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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:30 am
((This is a story involving my Dominator, Allison Rayne. I started writing and found that I couldn't stop. The entire tale is fairly lengthy, but I consider it to be some of my best fiction thus far. There are mature themes in this story, as well as potentially disturbing images.
This story is set before the doors to Dark Astoria open, and early in Allison's career as a hero. I've written it in it's entirety, so I'm going to post each of the five parts roughly one day after the last. Each selection has a few lines of a song that I feel helps to set the mood of that part. I totally ripped this idea off from Steven King. Now if only I could make my writing as awesome as his.
I appreciate any feedback as always, and thanks for reading!))
1.“Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence”
Simon and Garfunkel—The Sound of Silence
It was a lousy day in King’s Row, but then most of them are. The smog is the reason most high-class families live elsewhere, like Founder’s Falls or Atlas Park. This day was rainy as well. Typically, the smog clears by mid-morning and the day looks brighter, if not cleaner. Today, though, was just one of those days in which the afternoon would bear out the cruddy promise of the morning. I grew up here, traded from one foster family to another after my mother died when I was six. Some of my foster parents were well off, but most were fairly poor, eking out an existence in this once shiny neighborhood.
The criminal element here was poor, too. Skulls, Vahzilok, and the odd Lost or two made up the bulk of the criminal population. Clockwork also frequented the scrap piles and power substations at various parts of King’s Row. Every now and again, they would construct a giant clockwork Paladin and send it through the city to wreak havoc. Most days, though, the Paragon Police Department had the manpower to curb major criminal activity in the neighborhood. This made it a great place for younger heroes like me to sharpen our skills.
We were still playing for keeps, though. Young heroes still make mistakes, and sometimes even the best medical care--and the teleporter evacuation that technology can provide--isn’t enough to make up for some of those mistakes. Heroes can and do die, and even those that don’t perish outright may still hang up cloak and cowl if things go too wrong, or they get schooled too hard.
Since it was threatening to rain and overcast—with the occasional stray droplet falling and evaporating, the sight of me wouldn’t have been that unusual, given my “costume” of choice. I wore a black duster, and leggings better suited to riding broncos or motorcycles than to hero work. I get strange looks in the library while I do my research. The bondage buckles I sewed in to my clothing seem almost to confuse people. They don’t really know how to categorize me. Of course everything is black with some midnight blue thrown in for a splash of…color? The dog collar confuses people too, but I figure I’m a hero and I get to wear things other people wouldn’t.
And honestly, have you seen what happens to spandex when you have to dive through a shuttered window to avoid being strewn all over by an explosion? It’s not pretty.
The city smelled awful, so maybe a rain is just what the Row needed. A good rain could wash at least some of the smogginess out of the air, and make you feel like you could breathe again, at least for a little while. I had my radio down low, the police band squawking in my ear occasionally. Right now I was listening to the sound of multiple police officers reporting on a pair of Clockwork Paladins that were rampaging on the other side of the zone. They had heroes on site already, and were cautioning other officers and heroes not to abandon the rest of their patrols. Just then, the radio spoke and I stood upright.
“Attention all units—official and unofficial--any unit near the warehouse at the corner of EZ Street and Leland Avenue: we reports of a young girl screaming in the area. Several suspicious teenagers were seen in the area recently. These teenagers are not known from the area and may or may not be involved.”
I listened, at the edge of my proverbial seat. If a uniformed officer responded first, I could be in the area in case the officers needed help, but wouldn’t be able to act directly, unless it was a matter of life or death. If no officer responded, then I could claim the call as my own, and the police would back me up whenever they got there. Of course there were exceptions, like a Rikti invasion, where heroes or other authorities trumped the police interest, but these situations were (comparatively) rare.
I was already on the move, jogging through the suddenly-present rain as I called in to the dispatcher.
“This is Allison Rayne—I sorta haven’t picked a hero name yet, but—I’m around the corner from that warehouse, I’ll be there in five minutes.”
The dispatcher responded immediately, “Allison” she paused for a moment, “Right, here it is, Allison, I read you loud and clear, will advise PPD when officers are available. I see you’re fairly new, so I want to remind you of what was said during your registration. You’re not here alone, officers will available to back you up as soon as possible. If you need backup, just call, okay?”
I didn’t answer her immediately, because I’d begun to pick up a telltale psychic “scent” of someone in a state of panic.
The dispatcher took this pause as a signal that I hadn’t taken her seriously. “Allison, I’m deadly serious here, I had two heroes die on my shift last month because they charged into the sewers after some Lost and their Medporters didn’t kick in fast enough. A third hero is now a vegetable because of psionic damage to his brain. I don’t want that to happen again, okay?”
I responded hastily, following the psychic emanation was taking a lot of concentration. “I hear you, roger, tracking—think they are in the warehouse. Um, go on send backup, but…” At that moment my ears picked up a scream, as if a child were in distress. The scream was preceded by a veritable wave of psychic cacophony in a multitude of different voices.
“They’re in the warehouse,” I reported as I broke into a sprint, pausing only to pull myself through the gate to the place. Quickly rattling off the relevant facts, I noted the front door was locked and sprinted around to a side door I remembered from my childhood in the Row.
“Screaming and psychic feedback, child in immediate danger, going into the warehouse, need backup immediately.” I then turned the receiver down as I walked through the side door which had been left partly ajar.
In contrast to the outside, the inside of the warehouse was dry and dusty, as if all the humidity was suddenly sucked out of the place. It had the distinctive feeling of magic in the air, and the sensation of a nearly completed spell hanging in place. It’s difficult to describe to mundanes, but the feeling is akin to hearing a great machine primed and rumbling in the distance, ready to begin spinning its cogs and wheels when the right lever is pressed. From the office area of the warehouse I heard an animal scream, followed by the terrified shrieking of a young child. This was followed immediately by the sound of bickering.
A young woman’s voice exclaimed, “Oh my god! Keith, what are you doing?”
A young man’s voice joined with the woman, “Dude, what the fuck was that about?”
Another young woman’s voice joined the other two, in a wordless scream, and the little child’s voice wailed. The girl kept sobbing.
