Posts Tagged ‘post-apocalypse’

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The empire was at war, once again. The docking platforms were lined with gun-clad airships, loading to the brim with soldiers and merchs alike.

As I trudged towards my own transport of destruction, I viewed a display of two love-torn kids putting on a drama for the whole place to catch a show. I’ve seen the type before—the boy, so young, he probably never even touched a loaded pressure-rifle before, and would be lucky if his trembling hands don’t blow his own head off the first time—but he read the penny-store novels and rags, and his mind was filled with the idea of battle’s glory.

He tore himself from the girl’s fingers, one-by-one, with such a caricature of love-lulled look on his face. I was too far to hear, but I already knew the lines as if they were reading them off an offstage cue-card.

“I’ll think of you every night,” he’ll say.

“I’ll cry myself to sleep, worrying about you,” she’ll say, while whipping up alligator-tears to make sure it was believable.

And then he’ll say, in some off iambic pentameter, “Good-bye, my love, I will long for the day I will return to you, and feel your touch again. For now, my empire calls…”

He’ll be puking in a corner, crying for his mommy at the sight of the first battle flare.

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Rainwater harvesting systems channel rainwater...

Rainwater harvesting systems channel rainwater from a roof into a storage tank via an arrangement of gutters and pipes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months ago, a friend of mine, Catrina Taylor (whose books you should be reading), started her own indie-publisher, the Writing Network. It’s still in its very young stages, but it’s being lead by someone that knows what she’s doing.

As one of her draws, she started a Word of the Day Flash Fiction, and while I haven’t had the time to do much with it since she started (because I was writing a bunch of deadlines), I will try to get more into it (especially since I need something to give my flashes structure). Back for her opening, I did do one for the word “sunshine” (even though her rules were a max of 500, I kept my rules of 300):

The sunshine shot deftly through the boarded window directly at my eyes, prying me from my sleep—something that used to be the most irritating way of waking up, but now was a comforting sign that I survived another night.

I stumbled to my feet with my head still spinning of an uneasy sleep, and made my way for the door. After a couple minutes worth of unlatching locks, I let in the new day and walked out into its warmth. My first step was into a pile of ash splayed across my porch—I had to force it from my head for now—convince myself it was only dirt as it seeped between my bare toes.

I walked to the end of the yard where the overflowing rain barrel sat and splashed the sun-warmed water at my face. Staring down at my reflection, I saw a face so worn and tired I barely recognized it as mine.

Then the extra eyes glimmered just over my shoulder.

I barely had time to dodge as the draugr swiped at me from a shadowed corner. I jumped back as it lunged forward, and burst into white flame—instantly consumed by the sun, with only the traces of it ever existing left behind.

I staggered back for the shelter of my home and re-latched the door behind ‘til I could work the courage back up to venture out again. I slumped back to my tattered mattress, and let the beam of sunshine comfort me with warmth. As I lay, I felt the warm slowly turn to a subtle burn across my arm. I sat up, and saw, slightly beginning to smolder, a slight scratch—not much—but just enough. Enough to know this would be my last taste of sunshine.

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Selective Memory

Selective Memory (Photo credit: TranceMist)

When we last left Bahb in ‘Natural Selection: Elimination,’  he had just escaped imprisonment in the compound for the Church of the Evolution, released two shape-shifting telepathic aliens, and dove into a battle against the entire crazy cult.

A battle against the head of the Church, Father, was brought to an end by Bahb’s bolt, and Bahb’s Evo lover, Scarlet, was sliced in half by the shape-shifter, Soo’s unveiling of their deception—which gave further reveal of their true target, the new-born son of Bahb and Scarlet—believed to be even stronger than the typical Evo.

The Evo, Kk’vin, put aside their differences and sacrificed his life to give his power to Bahb, to grant him the temporary strength of a Super-Evo.

A final battle between Bahb and Soo unleashed, ending in Bahb’s victory, only to have the other alien, Gaun, escape after absorbing the essence of Father, and taking Bahb’s son just as Bahb’s evo-charge faded away.

With most of the Church of the Evolution slaughtered, and Gaun walking into the setting sun, a herd of alien-charged zombies are staggering towards the compound, killing everything in their path.

How will it continue? You must now choose the path… … …

What should Bahb’s son be named?

I seriously have no ideas for this one, so just post your ideas in comment and I’ll make another poll for this one some other time. Try to keep it within the name scheme I’m using so far—Kk’rin, Kk’vin, Bahb, Soo, Gaun, Jorje, etc. (it’s more fun).

