

Despite Bahb’s continued expectations, Gaun still didn’t come at him; instead he leapt towards the gate, and picked up the bundle that contained his son. Bahb ran at him, but as he did, he could feel the surge in his body begin to fade away.

“Put down the child and face me!” Bahb commanded.

Gaun jumped to the top of the gate, and looked down at Bahb, “My mission of retrieval is completed… they can handle the elimination…” he said before jumping out and away.

Bahb jumped half-way up the gate and clawed his way to the rest. As he gazed over he saw Gaun walking back the way he had once come with Soo towards a giant setting sun. Silhouetted all around Gaun coming towards the compound seemed to be thousands of staggering corpses. Bahb’s eyes grew, as he remembered the odd moment with Soo in the cemetery.

Bahb heard Gaun in his mind, “Run or fight, no one can ever escape the Selection…

English: Cross Roads Ballinamara Cross Roads.

English: Cross Roads Ballinamara Cross Roads. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 15 is planned to be the closure for all of Natural Selection so far. Shit will hit the fan, and all questions that have been opened up will be answered.

This does not mean this will be the end of the project though, it just means that things will be taking a new course afterwards. I can’t really elaborate on that, because I’m still working out the details. What I do know is that how your votes direct this ending will play a bit into next phase of things (I can’t really say how without potentially ruining the direction of the vote so far).

As of now, my planning is to change the way the choices are laid out. I spent time through this portion experimenting with different things, now I need to see what I preferred and try to stick with just that (or invent something completely different).

Also, I’m looking into a means to set up a system that will send a million volts of electricity through anyone who leaves my page without voting—I haven’t quite worked out the bugs on this part yet, but it will come, and when you least expect it. Seriously though people, I do appreciate the Likes and all, but I prefer the votes more. The more who vote, the more interesting this whole thing actually is for me, and the more interesting it can be for you people who “Like” it—because you get to be involved in the manipulation of the story. If you are timid about voting because you’re not sure if you’re too late, stop it, vote anyway. If the next Part isn’t posted yet, you probably have time to get your vote in (one of the things I will try to do is set a deadline, but with my work schedule, that’s difficult to pull off—but I contemplating bi-weekly).

This whole project is intended mostly as a flash exercise for me, but I’m still looking for ideas for others, plus the Flash Round is still sitting untouched, but for now, I have this—hence why I’m keeping at least this. So please, feel free to message me with ideas, and add something—anything—to the Flash Round. I see a lot of people on FB and elsewhere who say they would like to write, but don’t seem to ever work up the nerve to even start anything because they’re self-doubt is holding them back… this is me giving you a shove to get started. The Flash Round I have running on FB didn’t get a lot of response (still more than here), but what it did get was enough to get some people to suddenly get some ideas of their own to start their own stories and actually try to pursue becoming a writer—I’m not gonna lie, being able to spark that flame in someone does give me a special kind of feeling… like I’m responsible for turning an ape into a god.

So, as I said, Natural Selection is coming to closure, and new things will be coming. As such, there will be no vote at the end of Part 15. The faster I get votes in, the sooner I will get 15 written and posted, but it will be posted at least before the world ends. The next phase will not begin until at least the next year (assuming we survive the Mayans).

As I said, all things asked will be answered (how they’re answered will be changed by votes), if you don’t know what all the questions were, then now would be a good time to go back and re-read some things.

And lastly, in the process of trying to figure out how the next phase should work, I may create a vote for that (no reason you shouldn’t be involved in from the beginning this time), so be on the look out for that, and vote when it comes.

Abandoned Prison Cell

Abandoned Prison Cell (Photo credit: www78)

Seemingly out of options, Bahb lay back on the cot and stared into the darkness, waiting for whatever fate awaited him to come. A slight ting burned in the back of his mind—a feeling he almost forgot from before coming across Soo—and without her, would apparently return.

I guess getting Scarlet to turn it off isn’t going to be much of an option anymore—allowing my brain to explode from her cries for help seems like a proper punishment for failure.

A pain shot through like a hot spike from the back of Bahb’s head to his eyes, “Bahb… where are you…?”

“I’m right here, woman! Now what? Yer a damn mutant and couldn’t stop these freaks, and you expected me to do better? What do you want from me?” Bahb heard his voice echo back at him as he continued to vent his frustrations, “I even had some damned alien along for the ride, and she was stopped as easily as anyone by yer daddy! Now, I’m sitting here waiting to rot—“

Who are you?” Bahb was stopped in the middle of his rant from a completely new voice in his head. He couldn’t tell why, but the voice still seemed familiar to him, like something he once heard in a dream.

