Random Musings #5.3

Previous entries: Random Musings #5, Random Musings #5.1, Random Musings #5.2



The sun had barely begun to blanket the land by the time I crawled out of bed. Still exhausted, buy my infiltration into the orphanage had forced upon me a poor sleep cycle. I know it would take some time to break the cycle. Yet I sense I would have to. It would depend on Chronos and Minerva’s plan.

After a quick bite to eat, I looked around for the three I was told to train. Having a gut instinct I would find them together.Along with the other rescued children as they adjusted to having freedom. Even if that meant the children would have to fight to keep it.

It took me ten minutes to find them in the quarters we use for housing guests.  The younger children still asleep in their beds. I had to wonder if that was a first for them. Yet the older ones were awake looking more recharged than I felt. Jaliki, Kali, Tyrose stood looking around. A bewildered look on their faces, like this, was only a dream.

Whistling sharply to get their attention, “You three,” pointing them out. “Follow me to the training room with haste. It is time to see what you are capable of. A light breakfast will be given to you once you are there. I’m not sure who is training the other seven of you. Minerva and Chronos will decide that” turning face before walking out. Hiding my slight guilt I had to be so demanding of them. Yet, the demand would ensure they would keep their freedom as they grew up.

Leading them down the stone stairs, the four of us entered the training area. Flipping on the dimmer that would keep us hidden as IU taught them to explore their gifts. Along with reducing what they were fully capable of for safety reasons.

Stepping into the middle of the open room, I waited as they took the remaining bites of breakfast. Trying to figure out the best way to them to come to terms with who they are, and what they are capable of doing.  Breaking through years of brainwashing by the order would be their biggest obstacle on the way to that.

Noticing they had finished eating I said “Each one of you will demonstrate something simple with your power. This will help give me an idea of where to start. I assume given your age difference that will vary. Start one at a time, and move down the line until everyone has gone once.” After a few minutes of indecision, I realized I would have to pick who would start. ” Tyrose will start since he appears to be the youngest.”

He jumped slightly out of surprise, giving the others a quick glance.  Taking a deep breath with his whole body several times, before taking several tentative steps. Almost as if he was afraid of who he truly was, afraid of losing himself to the power. This could prove to be more complicated than I originally thought. Especially if they all had this mental hand up. I may have to ask Minerva for her help if that proved the case.

Tyrose said “I’m ready to try,” taking another deep breath. Moving his hands to the center of his chest in the process. Letting his palms collide as if he was going to clap his hands. Remaining motionless as the room began to cool down. Drawing the heat towards him, causing a slight blue aura around him. Releasing it in a series of small concentric waves all around him. Allowing the heat to return to the room in the process.

Making some quick mental notes I said, “Next.”

Tyrose nodded before making his way back to his siblings. Kali looked at Jaliki before walking forward with reluctance. Glancing up at tyrose a little as he passed her.  Looking at them both as she took Tyrose’s spot. A mix of nervousness, fear, reluctance, and excitement covered her face.

Observing her closely I waited with her siblings. Kali’s gaze focused on the floor more than the three of us. It looked as if she rapidly reciting something under her breath. Holding back her siblings from interfering or aiding her, I began to notice the air was twinkling around her.  The twinkle began to expand as it intensified. Growing a few feet in seconds before solidifying into a dome. As the dome became solid the twinkle faded giving the dome a pale blue color. I notice Kali start to stumble some the more she willed it together.

I shouted “Kali let the dome fall. That is enough of a demonstration,” placing my hands on my side. “Go help her before she loses control.” Tyrose gave me a weary glance before running towards her. Jaliki was already a few steps ahead of him. Both of them acting out brotherly instinct, as they managed to pass through the dome.

I remained still watching all three of them. It appeared as if they were absorbing some the energy to ease Kali’s burden. As they did, the dome began to falter. Flickering out of existence as Kali’s knees buckled.Forcing her to the ground. She waved them both aside as she stood up.

With a slight protest, Tyrose helped her hobble back over. Jaliki remained there knowing he was up next. Remaining still until his siblings were out of harm’s way before he began. Focused more on the task ahead, than his sister’s health for the moment.

Giving me a brief glance before beginning his demonstration. With a quick breath, Jaliki began to create floating horizontal ring constructed of small balls around his waist. Each ball growing to the size of an orange. All of them shared a similar blue glow that his siblings possessed. With obvious ease he let them spin around him. Letting them float away from without losing the ring appearance.