And I was going to have you vote on whether or not I should keep POV changing as an option, but I’ve decided to just drop it myself, since all the times I’ve tried putting POV changing up, it got knocked down anyway. So, I’ll just accept that you’re all jerks, and I’m stuck in Bahb forever…

Ok, my brain is tired, so I’m going to cover my weekly post as my break, though, due to said cerebral fatigue, I’m going to keep the topic to the less thought out. I apologize in advance.

As mentioned, we are nearing the anniversary of the blog, and as such, the anniversary of ‘Natural Selection’—it was technically born on FB about a month earlier, but I’ll consider that the gestation period—it was born here, July 31, 2012. So the subject matter will be what to do about the continuation of ‘Natural Selection.’ I am really open to any ideas right now.

As it is, I still have the background story that I mentioned I wanted to do for it on the burner, but have done pretty much nothing with it (but it won’t really affect the way things continue anyway, it will just add depth and personal amusement—it will be taking on POVs of all the other characters I wanted to play with but voters wouldn’t let me, and since all those characters are now dead… well, it clearly won’t affect things). That will be done at some point, if I have to bum rush it out, I will (that seems to be in proper tradition of the rest of the story anyway), but I would really like to get it spewed by the anniversary date.

Now, what to do to continue the story—as mentioned, I’m very open to ideas. Should I continue pretty much the way it has so far, should I establish rules for me and/or voters?

Incase you’re new here, and you for some reason haven’t checked already, to bring yourself up to speed, please read ‘Natural Selection’ and see what I’m babbling about.

Another thing that’s been bugging me since near the end of the first one, should I do something different with title? ‘Natural Selection’ was a title that I came up with a couple parts in because it was simply a great play on words that worked for everything… story, concept, etc. But… the story is slightly shifted, most of the Church of the Evolution has been killed, though the Selection is still a thing. The final part got a subtitle of “Elimination’ a slight word play, that was actually one of the titles I was also considering, but decided it fit better there.

So, those are the questions. What if anything should be changed about ‘Natural Selection’ for the second volume?

This story is essentially a display of me blowing off frustration during a very dark point in my life (those who know me have ideas of the details, but I’ll spare the rest of you). It started off simply with the first image of the story—it ran through my head for almost three days straight, then I finally gave in and wrote it out assuming I would use it for something later… next thing I knew, there was a completed story in front of me. The name is another of my joyful plays with the letter ‘y,’ similar to Syn, it was something that I thought up a bit ago with little idea what it would be used for, but kept it around anyway. In addition, you will also get an extract from the novella version of this (yep, there’s one for this too… it starts with a short-story, then my brain just wants to see where else it can go).

Cÿd:
Red Stream, Wet Dirt, and Scars
Red stream

Red stream (Photo credit: Tim Green aka atoach)

I watch as the glistening of a red stream flows, merging into the horizon. I lay in the cold wet dirt—unblinking, hypnotized, I watch the stream of red until it appears as an ocean flowing on forever.

My daze is wavered by the stinging of my eyes—the sweat tainted with my filth pooling and dripping like tears, falling and disappearing into the wet dirt—into the red stream.

My body resists as I command it to rise. Every muscle flames as if to tear through my flesh, but I plant my hands into the wet dirt—into the red stream. I claw my fingers, stabbing deep—so deep, I can feel the squirming life below, crawling and exploring their way through my fingers. I push myself to my knees, my spine ripping with pain through my body. I slip to my elbows, drunken by the sudden erection of my head and the over-flow of endorphins—my body’s own battle to fight against the pain.

I push myself back up. I feel the handle of my blade still beneath my palm pushing against my hand until I am forced to grip my fingers around its leather wrap—a feeling so natural and familiar that I react to it by almost complete reflex. With my sword in hand, I rise to my feet as if powered by the feel of the cold steel as I clench it tighter, turning my knuckles to glow red to white to red.

I raise my eyes and gaze upon the man who stares down to me with such arrogance—as if he believed he had won before his sword was ever drawn. How long was I lying there since his last devastating blow—how long has he been standing there waiting for me to get back up—was he waiting for the sake of honor, or because of his own swelling arrogance.

His bare sun-darkened chest, covered in thousands of scars of random ages and depths—as if he had been fighting endlessly since the beginning of time without a moment of peace. So many battles that he must have won, even if at the edge of his own death, he came out with some deciding trait above his opponents that declared him victor—be it skill, speed, strength, or just constant luck. How many of those faces could he still have in his head—if I fall, will he remember me, or will I just be another unnamed blood-stain splattered on his sword and clothes.

The sun gleams off the steel of my blade forcing me to squint my eyes to focus. Staring my opponent dead in the eye until all I see is him—his every movement, the slight involuntary twitching of a muscle, the slow rise and fall of his chest, the blade of his sword gleaming as if in response to my own—two swords signaling each other with their secret language, screaming for their craving to meet with flesh and blood.

