Tag Archives: short story

Flash Fiction: Twisted Love

This week’s challenge is pretty open ended.  Twisted love, probably in honor of V-day.  This story actually relates to the back story of a novel I’m currently working on.  Its how the parents of one of main character’s meet.  I had a lot of fun working on it.

Beautiful Mistake

 

“I wonder where I can find something to eat,” a handsome man with white skin and flaming mane muttered.  He leaned up against a pine tree rubbing his belly.  He braced his arms back to push off the tree, when he froze.

 

A young woman with dark hair and eyes walked down a dirt pathway going down the hillside.  Her robe was undyed linen and her only adornment was a carved, open book on a plain string around her slender neck.  She grasped a book in her hand, as she sang softly to herself.

 

“A Priest of the Unbidden,” he said.  He shifted in his chainmail and stepped forward.  “Excuse me. Do you know where there is somewhere to eat?”  His voice was smooth, and seductive.

 

The woman stopped and stared.  A blush came to her cheeks.  “Yes,” She said, averting her eyes.

 

The man winced.  He hadn’t meant to use his powers, but he hadn’t learned how to turn them off.  “Where do I need to go?”

 

The woman tipped her head. “Down by the Heart of Thought,” She looked away chewing on her lip.

 

The man mulled this over. He knew that meant the place where Priests of the Unbidden lived, but he didn’t have any interest in the bland food they ate.  “Is there a tavern or café there?”

 

“Yes, nearby in the village,” She said her face turning more crimson by the second.

 

He knew it was because his power was going more and more each second they spoke.  “I’m Voracan, by the way, what is your name?” He asked, hoping it might help offset his powers.

 

She bowed with a stiff movement.  “I’m Lillian High Priest of the Unbidden.”  A bit of the blush faded from her cheeks.

 

“Could you show me to the tavern, then?” Voracan thought he might be able to find it, but there seemed to be an awful lot of winding pathways here.

 

Lillian nodded, and started down the path.  For the first few moments the only sound was soft cooing of a bird.  “Why did your parents give you a name in demonic?”

 

His face scrunched up.  He knew he should have come up with a name that didn’t reveal what he was.  “I’m a demon.”

 

She whipped around to stare at him, all color draining from her face.  “Are you serious?”  Her hand went to clasp around the book symbol.  “Stay back.”

 

He shook his head.  “I was thrown out of Silt.  I’m no threat to you.”

 

“Do not lie to me, demon.”  Lillian’s voice turned hard.  Her eyes blazed with passion.  “We of the Unbidden have no power other than our knowledge.  I know all about the lies, and tricks demons play to gain humans to torment.”

 

Voracan was fascinated by the change.  When she wasn’t being cowed by his presence she was a strong woman.  “You are right. I have power to harm you. “He gave her his best disarming smile. “It would be more accurate to say I would not.  I was thrown up for sparing a human, not for harming one.”

 

“How do I know you were tossed out?” Her nostrils flared as her face tensed.  “Anyone could call themselves forsaken, it means nothing.”

 

He acknowledged that was true.  Then, he let go of his appearance that made him look human.  His skin turned deep ash gray, large horns curled from the side of his head, eyes the color of rubies and hair of living flame flowed down his back.   He knew in his form his features grew finer and whatever was more attractive to the viewer.  “I wouldn’t bother with words.”

 

“Seducer,” She swallowed hard.  “Why are you bothering with words?”

 

“I don’t like what I am. I never have. I want to live a normal, human, life.”  That’s all he really wanted.

 

The woman eyes narrowed and her grip tightened on the symbol of the Unbidden.  “And, how do I know that this isn’t some scheme to lower my guard so you can seduce me?  I’d be a prize wouldn’t I? The High Priest of the Unbidden.”

 

Voracan figured it was true.  High Priest was an eternal virgin untouched, and always raised with in the order.  “Why are they letting you wander around on your own?”

 

She huffed.  “I’m hardly wandering around on my own.  This is a short walk from the Heart.  You are the interloper here.”

 

Voracan couldn’t help it, he grinned.  She was adorably irritated. “Why are you walking by yourself, then?”

 

“As if it is any of your business, silt spawn,” she said.  A bit of the acid had faded from her voice and her features softened.

 

“I suppose it isn’t.”  Voracan was definitely surprised by the fire in her nature.  Who’d think for a scholarly little virgin would be so bold.  “But, it does seem your people would travel with you.”

 

“It is a short walk to the village. It is my duty and privilege to talk to the villagers and train them in words and numbers.”  She took a step back up the path watching him.  “And, to spread the word of knowledge.”

