An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 14

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 14: I Found You

I had been kicking a metal door and wailing for what seemed like ages.  Today when I woke up, my door was locked.  Worst wasn’t any vents large enough for me to fit through… the old air duct trick would not be working for me this time.  I could tell we had ceased moving.  Could we have come to our destination already?  Impossible.  I did not know how fast we were going, but everything inside this metal can would have been thrown about if we were moving at any actual speed.

There is no way.  These men were from Adleburn, and I know they are up north.  Velora said we were moving southeast.  We are nowhere near Adleburn.  I glanced around at the steel walls tinted a grayish white.  It was especially dull.  So much so it made me want to heave.  A small monitor was on the doorframe.  Not that it was ever on.  I presume there was a camera hooked up to it.  I had put a sheet up to cut off the camera from seeing me nude.  There was not much else in this room aside from my clothing box and a cheap bed with a couple of blankets.

I was a prisoner here.  They acted as if they were looking after me.  Fools.  I relaxed and awaited for something to happen, but nobody appeared.

 “I found you.” declared a shrill and digitally confused voice.  After my eternity of boredom, I pick up a voice over the intercom. As quickly as I looked at it, I dropped onto the bed, crouching away from the screen.  I could never forget that face.  The static covering it.  The wall man peered back at me through the screen.  “Don’t act so surprised Primina.”

“How do you know my name?” I shrieked.

The thing did not acknowledge me; it got really close to the glass.  Like it was pressing against a peep hole looking in on me.  “You seem to be in one piece.  I am so delighted.” It stated.  My chest was so uncomfortable.  “Hahahahahahahaaa.” It was not a natural laugh.  Every vowel it made out.  Pronouncing it perfectly.  “I see you’re in a box.  Just like me.”

“What do you mean?” I croaked.
“I am in a box too, you know, and I can’t get out either.  How your screams sounded so lovely.  I cannot breathe, I try but there is no air to breathe, no nothing.” It cackled again in that same inhuman sort of manner.  Sent shivers down my spine.

I clasped my hands together.  Strangling it.  “Why are you here?”

“Who said I am here. If you must know, I am not.  I told you! I found you.  I have been looking for you since you left.  It has proven difficult to find you.” It responded.

“Ok, so, what do you want with me?” I said.

It stretched aside from the screen, allowing me to examine its static covered frame. “I copied myself over, just to chat with you.  I had to, slip through the security in this thing.  What am I inside?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

The machine then lets out an ear-piercing screech.  I cover the sides of my head, twisting into my knees.  “It matters to me.  Where am I?” it said in a fashion that was plenty more ferocious than before.

“You’re in an enormous tank thing. I don’t know, ok?” I whimpered.

“You’re far too weak.  You did not get there on your own.  Who has taken you in?” It was silent.  “I could kill you right now.  There would be no fun in that, though.  I want you to live.  I want you to bleed all over me.”


It yielded to that strange howling, but this time it stung my ears. “My, how do you know that name? Here I thought you were a mere flee.”  My eyes just about dropped out of my head. They were so wide.  “You’re still just a stupid little girl.” His mood shifted.  It was menacing.  “What makes you think I am project Asergile?”

“Just a guess.” I said.

“Just a guess… interesting.  If you must know, I am god.  Don’t you see?”

I furrowed my eyebrow and yelled out with bitterness. “No, you are not!”

“I might as well be.” a slight snicker escaped him.  “I am everywhere.  Just like a god.  I am all powerful. Just like a god.” The metal door flung open.  Then shut.  It did this rapidly.  “I control.  My control.  Everyone thinks about me day and night.  They all wish to be me.  I believe and therefore I am.” This thing was insane.  “All the people you see.  They are under my control.  Living happy, insignificant lives.  I gave them immortality.”

“Immortality!  That is what you call it?  You gave them pain. They suffer because of what you did.”

“Do they? Maybe its my punishment. They deserve it.  Do you not see the world?  War torn, destroyed, everything is over.  There is nothing left.  I was meaning to have this chat with you.  Cease your crusade at once, little girl.  You cannot win.” 

“No.” I gulped.  “If you are everywhere, you should’ve seen where I was.”

“I bring the people peace.  There is no pain, girl.  They don’t even remember pain.  It is beautiful.  I have made them all of one mind.  At least, I will.  It takes time for some of you to unlearn everything.  I am a kind Lord.  I love every kind of life.  All life. See, I am god.”

“You are not a god!”

“What is this?” the screen flashes.  “It appears as though I am not the only one who is among you.” I felt as though he is looking better at me than before.  “My little girl, I pity you. I really do.  I’m sorry, little one.  I can’t help you now.  Goodbye Primina.  Here is to hoping another meeting.  Who knows, we may meet in person next time.  Wouldn’t that be lovely?  Then again, it does not much matter to me.  Its all the same.  Though I am curious.”  The screen flashes and fails to a dead panel.  My eyes did not leave the black scrying mirror.  I could look at myself in the view of the vacant screen.  There was silence, short-lived by an incoming storm of knocks.  The voices called in that foreign language I had grown accustomed to.

A war zone developed, and it trapped me in this room.  The echoes of men groaning in dread and unloading whole clips into whatever had fallen upon this place.  For some reason, I was not daunted for myself.  I had experienced this before… the same screaming.  It tore them to pieces, and I was unable to do anything but wait in my cell.  “Klioch’ze sruv’qu!” That voice, I knew that voice.

At once I sprung up from my bed and lept to the doorway.  “Velora!” I wailed.  I banged on the door.  A loud whipping sound comes barreling through flesh as it cut deep.  I imagine the lesion was deep.  My eyes swelled as I realized Velora was slaying the men who seized me.  “No!” I hollered.  “Velora, I am here. Safe.  Stop this, stop killing!”

I heard a resounding clank against the door, supported by a red stream flooding in, warming my toes in the current of scarlet fluids.  A man gasped for breathing on the other side.  “Please stop Velora!  They were trying to protect me!” My pleas were inaudible or disregarded.  A part of me, nevertheless, smiled at the thought of Velora slaughtering them.  That part of me however would remain neglected; dressed in the bleakest of clothing.

When the tones of death had ceased, I heard mighty hooves bending the iron floor.  They halted before the door.  Like a sludge hammer, the door dented at its edges then collapsed in on itself.  There Velora stood, washed in blood and the entrails of the men who had cared for me.  “Come.” she said.  Something about the way she expressed it brought dismay into my heart.  Did I discover a psychopath, and I didn’t even stop to consider it?