I shouted “Enough Jaliki. End your demonstration and join your siblings,” wondering if Chronos’ knew more about these three then he revealed. I would have to learn about their pre-capture life before reporting to Minerva and Chronos. It may help explain something about what they each choose to manifest. Waiting for Jaliki to step within earshot before speaking more “All of you choose a different display, with some degree of ease. Suggesting to me you were trained before the Order of Holy Light found you. I’m curious to see if you can create anything more complicated but that will have to wait until I find out more about you childhood. Along with ages as well, it will determine a few things as you stay here,” believing Minerva and Chronos would like to know those as well.

Jaliki said “Our ages are easier to explain than our childhood. Kali is sixteen, Tryose is fourteen, and I’m twenty. The three of us were taken when I was fourteen. Our parents forced our powers to activate at a young age despite being in hiding. Dad always told me it was to keep us out of the Order’s grip. Those words fell flat when the order found us after they killed them. I try to avoid recalling that day, it just brings up painful memories.”

I nodded, managing to confirm some of my suspicions about them. Perhaps they had more control than it initially appeared. I doubted the Order would install dampeners in an isolated orphanage. Maybe Chronos and Minerva had strong rights if any of the other orphans had training before they were stolen from the streets.

The sound of encroaching footsteps from behind me, made me turn my head slightly. Noticing Genesis, Chronos, Minerva, and Pierce coming down the stairs.  I couldn’t tell if that was a bad thing or now. Did they watch the training session?”

“Truly you are Manitor’s children. Earolis and I will be working with the three of you at an accelerated rate. We will need you ready for upcoming events. To do this without killing us Chronos has come with a plan,” Minerva said as she walked forward, stopping a few steps away. “Now let us get you ready for combat. Pierce start the countdown right as Chronos creates the pocket dimension,” giving a quick nod to Chronos.

Random Musings #5.2

Previous Entries: Random Musings #5, Random Musings #5.1

Minerva, Borelis, Chronos, and I met half an hour after the others left. Inside a pocket dimension, Chronos created, where time passed slower compared to reality.

Chronos said “The number of gifted children you found in one orphanage is concerning. Despite how the order despises those like us, it seems improbable they were oblivious to the number of potential powers they had. Even our best sympathizers would find that almost impossible. Which means we need to either attack them once their alerted state fades, or we need to infiltrate them and gather intel. Both plans are not without risk. Borelis you reconned the facility before everything happened. Did you notice anything that seemed out of place? Something that indicated there is something coming on the horizon?”

Borelis said “I dod notice it looked like they were either excavating something or building something. It was oddly well guarded for some reason. I could search the archives to see if something happened there. However, I assumed it had something to do with their religious nothings then with heroes. Now it seems I may have been wrong.”

Chronos picked at his long gray beard, almost as if he knew something. It was easy to tell for me and the others, as he did it often. The only one who seemed oblivious to it was himself as if it was a habit.

“That is perplexing Borelis, be quick but through when you search our archives,” clearing his throat slightly. “Earios did you overhear or notice anything about this undercover,” he asked.

I responded “There were a few young children who disappeared for almost two full days when I was there.  Only to return depleted, looking more dead than alive. They were covered in bruises and had a few strange marks around their neck, forehead, wrists, waist, and ankles. I couldn’t get close enough to tell but they didn’t look like burns. The matriarch and other members of the order didn’t care much about the marks. I asked a few of the other orphans about them only to nonsense in return. Yet they all seemed afraid of getting picked themselves,” wondering if I would end up returning to the orphanage soon.

Minerva said “Given both of your reports, I’m starting to wonder if an old nemesis of ours is still alive. Earios did you see who picked out the children at all,” tapping her fingers against her hand impatiently.

I responded “Barely, the goons usually grabbed the children. The only aspect saw outside of them was a scarred, old, crippled looking person in a stained white coat. Whoever he was, there were always guards around them. I assumed he was someone of importance to the order.”

Minerva exchanged a lingering glance at Chronos.  Almost as if they were having a mental conversation with someone, or something relating to their past. In silence, Borelis and I waited for them to say something. A plan, orders, anything to give me a sense on where to procede from here.

After five minutes of complete silence, Minerva said “Borelis search the archives for anything about that location. Earois get some rest and a shower. You will be training Jaliki, Kali, and Tyrose once you wake. Those three are stronger than they know, and it is time for them to learn. At some point tomorrow, you will be summoned once we have a plan and more information on that facility.”

Chronos nodded destroying this time bubble he created. “The other childer will be trained soon. Both of you try to keep an eye on them when you can. You never know how much the Order beat into them, ” dismissing us once again with a wave of his hands.