The sweat of my flesh turns to vapor as the noon sun stabs into me. The sensation of the heat tries to make me lazy, and force me to surrender to my wounds. I force away the cloud in my head, and feel the sudden coolness of a breeze that seemed to come out of nowhere, as if sent by the gods themselves as a sign—a sign to begin attack. And so I brace the balls of my feet deep into the wet dirt—into the red stream—and I lung forward in a swift charge.

I hold my sword across me in guard, prepared for any move he could make against me as I charge. He’s not moving—he’s still standing there with the same look of arrogance—is he really so confident in his ability to counter whatever I throw at him that he would just stand there unphased and wait for it to come—have those scars brought such experience; such sense of immortality—or does he wait for my own death dealing strike to end his life of steel, blood, and war.

It’s too late to change my attack now, it would risk putting me off balance, leaving me open for even the simplest of blows to become deadly—is that his plan, to throw me off, to force me into his game so that he can defeat me as easily as a three year old child. No, I can not falter my own strategy, I must force him into my game if I am to win.

I reach him in range of my blade, and I raise my sword swiping for his exposed neck. It was so sudden—a flash of light, and a split second of a sharp pain that throws me to my side. I look up at him from behind—he never moved, he still stands as he did before. And the sharp pain returns—I look down to see a red stream flowing into the wet dirt—slashed deep across my body from collar bone to my waist, tearing apart the more I twitch in response to the pain as the red stream flows into the wet dirt.

He finally turns and looks down at me, I look up at him and strainfully force out my words that tear at me with each breath, “How… you never moved… how…?”

He holds up his sword against the light of the sun, and a red stream flows from it raining into the wet dirt—as if to respond showing that he must have obviously somehow… moved—moved with the swiftness of the flashing lightning—there was never any thunder to follow but the sharp pain.

I stare into his eyes and see what I thought was arrogance. I stare until his face begins to haze and separate into distorted shapes, “Who… are you…?”

He crouches down, his sword held behind him—his movement so sudden, so fluid… or is it in my head. His lips move, but the words seem to take extra seconds to reach me, “I am the one who has sent you to the next life—you have no use of my name…”

“Your name… as I lye waiting for my end… as it is creeping unto me… please… tell me your name… so I may warn the spirits of my next kin…”

He simply smiles with a smirk of what I thought was arrogance. I see him move his hand to me—I think he laid it on my shoulder, but I can only barely feel the foreign pressure to indicate his touch. His hot breath blows across my ear and my mind slowly translates the vibrations in the air, “The spirits of your kin are soon to be gone from the world, for you are now the last… I am Cÿd… … …” His presents seems to simply fade away… or I never saw his movements.

His words echo in my head, “…the spirits of your kin are soon to be gone from the world…”—my eyes stinging as the sweat tainted with my filth pools and drips like tears, falling and disappearing into the wet dirt—into the red stream, “…for you are now the last…”

I watch as the glistening of the red stream flows, and merges into the horizon, “…I am Cÿd…” I lay in the cold wet dirt—unblinking, hypnotized, I watch the stream of red until it appears as an ocean flowing on forever… … … “…Cÿd…” … … …

Cÿd

Prologue: Red Stream, Wet Dirt, and Scars

Scars

Scars (Photo credit: svimes)

I remember it every time I close my eyes. The hot stink of the mid-summer sun burning down, casting gleaming rays through the dark smoke-filled clouds as they blanketed over the sky and burrowed through our farm.

I watched as a stream of the reddest blood I have ever seen flow in front of me, the sun gleamed off it in a way that made it appear somehow infinite—infinitely deep, and flowing on forever like a great red ocean.

I sat there under our table huddled with my knees as tightly to my chest as I could get them as I looked through the legs of a chair like the bars of a cage, and stared out our front doorway. The red stream branched slightly towards me as I watched it creep through the crevasses in the cold ground. I just sat there hypnotized by it, it was the only thing I could see, it’s the only sign of anything since I heard my father’s scream.

I’ve never heard such a sound from any man before. It took me a few seconds to even realize that it was human, then only to somehow recognize it as my father’s voice. The horrifying sound echoed through my head as I watched the red stream flowing through the cold wet dirt.

Where’s Mother—she went out after Father and my brothers… after the yelling and screaming started. Why didn’t she come back—why isn’t she saving me—why isn’t she coming and picking me up before the red stream reaches me?