 

He ran his gray hand through his hair and changed his appearance back to the handsome man with flame colored hair.  “Well, if you’ll tell me the direction to the village I’ll head there now, and leave you to your preaching.”

 

She went still, and then her eyes went huge.  “I can’t let you in the village alone.  Those people are mine to protect.”

 

“Either I eat food or feed in more traditional way for my species.”  Voracan preferred to avoid that.  After youth of feeding at the order of the older demons, he didn’t want to indulge in anything carnal.

Lillian’s fingers went white, she chewed on her lip.  “Walk in front, I’ll keep my eyes on you.”

 

As he shifted to in front of her he took the path.  He could hear her talking in a softest of whispers.   The thick trees opened up to reveal a small village.  The houses were freshly painted and the roads paved with gravel.

 

A warm hand rested on his arm.  “The tavern is the first building on the right.”

 

He flicked around to look at his companion.  The tavern didn’t really stand out it look much like the other buildings.  The only difference was a sign of a bed and tankard on it.  “It’s more of an inn?”  He asked keeping his voice low.  Since, his powers weren’t under his control he figured he shouldn’t push his luck.

 

Lillian ignored the question as they stepped inside.  The walls were a bright blue, the tables and furniture white.   There is even lace curtains, Voracan thought with a shake of his head.  “Can you order for me, I’ll give you money? I don’t dare talk more than I need to.”

 

Those dark eyes seemed to pierce his mind.  “Why?”  There was an edge to her voice that he found compelling instead of terrifying.

 

“I can’t control my powers yet.  When I’m hungry I tend to…” He paused wondering if there might be a better way to phrase it.  Then, he gave up, “seduce them.”

 

Lillian didn’t look as if she believed him.  She let out a long, drawn out breath and held out her hand.  Voracan hurried to put a gold weight in it.  She lifted a brow at the amount.  When he didn’t respond she headed to the counter.

 

He picked a chair in the far corner away from all the windows, and the door.  He settled in so his back was to the wall and he could see everything.  Lillian sat a mug before him and glass before the seat beside him.

 

A sniff told him his was some kind of ale, and hers was water.  “You don’t drink?”

 

“Of course not,” She said.  “The only vice is the power of the word, the truth of knowledge. I indulge in no other.”

 

He’d forgotten.  She didn’t fit the picture he had in his mind for a Priest of the Unbidden.   He sipped at his ale, and gave her a grin.  “You are missing out, this is fine ale.”

 

Lillian ignored him and set her book on the table and began to read.   Her fingers were long, fine and had callous exactly where one would from holding a pen for long periods of time.  She kept the tip of her index finger under each word as she read.

 

A thunk caused Voracan to jerk his head up.   A metal plate landed next to his ale, it had a thick stew with a biscuit next on a napkin to the side.  He waited until the server walked off, before turning to Lillian.  “Aren’t you going to eat?”

 

She lifted her head looking puzzled. “It is forbidden to eat anything outside The Heart.  It is to flavorful, and carries with the risk of temptation.”

 

Voracan felt himself smile again.  “You are going to sit there and read while I eat?  Why don’t you go deal with your students?”

 

“I won’t leave you alone, who knows what you’ll do.”  She didn’t even look at him as she continued to read.

 

“Come on, eat a biscuit.  How flavorful can a biscuit really be?”  He held out the flaky thing toward her, the napkin still folded beneath it.

 

She lifted her head.  “Eat your meal, and leave me be.”

 

“No, I don’t think so.  I can’t enjoy my meal with you sitting there not having anything to eat.”   He waved the biscuit out in front of her.  “It wouldn’t be right.”

 

Lillian shut the book and grabbed the biscuit settling in front of her.  “No one talks to me this way, Forsaken.”

 

“I’m not a villager, and I’m certainly not a member of the Unbidden.  I never tried denying myself anything.”  Voracan enjoyed good food, good drink, and good clothes.  He’d never give them up voluntarily.

 

She sniffed.  “You should try it.”

 

“I’d never work.  I’m a demon. It is a part of my nature.  It the same reason I was banished from Silt.  I couldn’t be different than what I was.”  He shrugged.  “That’s life, you can only change so much.”

 

Lillian picked at the biscuit.  She started to break it up in tiny pieces.  “You are awfully philosophical for demon.”

 

He let out a bark of laughter.  “You know a lot of demons, do you?”

 

For the first time, she smiled.  It made her regular face into something of great beauty.  Her eyes sparkled and her face came alive.  “I suppose you are right.”  She nibbled on a bit of biscuit absently.  Then, her eyes widened.  “Gorinth’s Balls, I shouldn’t have done that.”