All that took about a second to register with me, and I sprinted up the stairs, unconcerned now about how much noise I made.
I head a door slam ahead of me, accompanied by a man’s voice saying, “You’re not going anywhere.”
As a psychic, I can tell a number of things about someone from looking at or listening to them. This voice was coming from someone who had slipped over the edge of sanity.
“I know how to stop the dreams.” He continued. “We have to show it that we’re on its side.”
“I don’t understand what you need from us,” the first woman stated. Her own voice was not too far behind the first, but she clung to sanity tightly, whereas the owner of the second male voice had gleefully leapt over the edge some time ago.
Finally, I rounded the corner, still at a full run and saw through the door to an office at the end of the hallway. The little girl’s voice cried out again, and this time I heard what she said.
“You hurt the kitty!”
Oh, great, animal sacrifice, perhaps? That would explain why the magic field was primed, but a field this big would require more than…ah fuck.
“The animal was necessary to ensure the gods are looking,” The insane voice stated. “But next, it’s your turn.”
“No!” the first female voice said.
“He requires virgin blood and a human sacrifice. They don’t have to be the same person, but if they are, all the better.” I could see the door where this one stood with his back to me. He was wearing a red t-shirt and jeans, and dirty brown hair cascaded down to his shoulders. “Look, Danica,” I heard his voice was softer now, almost tender, “I can protect all of us, but we need to do this. He told me that if I didn’t find someone else, that you’d do. You’re a virgin too, after all.”
“Dude,” the second male voice erupted, “I have had about enough of this bullshit.” There were the sounds of movement before ‘Keith’ pulled a small caliber automatic pistol from under his shirt.
“I’m doing this for all of us; don’t make me hurt any of you.” Keith stated, sounding tired.
That was just about enough for me. Narrowing my concentration to Keith’s gangly, teenage body, I sent a blast of telekinetic energy at him. With a shriek he was lifted off the ground and flung to the far end of the office, on the other side of a makeshift altar.
It occurred to me later that just striding into the room like I did a moment later was a bad idea, and I could have at least taken the time to peek ahead before bursting upon the scene, but that was later. Bursting into the room, I found it to be mostly clean, except for the altar. It took me all of two seconds of observing the altar to determine that it was, indeed, genuine, and the source of the primed-but-not-awakened power I had sensed. There were a number burning candles, and a small brazier of incense upon it, though the smell of myrrh was overpowered by the dusty scent of the warehouse. A small grey tabby cat lay on its side on the altar, pinned to it by what looked like an old railroad spike. The cat wasn’t moving and I could tell that all neurological function had ceased.
“Nobody moves!” I shouted both out loud and in the minds of the teenagers, sparing the little girl—being held by the teenager directly in front of me—the brunt of the mental exclamation. There was a brief pause, during which I noticed Keith was starting to sit up. “Especially you!” I stated authoritatively, paralyzing him with a mental blast. He writhed for a moment, screamed in pain, and writhed again.
“Stop resisting. The more you struggle, the more it hurts. I growled at him. He relented at the moment, though I could see the insanity swelling in him. “For your own safety, I advise the rest of you to keep your hands where I can see them.” To the right of the door a heavyset teenage boy in a gray sweatshirt and a skinny strawberry-blonde girl in a jean jacket stood quivering. The girl buried her face in the boy’s chest and he wrapped an arm around her protectively. Both kept their hands where I could see them.
“First, you,” I indicated the young woman in front of me, “Need to put the girl down.” She opened her mouth to say something. I cut her off, saying, “I heard you stick up for her, but this isn’t the time for a discussion about who is more to blame. As far as I can see, you’re all involved, so I have to treat you all like perpetrators until we iron things out.”
The girl in front of me, a brunette with modest assets wearing a blue and gold Paragon U t-shirt, lowered the child to the ground. Making sure I was still attending to the events in the room, I stepped through the doorway, still unsure about whether I needed to be concerned about any additional assailants. I bent my knees and lowered myself slightly, and tried to catch the eye of the little girl. “Sweetie, I need you to come to me. Can you do that?” The little girl looked up at me with big, tear streaked eyes, and nodded. She took a few steps, looked at the altar, and then ran to me, throwing arms around my waist, sobbing into my hip.
“He hurt the kitty!” She wailed, letting go of me long enough to point accusingly at the guy writing on the ground. “I’ll tell the police, honey. He’s not going to hurt anyone else. What’s your name?”
“Krissy,” the little girl replied, looking back up at me.
Clicking on the radio, I hit the transmit button.
“This is Allison Rayne, on location at the warehouse on EZ and Leland; I’ve found your child and her abductors.” I let go and listened for a response, but heard only static. “Dispatch?” Again, there was only static, and I realized that the continuing coverage of the Paladins’ rampaging through King’s Row hadn’t been blaring into my ears since I set foot in the warehouse. I had turned the volume down, but I hadn’t been hearing anything since I walked into the place.
“Great,” I stated. Communication dampening is a standard effect in places steeped with power—such as this one. “Yeah, we need to get out of here soon, first I want to know what I’m dealing with here.”
Last edited by JustBlingBaby on Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:05 am, edited 3 times in total.
Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:53 am
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:30 am
((It's been about a day since I've posted part 1, so here's part 2. Again, any comments are welcome, and thanks for reading!))
“I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes”
The Rolling Stones—Paint it Black
“We’ve been having nightmares.” Danica stated simply. “All of us,” she indicated the rest or the conspirators in the room. “They vary in content, but all of them hinge on Dark Astoria, where Keith and I grew up and where Tommy and Jennifer,” she indicated the heavy-set boy and the skinny girl, “were conceived.”
Danica was interrupted by Keith, giggling and forcing himself into a sitting position“It’s calling us back”. He had released the weapons, but they were still quite close.
“He’s calling us back,” Keith said, looking through me with crazed brown eyes.
“What’s his name?” I asked Keith.
“Mot, god of death, the sleeper whose dream is life and whose wakefulness brings death,” Keith said, as if remembering something he had read.
“Keith, I’m going to let you move just enough to get up and walk to that corner there, away from those weapons.” I suggested. His eyes narrowed in response.
“Here,” Danica said, stepping toward Keith, obviously intent on snatching the weapons away from him.