As I was about to push out the struggling breath to cry out for her, I was instantly silenced by a sudden crash against the outer wall. A brief instant later, I saw a hand before the doorway falling limp—somehow falling with the grace of a dead leaf from an autumn tree. Slowly, I crawled from my sanctuary under the table with the sluggishness of a thousand hands holding me back—but I had to see, I had to see who’s hand lay lifeless before my eyes—I had to know.

I reached out my small hand to touch the large fingers covered with sprinkles of blood, and even before I could see around the corner of the frame, I already knew—I knew that gentle but somehow strong hand almost better than I ever knew my own. The hands that I saw throughout every day from my very first day of life—as they cleaned me, clothed me, fed me, and held me.

I crawled to see her face, her eyes still staring, struggling to cling to life. Her gaze suddenly jumped its focus over to me, and almost frightened me enough to fall back, but I resisted, She isn’t gone, she’s still going to get up and save me—I will still have her gentle touch to nurture me—she’s not gone.

I put my small hand into her hand that always seemed so large and gentle—so strong. I could feel the muscles of her hand as they struggled to move, but allowing her fingers to only barely twitch. As I stared into her eyes as they stared into me as I wished for her to take my small hand in hers, I heard myself crying out with partial words through my tears, “Mother, get up, get up! Why aren’t you holding my hand? Get up!” I order her with anger and tears over and over, “Mother, get up! Hold me!”

Her fingers still twitching in timid struggle, her eyes begin to pool with tears, filling until almost her entire eye was blurred with water. Spilling over, across her nose, and down her cheeks and streaming along the detailed lines of her lips until the stream found its way to open air. It fell in glimmering drops that seemed so small, but seemed so very big as they splashed into the cold ground, disappearing as the dirt soaked them in.

I watched her tears as they fell with my own until the ground turned to mud. I watched as her eyes stared into me—I watched as her twitching fingers stopped twitching—her eyes still staring into me, but somehow different… as if there were some candle burning somewhere inside them that was suddenly blown-out by a breeze. I knew… it took time for it to really hit me, for it to tell my mind to react, time that could have been a mere second, or several hours—I couldn’t tell. But still, from the very moment that I saw the light leave her tear filled eyes, I knew that she was gone. My small, frail hand still grasping at her lifeless fingers, pulling and nudging her as if to some how wake her, but I already knew it was useless. They say a child so young can’t possibly understand death, but I know that I somehow understood it in every detail from that very moment.

I sat there on my knees staring into her lifelessness until my tears turned hot—so hot I almost thought they’d burn my face. As my tears burned I clenched my small hands into fists—fists so tight that I could have pushed my fingers through my palms. That’s when I could somehow feel him there—feel his presence as if I could feel the weight of his shadow blanketed over me.

I turned behind me to see in the distance through all the mist of the smoke-filled darkness, the silhouette of a figure clenching a gleaming steal blade. I stared until my eyes focused and the smoke cleared, and I saw a man staring down to me with the coldest dark eyes I have ever seen. His bare sun-darkened chest completely covered in thousands of scars of random ages and depths. His sword and hands dripped with streaming rains of blood.

I saw laying around him, the edges and silhouettes of more bodies that I already knew before I ever checked them were the bodies of my father and brothers—their screams from before still echoing in my head.

If I told you I wasn’t afraid, you’d know I would be lying, but as I stared into those cold dark eyes, my anger rose to completely overshadow any sign of fear. The tears covered my face, burning even more into my soft cheeks, my fists clenched so tight that I could feel small streams of blood trickling off the sides as my nails stabbed into my palms so deep that when I later pried them open I found that I had my own blood-dabbed skin stuck beneath my tiny nails.

I stared into those eyes unblinking, ignoring the dry burning, waiting—waiting for him to come for me and take my life as he did my mother’s. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hopelessly fight him with my rage, with my only weapons being my small infant hands, allowing me to add to his collection of scars with tiny specks. Or if I wanted to simply lye down and let him plunge his blade into me like a skewered pig so that I could be released from this world and see my mother’s light-filled eyes again—feel her gentle hands again.

Just as my anger caused me to loose patience and I was about to yell out to the man covered in scars, a sudden gust of wind blew, bellowing a ball of curtaining smoke so thick that the scarred man became completely engulfed. His silhouette merged and faded into the cloud, and when the wind finally broke it up and blew it to mist, the scarred man was nowhere to be seen.

I looked around everywhere I could see, he couldn’t have possibly left sight completely in that short of time. Even if he was as fast a runner as my brothers, there was nowhere he could have hidden—he was just… gone.

And I was left sitting there, my rage returned to grief as I looked down at my mother’s lifeless eyes. Sitting there in the red stream—in the wet dirt—the image in my head of the man covered with scars.

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…

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?}