 

WEP 2017 Bridges contest

The concept of bridges is something that manages to combine the notions of being literal, and figurative. Which does allow for a lot of creative ideas to sprawl forth in either direction. Yet at the same time, it manages to instill a sense of journey, adventure, and discovery in the process. Below is my entry, which does manage to instill a sense of discovery. While managing to reveal a sense of history, and myth. Enjoy my entry, title A Bridge best left Forgotten. june2bbadge


A Bridge best left Forgotten

Feeling the cold piercing breeze against my entire body, I stared at what I hoped was the last bridge. Watching as the wind whipped the old wooden rope bridge back and forth. Shooting off the layers of snow and ice in the process. The snow and ice lingered with a slight twinkle as fell into the surrounding chasm. Pushing myself forward through the heavy I approached the bridge carefully.

Making a quick silent prayer to the sky, as I grabbed the slippery ice covered rope. Taking slow cautious steps onto the old wood. Hearing it creak with every other step. The other bridges that got this had done that, but it was still an unnerving noise. Taking small breaths off the oxygen tank I continued forward with caution. Keeping a tight grip on the rope as I stepped forward. Forcing myself to keep looking forward to the cavern at the bridge’s end, as the wind used the bridge and I like a rag doll. Slowing my hesitant pace even more.

It felt like hours had passed before I entered the shelter of the cavern. Knowing that keeping myself warm would easier without the wind cutting into me. With caution, I turned on the small light and my flashlight, before moving far from the cave’s entrance. The light illuminated only a few feet in front of me. If the ancient map I unearthed months ago, this was the entrance to an ancient forgotten city. Taking a deep breath, I took several cautious steps into the cave. Stopping as I almost collided with something. Shining my light on it I saw several intricate carving in the merged stalagmite and stalactite. The carvings showed a strange looking bipedal creature. There something disturbing about the carved figure. Long muscular arms flowed from its torso, ending in twisted four digit talons. Its face was a thing of twisted horror. With two sets of four saber like teeth protruded from the statue. Along with the four diamond shaped empty eyes, that stared out at me. Seeming to follow the light as I inspected it. Carefully I moved around it. Noticing that three almost perfect copies of it were carved all around it.

Trying to get away, I explored the cave further. Seeing more strange bipedal carvings were etched on the wall. Some had almost bird-like features. Others looked more like some amphibious reptile monster. Strange almost alien looking hieroglyphics rested between every carving. I couldn’t even decipher them, as they bared no resemblance to any ancient languages I studied. Within seconds of my examination of them, my light sources began to flicker. Hastily I looked around for a brazier. Finding one on the other side of the cave. Running towards it, I fumbled around for the matches in my coat pocket. Pulling them out within a step of the brazier, as my lights died. I managed to light a match tossing it where the brazier was.

With a stroke of luck, I managed to ignite the brazier. Forcing it to burn an eerie bluish flame.Pausing myself, I took several breaths off the oxygen tank. Ignoring the strange chill that was starting to creep into me. Trying to shake off the chill off, I glanced around for another brazier. Finding two more positioned at the center and left the end of the cave. I knew lighting them with the thin air was impractical. Yet the more this chill clawed into me, I was thinking they were necessary if I wanted to starve out this chill. Walking over to the center I lit it quickly, before moving to the next one. Tossing another lit match into it before, feeling at ease. That is when I noticed the flames were a different color. The left one produced a dark green flame, as the middle one produced a flame of unearthly red. It was odd to have the braziers each burn a different color but, I assumed there wasn’t any ill intention from it. There was little chance of me making it back down this late to report my strange discovery. Resigning myself to rest here I made a quick camp near the middle brazier. Hoping the flame would keep me warm as I slept.

That night haunting dreams fell upon me. Filling my mind with nightmarish visions of the cavern and its carvings. Fear alone forced me from my slumber. Only to see the carvings had created eldritch figures. The figures seemed to be dancing around a ghastly white flame. Somehow the light was being emitted from something within the first set of carvings. They seemed to be not to notice me. Forcing myself not to scream as I watched curiously. Becoming quickly memorized by the spectacle. That is when I began to hear a chant. The chant echoing around the chamber in an indecipherable language made of up clicks and growls. Yet the more I listened to the more I began to understand it was more than that. Somehow that managed to bring me their attention.

Finally letting out a pent-up scream, that echoed around the cavern. Noticing a shift in the eldritch beings’ expressions as they approached me. Their hands reaching out with a twisted, hateful glare penetrated through me. With twitchy hands, I searched my bag for my pistol. The chanting resumed filled with intense anger, as I grabbed the coated handle of my weapon. Firing blindly at the approaching ghosts, hoping to have some effect.