 

“Gorinth’s Balls?” Voracan felt his chest rumble.  “What language for a Priest.”

 

Her cheeks blushed deep red.  “Sometimes, I work in the stables.  The stable master isn’t a part of the Unbidden.”

 

“How was your biscuit?” Voracan asked before digging into the stew.  It wasn’t the finest thing he ever ate, but it was good.

 

She toyed with it bit longer before taking another bite.  “Wonderful and you eat the rest. I can’t take the risk of eating more.” She pushed it back over to him.

 

He swallowed.  “If you are the High Priest you have never got the opportunity to rebel.  I think eating a biscuit is safe enough.”

 

“One vice leads to another.  Each vice is a weight on the scale of balance.”  Lillian spoke each word with a sharp dictation.

 

“Quoting the tenants of the Unbidden,” He shook his head.  “You are interesting to talk to Lillian of the Unbidden.”

 

She tipped her head.  “How would I be interesting? All I do is read books.”

 

“You don’t act like it.  You are fiery, and quick with your wits.”  He watched the blush creep up her neck. “Then, you throw in the random odd saying of the Unbidden.”  After taking the last bite of stew he shoved it away. “I’m going to explore the village.”  He jumped up and rushed out the door.

 

He could hear Lillian scrambling behind him as he made it out the door.   For some reason, he didn’t want to leave her yet.  She was a mystery and he hadn’t met many of those in his life.  All around the paved square up a head there were merchants.  One was selling cups, tankards, and mugs.  He’d needed a metal travel cup for the road.   He took off toward him.

 

As he got closer the merchant had a huge selection of items.   The man smiled at Voracan.  “Greetings, good sir.  What can I help with on this fine day?”

 

“I need a set for travel.”  He motioned at the small travel bag attached to his side.  “A small set, I like to travel light.”

 

The man shook himself off.  Though, his eyes didn’t want to leave Voracan’s body.  He knew his powers were affecting him.  “I’ll gather up a simple set for you, sir.”  The man turned missing around in the back of his cart.

 

Lillian moved beside him a frown on her face. “Can’t you control yourself?”

 

He felt his cheeks heat up.   “I haven’t been out of my home very long, less than a month.”

 

Lillian’s brows disappeared into her hairline as her eyes widened.  “That’s not long at all.”  She pulled at a strand of hair.

 

Her eyes rested on a bright yellow mug, the color nearly glowed.   Her fingers ran down the side of it.  “That’s a happy color.”

 

Voracan stepped toward it.  “Do you like it?”

 

“I said it was a happy color.”  Lillian said her word’s sharp.  Voracan suspected she didn’t want to admit more than that.

 

The man returned with a small sack.  “Here you go, sir.  A plate, a mug, and cutlery.  Anything else you need?”  The man’s voice had grown husky.

Voracan made the effort to try to tone down his seductive power before speaking.  “May I also have that yellow mug over there?”

 

The man shook himself off, looking a bit more natural.  “Sure, sir,” he grabbed the mug wrapping it up with paper.  He placed in a paper sack.  “That will be half a weight.”

 

Voracan thought it seemed steep, but this area was very out of the way, and he had no trouble getting money.   Before he could hand it over, Lillian stepped in front of him, giving it to the man.  “Your change from your meal, Voracan.” She said before stepping away.

 

Voracan took his two sacks moved with her.  “The rest of my change?”  He grinned, thinking that she was keeping his money.

 

She held out her hand with the rest of the money.  “Take it.”

 

His fingers ran down her palm as picked up the coins.  He lingered touching her longer than necessary.

 

Her hand snapped back.  “Are you quite done?”

 

“Sorry, your skin is quite soft.”  He pulled up the sack and handed it over to her.  “Here, I bought the mug for you.”

 

Lillian glared at the bag. “It is forbidden to have such things.”

 

“Keep in your room, no one will know it’s there.”  He winked at her.  “I’ll keep your secret.”

 

She stiffened her hand still not taking the sack.  “Why would I keep it?”

 

“To remind you have the handsome, philosophical demon you met who trailed about town one morning.”  Voracan wasn’t sure if she’d want to remember.  He did.

 

Her lips twitched and she took the sack.  “You are interesting, Voracan.  I still do not trust you.  This could be a game, demons are fond of them.”

 

“That’s true, we are.”  He knew he should go, but he couldn’t make himself.  “I’ll earn your trust.”