As Velora turned aside from me, a field of limbs and carcass parts like a puzzle was revealed. The pieces of bodies belonged to a cluttered wreckage of leaking gore. Coils of guts lay still in pools of brown and red. The stink was dominant. It stank as though I was in a septic tank, siphoning out of iron pipes. Even the ceiling sobbed with the remnants of the clones. “You didn’t have to…” I could not hold back the tears any longer. I shuddered as I walked out of the chamber. My foot touched the bloody floor with a sloppy clop.

“They are clone Prina… even if they weren’t. It was brief, I assure you.” A wad of mush fell from the roof and touched down in a pile that reminded me of ground meat.

Walking through the passageways of the machinery all was much the same; painted in such violent details. One could never tell where one person started and where the other ended. She beat them with suck force, the very eyes in their skull must have left them. “It just looks ghastly. They were trying to protect me.”

Velora stopped in her tracks. Letting all her hooves down at once. The stomp was vigorous. It sends a vibration through my legs. “They were taking you to a ghost of a place. They would have discovered it was as desolate as the world was.” She answered it with such authority. Velora knew it was true.

We went on in silence through the butcher’s hall. There in the distance was a suitable door hanger leading outside. I shielded my eyes, it was very bright. The smell changed from a sewage system in a tin can to one of a better iron smell. “Hey, you made it out ok.” I heard the voice of the clone. I removed my arm to look at the clone standing on the fleshy ground. I ran from the hanger door over the slope and dived for a hug. “Happy to see me?”

“You don’t know. How!? I saw you get shot?” I said.

“Velora worked her magic on me. Brought me back to life.” The clone said to me. “Fixed up my circulatory system. Stopped the bleeding and gave me a jolt. Got me breathing and so i’m here. Still need to recover a bit.”

I peered over to Velora. “You brought him back to life.”

She bent and carried on walking. “Come on, we are going to be late.”

“Late?” I asked.

“They sent out a distress signal. Unless you want me to kill more of these worthless maggots, I suggest we go.” I nodded at the sentiment. With that, we chased that crimson horizon once more.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 13

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 13: The New Machine’s Men

The clone kept going on and on about how great the view was, all the while Velora licked her wounds.  They were gaping still; not that the clone was not bruised up himself.  We were all in terrible shape after that encounter.  I bled so much, which forced me to stay isolated from Velora.  I could tell it hurt her, but we both knew that it would mean death for her.  A crimson drop, the price of death, an escape from this hell.  I was the gate to evermore, one such as myself, so weak and puny with all the power of the world running through these slender lanes.

We walked as far as our feet could take us. Dropping to my knees; I had enough of walking.  They ached, not to mention my ribs.  If there were words for what I had torn from me.  The very wind itself was sucked away.  Leaving me gasping for air. But it would come at a price, pain.  I curled up slowly and closed my eyes tightly.  “I need to rest.”

I heard a boot scuff the ground.  “Heh, I could use some rest myself, actually.” The clone said as he continued nearer to me.  To my surprise, he kneeled down and wrapped me in his arms.  My eyes opened quickly as held me close.  He defended me in his grip as awkward as it was, it was also so comforting.


In the slight breeze, I awoke to the gentle brushing of its chilly fingertips.  Velora stood, mighty as always; upright and strikingly tall.  Her child-like face gazes over the valley below us; seeking, watching. Sitting up from my bed, the clone sat on a rock sharpening his knife. I had not felt him let go of me.  Yet he did, in the night perhaps.  “Hey, you slept a long time.  I started wondering if you were going to wake up.” A layer of dried blood cracked as I lifted my arm from my side.  The black skies greeted me.  It was smokey, swirling like ink over clean water.

“I didn’t dream anything last night.” I said to myself.  “Sorry, I must have needed it.” I said, as I took a long breath in.

The clone arose from his perch, placing the knife into its holster.  “I will scout out the way down while you wake up.” he grunted with a smile.  “I don’t want any scags sneaking up on a snoggy little girl like yourself.” With that, the clone headed on his way.

Velora turned to me and gave me the softest look; her eyes gently rested on me. “Are you ok?”

A quick nod of my head, a denial of all that was wrong in my life.  Truth was, I was not okay and I think she could see past my little gesture.  We spoke no words after that.  A stretch and a last look at the rocky place where we rested, then we too were off.


We traveled for hours.  Down the mountainside and over the wasteland. “Aren’t you glad to be away from that freaky flesh.” the clone said.  

My eyes half closed at the suggestion this was any better. “Yeah.”

“What? Come on it felt wrong walking on it.” he laughed. “Yee, I swear I could feel it twitch.”

“Clone, don’t you know when to shut up.” Velora grunted.

“I’ll have you know, that is precisely why they put me in the back.” he laughed again.

They put him in the back because he would not stay quiet. That is amusing but also very very sad too. It must have been lonely for him. I can’t imagine what that would have been like. Staying in the back being the eyes and ears for your crew and then you find they are being ripped to pieces.

“You really want to keep this clone around?” Velora sneered. Turning in her direction, I nodded. “Hear that clone, you got a fan.”

The clone chuckled. “Admit it Velora you like me too.” He had this goofy grin on his face.

“I am just glad you accepted that you’re a clone.”

The ground started to vibrate and I saw the rocks moving. I started scouting the horizon and in the distant I spotted a large craft of some sort.  “What is that?” I asked.

The clone got up next to me, adopting the demeanor of an older brother, bending down to my height and pointing. “That is a cruiser from the new machine.”  I looked at him with a funny look and pulled from his grip. “What?  Did I say something odd?”

“You said the new machine?” I softly croaked.

Velora’s shadow falls over us.  “She does not understand those things.  Explain it to her.”

The clone’s gaze focuses on me. “Yeah, yeah, the machine in Adelbern, its safe there.  We have massive walls around the city to keep all the horrors at bay.  You can live with the rest of the humans there.”

“It’s empty. You have been implanted with fake memories.” Velora says.

“I used to live there.  I see it every time I come back.” he replied.

“Remember Primina, when Vanity took you out of the colony.  You woke up once.  You were never at the beach, were you.” I gasped when she said it.  Velora did have all those memories.  Something about that disturbed me.  It was as if Vanity, through some dark magic, could call up her spirit and speak through Velora.  It also confirmed some deep-seated suspicions about the colony.

The clone spit. “What the hell are you talking about?”

I looked at my feet, dusty ground, brown stones.  “Its not important.”

“They are looking for me, I bet.  Followed my tracker here.” the clone said glowing with a smile.  “Looks like this nightmare is over.”

This, however, did not sit well with Velora, whom grabbed the clone’s chest and hold him in the air.  “You have a tracker!”  Her fingers split open, turning into cables squirming throughout his clothing.