I could see the events progress seconds ahead of time. “Wait!” I screamed, as Keith cackled and grabbed Danica. I seized control of Keith’s cerebellum again, and the other two perpetrators in the room bolted past me and out the door, both screaming bloody murder. Keith’s mind, no longer bound by the niceties of rational thought, was hard to grip; it was like trying to hold a greased salamander in my hands.
“Don’t do it,” I warned Keith. He had Danica by the hair, and had spun her around face to face with him, clutching the knife to her throat.
“I’d rather you die here and now, than you suffer through what’s coming.” Keith said, his eyes crazed and staring right through his captive.
“Don’t hurt Dani!” Krissy screamed from my hip.
“You’re not hurting anyone.” I grabbed his mind and twisted, fully paralyzing him, I hoped.
He grinned at me then, and I noticed that his knife had already broken her skin. A trickle of blood slid down her neck, and Danica began to hyperventilate, biting her lip to prevent herself from screaming. Keith screamed as he tried to fight my control. He screamed louder as I telekinetically forced his arm up and away from Danica. He screamed the loudest as I telekinetically rotated his thumb out and down, dislocating his wrist.
The knife clattered to rest on the altar. I suddenly had a very bad feeling about some of the decisions I had just made, and these feelings were reinforced by the feeling of the magic in the place beginning to peak.
“Get outta there!” I commanded Danica, giving her the slightest of psychic ‘pokes’ to ensure she wasn’t in shock. Dani scrambled away from the altar on her back, then stood and bolted from the room.
“Krissy, go check on Dani,” I told the girl, aware of how silly it sounded to send a five year old to check on anyone. I needed her out of the room, though I hadn’t grasped why, at the time. Being psychic’s like that sometimes. You find yourself doing things for no apparent reason, and they turn out to be the right thing to do.
Keith and I stared at each other. I spotted the gun in his left hand, it had been hidden by Danica’s hair. The muzzle was still pointed up, where her head had been; having failed to cut her throat, he would have blown her brains all over the altar to his stupid god.
I was angry. For a moment, it occurred to me how easy it would be to snap his neck with telekinetic force, or drive enough psychic energy into his brain to force him to hemorrhage. The urge passed in a moment, but that moment was all he needed.
“Mot, accept this lesser being as a sacrifice,” he intoned. I still wasn’t focusing on the proper priorities, and hadn’t judged his mental state properly. While I was trying to decide whether the small gun constituted a threat to me, he broke my mental restraints and turned the gun on himself. There was a deafening crack, and he slumped forward over the altar. I still in the middle of screaming “No!” when I felt the now-complete spell leap to life.
The only thing that happened immediately was there was a distinctive slamming noise, as of a door slamming shut under great force.
I stepped backward out of the room, and was startled by movement beside me as Danica and Krissy stumbled up to me.
“What was that?” Danica asked, her eyes wide. I took one look at her and realized that she already knew the answer. I quietly shook my head and—as unobtrusively as possible—pulled the door shut. Danica looked down at Krissy and took a deep, shuddering breath.
“We need to get going, he actually completed the spell.” Realizing that Danica didn’t understand the urgency, I said, “It’s going to get bad in a hurry.”
“How bad?” She asked, fear dripping from her voice.
I felt my eyes unfocus for a moment, and heard myself state—in the dreamy voice of oracles past, “We are not alone.”
Danica picked up Krissy and said to her, “I need you to be a good girl for me, Krissy.”
Krissy looked back at Danica and asked, “Where’s Keith, and why are you crying, Dani?”
“We need to get going, I’m sorry.” I said, quickly walking, almost running to the stairs. Dani followed me, carrying Krissy.
Our little group froze as a long syllable breezed through the warehouse. “I don’t remember hearing that wind when we came in earlier.” Dani said.
Barely pausing in my stride I replied, “It’s not the wind.” Sensing her questions, I said, “You don’t want to know, believe me.”
We proceeded to the side door from which I had entered. The “wind” howled a few more times, and the lighting in the building went from pretty lousy to almost nonexistent. I pulled out my mini flashlight, clicked it on, and handed it to Dani. “I don’t need this, use it to move around safely.”
“You can see in the dark,” Danica said, “What else can you do?” While I was pondering how to answer her, we walked around the last corner and came face to face with a closed door.
“I can see magic, too,” I said after a moment of studying the door. “I don’t think we can go out this way, but let’s test the ward.”
“The what?” Dani asked.
“The door’s warded,” I responded. I grabbed the door handle and turned it. The handle turned readily enough, but the door remained closed. I leaned on it, battered it with my shoulder, then grabbed a rusty chair that was nearby and telekinesis’d it at the door. None of these efforts worked, and the rusty chair broke after repeatedly hitting it. “The door is sealed shut, hell, it’d probably not even locked. As long as the wards are up, it doesn’t have to be.”
“What about that window?” Krissy piped up, having observed my attempts on the door. In answer, I grabbed a piece of the chair and tossed it forcefully at the window next to the door. The chair rebounded off the glass. The glass was incomplete, and a pane was missing from it. I picked up a bit of chair from the ground and carefully tried to push it through the missing pane, but could not.
“We’re not getting out this way.” Just as I had made this pronouncement, more sounds were heard in the warehouse. Some of them were like someone gently knocking on a door, other sounds were similar to the pitter patter of rodent feet that you may hear in an infested building. The last sound was the “wind” again.
This time, Krissy picked up what I had heard the first time. “The wind is calling your name, Dani!”
Dani nearly dropped the flashlight to the floor, retaining it only because of her apparent terror of what was in the darkness. “It’s—you—said, it’s—he’s…” She looked at me helplessly.
“He got better.” I responded to her implication. Sensing that she’d stopped moving, I spoke over my shoulder. “Keep moving, they’re waking up, I don’t have time to explain, and by the time you see them, it could be too late.”