 

“Earn my trust?” Her voice went a pitch higher as she clutched at the sack.  “What does that mean?”

 

“I think I shall stay around town a bit.  Perhaps, I’ll take you up on your advice and join the Unbidden.  It might be good for me to learn the wisdom of the ages.”  He had to grin at that. “At least use the library at any rate.  I could learn more about the Northern Kingdoms, perhaps pick a name that’s more common.”

 

“Right,” She spun around.  “I’ll keep tabs on you. If I have to I’ll call my friend, who is a priest of Gorinth to banish you.”

 

He watched her rush off.  “Don’t worry, I’ll behave, Lillian.”  He whispered as his heart clenched.

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Filed under Elenmitis, Single Shot Stories, Writing Challenges

Legend of Elenmitis Part 1

As Dorian inspected the last of his caravans the stink of horse already climbed into his nose to stay.  It made him smile.  Terrible as the smell was it meant he was about to embark on another trip to Port Town.  From there he’d get beautiful pots, and exotic spices that made him a fortune.   The guards milled around kicking up dirt, their postures stiff.  “Impatient?” Dorian asked, knowing it was true.

Guard Captain Carn gave a quick slash of his head.  “Aye, as usual.  Don’t trouble yourself, Caravan Master.  Youth is always in a hurry.”  The man’s casual pose dropped as his hand moved to his weapon.  “Who’s that?”

Dorian turned to see a man ambling up with an overloaded donkey.  Neither man nor donkey moved very fast.  “Calm yourself.  I’ll talk to him.  Probably someone looking to tack till we get where they need to go.”  Before Carn could stop him Dorian hurried toward the figure.

The figure was an old man with a lined face, slightly filmed over eyes, and worn clothes.  The donkey was healthy besides the fact it had pots, pans, and packages stacked on it.  Dorian held out his palms flat in greeting.  “Hail, what can I do for you?”

The old man stopped and wiped his brow with a cloth.  “Sorry to trouble you, Caravan Master, but I was wondering if I could travel with you to Greel. I’m too old be traveling the roads there with all the bandit attacks.” The old man shifted, his eyes round with tears. “My daughter is expecting her first born.”

The problem tugged a little at Dorian’s heart.  His daughter had given birth herself recently.  “I’m sorry, I can’t.  Everyone who comes has to contribute, part of the contract.  And, it wouldn’t be fair to give you an easy ride while the rest worked.”

The man nodded.  “I understand.  But, I came to offer services in exchange.”

“Oh?” Dorian felt surprise at the offer.  “What are your skills?”

“I’m a cook.  I have cooked for caravans for many years.  I brought my own spices, and cookware.”  He waved at the poor donkey.  “All I ask is to either take the supplies off the poor thing, or let me ride caravan.  Can’t walk that far.”

Dorian thought it over.  They didn’t have a cook most of the time he normally roped one of the drivers into cooking.  “Our food cart has room for both you and your supplies.  I can’t pay you, though.”

The man’s face broke much like the sun on a cloudy day.  “That’s fine sir, just fine.  Maisy will be so happy to be freed of all my things.”  He patted the donkey.  “My daughter Sara will be happy too.”

He couldn’t help it, Dorian smiled in return.  “Have any other skills I should know about?”  The question was one he always asked of anyone he employed.

“Oh yes, I’m a storyteller,” the man said.

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Filed under Elenmitis, Legend of Elenmitis, Story Chains

Bound in Chain, Part 4

Suell pale gray eyes rested on her.  He let out a long sigh.  “You aren’t going to trust me if I don’t answer.”

Neela knew it wasn’t a question.  She waited.  For once in her life, she found she had patience.

“Do you know how I came to be born, Alaget?”  Suell asked in calm, soothing tone.

She shook her head.  “I know little of you Woellian culture, High Lord Suell.”

“Of course not,” He muttered.  Those strange blue hands ran through his fight hair mussing it out of place.  “Woellian live to serve the Leader Females.  It isn’t cultural behavior.  It is pure instinct.  A proper Woellian would crawl over broken glass at a single spoken word.  There is not questioning, there is no doubt.  All of them are united in their loyalty, and commitment to them.   They exert a subtle control over us.”  His brow wrinkled very slightly.  “Their morals, their beliefs are yours.  That’s why our society is so liberal in some respects.  Deviate behavior isn’t a threat when we all believe as one.”

“In a way there are three genders for them.  Male, female, and leader.  Leader females are a breed apart.”  His eyes turned inward the pale gray darkening.  “Beautiful, strong, brave, intelligent, deadly, protective, and leadership instincts to their very cores. “  Suell stopped speaking.