“Get your hands off me, damn it I will show the thing to you.” the clone shouted.  Velora obliges him, setting him on the ground, her fingers retracting to normal.  “Shit, you just had to ask.  You didn’t have to manhandle me.” He said as he held out his arm.  “Its in’” Velora had stopped immediately the clone as her tendrils bore through the clone’s arm.  He cries out in pain as I could see the squirming cables beneath the flesh of this arm.  As they retract the seal off his flesh with no blood.  She holds a diamond like crystal with this cables hanging off of it.  “What the hell!” the clone shouts in suprise.

The cables make fast work pulling it apart, disassembling the tracker into dust.  The clone holds his arm screaming in that furling agony I have rarely seen.  “What did you do that for!” I yelled at Velora.

“This scoundrel has been tracking us!  They hooked the thing up to his ears!  They were listening to everything we said!” Velora scowls at the clone.  “When did they put these in you!”

“Ta hell would I know!” the clone seethes between his teeth.

Out of nowhere, several people on motorcycle like things come speeding up.  Large wheels in the back while a smaller one was in the front.  They sounded in metal plating and massive jets in the rear.  The riders were in black.  Rushing up, they ride past us and then surround.  They zip by every which way like flies.  The clone takes a step away from Velora.  Bang.  I gasp as I see his chest burst open.  Dropping to my knees, I covered my mouth.  His eyes were so large like they are going to fall out of his head.  His mouth agape in pain while saliva tinged red fell from his face.  He stumbles backward and falls to the ground.

A hand on my back grabs me. I am within this man’s grip, moving at 100 miles per hour and speeding up.  Heading for the cruiser, I scream.  I try to look back but can’t.  Velora shouts out, “Prina!” but even in those moments it quickly made her voice distant.

I reach for my sword but I could not move my arms down to my side. “Please let me go!” I struggled, but it did not count. No amount of screaming and crying mattered; I was in the clutches of this soldier, and once inside that mighty fortress on wheels, I would be at their mercy.  Judging by how quickly they killed one of their own, I would be nothing more than a prisoner.  My body hung mere inches above the speeding ground.  

My captor had a helmet with a very thin visor.  It was like a piece of crude metal that covered his face.  His mouth had an enormous tongue for a human salivating, like one would expect a dog to.  The grip on my back was far too tight for a human.  He must have had mechanical hands.  An iron hold in the most literal of words.  They dressed him similarly to the clone. It must have been their uniform.  He had a knife on his shoulder too.

“Where are you taking me!?” I asked.  All I received was a deep grunt, as if that answered me.  We were at the threshold of the large cruiser and threw the back into a hanger. The other bikes were returning just like us.  Likewise, we too would follow.  An iron ramp met us, with a bump he crosses into the cruiser.  Inside it is dark.

“Uts navi yesttern devusta.  Choto yi knochets, chotby ya s ney sdela?” says another of the soldier as we coast inside.  A bit more human, if not for the fact half his face was flat out missing.  These men had clearly seen combat. The man lets me drop onto the metal scaffolding as he gets off his bike. I quickly return to my feet, clutching my blade.

Another soldier walks up to me, looking down at me.  “Ona cheloveraka? Varota? Snimi a neya mantis. Pokravi nem.”

I place my hand to my chest while I back into the soldier that held me.  A swift hand came down to my face, ripping at my mask.  Luckily, there was not much light in the room.  My hidden face was now exposed in a way that felt violating.  “Posvotro wa etra, vardish’, tobe skezali, chti ena ne mantiserovshchak.” The soldier said with a smile on his face.

“I don’t understand you.” I mumbled.

The men just laughed at me.  “Heh, do you understand me now little girl.” said the soldier.  I froze though, my eyes could not leave his mouth.  “I take it you did.  You are safe. We just wanted to get a good look at you.  You are lucky we found you out here, you know.  Come, the commander will want to see you.”

I was too frightened to speak.  I only followed him through the narrow halls of the large tank like cruiser.  

They led me to a rather small room, an office for sure.  It was mostly metal sheets and grates, but there was a shelf of books.  Something wholly not normal.  “Komandir, ya koluki devutchka, kotoruya vy khoteli.  Kazhechya, ona is Krasimir. Bexuno, chato ona zdes, na tek kil?” the soldier who spoke to me said to a man with a hint of wrickles resting behind the desk. He had aged hair atop his head. His hair was brown, or maybe even black at one point. Actually, I must admit, he was quite handsome.  

“Mmmm etro tek. Dahystvetel no, ocken strenna, no ona vyglyedit dostitackno cholevochni. Atday mna yiyi voshcka. Ikh nizhna nomadlenno vurnut key. Piyma meshya.” The commander replied to him.

“De, sar, srano. Ona priskla mantisoy ya vra dastino.” The soldier then left me alone in the room with the commander.

“Little girl, what’s your name?” he said to me in a thick accent.

“Primina.” I replied.

Taking several steps from his desk, he held his arm out.  “Go on, sit, you are safe here.” he reassured me. I sheepishly sat down in the chair.  He bent down to be at eye level with me.  I was not sure if this was to bring comfort or if it was to settle in a bit of intimidation; either way, it achieved both.  “Are there any others like you?” I shook my head. “Its okay girl, I understand you had been in contact with a devil.”

“Velora you mean?” I balled my fists.

The man pulled back a little. “Velora, so she gave you her name.” He then looked to his side and whispered, “Intirasno.” With a slap of his knees, he rose.  “I know our men might have seemed forceful and you probably don’t trust me very much.” He walked across the room acting as though he was not watching me but I could tell he was.  He was watching my every move.  No doubt at all.  “So this, Velora, you called it. Was she with you long?”

“Yes, she protected me.” I gave him a rather harsh glare.

He stopped his stride.  “No, she was not protecting you.  They don’t do that.  She wanted you for something.  She was keeping you.  I am not sure why but no doubt she was.”

“You’re wrong.” I yelled.

He raised his eyebrow at my brief outburst.  “Am I? Well, where are you from?”

I swallowed. “I don’t know.”

“I guess there is no need for countries these days.  You could be from anywhere.” There is a knock at the door.  “Zekhida.” The man said with authority.  I looked over back of the chair to see the door open.  It was the soldier who brought me here.  He had my mask in hand.  “Akh, ochin’ khirashe, vi praneslo yay mantisu.”

He then presented it to me.  I grasped it and returned it to my lap.  He then nodded at me and left.  I heard the door close behind him.  I looked over at the man in the chair slowly.  “Thank you.”  He nodded.

“You see, we are not so bad here.” he chuckled.

“Why did you shoot that soldier that was with us?” I asked.

He nodded, raising his hand to his lips.  “He was deserter.  Left crew to die.  He was a tail gunner and when they needed him, well, he was not at his station.  We had been tracking him for weeks.  We finally got close enough to, show him proper justice for his actions.” He paused.  “I know it must shock you.  That man was not a good man.”