“Um… what?”

Are you here to help us? Are you the one that was coming to save us?

“I… I don’t recall an ‘us’ in this. Who are you?”

I don’t know… I don’t think they gave me a name…

Bahb sat up on the cot, trying figure out what to make of this new voice, and half wondered if it was actually just a sign of him losing his mind—if yer already hearing voices, how would you know which ones are just crazy voices? Maybe I’ve lost it—

Bahb… Can you hear me?” A voice like an oddly reverberated version of Soo’s voice rang through his mind.

“Oh, for the love of—my head is not a switchboard!” Bahb grunted, “Since when could you speak through my brain anyway?”

There is another entity within the vicinity that seems to be allowing me to find a connection with you. I am however uncertain as to how they are accomplishing it.

“Ok, well, where are you? Can you get out?”

I am being contained with no means of escape, and do not believe I will be able to maintain our connection for much longer… I do not fully understand what they are doing to me, but—“ Her voice cut off suddenly.

“Soo?” Bahb waited and listened to the silence.

Crap, two living weapons need me to save them now, surrounded by hundreds of other living weapons, while I’m trapped in this damn empty box without a damn thing—

They’re coming…” the unknown voice announced.

Before Bahb could question the statement, a small slat under the door opened up and a tray with a plate and cup were slid under.

“Orders from Father,” a snarling voice from outside the door started “you have five minutes to eat, and drink, then you will slide the tray with everything on it back under—if you keep anything, Father will punish you…” that last part was punctuated with a slight chuckle as if they were hoping Bahb would try to keep something.

Bahb took the tray. The plate had a small piece of dry bread and a brown egg on it, and the cup contained water. Bahb picked up the egg, and noticed from the weight that it was raw.

He ate the bread, and the egg with shell and all, and downed the water. As he was returning the glass, he noticed there was a pile of small squares of paper beneath the plate, “Um, napkins?”

“Yeah, we really care about yer table manners,” the angry voice on the other side of the door responded sarcastically. He  mumbled under his breath something about “How the hell did Kk’vin have so much trouble with him,” then continued towards Bahb, “That’s for yer ass, stupid, there’s a toilet in the rear of the cell with running sink for hygiene,” Bahb looked in the back corner where the light from the door-slat revealed a round metal toilet bolted to the wall, with a sink connected to it, “Father has plans for you, and doesn’t want you getting sick and dieing off before he’s had time to prepare. The minimum for which has been provided, ‘cause Kk’vin seems to really be paranoid about you getting anything in yer hands.”

“Why did I need water if I have running water?”

“Don’t drink the running water. It’s treated with bacteria killin’ stuff that Father created—good for cleanin’ the outsides real well, not so good for cleanin’ the insides.”

Bahb looked back at the sink, “And why do you think I should trust Father’s provisions?”

An annoyed grunt came from the other side of the door, “Father would never bother lying about anything—lying is for cowards, and cowards fear that which is above them—nothing is above Father!” He paused and continued with a recomposed tone, “but go ahead and drink the water, I would be just as grateful if you could prove that yer not worth the trouble while proving Kk’vin isn’t worth his rank.”

Bahb raised an eyebrow at that comment, “Showing a little doubt in yer Father’s decisions?”

The Evo voice growled and mumbled to himself, “Father ordered not to speak to him,” and then to Bahb, “Yer time’s up, return everything now! And please, be dumb enough to keep something…”

Bahb eyed the plate with just the notion to comply with his guard’s request.

Don’t… he’ll punish you…” the voice in his head warned.

Bahb simply took the paper and slid the tray back through the slat, and the slat and the light was closed again.

Bahb felt the paper in his hands. It was rough and grainy and made him cringe and the thought of what it would do to his backside.

You should eat that…” the voice suddenly said.

“Why would I do that?” Bahb asked into the darkness.

You might be hungry… you should eat that…

“So, should I take this as the official evidence, then? You are my crazy voice, aren’t you?”

You make too much noise… he’s listening… he can’t hear me… he never hears me…

Not talking seems like a good idea, Bahb concluded as he made his way towards the sink. He put his hand under the running water for a moment then placed it to his nose. It had a vague chemical smell—enough to suggest that not drinking it was accurate advice. I can’t think of anything I can do with chemicaled water with nothing else.

Bahb felt along the edges of the sink and toilet, and they both seemed to be melded seamlessly to the floor and wall. Not much chance of moving these out of the way and getting out through a drain any time soon.

Bahb sat on the floor, slouched back against the sink with the feelings of lost hope flooding his mind. With the paper still in his hand, he began unconsciously balling it in his frustration, feeling its grooves, and listening to the coarse sounds of it rubbing.