It didn’t take long for me to get down to my last bullet. Deafened by the echoing sound, I realized why the map to this place was buried.This was not a place for man, but of demons and monsters. Resigning to save myself from a fate possibly worse than death, I put the barrel at my temple. Firing my last bullet into my head without hesitation. Letting death’s hand save me from them, and keeping this place lost to time.


Word count: 990

Critique level: Full

Random Musings #7.3

Previous entries: Random Musings #7, Random Musings #7.1Random Musings #7.2


Dusk had fallen as the storm raged on. Putting everyone on high alert, including the unarmed members of my group. I had strong doubts they would be willing to give us our weapons back. Despite how this night was perfect hunting weather for those things. With plenty of people currently sheltering here, I assumed they would be drawn here by instinct. Hopefully, if a few of those things approached, some would realize arming was practical if everyone wanted to survive.

With stiff movements, I moved out of the bed I was resting on. Looking at how they spread my group out around the resting area.  Given how we were practically strangers, it made sense. They had enough humanity to shelter us, but enough intelligence to keep out group separated in case our intentions turned hostile. I would have done the same thing if I were them.

Lightly jabbing Max who was barely asleep in the bed beside mine. Barely flinching he leaned up looking at me bewildered. With a roll of his shoulders, he asked: ” What is it, Jack?”

I asked “Have you seen the older gentlemen who led us inside here,” realizing I had yet to learn his name. Along with any of the names of his group, outside of Jet and Jillian’s aunt.

Max said “Last time I saw him he was with the kid’s aunt. Not sure what they were talking about, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes with us when we leave,” swinging his feet over the bed. “We should find him, Jack. See if we can do some work or something. Earn our stay, and possibly their trust if this storm lasts.”

It wasn’t a surprise Max and I had a similar thought about our stay. Sliding my worn shoes on, I forced myself to wake up.  Waiting for Max to finish tying up his boots. Slinging my pack onto my back out habit. Feeling oddly empty without either one of my weapons.

Without being told Max did the same, before getting up. Helping me search for Jet and Jillian’s whose aunt I doubted would leave their side without a reason. I assumed I would find the old man with her, or she would know where he was.

The more we looked around, I realized this old man’s group was larger than I expected. It was my guess they broke the group into twelve-hour shifts. Which was practical if my estimate of somewhere between forty to fifty people was accurate.

After about twenty minutes of searching, we found all four people together. In what I assumed was once part of the pediatric ward. Judging from the numerous faded coloring book pages that acted as wallpaper. Jet looked up first as we approached. With a tooth filled smile, I had never seen. There was something slightly unsettling about it. He tapped the others on their left shoulder to alert them they had some company.  Within seconds of each other, they all looked up.

The old gentlemen asked, “Is there something on your mind gentlemen, or are you here to socialize?”

I responded “We are here for two reasons. The first being is there anything we can do here to earn the shelter you are generously supplying. Secondly, since we were never properly introduced. My name is Jack, and the man beside me Max.”

The old gentlemen chuckled some before speaking, “That was impolite of me. My name is Martin, or it was. I have heard some of my group calling me something more religious in meaning. More because I have kept us alive for so long in this world. Yet that is a story for another time. I imagine we can find ways members of your group can do. There are a few things that come to mind but I will have to discuss some of them with my council first. It was nothing personal but few decisions are made by me alone. Keeps things as democratic and civil for the most part. If you don’t mind doing some digging, there is supposed to be more medical supplies around this area. I sent two members of my group almost three days ago to find it. They have yet to return. I want you to find them and the supplies. Bring them back alive if you can. Their lives are important, the supplies are of secondary importance. Given what is going around us all lives are. Just be careful, there are parts of this hospital that were sealed off before this. I know not why but I imagine it is not pleasant. If you would wait here, I will have someone fetch your melee weapons. They will be taken back once you return,” standing up with a slight grunt. Giving us no time to respond as he sprinted off.

Something about him giving us no time to respond was suspicious. It made me wonder if he knew more then he was telling us. Even him sharing details that parts of this hospital were blocked off was strange. Why would a hospital seal parts of itself off in an epidemic that turned the world into its current state? What would be waiting for us if we entered past the safe areas? Would we find the truth about this strange virus’ origins, or something much more sinister waiting for us?

 

 

Random Musings # 5.1

Previous entries: Random Musings #5


With great convincing and a slight show of force, we finally moved. Arriving at a forgotten underground structure, that was used by our predecessors. I could recognize the look of fear on the rescued children as we approached the hidden structure. Anemoi, Borelis, and Gibil looked at to me as the children stopped walking. It seemed a late realization, I was the closest thing these children had to a mother figure. Which seemed to be another strange thing to happen in my odd life. Turning to face the children, I gathered my thoughts with haste.