Neela wriggled in her seat.  In a few minutes she’d learned more than she’d ever known of the Woellian.  Yet, none of this answered her question.  “Thank you, High Lord.”  She stood up to leave.

His hand snapped out with blurring speed.  “Please sit, I’ll tell you the rest.”   He didn’t speak again until she was seated.  “My mother was born with a genetic flaw.  Many Woellian are our genetics are weak prone to random mutations due to damage inflicted on us a long time ago.  Sometimes we adapt in marvelous ways.  And, sometimes whole generations die from horrid diseases.”

Qwe-Fale-eiaa, my mother, was told she wouldn’t be allowed to breed.  They couldn’t risk the disease from passed on.  However, she wanted children.  She pointed out to the leader female in charge of the Qwe that if she managed to breed with an Alaget the child wouldn’t be flawed.   Qwe Leader Female didn’t agree.  My mother, who was once a high rank, grew angry and spilt off from her people.  She probably had a tendency to be an eiaa in her.  Otherwise, she never would be able to defy a leader female.  She searched out a male Alaget willing to accept children dying until the managed to breed one who might go insane before adulthood.”

Neela bit her lip.  “I don’t understand.”

“My mother was an eiaaEiaa tend to breed other eiaa.  My mother’s defiance doomed me.  Yet, if she hadn’t rebelled I’d never been born.”  His eyes flickered with red, his face growing taunt across his delicate bones.  “No one should have that right over others.”

“But,” Neela started without thinking, “didn’t this prove the Qwe leader female right.  Breeding was a bad idea.”

Suell’s face slackened as his mouth hung open. Then, he laughed.  “Perhaps, you are right, Citizen Neela.  But, I’ll never agree.  Do you trust me now?”

“No,” She said.  “I’m beginning to have faith you do not lie, High Lord Suell.”

“Good, someday I hope to earn all your trust.”  He tipped his head at the door.  “You may go and rest.  If you are hungry let someone know.”

As Neela dragged her weak body out the door, she began to hope.

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Filed under Amon, Bound In Chain, Story Chains

Bound in Chain, Part 1

Bound in Chains is from the perspective that we haven’t had quite yet in my blog.  A slave who is serving the Nobles and Citizens.  Someone not well regarded enough to be a member of society.  Also happy Thanksgiving or happy Thursday depending on your location.

Neela foot scraped against the ground. She walked in a long chain of her fellow Alaget. The rough shapeless sack matched all the one around her. She used her good hand to force the loose tendrils away from her face. In heart of hearts she hoped to avoid this. A day ago she had stood before the slavery board to beg to be free.

The seven council members sat around a half circle table. All of them with the crystal fine features, which marked heavy genetic tinkering of a noble. The head of the council a round faced woman with russet hair and brown eyes. High Lady Cirl was her name. “I’m sorry Mistress Neela Giy, but there is no way we can reverse the ruling.”

“But, my mental score is nine. That is way over what one would consider a slave.” The bitterness of that never left Neela’s heart. Four points above a slave rating. Her intelligence was almost the same rating a minor noble.

High Lady Cirl shifted uncomfortably. “I realize. If your intelligence had been a ten we would have gladly looked over your physical, and constitutional scores. But, they are very low.”

Neela had looked at herself before. On leg warped and shorter the other, her face lumpy on one side, and arm so shrivelled she didn’t truly have a hand. To make matters worse her heart had too few valves, and her lungs too small. Sickly and misshaped made her a one in both of the other scores. “What use can I even be as a slave? I can’t do hard larbor.”

“Yes, that’s why I insisted we add an addendum to your slave documents. You won’t be used for anything rough. And, you’ll receive training in an intellectually stimulating professional. It won’t add to your debt, or be taken out of your wages. And, you’ll be provided with medications, proper room, and won’t be overworked.” High Lady Cirl sat up straight. “Anyone failing to comply will result in earning my attention, and annoyance.”

As mild as that sounded Neela knew it was a threat. First Chair, or head councilor of the Slavery Protection Board was a dangerous political opponent. “There is no agreement I may free myself in the standard time, then?”

Second chair cleared his throat, and shot a glance at High Lady Cirl before speaking. “No, your scores are simply too low. There is no chance we would allow you to go free. And, you won’t be allowed to breed. After you are purchased you are to render infertile.”

Neela mouth dropped open. Never before had she heard of such a strict reaction. Were her physical ailments so horrible? “And, what profession will you recommend for my owner?” A wince at her tone. As far as they were concerned she was a slave. Slaves needed to be respectful.