To her credit, Dani stepped up her walk as we proceeded back into the main room. As we stepped into the room, one of the large cargo containers burst open, just as a voice, queerly similar to Keith’s moaned out. “Da…ni…want…you…still. Want…you…forev…er.” Dani glanced up to the upper level of the warehouse and screamed. There stood Keith, wearing an ancient mask of some sort, with his sacrificial knife hanging from his right hand. Krissy, still staring in the opposite direction, screamed as well. The burst cargo container had been jam packed with corpses. Moments after being exposed to the magically charged atmosphere of the warehouse, the necklaces they wore began to shine with an unnatural light. As they stood and began to shamble forward, little Krissy had spotted them.
As calmly as I could manage I said, “Sounds like somebody perforated his Broca’s area, and now has a speech impediment. Dani, you may want to get away from the zombies.” I pointed behind her.
Dani spun on her heel and screamed again, the light from the necklaces made a flashlight unnecessary. Meanwhile, her spin had brought Krissy to gaze in the direction of the undead Keith, who had begun to hover in their general direction.
“First thing’s first,” I said raising my hand at Keith. I grabbed him in a telekinetic grip and slammed him upward into the ceiling, sending cheap ceiling tiles clattering to the floor. Keith screamed in frustration as I made my hand into a fist and sent him slamming down to the ground with bone crushing force. Moving quickly, I interposed myself between the civilians and the zombies, and joined my hands together in front of me in an arcane gesture. Necrotic darkness spat from my hands, waves of it decaying and disintegrating zombie flesh and bone. Half a dozen of them simply fell to pieces, their talismans winking out. The rest though, were suddenly interested in me.
“Um, Danica, RUN!” I screamed at her and pointed to the opposite side of the room as the shambling mass staggered toward me. Danica broke from her terror and ran, madly flicking her flashlight ahead of her. There was a crashing noise as a second cargo container burst open, then a third. A fourth container was obviously stuffed with awakened zombies as it started to bounce and hop around on the concrete floor.
Concentrating on the nearest group of zombies, I blasted one with psionic energy, hurled necrotic shadows at another, and grabbed one via telekinesis. I used the one in my telekinetic grip to batter three others to the ground before hurling it violently into the second nearest group, scattering them and knocking them to the ground. Noting one last feature of these particular zombies, I dashed down the hallway after Dani and Krissy.
These zombies had guns.
More precisely they had old Enfield rifles, most of which—I had read—were empowered to shoot ghost bullets. They were horribly inaccurate, as zombies are wont to be, but could be deadly if you managed to take a hit. As I ran out of the room, several of the rifles roared to life, peppering the wall behind me as I sprinted.
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:30 am
((Part 3: Thanks for reading))
“He burns my skin
Never mind about the shape I'm in
I'll keep you safe tonight, y-yeah”
My Chemical Romance—S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W
As we burst into the large loading dock area, I noted the entrances to the place. There were five full sized loading doors. Turning on my heel, I noted that no less than three hallways fed into this room at ground level, as well as an upper level with stairs curving down to the floor.
“Check the doors,” I told Dani, “I’m gonna hold them as long as I can.”
“Okay,” she responded, eager to do something besides run. I could feel her guilt radiating from her. She felt guilty for bringing Krissy into this, and now she felt guilty and helpless having to run scared in this obscene game of tag.
I looked at the center of the room. Again, I have moments where I don’t know why I do some things. I didn’t know what I was looking at for a moment, and so I turned my attention to the oncoming undead. I took cover to the left of the hallway into the room. I hurled blasts of negative energy down the hallway, and followed them with blasts of psionic energy. The front ranks of zombies faltered and fell. Even as some of them struggled to crawl forward, the next ranks crushed them out of the way. I took some return fire. Again it was clumsy but I felt several of the phantom bullets streak past me this time. I heard Dani desperately trying the doors behind me. I could feel her panic intensify as she tried each one…and failed.
The puddle was in the center of the room. It was recent water, from the rain earlier.
I froze, aware that I could still hear it raining. The warding muffled the sound significantly, so much that I hadn’t even realized it was still raining. I looked at the puddle, and my eyes went straight up from there. The skylight over the puddle was broken wide open. It was raining still, yet not a drop fell into the warehouse—because the ward encircled the building entirely, top to bottom.
My heart sank, but I couldn’t dwell on it long. Grabbing a rotten crate with my mind, I hurled it down the hall, and followed it with a wave of entropic energy. I breathed a sigh of relief for a moment as the last of the first group of zombies collapsed. The sigh was short lived.
I can see very well in the dark, and the dim lighting in the warehouse didn’t affect my ability to fight. I could still see pinpoints of light from the zombies’ talismans, however. My stomach dropped again, and a lump formed in my throat as I saw a wave of pinpoints of light meandering down from the other end of the hallway. Glancing at the other hallways which opened upon the loading area, I felt like giving up. Both hallways glowed with flickering light, and it was growing in intensity.
“They’re all locked, won’t budge an inch. There’s another set of doors up front we haven’t tried yet, maybe we could…” Dani trailed off, squinting at my face in the dim light. “What’s wrong?”
I turned toward her and looked her in the eye. Before I could speak, a voice floated down from above, “Youc..n--die!” Keith hovered in the air, cackling as he hurled black energy from his free hand.
I shoved Dani out of the way as a blast of negative energy streaked toward her. I wasn’t so careful about myself, though, and took most of the blast on my right arm. I gritted my teeth as the pain bit into me, pins and needles erupting along my arm. My vision dimmed slightly, as the negative energy surrounded my aura. This particular darkness could not be seen through, except by the caster, but it didn’t obscure my vision enough to prevent my response. Keith’s cackling terminated abruptly as I slammed him into the ceiling again, then slammed him down on the floor. I paused, sighed, and then gestured again, hurling him back to the ceiling, before bringing him down to the floor, forcefully.
Keith’s last impact on the floor was accompanied by an unpleasant wet sound, like a melon being decimated by a baseball bat.
“Laugh that one off.” I mumbled.
Grabbing Dani’s forearm and making sure she had a good grip on Krissy, I towed the two of them into a nearby office. Déjà vu sank into my mind. It’s part of the curse of being precognitive, the subconscious is always scanning the horizon, so to speak, and picking up on things to come.
I sent Dani and Krissy to hide behind the rusted metal filing cabinet in the office, as it looked sturdier at the moment than the desk. Again Déjà vu sank into me. I was supposed to do something here, I was supposed to realize something and do something.