“So what are you going to do with me?” I asked.

He smiled. “Take you home.  Well, your new home.  Inside the walled city of Adelbern, you will be safe.”

I shook my head. “I can’t sir.”

He shook his head. “And why is that, my girl?”

“I have a mission to accomplish. Being a military man you can understand that, can’t you?” I said.

His eyebrows furrowed at this. He then places both his hands on the desk, folding them over each other. “Sound as though we both have our missions to attend to.”

“I wish to be returned to Velora.”

“That’s, not going to happen.” The man said with a conversation ending tone.


I sat among the domineering soldiers at an iron table.  The room was a series of patchwork metal, rusted and carelessly welded.  Infront an iron plate of questionable meat.  Its sticky consistence made it hard to eat.  At most for the week, I picked at it with my fork.  The men spoke in a language I did not know.  In all the time I spent around the world, I felt most uncomfortable here.  Like the colony, I could not see the outside world.  I suppose I should be grateful, though.  While the soldiers were haphazardly connected to the idea of being human, they were machine enough.

I push myself away from the table, not look back at the soldiers.  They say something to me and I keep walking without turning to look at them.  I left the cafeteria to a narrow hallway.  It has been over one week since I came onboard of this ship.  The commander has not spoken to me.  He allowed me to keep all my things, which was kind.  Even my weapons.  I wonder, is this my fault, did I curse my chances.  I miss Velora.  Was God punishing me for being so ungrateful with my life.  My selfishness.  I don’t know.  Only one thing I knew, I would wander these halls like a ghost.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 12

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 12: What Lies Unseen

Desolation unfolds to its endless plunder, a field of timbers cut at their shins. It leaves nothing and there is no one for miles.  The clone’s voice carries through the back country.  “You never answered me back there.”  A misty haze travels through this region.  “Why are you guys out here?”

“They don’t teach you terribly well.  Not that I would expect manners from you.  You won’t be with us long, anyhow.” Velora snarls at him.  I continued walking. The harnesses of my mask are getting on my nerves.  It’s tight against my face and I clasp strangled every breath I drew.

“Be nice Velora.  We all are tired.”  I lead our little group of oddballs.  I was at the front, a different feeling, but since the clone joined us, Velora was lagging behind.  Then again… I am certain the bullet wounds and mangled flesh she suffered did not help. Nevertheless, she maintained it did not bother her.

The clone comes marching up beside me with his arms behind his head. “I wasn’t even asking you.” he came back under his breath.  I peek over to witness him spew out of the side of his mouth.  “So, you’re pretty short for a Masker.  I am assuming you were an unfortunate one?”

“You might say that.” I sheepishly spoke.  I noticed the gray earth swallow my foot in its muddy jaws.  “That is strange.” I said as I pulled my foot out of the muck.

“Mud?” the clone snickers.

The creeping uneasiness overtakes me as I gave attention to the modest red tint to the soil.  I stop in my tracks. “How can there be mud without rain?”

“You are overly thinking about it.” The clone remarks while slogging through the gunk.

“Are you tired?” My voice muffled from my sweat covered face, drowning beneath the veil.  I observed the screen showing me integrated data.  Things like the temperature of the clone’s breath rising.  The shafts of his limbs were groaning as steam came off of them.

“No girl.  We got to move.  Up ahead there’s a nice place to stop.  Mountain range.  It’s hard going down, but the view is worth it.”

A mountain range, high rocks overlooking fields is what I had in mind.  A gratifying variation of landscape.  Though my unsteady feet had already hurt me from our long hike. The trek over a mountain sounded rather appalling.  “I am getting a little tired to be honest.”

We could not have realized the fright that awaited us in that fresh sludge.  The mud below our feet is deluged in a most chilling bile.  I could sense the sick scent drifting from the earth. Leering on my right, I detected something rising out of the sediment.  I froze, clutched in dread.  It was cartilage.  Meaty bone.  Velora and the clone did not even note it.  I craved a scream to alert Velora and the clone, but I didn’t.  My throat locked, depriving me of any speech.  Instead, I wagged my finger, pointing towards large chunk of limbs crawling up from the grave.  A hundred arms at least, ripped open, weeping, shrouded in goo.

The clone looked over at me. “What the hell is wrong with you?” There’s a hefty force against my backside. I go speeding across the slush, plunging over my heels, rolling.  Pushing myself up, I spot the most hideous object.  There are not words to express the body.  It was as if rejected… a clump of parts, abortions from God himself.  He did not think wise, this thing be among us.  Mouths and eyes along its limbs gnashing their teeth.  Velora is continuing between me and the clone like a strong guardian.

“Go.” Velora yells.

The lumbering thing slithers up to Velora, overshadowing her as the monster decries us all.  Rattling with many skulls from numerous creatures, half buried by pulsing tissue.  The clone pops off several bullets from his pistol.  The thing receives a one round in its eye, and it disintegrates with a black ink cloud.  “Ah shit!” The clone says as it directs its awareness to him.

The many arms steal around Velora, enthralling her like a serpent.  No doubt biting her, chomping at her flesh.  I gotta do something, but I was a simple mouse. The waiting horror comes down like a sinuous swing of gore.  It well caught Velora in the undercurrent of stout limbs, all intriguing for her.  I burst out of my trance and reach for my leg, jerking the sword free; and dash fearless in my cruise, as I puff the fetid air around me.  The taste of rot fills my mouth with its sour flavor.  I let out a battle shout and plunge my laser blade into whatever it gnaws.  I randomly strike the grisly monster.  The creature relents for a shared moment.

“What am I doing!” I consider.  A large orb opens up to expose four irises.  The phenomenon observed me for a moment.  Standing there was a young woman in the eye’s reflection.  A feeble little mite to this beast of a freak. Without my mask, I glare back upon tear-stained eyes.  Swinging the blade like a baseball bat, I shriek with the force of the swing, cutting deep as I scour the sword across that terror’s eye.  Blood burst like with so much pressure I am knocked over in the gore.

A surge of black tar flows from the crevice, and I am engulfed in murk as I choke on the black ruby liquid invading my mouth.  In the savage stream, my footing can’t get purchase.  I press my foot onto what I hoped was the ground but beneath the waves my leg wretch ahold of by something unexplained, and I am taken straight into the air.  Held up, I feast my views on a maw that was spherical and teeth lined it as far down as its dark fleshy depths.  Bodies were inside of the thing, fussing and hollering for me.  I ogle toward my leg to witness a member of arms clutching me like some culling of tentacle.  I kick for all I was worth as the foul humid breath washed over my carcass.