High Lady Cirl let the tone pass unmarked upon. “A doctor, you already have more empathy than most of those we train. And, there is technology to assist with you being one handed. A surgeon most likely not, but for every day concerns, and less vital problems you would work. Besides, replacement limb research is going well, perhaps one day you shall have a hand.”

Small comfort that. “Well, I suppose I should go say goodbye to family then. Since, you’ve decided.” Neela couldn’t believe this.

“Perhaps, it was wrong for your family to care for you, Mistress. Most slaves ranked people who have families never meet them. Unless, their family buys them.” High Lady Cirl waved her hands. “A kindness, unfair as it may have been.”

Having nothing to say to that statement, Neela had walked out of the conference room. Her parents waited with her older brother. They all shared the same honey blonde hair, and solemn gray eyes. A rarity in a citizen who almost uniformly were brown of hair, eye, and skin. “It failed.”

Her parents didn’t say anything except envelop her in a hug. Pata, her brother, snarled. “This is wrong. I’m a noble.” Not fully true, he had the rank, but not the genes. A minor noble, and probably would end up serving in another noble’s business as a reliable flunky at best. Neela often thought her brother over estimated how powerful his ranking of ten point two really made him. “I’ll buy you.”

Neela sighed. “They’re going to make me a doctor. That’s an expensive slave. I doubt you’ll be able to afford me.”

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Filed under Amon, Bound In Chain

Walking in Shadow, Part 6

I dropped.  A tug as ripped them back stumbling toward the walls.  “Gulla, get away from the door.”  Her energy drifted to the center of the room.  Then, I let the bombs explode.

It was strange.  At first, there was no noise.  Everything was being thrown around.  The air seemed to be on fire as bits hit me, and cut into my flesh.  Then a strange soundless roar rose up. Once it faded I could hear the screams.  To my amazement even if the walls blown out there wasn’t much damage.  I took cover, and fired several shots.

The men panicked with no one to lead them.  Many fled.  Gulla’s gun fired as they ran. When, they got closer her knife slashed out. Some escaped, most died to her rage.

I limped over to her.  Blood ran down her body, her hair singed, but her eyes wild with excitement.  “That was unexpected.  Why did everything blow up?”

My gaze flicked back to Gabion. “He knew you’d come here.  He set up explosives.  I destroyed denator, but I realized we were overwhelmed.  I used my power to set them off.  After killing Gabion, of course.”

“One problem, did you ruin the medical supplies.”  A burned, bloodied brow lifted as Gulla laughed.

“Start looking,” as I turned to search I realized a massive metal rod in my leg.  My body braced against a counter, and tugged it out.  “Ouch,” I muttered.

A pleased whistle echoed over the room.  “A sealed medical lab back here, no damage outside the door.”

“Good, let’s get it and go.  I’m injured, your injured let’s go.”  My thumb flicked up toward the door.

Gulla chuckled.  “Keep yourself together.  We’ll go. Grumpy.”

“Keep myself together.” I repeated.

She grinned as the door whooshed and slide open. “You are kind prone to stuffiness and panic.”  The room was sprawling with no dust.  A wall of gleaming, glass cabinets stood out on the far wall.

Instead of entering I took a defensive stance by the door.  “Yes, I’m a fussy old woman. Go in, I keep guard.”

Her footsteps quiet as she made her way to the other side. “You don’t need to keep guard.”

“I think I’m done with surprises is all.”  Not that any time with Gulla wasn’t typically a surprise.

A sharp shout, as her feet raced back.  “I got the cache.”  She shook the box. “Let’s go.”

A smile forced its way onto my face.  “Let’s try to get back without any more injuries.”

“What’s the fun in that?”

<<<The End>>>

 

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Filed under All About Gulla, Amon

Walking in Shadow, Part 3

In a way it made me happy.  I hadn’t ever seen any animal life on Amon.  The Fall had been before my birth, as old as I was. However, since I knew nothing of what had lived with Amon, it also made me nervous. The few larger, furry creatures ignored as we made our way across the overgrown field.

A slick creature eyed us with interest as we drew closer to the tunnel.   The body low to the ground with a wide jaw, and four sets of eyes.  “Gulla, I don’t suppose you know what that creature is.”

“Yeah, ancient, extinct creatures were a part of my education.”  The tension in her voice belied the glib remark.

The creature’s body tensed up as I reached the tunnel.  My body braced as the massive creature slammed into me.  A crack as my ribs snapped under the weight.  Teeth snapping at my throat.  A repetition of gunfire echoed in the room.  The animal launched off me and started to lunge at Gulla.