I was right here, next to the doorway, watching the flickering lights in the loading room grow in volume. I was listening to Krissy sniffling in the background and the sound of shuffling footsteps and dragging antique rifles, and I’m supposed to do something…
For a moment I panicked, unable to focus.
I held panic in momentary check. Already Dani had noticed, and the two of them were frightened enough without my existential angst getting in the way.
“Are you okay?” She asked. I nodded absently, trying to get a grip on my searching emotions when it hit me again.
That’s what she was supposed to ask. And I was thinking of whether to tell them or just hope for the best. I reached up like this…
Reaching up to my midsection, I seemed to be patting my stomach.
This is stupid…I’m supposed to rub my tummy? That’s the big, life-changing secret that…
I felt what was under my vest at just this location.
I can save them.
I slammed the half-rotten door and kicked the office’s rusty chair in front of it.
“That’s not going to stop them.” Dani’s voice quivered, at the edge of tears.
“It doesn’t have to hold for long. Just long enough for you two to be gone.” I reached under my vest and tore my medicom patch from my skin. Younger heroes were issued more temporary teleportation devices for use in case medical aid was needed. More experienced heroes generally had implants, or specialized runes, depending on their technological bent. The batteries in the temporary ones were particularly powerful, based upon Rikti technology, and were designed to punch through many forms of interference--like that ward.
“What is that?” Dani asked, temporarily too curious to be terrified.
“Pull up your shirt,” I replied. When she started to ask another question, I strode over and did it for her.
“This is an emergency medporter. These things aren’t top secret, nor are they common knowledge. I’m going to get it to adjust to your bio signature, your extra weight—I nodded to Krissy—and get you to the hospital. Once you get there, if you’d be so kind to let the officials there know exactly where this warehouse is and what’s going on here, I’d appreciate it.” The last was really unnecessary, as the police knew where I had last checked in, and could also trace where the medicom was when it teleported. I applied the patch to her midsection, ensuring that all electrodes were in place and that it was stuck firmly to her.
I was barely coherent at the moment, dealing subconsciously with something else that had occurred to me, but Dani nodded.
“What about you?” She asked.
“Just send the cops to help me clean this place out.” I said, pushing aside the stray thoughts that had threatened to intrude upon my concentration. At that moment, a zombie smashed in the window of the door to the office. Without even thinking about it, I telekinetically flung the filing cabinet at the door and drove it through the window, stopping it temporarily. I heard them beating on the door, and knew I didn’t have that long to fiddle with the medporter.
“Unknown biometric signature detected,” a tiny mechanical voice chirped. “Override signature parameters? Thirty seconds until automated response.”
I replied to the teleporter’s computer, applying my hand to the patch so it could register my own biometric signature. “Override standing parameters, modify power requirements for additional biomass; initiate emergency teleport, priority alpha.
The voice chirped a few quick measurements, then stated, “Initiating emergency teleport, overcharging capacitors, please stand by.”
A moment passed, and the door began to splinter, I stood, almost impassive to the danger, watching as the tiny led’s lit up under Dani’s shirt.
“Executing emergency teleport, maintain current position.” I was finally able to meet Danica’s gaze, one last time.
Our eyes met, and her eyes widened, as if she’d been struck by a thought. A tear ran down her face and she said, simply, “Th-thank you.”
I nodded to her and said, “You’re welcome.”
Krissy, hugged tight to Dani, exclaimed, “I feel dizzy!” Then the two of them vanished with an audible pop. I sighed, focusing on the plethora of enemies surrounding me.
My sigh of relief was short lived, as the door frame began to crack and give. I looked around the room, realizing that if they all started rushing in at once, I’d be dead and unable to escape. A thump and a crack shot through the room, and debris rained down from the ceiling.
“Great,” I thought, noting how thin the ceiling sounded. “They’re breaking through that way too.”
“Hmm, ya know,” maybe I could…
“DahAAANeeEE!” A bubbling, yet familiar voice drifted down from overhead.
Not knowing how else to respond, I called out, “You. Are. Shitting. Me.”
“Where’s Dani? I don’t sense her anymore.” Keith rumbled, rather coherently, in an inhumane voice.
“I sent them away, Keith. How does that make you feel?”
There was another crack from the door and both filing cabinet and chair were flung inward, along with the remnants of the door. Having already considered this eventuality, I hurled the filing cabinet back through the door as the first zombie made its way in. I popped around doorjamb just enough to follow it with a spread of necrotic energy, dropping one or two of the nearest zombies, and giving me a couple more seconds to think.
I heard a roar of rage from above, and felt negative energy sinking into the plywood above me, sending debris into the room. There was more pounding from above, apparently several of the larger zombies were jumping up and down on it now. Dust rained down from the ceiling; catching in my throat, they triggered a coughing spasm.
“Okay,” I thought, “That’s it.” I lifted the desk with my mind and waited for the next volley of necrotic energy. I could already see through several small holes in the ceiling. It wouldn’t take much to burst it open now. When that blast of negative energy came, I hurled the desk up as hard as possible. I had to make sure it went on the first or second hit. The first hit sent chunks of wood (and from the sound of it, zombies) flying, the second hit bashed a sizeable hole in the ceiling. I hurled the desk upward a third time and let it go, preparing to jump out, if I could.
A flailing zombie fell into the office, followed by the desk, tumbling to rest on its side.
Perfect. I slammed into the desk and it tipped over slightly, giving me a bit of a ramp to clamber up. After I half-ran and half-climbed up the desk, I was set upon by several zombies. They were close and lunged at me, some grasping for me, others flailing their limbs. I couldn’t see Keith anywhere, even glancing up and behind me.
They weren’t exactly fast zombies that sprinted everywhere, but they were far from slow, and were on me before I could do more than raise my hands to protect myself. I deflected a flailing fist from the one on my left, then took a strong hit to the ribs with the rifle of the one on my right, wielding it like a club. Gritting my teeth against the pain—and wondering if he’d broken a rib—I flung the zombie in the middle away via telekinesis. I blasted the one that hit me with psionic energy and ducked a hit from the one on my left. I sensed another one leap up from the office, then I tried a spell I hadn’t used before. I ducked low and swung my hands over the ground, flashing mystic symbols with my hands. Dark energy erupted from my hands, hit the ground and then bounced up, sheets of dark energy enveloping the zombies around me.