“I know the last thing any of you want is to go back underground. Which is understandable but, you have to trust us. This place belonged to our predecessors, in the last age of heroes. It kept them safe as they protected the world from itself. Now we use if for a similar purpose, please inside with us. We kept you safe and gave you freedom. All of us just want to be sure you’re safe from them. We can do that here,” I said. Trying to instill a sense of trust and sincerity with my tome. I just hoped they would believe me.

The young man who I followed out of the makeshift tunnel stepped forward. Looking at the other children, staying quiet like before. I knew they were capable of speaking, that much I was certain of.  Yet it gave me the late realization I didn’t know their names. We will have to do introductions once get inside. Get that over with, since there were at least six more of the resistance inside. Waiting for us to enter.

With a slight grunt, the young man finally said, “All of us followed them here with only a promise of freedom. She has kept that everyone. Might as well follow then inside. Better than heading back to that place,” pointing back into the distance.

They all looked at him unsure if they wanted to continue. Knowing the penalty for escape, I doubt they had much choice. With reluctance and slow steps, they made their way towards the structure.  I fell in behind them. Letting the others led them in, through a hidden door. Shutting the door behind me once, I was inside.

Borelis led them to the large open area in the front room. Shooting out a pulse of light at the ceiling. Where a piece of technology built by Borelis’ grandfather distributed the light.  Revealing the other six were sitting on old folding chairs waiting for us. Gazing past Gibil, Anemoi, Borelis to the ten children we rescued. Slightly surprised we had found that many, I guessed. Minerva and Chronos the two oldest resistance members approached the children. Examining each child with an intense silent gaze.

Minerva said “I wish I could tell that your lives will be simple and carefree but that would be a lie. As fugitives from the Order of Holy Light, you will have to fight for your existence. Yet, there is a key difference from your lives as orphans. You can use the natural gifts that flow through your blood without fearing punishment. In time proper control will be taught, as you stay with the resistance. Now for some brief introductions. You may call me Minerva, the man who also examined you is named Chronos. Frigar, and Pierce are the two on the left. The two on the right are Gensis and Lauriel. The ones who rescued you are Borelis, Gibil, Ameloi, and Eurios. Get to know all of us all as you develop your powers. You will work those here and many more of the resistance in time. Now please, introduce yourselves and describe your powers if they are activated.”

They exchanged quick glances at each other. Trying to figure out who would speak. From what I observed, I believed one would be speaking for all of them. Which seemed inefficient to me unless one of them had telepathic capabilities. Given how they kept close to each other at the orphanage it was a rational assumption.

Not to my surprise, the young man who was their makeshift leader stepped forward some. Looking to the others before speaking, “My name is Jalik. The names of my two siblings are Kali and Tryose,” pointing them out to the group. “We all share the gift if energy manipulation. The girl on the left end is named Sycar, who possess mental gifts and foresight. Next to her are twins Aulir and Triala. I’m not sure what their gifts are but Sycar can feel they posses turn. Pyrce the one to my right is able to manipulate and create fire. Gerek and Refleri are the two mimics who stand next to Pyrce. Lastly is Virse whose powers  I don’t know. That should be all of us, I think.”

Chronos said “that is an interesting mix of powers amount you children. Gibil, Ameloi give them a quick tour of this place. Along with food and drink if needed. I would suggest you get your rest when you can children. Borelis, Earois you will give Minerva and me a summary of the mission while that is being done. Those who are left make sure our permiter defenses are ready. I doubt they were followed but just encase,” dismissing everyone with a wave of his hand.