Unlike me, she snapped her fist at hitting it the skull.  A loud crack as its head jerked it back.  A low whimper as it collapsed on the ground, blood leaking out of its head.  Gulla eyes were haunted as she stared at it.  “Amaria, will it die?”

The pain in my ribs distracted me. It took me a while to sense it.  “Yes, it will.”

“Kill it, so it won’t suffer.”  Her eyes closed as she glanced away.

It was well within my power, and it with a little focus, it died.  “Can you brace my chest, I need to heal my ribs.”

Gulla walked with gaze turned away from the dead beast.  She knelt and braced my chest.  “There.”

A fierce burning made my vision blur as bones aligned and fused back together.  I panted a few minutes.  When I came back to myself, she was already in the doorway.  With a shove I pulled myself up.  This doorway appeared to be darker once again.

The silence only broken by the sound of Gulla’s footsteps as we approached another cross section.  Gulla hands snapped out.  She drew out an empty clip and tossed it in the pathway as a flash of fire filled it reducing the clip into a melted puddle. “I don’t think either of us could survive that.”

“Most likely no.” My reply was absent as I peered around at the walls.  “There has to be something powering it.”

Gulla pulled her gun out, and fired several times into a square on the wall.  She took the empty clip and tossed it in the middle.  This time no explosion, no fire.  “Electrical box, but move it probably won’t last.”  A flowing, smooth jump as she shot across the middle.

I tried to follow.  Half way across the fire flared up.  Intense pain burst as I could smell my own cooked flesh.  The expensive, protective leggings were destroyed, and my flesh bloody beneath.  “Gulla.”

Her hands already running over my legs with a light touch. “Ko, I forgot I’m faster.”

“You are beyond faster.”  A grinding pain pulsed as my skin regrew.  “I can only make myself more.”

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The Rebel’s Rise, Part 3

Gulla rolled her eyes. “It enhances genes. My parents were working a way to make it cheaper, easier, and more effective.”

“To what extent? I wish we had someone to showcase what it can do.” I knew from the unfocused expression Harl mostly was talking to himself.

Her impish little face broke into a smile. “I can demonstrate. Set up an obstacle course, or something. I’ll impress.”

Harl shot me a look which indicated he found her amazingly annoying. “Fine,” He turned around and started to bellow out orders.

Amaria, you should have told me.” She knew Gulla was my sister’s daughter. Amaria’s shoulders flowed upward, and collapsed. “Ties of family confuse me more than they clarify anything, Vallen. You gave your heart to her family, this I know. But, she did not know you. As far as she knows you are a stranger. Would you have forced a stranger on a child who witnessed her parents’ murders?” She knew the answer to that.

“I can make up my own mind. I’m not a child, I’m sixteen.” She announced as if there was a difference.

I could see a bit of her mother in the face. Her features had been altered with a great deal of symmetry. One of the side effects of enhancing that became a mark of pride. “You’re a child to me. I can still remember you chewing on plastic blocks.”

A flush turned her face red. “That was rude.”

“You are rude.” I kept my tone level. I didn’t appreciate her nasty words toward Harl.

“Maybe so, I’ve been on the run since I was fourteen. I didn’t even meet Amaria till a few months ago.” She looked away from me. “I’ve killed.”

Shame and sorrow caused me to flinch. She might look like a tiny girl, but she had to grow up fast on the run. Gulla should have grown up trusting me, and the rebels. Instead, she grew up fighting. I thought they had all died. The Nobles cleaned up all the bodies. What bastards leaving a young girl vulnerable so they could hunt and kill her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t even think you were alive, no one did. We should have checked.”

A strange, wise look came over her. She gave me a half smile. “How would you know? They did it deceive you, and it worked. No surprise. I know you are friends with Harl. My parents never liked him. I don’t like how his running this war.”

Amaria stepped the shadows fading into them. I turned my attention to obstacle field. Harl was going full out. Tall walls to climb, barrels to climb through, a field with twisted bits of metal across it, and some tattered beams very low to the ground. I would have found it gruelling, and I had been fighting a brutal rebellion for years. Gulla looked undisturbed.

Harl swaggered over. “What do you think?”

She ran her eyes up his physique. “You think it’s impressive, so it’s good enough.”

“How so?” He cocked a brow at her.

“I need to prove to you about my abilities. If you think it’s tough, then I’ll amaze you. She tipped her head to the side looking up at him.

Harl shook his head. He threw a glanced my way. I smiled. He didn’t have to say it. I could tell what he was thinking. The little girl was cocky, and bold. And he’d enjoy watching her fail.