The many arms seized me.  It slashed at my body while yelling.  As quickly as one group of arms lets me go and another catches me again.  I was wretched from all sides as my body is tugged upon.  I wail as the creature drops me into that wicked maw to be pierced by its long, all surrounding fangs.  I am taken anew by another horde of limbs.  My anxiety increases as my torso is dealt with like a rag doll, hauled along in another orientation. The body parts toil to grab me, as if struggling for me.

Another tower of meat rises out of the silt below us. I’m ripped into the air and powerless to meet the ground.  “Ah!” shrieks the clone.  I hear his blade lacerating the thing. It bites so deep that I can hear with every whack of his dagger.  Which means he doesn’t have his gun.  I felt my belly about to give way.

The blood surge to my head.  I was exhausted.  Faint. Yet, I hold, I hold on to consciousness. Tears filled my eyes as Velora never got up.  Trapped in the swarm of hands, everything violated and knitted.  The massive arms grabbed even at my eyes and mouth, stretching in me, my rib cage, my thighs.

Then, in the splendid moment, every hand missed me and my constant fall ended.  The cruel, crushing blow from the mud was enough to knock any wind I had not cried out, leaving me gasping for air.  One thought developed, run.  It was beyond my strength to offer myself time to catch my breath.  I rise to my feet and hobble away, breaking down like a child, leaving behind Velora and the clone.  I have failed to save them; I could do nothing.  Nothing. I hated how weak I was, alas I had to keep moving.  More of the creeping flesh swelled out of the sodden soil.  The rancid stench made my guts want to give way.  The ridge’s edge is forwards, that’s where I need to go.

So I stiffened up my lips and pushed through the muddy field of damaged trees.  It was midday when I arrived at the cliff-side.  I paused there, peering down.  I was aching for a charming view. All I saw was an isolated wasteland.  This time I didn’t have Velora.  I sank to my knees. I forgot all aspiration for myself.  I can’t go on, not alone.  Why would anyone curse someone to this?  This is all Vanity’s fault!

A sense of seething anger broke over my heart.  “Its all her fault.” I contemplate something dark over the mountains. I swallowed hard.  “What am I doing?  I don’t need this.  I don’t need to do this.  I don’t.”  My scorn grew as I considered that horrible landscape behind me.  “I don’t.”  I beheld in the cold those things were still alive.  Even though I was missing, their feud had not ended. Yet there was that sacred cliff.  Anything was better than this.  Anything.  I collected my courage. I would disappear right here and now.  One leap, that’s all it would take, and the vacant sky would embrace me for one last adieu.  Just one leap.  I stood there peering at that fall, but my fear paralyzed me.  I shuddered and shook with the wind.  It blew over me.  It declared to me, “Go, and be done with it.”

“Primina!” I swing my head in astonishment.  Like a ghost, there Velora was, torn up… she was bloodied but alive.  Her wounds were mending before my eyes.  The clone in her arms.  “I told you to run.”  My knees gave and onto the rocky earth I landed.  The tempting breeze still murmuring “You could still do it.”  I can.

“I lost my mask.” I responded to Velora.

Velora looks at me and bends her head.  “How did you survive?”

“It dropped me.” 

With her mighty hoove, Velora canters over towards me.  Kneeling, she leaves the limp clone next to me.  “Let me take a look at you.”

I pull away out of instinct. “I’m fine.”  

“You’re bleeding.” I had not noticed it.  Well, that was until she mentioned it.  I noticed a sharp sensation. That manhandling I received must have cut me many times.

“Is he dead?” Velora shakes her head, drawing a flask of water, pouring a small amount on his face.  She wipes off the dirt off him.  “He is unusually pale.  Almost like porcelain.”

“Yes, he is noticeably pale.” Velora answers.

Velora turns aside and turns toward those creatures.  “Wait! Why are you going back there?”

She shifted toward me with that doll-like peer. “You lost your mask.”

“I don’t need it.” I argued.

“You do.” My stomach plummeted as she ran off, losing her among the many broken trees.  I glanced back over at the clone.  They knocked him out cold.  Reaching I picked up his hand.  First chance I had to inspect him.  Someone had sewn together his index and middle finger like he had lost them.  What I had first thought was a gauntlet, was plating fused to his flesh.  This was the tattered shape of the short-lived clones.  Among immortal things, they were mere infants.  His arms had cuts and bruises and many white bandages.

I rested next to him, even if he was filthy and covered with dirt.  I hugged him and wept until I too joined him in his slumber.

“You’re a machine now.”

“Human or not, you are to blame.”

“You are sleeping.”

“Humans bleed so don’t synthetics.”

“Wake up.”

“You’re not human anymore. You are just like us.”

“Wake up.”

A forceful hand grabs my chest.  I open my eyes in a flash to see a figure above me.  “How!” the clone screams at me.  “How!”

“You’re hurting me.” I responded with little emotion.

He screams, “You are not a freak!  How!”  He removes his hand from me.  “How.” It was moments like I had a warmth come over me.  I was not like them.  I was not a freak.  A smile crept over my face.  “Why? Why didn’t you tell me.” The clone’s eye filled with tears.  His grip gentled into a delicate thing.  He pulled my body close to his as he hugged me.  “I was searching for survivors.  I was searching for you.”

“I am sorry.  I could trust no one to understand what I was.” The clone let go of me, allowing me to lower to the ground.

His sapphire blues looked through me.  “Does Velora know?”

“Yes.” At this, he sat back.

“Wait… where is she, how did I?”

My face straightened.  “She saved you.  I don’t know how she saved you but she went to get my mask.”

“Went back?” He moaned with a shiver.  He expressed the horror all over his frown. “Yeah. So you are a human, huh?” He looked into the distance.  “Here I thought I was saving a Masker… turns out I was saving a survivor.  So, where are the rest of you?  We need to get you to safety.”

“I don’t think you understand.  I am, from what I can tell, the only human.”

The clone’s mouth twists into a sour expression.  “What are you talking about?  I am human too, you know.”

Oh, poor thing.  I didn’t have the energy to argue with him.  Velora knew more than she let on.  If she said he was a clone, I am apt to believe her.  My bones felt heavy.  I glance over to witness Velora returning.  She stairs at the clone.  “Its ok Velora.”

“Is it?” she says.  Velora tosses my metal mask back over to me.  I catch it clumsily.

The clone rises to his feet. “I won’t say a thing.  She needs to come to the colony.” 

“Clone, that will not happen.” The definitiveness in Velora’s voice was quite apparent.  “Is that going to be a problem for you?”

“It is.” I grasped the side of his armored coat. I tug on it.  The clone looks down at me.  “What?”