Random Musings #6.2 

The sanitization machine and the inter-language translator were quickly removed after a smooth landing. They were efficiently setup within a matter of minutes by our early abductees. With a hiss of air, the landing ramp was deployed. Hitting the ground with a thud as the metals met. Giving humanity its first real glimpse of extraterrestrial life. Along with giving them a glimpse of the larger universe they were becoming a part of.
With practiced precision, the armored monochromatic guards were the first ones were to depart the ship. Instilling a sense of wonderment in the crowd as they took their spots. As the ship Captain and the chosen ambassador of my people, I was the first to depart. Taking my place in the center, awaiting others to follow a pre-planned arrangement. All of those on the drop ship had done this lineup system multiple times over. Giving the entire motion a military-like precision as they fell to my left, right, and behind me. I watched the crowd carefully as I waited. Noticing that humanity had a sense of uniformity. There were some differences in skin color, weight, and several other things. Yet, they all shared a sense of formal  dress. Even those who peered behind what I believed were cameras shared this style of dress. Which led me to infer humanity had realized this moment was historic for their species.
Approaching the multi-language translator, I noticed a hush fall over the crowd. Leaning into the microphone, I said, “My name is Commander Zsurai. The other ambassadors will introduce once I’m done speaking. On behalf of the races of the Galatic Accord, welcome earthlings. Today marks the beginning of your cosmic future since your leaders’ decided to join us. That means a great many things for Earth and for the cosmos itself. For those who helped create this landing zone, you are the first of your people we extend an offer to join us once this meeting concludes. In time many more humans will be allowed to join us. Seeing things they have only dreamt of close up,” looking out for the crowd’s reaction. “In time, with aid from us, you will create your own vehicles of galactic travel. For now, I will open this meeting up for questions your leaders want to be answered, before letting my fellow ambassadors speak,” almost instinctively knowing they would all have questions. Some I could answer, and those that would be answered in time as the Galaxy welcomed them.
Minutes had passed before the questions started being shouted from the crowd in a chaotic manner. With slight amusement, I waited for them to calm some, as they organized their questions. I noticed that they were passing their questions on small pieces of paper to a singular woman. Upon a closer inspection, I noticed she had a small group of eight people around. Some looked to be her protectors as human weapons were visible on their hips. Others looked more advisory in their role as a small headset hung from their ears. With grace she stood up, causing the crowd to slowly fall into silence. She was followed closely as she walked forward approaching the translator that was placed nearby. Taking a few minutes familiarizing herself with it, before she began asking questions.

Random Musings #7.2

About twenty minutes passed before all of us were searched, and let pass the front door. The doors were shut behind us forcefully. Being locked and barricaded from the inside.  I watched as they took our weapons to a place I couldn’t see. In silence, we were led up the dimly lite, trash littered staircase.

Being stopped after ascending three flights of stairs. The door to the fourth floor was guarded by three people. Their collective gaze seeing through the old man to us. Giving us a through visual examination before looking to the old man. Their expression becoming changing to something akin to mystified. Almost as if they were trying to figure out why we were let inside.

“Let them enter, they can’t do us any harm. Their weapons were taken when they entered, as they seek shelter from the rain,” feeling Jet push his through us as the old man spoke.

Approaching the African American women guarding the center of the door. His sister following at a slight distance behind him. The woman’s unblinking gaze lingered on both of them for several minutes.

Barely above a whisper, Jet asked “Aunt Beth?”

The woman blinked several times before hunching down some, looking directly at Jet. Pulling him against her tight, tears beginning to leak down her face. Speaking through her tears, “I figured you and your sister were long dead,” letting Jet go some. “Where are my sister and her husband,” still crying a little.

Jet lingered as he looked over his shoulder to his sister. Jillian shook her head left to right, before looking down at the floor.

The woman sighed, motioning Jillian forward with her left hand. With cautious steps, Jillian walked forward. Her gaze barely looking up from the floor. The woman chuckled softly before pulling Jillian forward. Embracing them both making for an oddly happy sight in this miserable world.

The other two looked at her skeptically for a few moments. Shifting their mutual gaze to the older gentlemen that let us in. With a simple motion of his hands, they moved aside. Pushing open the door to let us through. With a hand on both Jillian and Jet’s shoulders, she led them inside. Motioning us forward the rest of us followed suit. I assumed he would follow us inside once we all entered.

Glancing around the room we entered, I noticed the room was overly filled with beds. A few had people laying in them, the sheet around them stained red in spots. The other occupied beds had at least one person watching over them closely. Their gaze temporarily moving to us as we entered. A small handful of people seemed to be sleeping in the beds on the far left side of the room. Unaware we even enter the room as strangers.

Pushing his way through us the old man took three steps forward. Giving the others in his group a slight glance, with a shift of his head. Turning around to face us, he addressed us all “These strangers mean us no harm. We have stripped them of their weapons for everyone’s protection. I brought them inside to grant them shelter from the approaching storm. Any suspicions you have about them are understandable, but they will stay silent. The storm will raise our tensions enough without having to worry about skirmishes between us. Please behave yourselves everyone, and we can focus on our common goal. Our mutual survival.”

The skeptical gazes of his group softened some as his speech concluded. Given how his group respected him, I had to wonder what he did before this. Perhaps he was a civic leader or someone of authority. Given how he carefully worded things, and his resistance giving civility away.  I believed it was a reasonable guess, despite his earlier suspicions about us. As the storm forced us inside, I would have plenty of time to find out. For now, I just wanted our group to rest some. Safe from the monsters, as the storm raged on outside us.