Eat it…

Without a thought, he tore of a wad of the paper and popped it in his mouth. He chewed and sucked, and exchanged every bit of moisture his mouth had between it. It had a dry woody taste—not the most appetizing of flavors.

“Why the hell am I doing this?” He questioned himself as he took out the wad and slapped it on the edge of the sink where it stuck.

That’s sticky…” The voice stated.

Thank you, crazy voice, that’s very—“ Bahb stopped in mid-thought. He took the wad from the sink, with a slight pry as it was already setting into its home. He wrapped a strip of the remaining paper around the wad a couple times, giving it a slightly lick as he did so, and ending the wrap with the remainder of the paper until it formed an obtuse triangle. Ending with dabs of water from the sink spread across it.

He felt around the obscure object, and just shook his head, “That’s just stupid…”

He simply placed his paper on the floor beneath the sink, and made his way back to the cot and closed his eyes, and allowed his mind to drift into sleep… … …

“Bahb!”

Bahb opened his eyes, and looked around the sun-streaked cabin.

“Bahb, where are you?”

He got up from his rocking-chair sitting by a dead fire, and headed towards the open door. Standing with the warm sun bathing his face, “I’m right here, Scar—“ He looked over to the clothes-line and saw only dust blowing by under the burning sun.

He looked across the yard, where the man in black stood silhouetted by the sun, grasping the small hand of a child. Bahb ran from the doorway after him as the man in black and the child continued walking into the giant setting sun… … …

“Stay away from him!” Bahb heard his voice echo off the cell walls as he suddenly propped himself upright.

They’re coming…” the voice announced.

The slat under the door opened again, and the guard’s voice came, “Five minutes…” followed with the tray being slid under.

Bahb got up from the cot and started removing and consuming his meal as he took the new layer of paper. He slid the tray back under again, and he was returned to darkness.

He made his way to sink where he left his project, and picked it up. It was now stiffened, but still too thin to be useful.

Do it again…” the voice said.

But this would take forever.

You have time… he’s preparing… you have plenty of time…

That’s not as comforting as yer trying to make it sound.

With little other options, Bahb complied, figuring if nothing else, it would at least give him something to pass the time. He continued this each day while leaving about a quarter of the stacks to the side for actual use for its original purpose.

Each night, the same dream repeated with him forever hopelessly running towards the burning sun after the man in black and the child. He’d wake up to his cold-sweat, and repeat his routine of meal and project.

Days went by, and it wasn’t long before he lost track of the number. From as best as he could determine, nearly a month had passed. His paper had thickened, with the original wad as a handle, and one edge thinned and filed sharp enough to draw blood when running a finger across it.

They’re coming… it’s time… he’s ready…” The voice alerted.

What does that mean?

They’re going to take you to him now… but you can’t let them… you must fight… you have to get away…

Bahb took his paper-blade in hand and thought about his previous encounters with Kk’vin, remembering him dodging bullets, getting a bomb to the face, and a rifle to the chest and always coming back, “Well, I simply see no reason why this shouldn’t go perfectly.

You don’t need to stop them… only slow them down… you must get away…

Bahb just shook his head, and slipped the paper into his beltline.

A slat in the center of the door opened.

“Put yer hands through the door,” He was commanded.

He did so, and on the other side he felt heavy bracelets being closed around his wrists, linked by an equally heavy chain. The door then made a loud clank sound, and was slid across, exposing his eyes to a piercing light as if they completely forgot what it was.

A set of hands from each side of him grabbed him by the arms and pulled him out, and started blindly guiding him down a hallway as his eyes very slowly adjusted.

Fight… get away…” the voice beckoned.

How?

Eyes!

Bahb’s fingers found their way to the paper and without hesitation, brought the blade up and across the eyes of the guard on his right, and before the guard to his left could respond to the screams of his partner, Bahb did the same to him.

Run!

Bahb didn’t need a voice in his head to tell him that. Before he could bother to evaluate the effectiveness of his attacks, he started running, being motivated with only hopes of gaining distance before the guards recovered.

He ran passed many other doors that looked like they were more cells like his own. He thought after passing a few of the doors that he should stop and check if any contained Scarlet or Soo, but the voice kept screaming, “Keep running… you have to run!

The voice directed him to turn down corridors until eventually Bahb came to a door with a large window next to it. He looked in and saw a series of machinery and tubes.

“There he is!” his guards announced while running toward him, both now recovered with pink scars across their eyes.

Go in!” the voice commanded.