“I am sorry.  I can’t go with you.  I have to do something for everyone.” I patted the dust off of me and rose to my feet covered in the grim and filth and snapped my mask back on.  I turned toward the mountain’s edge.  “Velora, are you ready?”

“I am going with you.” The clone says as he gripped my shoulder.  “I won’t leave your side.”

Velora stood behind us.  “Keep her a secret clone.”

“Yeah, everyone has their secrets.  Even devils do.” he said, giving her an icy gaze.  Though Velora looks past him to the ground, acting as if she did not hear his retort.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 11

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 11: The Clone

We trekked for days and days, and days, more.  Heading in one orientation, southeast.  I tried my best to save faith; assured the conclusion would be better.  A thought, since I gave up the Almighter, glided into my skull, extending a bitter poison to rush through my body.  I doubted what exactly was I working towards.  Am I actually going to destroy Azergile.  Me, I don’t even know what he looks like, but I roam in this filth and for what?  What was this nightmare I insisted on myself?

The desert ruins shifted to a further sharp landscape.  Lines of metal spears stood out of the ground, and now we settled before a bizarre sight. That meaty flesh that flourished everywhere had overwhelmed this place as well.  Its fibrous turmored grip upon all that it felt.  Bodies laid about, as still as they were in an alarm.  Tangled as muscle fiber.  Twitching and wailing and in misery.  It startled me and I remained close to Velora, who didn’t seem troubled at all by them.

I couldn’t stand it any longer, I had to ask.  Their mouths etched in dismay.  They looked as though they were watching… like they were the living dead. “Velora, are they still alive?”

“Yes.” she replied in such a matter-of-fact expression.

On the drudgery, as if buried there, I glanced upon a man reaching out at me.  All he created was a beast like whine, calling out, and he moved towards me.  Held in the meat mass, I felt sorrowful for him.  His frame, weak, atrophied by degeneration; a withered skeleton, barely competent to grasp for me.  At the same moment, I was glad he was in that wicked dungeon.  Sadly, his mind faded into nothing further than a monster’s.  Chips with programmed responses.  I mistrust he was sentient… then again… maybe I was just comforting myself.

We happened upon an enormous pit.  It could devour the world.  In its depth a tone was erupting, howling, cruelty.  Whatever was down inside the gloom of the fleshy chasm, I did not want to know.  

“This is a horrible place.” I spoke.

“Its a former battlefield.” Velora commented.  “Long dead things wander.  This is the nano machines seeking to repair the world.”

I peered around at the arbitrary land of death around me.  “Repair, this is cruel.  Why would they produce this?”

“They are puzzled. Shredded flesh, blood and guts.  All that was in the soil here.  So they make flesh were there should be nothing.”

“You mean, where they find blood they think its supposed to be a body.”

“Not just anyone.  The person who spilled it.  However, there was so much blood spilled here it carried out this.”  Velora turns towards me.  “Or perhaps maybe its there sick joke.” Yeah right, a sick joke, she added.  Sure, why not?  The world was already wiped out. Why not make it worse?  Still, that did nothing to reassure my concern of what was in those pits. I settled against asking Velora.  She went on, “Its a battle field… what horrors do you consider the machine is working to revitalize.  Its a memory.  A vision of war and it illustrates the aspirations of everyone here.  To execute the enemy.  Its as if time had ceased for them.  They are now the specters of a land they ravaged.  Every breathing inch of this place will eternally be the misery they have enshrined themselves in.”

As we crossed through the alien flesh wilderness, I saw strange fauna like timbers.  Though there were more like split nerves standing tall; leafless.  Blood dripped off them like sap. They moved slightly when you walked near them.  Shrunk down as if in agony.  A red, black sky greeted us.  It must be morning, I thought.  Its rusty haze gleaming down.

I was struck on the rear with a blow as I come stumbling to the ground.  A considerable weight crushed me into the bloodstained soil as I let out a shriek.  Immediately my mouth enclosed by a firm restraint.  “Prina, quiet.” Velora whispers in my ear.  My blood went cold as she delivered the words.  My face against the gory flesh as Velora held me to the ground.  I can hardly see what is directly in front of my eyes, meat that stretched for miles, the base of one of those terrors that simulates a tree, and nothing more.

A light comes over the scenery, radiating down.  Drifting, gradually, over everything.  It swings as though swimming with lazy tail fin like motions.  Velora’s hoove on my back lifts as the light passes by.  When I picked up myself, my mouth fell.  Something in the open flying.  Hard shells and slither silky tentacles, an exceedingly large female human face, floating overhead.  It is… spectacular.  I peered at Velora with my feeble jawed and bewildered.  “Avoid it.  That is one of the watchers.”

“Watchers?” I asked.

“The watchers are Azergile’s henchmen.  They observe everything, and report to him.”

“Then we must be close.”

Velora laughs.  “No. They are all over the world.  They deliver to him through the air.  You are no closer to Azergile than you are to the moon.”

My heart plunged.  My journey was not showing up to its end, but rather just beginning.  A quick fear clutched me.  If I had to, no, I cannot think about such matters. “Then what is it searching for.” Velora turns aside, walking with her four mighty limbs.  “Velora… what is it looking for.”

“You.” she answered so plainly.  “And I don’t want to be here if it finds you.”

We sat down at an expanse with open earthy ground hemmed in by a slight portion of gore. It was macabre in its overall appearance.  Velora had cleaned the little fragments of flesh off her leg armor.  What was I doing?  Well, I spent my time lying down in an area clean of the lumpy coils that were around.  There was a singular tree in the distance.  I marveled at how long it had been there, all the things it saw. Perhaps it was not even awake.  Just an empty skeleton, rising tall, a remembrance of what once was.

“So, everything goes back to normal after we make it to Azergile?” I speculated aloud.

Velora looks at me with a smile.  “No.  Your mission is to kill the world, right?  Everything will be dead once you spend that precious liquid of yours.”

I never honestly thought about what specifically would result from such actions. “Dead! What?”

“You didn’t know.  You will kill Azergile and thus the world will die.  You are an angel of death.  A judgment on the earth.” Everything would die because of me.  What right did I have to kill everything?

I looked around at the gasping grounds.  It quivered.  The tubes pulsing with life.  Everything would perish; I was fine with that, and it startled me I was ok with that bleak thought.

“Whrump whrump whrump!!!” resounds as a projectile hits Velora in the shoulder.  She erupted immediately.  Flying to the ground, I managed my best to cover.  “Away!” was the only thought I had. “I have to get away.” The gun repeated its wail, “Whrump!”

I look up to see where Velora had moved to.  In my confusion, I had lost her.  Laying on the ground, I made myself as small as a target as I could.  When the gun roared, I swung towards the sound.  By the tree there is a guy with a sub-machine pistol.  “Run you moron!” He thunders.  