 

Random Musings #7.1

About walking for about three hours, we stopped to rest our legs. Along with trying to get a better idea of our current location. Guessing we had walked about eight and a half miles, or so. Which judging from the Old Fort Memorial we were maybe four or five hours from being on the outskirts of the city.  I wasn;t sure if we would be safer there or not. If we could at least get to the highway on ramp, chances are we could escape the city. Maybe see if we could find a couple useable vehicles to accelerate things. Chances were the country areas would be safer, I hoped.

Ten minutes passed before we resumed moving. Following the northwest road, that should lead us out the city. Keeping a vigilant eye for signs and landmarks. Both would be necessary if we wanted to keep on out current direction.

Walking about another mile or so, before someone took a singular shot towards us. Quickly using parked cars as a makeshift cover, we hid. Watching the group and myself do a quick scan of the area. Weapons ready to fire if necessary. The pungent scent of gunpowder lingering in the still air.

From above us a loud voice shouted “Are you with them? Those murderous bastards who roam what remains of society. Killing man and monster alike for reasons, I would rather not know.”

I yelled back “No,”  still trying to figure out where he was talking from. “Please don’t shoot,” lowering my weapon as I stood up. “We are just people trying to adjust to the hostile nature of our new reality,” taking late notice we were pinned down withing walking distance of a hospital. Noticing someone had attached planks from the hospital’s roof to adjacent buildings. From here I couldn’t tell if they were recently used or not, but they looked secure at least.

About two minutes later a door slammed out.  Out of instinct I hastily grabbed my rifle, aiming it at the hospital’s now open doors. Two dirty, unshaven young men walked out first. Almost guarding the older pepper bearded bald man between them. Both had old beat-up bolt-action rifles in hand and shared similar physical traits. Yet the one on the left side had grayer in his hair than the other. A taller fellow walked out behind them, dressed in military clothing. Something similar to an M-16 was strapped over his shoulder but seemed to be held loosely. I couldn’t tell who was in charge but, I sensed I would find out soon enough.

The one with the peppered beard stepped forward. With a great slowness, he looked around. Trying to figure out where the rest of my group was hidden. Clearing his throat some, he said “That shot was an unfortunate but necessary uncivil act. Still, that was a horrible way to make a first impression. We have had recent violent encounters with vicious marauders. Given how they act, I doubt they do anything but shoot first. Now if you would be so kind as to reveal the rest of your group, please.  We can be civil about things and move past the shot.

His oddly polite behavior surprised me. Snapping my fingers twice in rapid succession. My quick signal raised my group from cover within seconds. Most had a tight grip on their weapons. Ready to attack if necessary.  Suspicious and surprised at the old man, like I was.

I said “These people are the first friendly people we have seen in months. Please lower your weapons,” hearing a loud thunderclap overhead. “We should move inside before the storm comes. Wait out the storm if these strangers allow, knowing a heavy storm comes, the creatures would awaken early.

The older gentlemen said “We will give you shelter but you will be required to surrender your weapons upon entry. It is for our protection as well as yours,” before being interrupted by another thunderclap. “Make your decision with haste strangers. This world has seen enough death already.

I looked at the faces of my group, judging their reactions carefully.  Surrendering our weapons was something that was an almost unimaginable sacrifice.  It came down to choosing survival or trying to last out the rain. Waiting to be possibly found, and brutally killed by those monsters.

With reluctance, I said, “We will surrender our weapons but we will be keeping our packs and ammunition on us.”

With quick glances at his men, he waited about a minute before speaking “Fair enough. The two guards at the door will take your weapons when you enter. They will be returned when you leave. Please follow me, my men will take up the rear,” turning around and beginning to walk. Every few footsteps he made being followed by another thunderclap. The storm beginning to sprinkle some as we followed.

Random musings #7 

“This world has become a nightmarish hell. Everyone struggling with their own humanity as they try to survive. Not just from each other but the virus’s monsters creations. I had seen first hand how the virus radically altered the dead. Yet I still heard constant whispers of scientists who had managed to alter the virus.  Giving the mutated virus to volunteers, and the volunteers surviving the infection’s transformation. Managing to retain their humanity. If the whispers were true, I believed humanity had a grim chance of salvation,” writing down some of this hellish world’s history in a tattered notebook. Carefully placing it on the windowsill, I peeked through a crack in boarded up windows. The sun was beginning to rise in the east. Meaning safer travel was coming soon.

Setting my rifle down, I went to wake who remained of my small group. We had lost so many before we found our current shelter. It was an oddly even split from infection, people get lost and from other human survivors. I woke Jillian and Jet first since they were close by. “Dawn is coming, which means we need to get moving. The others aren’t coming like we agreed. Go wake everyone else and be quick and quiet about it.”