When the sheet of negative energy dropped, two of the zombies were already down, and the last stood wobbling back and forth, its features visibly decayed. Wrapping dark energy around my fist, I punched it in its chest, and watched it fall apart. Catching movement out of the corner of my eye, I hit the floor as several zombies opened fire on me. Again, all the ghost bullets missed, but these weren’t that far off.
A sudden psychic flash saved me, as I rolled to the left, flipping over onto my back. Keith hit the spot where I was a moment ago and slammed his knife several inches into the wood. With surprising ease, he yanked it out and lunged at me again, but I caught him via telekinesis and flung him away. He caught himself in mid-air and forced me to roll again as he flung a blast of negative energy at me. Keith didn’t look any more handsome than he did last time. The fact that either his guts had splattered out of his body or he had torn them out in frustration didn’t help his appearance, either.
“You took Dani away from me,” Keith raved in his no-longer-impaired voice, “Now you will take her place.” With that he hurled a large blast of dark energy at me. I was trying to get to my feet to run like hell, but the blast forced me to half-stagger backward to avoid its brunt. I felt the pins and needles bite into my leg and knew I’d only been partly successful. Even as I did so, there was a roar from my right and I felt two ghost bullets bounce off my warded jacket. The third, however, punctured my side. I grunted in pain and sent a blast of psi energy at Keith, hoping to slow him down for a few seconds. Glancing to my right, I waved my hand and flung a handy crate into the zombies before they could fire again.
It was inevitable at this point that I’d get shot, really.
Even as I dealt with the zombies, Keith shook off the psi attack and the next thing I knew, a sharp pain shot through my gut. This time I shrieked in pain. I glanced down and saw Keith’s knife sticking out of my abdomen. Keith chuckled at me, still some distance away. The next thing I knew, the knife yanked itself out of me and flew back toward Keith, handle first. With a flick of my wrist, I telekinesed the knife just as Keith reached out to catch it.
There was a meaty noise, followed by a scream of pain and anger. I suppose at this point, it was mostly frustration, as I didn't imagine he could have many nerve endings left. Without even bothering to remove the knife, he flung another twisting blast of dark magic at me. I staggered out of the way, then hit him with a spray of negative energy. I watched as most of the skin on his body turned grey-blue and literally dripped off. Even as that way happening, he flew at me, right hand, knife and all, balled up into a fist. Enraged, I telekinetically slammed him downward, so he flew straight into a cinderblock wall.
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:30 am
((Part 4, enjoy!))
“Nothing I can do that I have not done.
No words I can say. No truth left that I can see.
So must I let this end so everything falls apart.
Before I live the life as I have always done.”
I didn’t even hear Keith crash, though, as the next volley of rifle shots drowned him out. The zombies seemed to be more coordinated, or maybe it was that they were all converging upon one place now. I winced as several rounds hit, but this time was spared as none punctured my jacket. Still, I had problems seeing, as a spray of stone and wood chips had flown into my face. I staggered a few steps, and then managed a sprint around the corner. I flung a pair of zombies off the upper level that impeded my progress, and then rounded another corner before I stopped for a moment to catch my breath.
I paused for a minute to apply some nanite salve to the hole in my side, and drink a pain dulling potion. At least I wasn’t going to bleed out from the holes in my gut, but I wondered how much real damage had been done. I had this pain that hit me any time I twisted my waist, and got the impression that it was getting worse, even through the potion. I felt raw malice seeping through the warehouse, not from within, but from without.
It was said that the sleeping god was the reason the living couldn’t dwell in Dark Astoria. Hordes of his followers roamed the streets with the barely seen spirits of the dead. Recently, activity was on the rise in that part of the city, and the rumor mill in the Midnight Club whispered that he showed every indication of waking up.
As a psychic, I took great exception to those instances in which my mind was invaded by someone else, whether through stealth, deceit, or brute force. I generally considered it a point of pride that people had difficulty slipping past my defenses. The vision that overwhelmed me at that moment didn’t slide past my defenses at all, it just ignored them.
A sudden image of myself, naked and screaming flashed through my mind. Tendrils that were both reptilian and plantlike at the same time wrapped themselves around me. The tendrils were covered in scales and thorns, and I could see them rasp through my pale flesh. I could smell my own blood and see the terror etched on my own face.
I almost didn’t see the zombies when they shambled around the corner. Leaping into action, I threw myself at them, blasting one and flinging another out of my way with telekinesis. I didn’t see the third one as I ran through the doorway, but was caught by it. It was big and bloated, its soft flesh discolored by rot. Its stench was what one would expect from the dead thing it was as it wrapped its arms around me and attempted to bear me to the ground. I ducked out of its clumsy grip, and destroyed one of its knees with a punch loaded with necrotic energy. Its bloated form hit the floor, and its angry flails caught my ankle as I tried to run from it. I hit the ground, but immediately bounced to my feet, ignoring my split lip and newly earned bruises.
The voice was overpowering, yet insidious, almost sounding like a thought from my own head. Another image drove into my head. Again I lay naked and helpless, entangled by tentacles, and this time their thorns began to grow into me, inching their way into my flesh and bone. I could tell that I was trying to be brave this time, trying not to scream…
I snapped myself out of the vision this time, as a cackle from Keith cut through the dim warehouse. I could feel him flying nearby, but couldn’t see him or hear him enough through the maddening shuffling that seemed to come from around each corner.
soOn YOu arE MinE
I shook off Mot’s intrusive thoughts. I ducked behind some crates but was discovered almost instantly as Keith, laughing and looking like nothing more than a skeleton wearing a mask, hurled blast after blast at me. I returned fire in kind and he disappeared, still laughing.
The entirety of my flight began to take on the hues of a nightmare. I don’t know how long I was really in there, just that I had lost track of time and its meaning.
I fought group after group of the undead, noting that the groups were getting bigger and bigger. At first they traveled in twos or threes, then around half a dozen at a time, then groups almost twenty strong. I had to adjust my tactics to allow for brief exchanges followed by retreat.