Bahb went through the metal door, and closed it behind him. Noticing a lever on the door that had the words “Release,” and “Lock” he switched it to lock and hoped it would be enough to stop them for now.

He looked around the room filled with things he could only guess at their purpose and assumed he would guess wrong on most of it.

Now what?” He questioned as much to himself as to the voice that had been leading him.

He walked to the back of the room away from the pounding of the door, and went through another doorway that opened up to another room with a row of glass chambers. Moving closer to one of the chambers he noticed floating in a liquid, a figure contained within. The figure was hideous, with eyestalks, and tentacles. Bahb looked closer and remembered the first time he saw the creature from the glowing orb, and realized this strange being before him was Soo in her original form.

Bahb looked at the other chambers, most were empty, but across from Soo’s, was another figure that looked very similar to her, but different in ways that Bahb couldn’t quite place. Somehow, despite their alien appearance, this one didn’t seem as feminine as Soo.

They’re sleeping… they want to wake up now…” the voice said.

A thump from an unseen speaker echoed, and Father’s voice came across, “Well, look at you. Let you out for barely a moment and you’re already making a complete nuisance of yourself, now aren’t you?”

“Um… sorry ‘bout that,” Bahb responded into the air, then suddenly noticed he was for some reason still mobile.

They’re together now… even sleeping, they’re stronger than him…

Father continued, “I’m afraid you are just completely interfering with the plans for my evening, however if you would be so kind as to go ahead and release the door over there, I promise not to take this little mishap personal.”

Bahb glanced at a control console in the center of the room. A button contained under a glass panel is labeled “Capsule Release.”

They want to wake up now…

{With both choices, the “shit will hit the fan,” but how it happens will be different, and one may end tragically, but which?}

Cemetery in Key West

Cemetery in Key West (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Bahb, where are you? I need you, Bahb, please!” The voice in Bahb’s mind kept repeating, over and over with a constantly increased intensity.

“Bahb!” Soo’s voice sounded from somewhere in a distance, barely audible beneath Scarlet’s pleas, “Bahb, what are we going to do?”

“Bahb, please!”

With a detached feeling, driven only with the need to reach Scarlet, Bahb slid from the horse and slung the rifle-ax from his back. Without hesitation, he pointed the barrel towards the look-out cranny of the nearest tower, and fired. The kick-back knocked Bahb straight to his ass, but he stood back up, drawing his pistol-blade, and walked towards the gate.

A shot just barely missed him coming from the tower on the other side of the gate. Bahb pointed the pistol-blade and fire in the same motion, and was responded to with a scream inside the tower.

Another scream came from the tower he fired at first. He turned, ready to fire at a target, only to see Soo jumping down from the fourteen-foot tower, her limbs forming from blades back to hands.

“Can you open that gate?” Bahb asked Soo.

Soo responded by walking up to the gate forming her right arm into a thin blade. She slashed an X across and watched as the barrier fell to fragments. This was responded to with an alarm from all over the compound.

Inside, people started running around in chaos. Looking around to figure out where to go next, Bahb saw through the panic, a group of men started towards them, and at the lead, with a sinister smile, was Kk’vin.

Without even a second thought, Bahb pointed his pistol-blade between Kk’vin’s eyes with a deadly furry, and then, out of nowhere, pain shot through his entire body. He heard Soo screaming from behind him, but he couldn’t move to look. His pistol-blade still aimed firmly on Kk’vin, but the pain seemed to be blocking his ability to will pressure to his finger to squeeze the trigger.

“That will be quite enough of all that, now,” Bahb heard a man’s voice from somewhere to his side, but couldn’t move to see its source, “I do believe you are the young man that Kk’vin here has claimed to have already taken care of—it would seem that my boy has told a little bit of a fib,” There was a pause, followed by the sound of someone walking towards Bahb’s back at a strolling pace, “And what have you brought me here? Oh’my, you’ve gone and brought me a replacement—I’m sure I can get plenty of use out of the other one for awhile, but I can certainly find something to do with you, now can’t I?”

Struggling through more pain than Bahb had ever felt before in his life, like every muscle constricted, and every nerve-ending burning, he forced out the only words he could manage, “Leave… her… alone!”

“Interesting… you have quite the will on you there, now don’t you? I’m starting to see what it is Kk’rin sees in you. Perhaps Kk’vin’s lack of killing you wasn’t so unfortunate after all; I may in fact find some use for you as well.”

Bahb heard the man strolling back towards him, and stood before him. The man in black that he saw in his visions, and his dreams—it all began to flood his mind, the man that took Scarlet; the man that hurt her; the man called Father.