Jillian stretched with a slight grunt before getting off the floor. Jet watched her some before doing the same. Since the group found them, I had rarely seen them apart. Neither one of them spoke of their life before this, but I thought they were related. They both shared some physical characteristics, like charcoal skin, green eyes and dark black hair. Yet, Jet was at my guess two years younger than Jillian. Once I was aware they were up and moving, I went to resume my watch. Peering back through the makeshift wood barricade, that was on all the windows. Watching closely as dawn started to blanket the land.

If any infected were nearby that would be seeking shelter soon. However the virus altered its host, it made them violently sensitive to sunlight. To a point, it was a lethal weapon against them. From the few, I saw through my scope they didn’t look like the vampires of myth. Instead, they bore an odd resemblance to gargoyles. Complete with large leathery wings, sharp claws and fangs, and dark gray almost stone colored skin. Yet, for reasons unknown to me the one I saw was on all fours. Appearing blind as it seemed to sniff at the air with its twisted triangle nose, trying to find my scent.

Jillian tapped me on the shoulder, breaking my thoughts. The others were standing in the doorway, blocking the kitchen. Looking haggard and hopeless but alive for now.

I whispered, “It appears safe to leave. Do a quick search for anything we can use, and we will leave just be safe. Try not to leave anything behind. Each one of you knows what to look for. Now go, and be quick. We are burning daylight,” watching them scatter with haste. Regretting some how they forced me into this leadership role. With a slight stretch of my back, I began packing my stuff. Ready to move ever closer, to the fabled paradise called Delubrum. Assuming it actually exists somewhere in the frozen tundra of uppermost Canada.

After about three minutes everyone had returned. I couldn’t tell if they had success or not. It would have to wait till later, like always. We needed to get moving with haste. I knew I wouldn’t have to tell them to follow me. Carefully moving myself through the adjusted barricade through the front door. Heading towards the street with my rifle tight in my grip. Keeping a constant eye on the surroundings, as we moved.

Random musings #6.1

Feeling Earth’s collective gaze, as I noticed the landing space for our drop ship was being activated after a successful test run. The drop ship was waiting, barely attached on the lowest level of the ship. Holding one ambassador from each race of the Galatic Accord, and their escort parties.  Along with a group of fifteen guards, as a precautionary measure. Including the two pilots, a mechanic, and a gunner that brought the ship up to 60 passengers. Which given the ship’s size was almost a skeleton crew. Two of fighter jets would accompany our descent down.

With a forceful release of the holding crane, we began our descent. Our jets followed our departure swiftly. In slight awe, of the strange beauty, the Earth possessed from this view. Memorizing the details this view provided as our descent down began. Feeling the artificial gravity turn on as the ship began to fall through the atmosphere. The ship getting slightly warmer as the thermal shielding worked.
After about ten minutes of free-fall, I heard the engines turn back on. Feeling a little jump, as the pilots worked on leveling the ship out. Before we could plot a proper course toward the landing zone. With patience, and mental preparation I collected my thoughts. Making sure my speech would have the proper impact, as I made myself once more part of history. Bringing my tenth planet into the Galatic Accord. Even though I wondered to myself, how history would see me after my death. Would I still be the butcher I was in my youth, or I would I become a being of peace?
Something rapidly flying past my window broke my focus. While I knew the two escorting jets could handle things, I had to wonder what flew past us. Perhaps humanity had managed to put aside its own differences when our offer began. If that was the case, humanity was less primitive than their violent history suggested. In dire filled silence, I watched with curiosity to see if that jet was hostile.
Several minutes had passed before the landing zone had begun to appear on the horizon. Almost blinding me as the sun reflected off the luminous structure. They must have coated the trapezoidal pyramid like structure with their version of star panels. That was clever given the power output we required, from the few things that would be deployed upon landing. All of which our early abductees would understand and hook up before any of us would set foot on this planet. It was another necessary precaution to make sure our party would survive the landing. Along with being understood by Earth’s dominant race, humans.

Despite Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere which would allow the various species aboard the drop ship to breathe without issue. Given the industrial nature of humanity, the air would also be filled with chemical based pollutants and biological contamination. That could prove problematic, and inadvertently lethal to us.  Which is why despite having the early abductees build in a strong filtration system, the air would have to be sterilized. Before I would allow any of us to depart. Our pilots would be the ones in charge of dropping the tech that did that. Along with a few other pieces of our technology, that would ensure our safety from both pollutants, human weaponry, and the greatest danger of all. A failure to be understood.