My right leg was grazed by a ghost round. I destroyed several zombies but was forced to stagger in retreat when Keith and more arrived.
Another image imposed itself on my mind. Rotten and bloated, Keith lay next to me in a coffin, running his hands up and down my body.
I literally blasted a zombie to pieces, and another took its place. They seemed to by cutting off pieces of the warehouse from me, and kept pressure on me, preventing me from resting. The one behind me that I didn’t see struck me in the head and the world swam. I forced myself to remain conscious—I don’t know how—and reduced it to a rotting puddle.
The images in my head and my nightmarish reality began to blur together. I could keep track of which was which with some concentration, but my sense of focus was beginning to erode with every hit I took and every obscene image I saw in my mind. The latest one had me scrambling up a sandy funnel, like an ant lion’s lair. At the bottom, a toothed, wet maw waited patiently. I slipped down the sandy sides of the funnel, and caught myself, only to feel the maw’s teeth lance through my midsection. I could feel it there, sliding through my intestines. The nightmare shattered as real pain lanced through my right arm, which I had raised instinctively to the danger I hadn’t even consciously registered. The rifle slammed into my arm, sending pain up my arm jarring my hand, leaving it once more covered in pins and needles. As the zombie clumsily prepared for another blow, I drove my right fist into its face. The undead’s teeth showered the ground as its face caved in.
I began to notice that not all of the cargo containers had burst open, and of those that burst open, not all the talisman-wearing corpses were animate. They lay in piles, their talismans flickering on and off every now and then. Apparently, I had interrupted the ritual a little earlier than I had first thought.
The next psychic attack hit me, but I had begun to notice the pattern. Mot would mindfuck me seconds before his minions were on me. Gritting my teeth and resolving to perceive the real world, I caught Keith hiding in the rafters and lay into him with dark energy blasts. This time he was the one caught unprepared, and was off-balance as I gripped him with my mind and slammed him, forcefully, all the way to the ground. The images in my head of me being rendered into pieces by hordes of undead gave way. I noticed that Keith had chipped his mask in his latest collision with the concrete, and my mystic sight allowed me to see that it was hemorrhaging magical energy. I had to stagger away as I drew more fire from the undead, but filed that fact away for future use.
The next time I deflected Mot’s psychic intrusion, it was an image of me staked to the ground with tiny, bizarre insects burrowing into my flesh. Wet, chewing sounds filled my ears, I could see myself writhing and screaming from their assault. The scene looked excruciating, but I was too busy using a heavy crate as a bowling ball. I sent the thing end-over-end at a wedge of zombies, knocking them over. As I ran through them I dropped sheets of negative energy on them and finished them before they could get up. I could hear Keith snarling in the background. He was close, but I half-ran, half-staggered around the corner before he could hit me.
I snapped myself out of the nightmare and finally processed Mot’s message to me. He was right, of course. I had realized it when I slapped the teleport patch on Dani’s midsection and sent them away. It had just taken me living through a real-life nightmare to truly appreciate the message. I was at a dead end. In fact, it was the very door I had used as ingress into this nightmare warehouse. In what had seemed like an eternity ago, I had responded to a call about a lost child and screaming, and ran through this door to save the day.
I felt a force move through the building and looked at the ward around the place. Did it just ripple? The sensation wasn’t repeated, and I had other things to worry about. Keith virtually appeared from around the corner, followed by rapidly-shambling—and remarkably quiet—zombies.
Without even thinking, I blasted Keith’s mind through the mask and sidestepped his flying charge. He collided with a bunch of junk against the back wall with a satisfying scream of rage. I couldn’t count the zombies; they were in great numbers but were still only attacking several at a time. I punched one and then flung it into two others, split another one’s skull apart with raw psionic energy, and then sprayed a fan of nether energy at the lot of them. I felt a blast of negative energy enter my back, this time not only raising pins and needles, but bursting something inside of me. I could feel liquid squelching around inside my abdomen, and the pain made my eyes water and my vision swim.
I spun around and brought my hands up to defend myself as Keith, faster than I had imagined, rushed me with his knife. I deflected a stab at my chest, but felt it sink into my abdomen. I felt the rush of warm blood wash down my belly, and clamped on his hand and knife to prevent further damage. Pushing me back against the wall, Keith thrust repeatedly into me with his dagger, as if in some perverted, twisted sex act. I managed to tear his hand with the knife out of my abdomen. He hissed incoherently at me from behind the mask as we wrestled.
It was fairly impressive, considering that he really didn’t have lungs or a windpipe anymore, as far as I could tell.
“Keith,” I croaked, deciding upon a course of action. “How about one more time, for old time’s sake?” Keith was understandably confused by the question. A moment after he grunted his confusion at me, I nodded toward the ceiling, telekinetically grabbing him one more time and slamming him through the ceiling tiles into the steel beams overhead. Keith screamed in rage as I stepped out of the way and slammed him down as hard as I could.
Keith hit the ground face-first with the force of a fully-loaded dump truck. The mask split open and exploded with magical light, sending tiny, ghostly images of Keith scattering everywhere, screaming in agony. The tiny bits o’ Keith dissipated almost immediately, and I raised my gaze to the undead standing at the corner, staring at me impassively.
My vision was narrow, like a tunnel, and color was starting to wash out. It wasn’t the lighting, but a measure of how close to losing consciousness I was.
doN’t NeEd keith AnYmorE.
YoU sTilL lOse.
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:30 am
((This work turned out to be much longer than I originally intended. This is the last piece of this particular series of events in the life of Allison. I'm really happy with how it turned out, but I'm actually considering adding my own commentary as an addendum. I'm not sure about doing that at this time, but I feel as if there are some things to be said about why I chose to write her story in this way.
Addendum or not, it was really fun writing this piece, and I hope everyone has had fun reading it. Thanks again.
5.“The paths that I once tread have all but gone.
Only embers now smolder where bridges once burned.
I feel alive and yet I fear what may happen now.
I know I can't return.”