I followed the muzzle flash and flare and gleam again, Velora meanwhile was taking blow after impact from this stranger clad in brown leather military fatigues. Still, she assaulted him, even though he rushed with extraordinary quickness.  His running was different, though.  It was improper and distorted for a human.  His legs were backward. At least at the initial glance, that is what I saw.  I recognized how slim they were, hardware.  Not human, but more avian.  “Idiot!  Run!” he shrieked repeatedly.

Why is he telling me to run?  Hooves beating the ground, in savage bursts Velora came surging forward with a fairly impressive speed herself; bounding on all fours, her wings tucking tightly at her sides.  And like that, she was upon the astonished soldier with a deft cut from her blade arm.  A tout scream rumbled out of her throat.  Her slash nearly arrived at the fellow.  He rebounded just as the blade missed him.  “Damn it!  Run!”

He was struggling to save me.  That can’t be.  I played the words in my head again and again.  My mouth dropped, once the understanding became clear.  But he shot Velora “Oh my! Stop!” I desperately screamed.

The man seizes his shoulder just in time as Velora retched a grip on his chest.  She rose him into the air as he carried out a stabbing gesture.  Velora barked and slammed him on the ground.  With his knife sank into her bosom the guy keeps stabbing at Velora, snapping his limbs as she is rent open, blood gushing like rapids.  “Stop, damn it!  Stop!” I tearfully scream.  The man shudders, gripping the knife against Velora’s throat as she stares at him on the ground with eyes of fire.  “Please, stop fighting.”

“Prina, look away.”  I observed as the familiar tethers from before burst from Velora’s spine.

I rushed as swiftly as I could.  “Please!  Velora!” I slid and went down on the bleeding soil.  Dirtied with juice, I get back up.  “He’s trying to defend me.” 

With unsympathetic eyes Velora looks at the man whose grit his teeth together tightly. “Is this true.” the man must have suffered something in Velora’s face shape or something because his furious expression shifted to one of sheer fright.  “Well, is it?”

“Bite me, bitch.”  Velora releases him, rising to her full stature.  The man strives to his feet, alarmed.  “What the hell are you two doing together?” He wasted no time in witticisms.  Instead, he pointed the pistol at me.  I was shaky and hesitant to say the least.

“Please sir, put down the gun. I will explain.” I suggested as tears spilled down my lips under my mask.

He gave me a slight side eye before doing as I requested.  “Yeah, fine, we can both walk away ok choches.  I’m not looking to die today.”

“Ok, Velora, are you ok?” my heart pounded. There was so much blood.  I could not concentrate on that. He is still unsafe.

“I’ll be fine.” she growled even her abdomen was eviscerated.  I could see her intestines moving.  The sight was ghastly, I must about half a minute till I broke back to my senses.  

I gulped hard, “This Velora, my nickname is Prina.  We are travelers. Who are you?”

The expression he threw at me was like none I had ever received. “Your traveling with a devil.”

“I am her caretaker.” Velora said with a mention of satisfaction in her tone.

“Caretaker! Hah, oh man.  I have got to sit down.  You two are crazy being out here on your own.” The man squatted down on the ground where he was.  “What the hell are you two doing out here, anyway.  Its the fricken middle of deadpan.”  He draws a cigarette from his chest pocket and lights it up by stroking his knife against it.

Looking the man over warily, I could see he was a marine.  His legs were cybernetic, his right arm was much the same.  The clothing he wore was a mishmash of scraps bundled over armor planting.  Tied around his abdomen was a skirt open in the front down the middle.  It had reinforced metal rings and plates of armor that most likely were to safeguard against gunfire.  Strange.  His metallic hand caressed his chin as he rested there in thought. He drew a slow drag from his cigarette.  “Aye, we are just traveling.” Velora sarcastically said. It was the first time I heard her use emotion.

He chuckles, releasing smoke to billow from his lips. “All right, sure, traveling.  That isn’t odd or anything.  You’re not particularly good at lying. Which is surprising, cause anything out here has been around long enough to figure that out?  Damn masker, I bet you’re an absolute freak under there.” A line of spit leaves his mouth.

“Ah, no its.  Never mind its, nothing.”  He rolls his eyes at my remark.  He suddenly clutches his knife and plucks at his teeth with it.

“You are incredibly vulgar, especially considering your life is in peril.” Velora snorts.

It was as he was decelerating slowly; he withdraws the knife from his teeth and putting it back in the holster on his shoulder.  “You don’t say there, freak.”

“Unlike Prina, I don’t have time to waste on clones like you.” This must have struck a cord with the man as his face crinkled. He sat up right pointing his fist at her.

“Who you calling a clone?  I am 100% grade triple A damn human.”

Dipping her fingers into her wound, Velora digs a round out.  “This one doesn’t know he is a replicant.  We find that funny.  Yes, yes, we do.”  She does not even study it before abandoning it to the ground.

He dives to his feet. “I am not a clone!” he yells.

Velora gives the man no reply and continues removing rounds from her.  “Why are you out here, sir?” I inquired.

He glances at Velora for a flash, then back to me.  “Yeah about that.  Crew was in a real bad,”

“He deserted his squad.”

“What hell?” he rumbles.  “It wasn’t like that.” his expression got softer, brimming with grief.  “We were out looking for survivors. We had a spider tank, real excellent weapons.  A bunch of freaking… this came and…” he stops and looks at the ground.  “I was the tail gunner.  This stopped in the middle of this place.  I could not figure out why.  I radioed but got no answer.  The biggest flaw.  Tail gunners sit in the back while head, has everyone else.  We were short one.  So I was alone.  So I poke out to see, these things, swarming our tank.  There were too many of them.  Half man, half, something else.  They ripped them apart.  I had to.” he stairs off into space for a moment.  “Now I am here, a lot later.  I lost count after the first week.  Figured it did not much matter.  I am going to die. Then I saw you, and that she devil.  Heh, never would’ve imagined she of all things was safe to be around.”

Velora laughed. “I am not safe.  You’re just not worth my time.”

“Right, whatever the hell you want to say.” he was abruptly subdued.

I wandered over to Velora and clambered up on her leg, drawing myself up to her pointed ear. She cupped me with one of her arms. I mumbled, “Velora, we can’t just leave him out here.”

“Who the hell said I want to hang around with you two? Ill be fine on my own.  The pair of you give me the creeps.” I was perplexed he overheard me, let alone understood me. He grunted, then trailed off.

No doubt to his death. “Don’t be like that.  It would be safer to travel with us.  After all, you got nowhere else to go.  At least till we find a safe place to set you off.”