“But I’m afraid we just can’t have you running around and shootin’ up the place anymore. So, I’m gonna have to go ahead and put you in a bit of storage for now, until I can find a better means of dealing with you,” the man in black reached out a single finger towards Bahb and touched it to his forehead, and everything went black.

When Bahb came-to, he found himself in a small dark room, with a small cot along the back wall. There were no windows, just four solid metal walls, and a door, which was clearly locked. There was no clear means of escape.

Remember, you have ’til December to vote, until then, good luck to everyone with NaNoWriMo.

Skull

Skull (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Focusing on the transmission tether that would have Scarlet on the other side, Bahb decided that the path that would take them through the cemetery would be the more direct route. Though, Bahb wasn’t normally the superstitious type, the recent events of Evos and aliens has opened his mind to feeling at least a little paranoid as he directed the horse down the dark path.

“What is this place?” Soo asked in a tone that sounded vaguely like fear—considering her usual sterile tone, even this slight change was practically screaming by comparison, which only added to Bahb’s already growing paranoia.

“It’s a cemetery… it’s a place where people bury the dead to try to honor their memories.” Bahb explained.

Without warning, Soo suddenly slid off the back of the horse. The motion was so unexpected that Bahb wasn’t even sure if she actually jumped off or fell off, but as casual as nothing out of the usual had happened, Soo walked over to a headstone.

“Whoa, woman, what the hell are you doing?” Bahb said bringing the horse to a stop and sliding off himself.

Soo seemed to be transfixed by the stone in front of her. Bahb crouched down to try to make out the worn out carvings, but what one could only assume were once words, now only appeared as random lines and shapes. The stone itself was rather plain, just a basic rectangular base with a top that was most likely curved at one point, but was less so now. Bahb looked back up at Soo; her expression seemed to be studying the stone at a level that went beyond his own understanding, as if she somehow saw more than just the stone.

“Kyriakos’Dionysodoros’Eli’Mongkut’Jorje…” Soo blurted out.

“Um… gesundheit…”

Soo looked at Bahb as if just noticing he was there, “This marker possesses the essence of one of my people. His name is much older than my own, but I believe he was a scout that was long ago lost to us.”

“Well, that’s interesting…” Bahb uttered unsure of what else to make of the discovery, “I guess you can report this back to yer people as a bonus to yer mission—you’ll be in all the papers.”

Soo seemed to ignore Bahb’s comments as she crouched down at eye-level with the stone. She gently touched the tips of her fingers to the etchings, tracing their lines. It took Bahb a moment to process what he was seeing, but behind Soo’s movement a light glow started to form, as if her fingers were redefining the carvings. Bahb reached his own hand out towards the marker only to be held back by a field of electricity emanating off of it.

“What are you doing?” Bahb said trying to hold back the startled tone in his voice.

“Our people have our own ways of remembering those passed…” Soo said as if that should have explained everything. Soo’s motion stopped, and she rose up leaving the tombstone with a light electric glow and the smell of ozone, “We can continue on now, we have time…”

“Time? For what?” Bahb asked looking between Soo and the stone as he slowly stood, unsure what to make of anything that just happened. Soo simply turned and started back towards the horse, got back on and impatiently looked back at Bahb. “That wasn’t rhetorical, what the hell did you just do?”

“That will not be important to you if we stop delaying, now please, let us continue—or have you forgotten about your Kk’rin?” Soo replied with a stern tone that only added into the many other details of her odd behavior since entering the cemetery.

With the tether burning in Bahb’s brain, begging him to move forward, he had no choice but to agree, but that didn’t stop the question of what just happened from burning with almost as much strength. Defeated, Bahb shook his head, mumbling a “fine” and other expletives, mounted the horse and directed it back towards their path. As they reached the opposite gate, Bahb swore he heard the sound of groaning behind them that he tried desperately to pass off as just the wind.

Creeping in the horizon, a wall began to come into view. It was the most intimidating inanimate object Bahb had ever seen, and what made it worse, was the feeling in his mind was screaming on the other side.

“We must find a way in,” Soo said from behind him.

Bahb fought back the sick feeling growing in his gut, “I’d imagine going up to the front door and knocking wouldn’t be the best approach.”

“I do not perceive why we can not; they already know that we are here,” Soo stated pointing up towards a series of towers with look-out crannies in them.

“Yeah, that could be an issue…” Bahb said with his thoughts trailing off to calculate the best approach, “Well, we could just surrender, and let them take us in, or I have a rifle-ax, a pistol-blade, and whatever it is you do, so we could try fighting our way in and hope those towers don’t just pluck us off before I even draw.”

Just then, a voice started whispering in Bahb’s mind, “Bahb, where are you?”