I wasn’t sure so sure her bravado was unearned. Amaria wouldn’t have brought her around if she couldn’t do what she said. If she’d been on the run from the Nobles for two years, she was no pushover. A question overwhelmed me suddenly. “Gulla, what happened to your brother Anth?”

Her dark eyes turned toward me. Her fingers brushed my arm.

A burning explosion filled my head.  My vision blocked by metal grates as I looked upon my sister, her husband, and Anth playing in a living room.  A knock at the door as my sister answered it.  “Gab, what are you.”  Her words cut off as bullets cut into her body knocking her on the ground.  The man grabbed my nephew attempting to flee, but the bullets got him and he went down.  Anth bawled as he was covered in blood. Gab, I assume, strolled in.  He kicked my brother-in-law’s body over, and calmly put a bullet in Anth’s head.  The vision faded as I staggered to my feet.

The boy had barely been old enough to walk. Her parents called him their little miracle. Things are degraded so much in the last few years. It was hard to imagine at one time the world hadn’t been in utter chaos.  “Gulla, you can share memories?” I barely got the words out.

She dipped her head, eyes glossy, and bright.  She bit down on her lip.  “Don’t tell anyone.”  Her eyes locked onto Harl, “Especially, not him.”

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The Rebel’s Rise, Part 2

Her attitude started to get on my nerves.  I’ll admit the rebellion was not going well, and had been not going well for a while. Our camp was a collection of ship debris welded together. Our fighters were going up against genetically enhanced guards.  Most of the ‘citizen’s, all who were not noble, weren’t enhanced even a little.

In order to win any engagement we either had to get in and out fast, or hit with overwhelming odds.  And, slowly we lost more people, and it was harder and harder to win at all. Still, what did a child know.

Her eyes went from my head down to my feet.  “I know enough.  I learned all about strategy, and tactics before I could talk.  I’m quite enhanced. All of this thanks to my parents.”

A moment passed before I realized she felt my emotions, or read my mind. Either answer disturbed me quite a bit.  “Regardless, it isn’t Harl’s fault. So, why are you needling him?” I hazarded a glance at Harl.  I could tell he didn’t appreciate me talking for him.  Tough.

“He failed my parents.”  Her eyes whipped back to him.  “You were suppose to protect them. You were supposed to bring the tech back to the rebels so the war would go in your favor.  You failed on both counts, didn’t you? My parents, my siblings dead, and you didn’t gain anything.”

Harl and I exchanged a look.  For all her adult behavior and vocabulary, she was a child hurt, because her family was gone.  She had to be the eldest.  “Gulla.”  She had my sister’s eyes.

To my utter surprise I found myself hard on the ground, a blade pressed against my throat. “How do you know my name?” My body stung, but I didn’t remember how it happened.  She must have increased reaction time.

I kept my voice steady.  Harl had a hard time holding everyone back as it was.  If I started to sound panicked someone would get hurt.  “I’m your mother’s brother.  I joined the Rebellion early on I used you when you were a baby.  But, then the rebellion got serious, and I had to go into hiding.  They’d leave care packages for me with your picture in it every once a while. Harl was friends with your parents too.  He tried to save them.  He isn’t perfect, and he didn’t.  There is no betrayal here. You feel like you have no one trust, but isn’t true.  We want to make a new life without the Nobles walking around with all the power.”

“I would not have brought you, if they couldn’t be trusted, Gulla.”  Amaria cool voice flowed over us.

I realized Amaria had known about this girl for a while.  A girl she should have told me about.

Harl took a lunge forward grabbing Amaria and giving her a good shake.  “You kept this from me? I thought you were devoted to our cause.”

In typical form Amaria didn’t react to being shaken, she only glanced at the beefy hand wrapped around her slim arm.  “I am. However, Gulla is her own person.  Young perhaps, but she is allowed her own decisions.”  Her odd gaze locked onto Harl’s.  “I have a strong desire to allow others the freedom to make their own choices.  She desired to come here.”

He tossed her arm away, and switched his attention back to Gulla. “Why did want to come here? Not to only insult me I assume.”

The knife left my throat, as she climbed off me. Gulla straightened her back, her hands on her hips.  “You wanted the tech.  You need it.  You can’t possibly take on the Nobles, and their guards without it.”  She glanced over at Amaria real quick. “I have it.”

At that moment the area broke in a cacophony of noise. I couldn’t tell if some disbelief, or if others were excited.  Too much noise, and too many voices.  Harl clapped once, everyone went silent. “What can it do?”

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