VNV Nation—Distant (Rubicon 2)
The ward around the place rippled a second time, and this time there was no mistaking the signs that it was starting to give. Ignoring this development, the next wave of undead surged at me with a deafening chorus of moans and screams. I destroyed one, then another, then a third. I was barely able to stand when the fourth, which I hadn’t seen, struck me low. My leg snapped, just below the knee. My own scream of pain rang in my ears, deafening me. I hit the ground and screamed again, weaker this time. Turning my fading attention to the large zombie that stood nearby, readying its rifle for another swing, I twisted its torso one way and its lower body the other, then as it fell to the floor twisted its head off with a barely cognizant thought.
I looked up at that moment, and looking into the throng of zombies, could pick out a single form, half there and half not. I could feel him watching me.waS HoPelesS wHen yoU SenT THem aWay
Then it all caught up with me. I had known the price of my innovation earlier, when I sent Dani and Krissy away. I had looked past it and decided not to think about it, yet here it was, one last time. I dropped my gaze again, tears of regret stinging my face and mingling on my chin with my blood.
And again the déjà vu struck me. I was supposed to say something. Mot was toying with me, and I would answer him. What was it I was supposed to say?
Then it struck me. I lifted my bloody, tear streaked, face to the assembled undead, aware that it would likely be the last thing I said.YoU diE NOW
, Mot spat at me.
“Yes.” I stated, my fear draining away.
“I die…in the place of those children…because this is the life I choose…and this is the death I choose.”
For a moment, I felt…victory? Mot’s exultation turned to rage for a moment, like a child whose favorite TV show is interrupted by a blackout. It was only for a moment, then it was gone, and so was Mot, sending one last enraged command to his undead.kiLL
As a unit, the assembled undead raised their rifles at me. I couldn’t move. One leg was broken and I wasn’t sure about standing on the other. I was moving too slow, and the world was moving too fast. I felt the warding around the building crack, then shatter. I could finally hear what sounded like distant voices washing through the now open spaces around the warehouse.
So slow was my thinking that I was still in the process of deciding if I could roll out of the way when they fired. I felt several of the rounds miss; one or two dissipated on my warding, and three or four bit into me.
I was falling…An image flashed across my consciousness, not from Mot this time, but from me. Julia stood looking at me with those incredible blue eyes, on the verge of tears. She was still my Julia for a few more moments.
“I’m so sorry, Allie.” She was saying.
“I…” I started to say, but she put her finger on my lips.
“I know--I know you do, and I wish I could say the same to you…” She wrapped her arms around me and held me--for one last time …
I hit the floor, aware that the zombies weren’t rushing toward me. There was no need to do so. I wasn’t going anywhere.“Miss, do you remember what happened?” The officer asked again, his voice kind.
“N-no, I don’t.” My hands were freezing cold, and the smell of dead flesh hung in the air. Three figures lay unmoving in the filthy alleyway. One figure had necrotic flesh sagging from his face in the shape and size of my small, fifteen year old hand. Another lay unmoving, with no apparent injuries. The third lay on his side in a fetal position, both arms clamped between his knees. All three figures were dressed in the red and black colors of the Hellions.
The third figure whimpered, in a scared, girlish voice, “Please don’t do this.”
I would wonder how my clothes had gotten torn, and what they had done to me when my powers first manifested. My memories were gone, psychic examinations revealed that they had been thrust into the crying man’s head. He would spend the rest of his life so heavily medicated that he had to be cleaned by nurses and orderlies. The other two would never reveal what had happened to them, either. The second, unmoving one would spend his life in a coma. The one with the scar on his face in the shape of my hand would spend his days babbling in a mental institution. He hated being alone and was afraid of the dark.
The ward flexed again, and I felt it break. They wouldn’t be in time to save me at this point, but at least these zombies were about to be cleaned out by someone. I was barely aware of it, but a heavy weight settled on my chest, and a pair of dead hands wrapped around my throat. My breathing, which had been wet and rattling already, choked off. Weakly I struck at the zombie, but couldn’t hit it. My sight flickered as I gazed at its dead face and empty eyes...“Mommy I love you!” I cried in glee, throwing my arms around my mother’s neck.
My mother returned the hug. She looked tired, as she always did, but this night I remember that she looked happy too. She had just told me that we were going to Florida for part of the summer. We would leave the next week, and I would have fun with my mother like any other six year old.
We would return from our vacation, and she would die of a heart attack in her sleep three weeks later. She had been taking stimulants and amphetamines in order to work multiple jobs for some time, and it finally caught up with her. Fortunately for my limited sanity, it would be my babysitter, Amanda, who would find her. I would enter foster care soon after.
By age eleven, I had lived with a couple of decent foster families, and a couple that had treated me as a slave, complete with beatings.
By age fourteen, I would become involved with my twenty year old foster brother. I still wonder if what we did was voluntary on my part to this day. When the relationship was bad, I didn’t feel as if I could choose to say no to him. When the relationship was good, I felt like I wanted to spend my life with him…
I tried to scream, to shove it off me, to do anything to dislodge it, but I couldn’t move enough. My scream came out as a strangled gasp…By age eighteen I would meet Julia at the library, as I indulged my habit of reading in the occult section. I would come to know what love felt like.
By twenty, she would leave me, and I would never love another person again by the time I found myself on that filthy warehouse floor two years later…
I couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe, and wasn’t really conscious in a normal way anymore. I was aware that the door to the warehouse had blown inward, and a lone figure leapt into the undead. In just moments, this figure had utterly destroyed every zombie it could reach, and swept away the one on my chest.
My eyesight had gone, everything was washed out and gray. I could hear--but only as if from a great distance. I was aware that the figure had said something to me, but I didn’t register it right away. Other figures poured into the building and there was shouting and gunshots.
“Hang in there, hero.” Blue Steel had said.
As the SWAT medics set me up for emergency teleportation to the hospital, I slipped away from life, one last thought at the forefront of my mind. I felt the corners of my mouth turn upward at the thought.
“Blue Steel…just called me…a…hero.”
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:00 pm
Location: Sapporo, Japan
(( Nicely done! ))
"Do your best and let the rest work itself out."
Doctor Void - Dr. Wretched - Impact Tower - Jackie Bones - MerryGoRound - Bella Facade - Dark Anima - Choose - many others.
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