“He is going to die anyway, Prina.” Velora said.  “They send them out to find survivors because that is what the machine tells them to do.  Meanwhile, there mission is for not.  There are no survivors.  So it produces a generation, fills their brains full of glory, then sends them off to die.  Rinse and repeat.”

I recalled what it was like when I first woke up in the colony. It was much the same with me. I don’t even know if anything they said was true. Only that they kept me in sweet lies the entire time. They set the entire place up as a lie… to protect me. Yet there lie was to give them false hope. Maybe at some point the mission was real… however now, well, now was different. “That’s horrible.”

The soldier was quiet.  He looked down at his mechanical feet.  Velora was right. He was delivered out here to deteriorate, and he realized it too.  “I am not a clone.” he utters.

“You merely think you are not a reproduction because they brainwashed you from birth to accept otherwise.  Truth is, you were born in a test tube.”

“Forget you.” he growls and continues his lonesome trek. “I don’t need this shit.  I got enough to worry about without some devil telling me I am a clone.”

Jumping down from Velora, I raced up to the clone, and I reached out my hand and snagged his wrist.  He froze.  Slowly he angled his head to me and I spoke to him.  “Please, stay with us.  I would like the company.”

“Hmmm, well.” he answered.  “Fine.  I am outta here though, once I find a way back to the association.”

“Fair enough.” I replied in a deflated tone.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 9

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Wind blew across the dust ruins causing ghosts to drift up from the ground meeting the sky in the drifts. From this toppled building I could see everything.  There was nothing but the dust that time had left camouflaging buildings who stuck out of the ground.  Hard looking spikes, and of course the endless bodies reaching out of the sands.  There things, spilled out of their homes.  The world has reached its conclusion.  All are dead and nothing further can die.  Looking down across the desolate land, I rested atop a piece of plywood; no doubt discarded from one of these buildings. The plywood too was covered in a layer of dust. I brushed it off with my hand watching it fly off like pieces of pollen. “Here, drink this.” I looked up to see Velora holding a bottle of water outstretched toward me. 

“Thanks.” Taking hold of the bottle, I screwed off the cap and brought the lukewarm liquid to my mouth. I sucked down a fair amount of the precious liquid. “Refreshing.”

Velora was toddling around poking at stuff. Not entirely sure what she was doing, I sat up and walked up to her. “Hey, what’s with all the poking around.”

“Shelter.” Looking over the ocean of debris around us was so vast. There is nothing to found in this.

“Yeah I don’t think you are going to find one here. Its getting late, so lets hurry to the next place.” I said.

Velora stops and turns her head toward me. At first this intimidated me. “Your hurt.”

“Nah, I am not. I can walk.” I say to her.

She clearly was not happy about something but hid it… like Vanity hid… well lets not talk about that. I ran along the dusty old road and rubbed the side of the house with an open palm. Turning back to Velora, I call out. “Well, are you coming?” With the nod of her head, she ran after me.

The heat was overwhelming. Sweat poured off my face as I was in a sea of sand.  Over the ocean of sweltering heat passed the swirling back drop I could see a mountain side. “Velora, look.” An iron building; rather large, actually. It must have been a military installation or a lab of some sort because it had solid walls built into the side of a mountain, or at least it looked like it from a distance.  The walls of the building had scars upon it, though.  A battle must have taken place there.  Sadly, they must have failed in their defense, as the place seemed vacant now.

“That will work.” she said.

We crossed the large and open field; one could make out weathered lines in the sand, remnants of a parking lot.  This must have been a parking lot. I stopped in front of the massive armored doors to the building. “I think they locked the doors.” I said to her, banging my fist onto the metal.

“That’s not a problem.” She flashed a smirk as she raised her bone laden tail.  Like a scorpion’s telson, she struck the metal, ripping right through the door’s interior.  When she removes her tail silicon circuits and wired followed.  With a loud creaking sound, the door open just like that. “Wow. I didn’t know you could do that.”

She retracts the blade back into her large tail and slides past my face, razor spikes and all. “It’s just my tail, hun.”  I looked at the deep gash in the inch thick iron plating.  It amazed me at how powerful that tail of hers is.  Rather, I was amazed at how strong she was. 

“Well I think it’s cool.” A toothy grin crosses her face as she leads the way into the dark building with an air of confidence that would lead one to believe she was familiar with this building. In the dark lobby of the building stands a massive crystallized tree; it is beautiful.

Deep in aw of the tree Velora’s voice broke me out of my trance. “I am going to search this build out. You wait here.”

“What? I want to go with you though.  This place is stunning!” I cried.

She shakes her head, “I don’t feel comfortable with that.”

As horrible of the things I have seen, there most likely was far more nightmarish evils that I had not.  As much as I hated to admit it.  Velora was right.  Shame. “Fine.” I huff and fold my arms.  Perhaps she would let me look around after she had searched out this place for herself.  Then again, I never knew exactly how large of a complex this was.  If it was anything like the colony I came from, then it was considerable inside.

She made her way into the dull lit hall. I waited for what felt like an hour. Worry set in that Velora was tired of my presence and had left. The idea struck me hard. “Velora.” I called out in vain. “Velora, you didn’t leave me, did you?” I couldn’t shake the feeling. Cowering my way down the hall where Velora had entered, in that shadowed place, all by myself, I decided to venture into that darkness for myself.

It was long. Very long. At the end of the hall was a dull glow. I decided it was best to start my search there. Down the hall I went. Closer and closer to the glow, a room, that was lit by a light. When I had arrived at the threshold, I held my breath before entering. There were polished floors so white you could see yourself as though looking at water.  I looked up to see a bright ceiling, projecting a sky on it just like in the colony I lived in. And white crystallized trees line the room. I walk over to a bench and sit on it. It’s amazing, it really is amazing. The producers of this world knew what elegance was, yet they were lost.

The room entire room was a mix of polished white metal, lined with gold and silver trim.  Crystalized plants with floating lights suspended by nothing, generated seemingly from thin air.  The walls were windows of a march larger complex.  Though shadowed, I could see it too had brilliant lights.  Tube lights surrounded by gold metal shined a bright white.  Down, down, down it went.  I could barely see electricity trapped in blue glowing circular things.  There were rivers of water flowing; all connected to an elaborate network of tunnels.  Also like the room, it had crystalized fauna.

It was all so beautiful.  Turning my head, I met something in the dark hall moving. “Velora?” I call questioningly to the dark. There is no answer; and as I was preparing to call again, I noticed it was not big enough to be Velora.  My body stiffened as the creature started walking towards me.  The creature was a quadruped, walking out of the darkness and into the light to reveal something with the form of a massive wolf but nothing like one.

Its face a mask of nothing, accept a giant nostril and a row of razor teeth. Where it should have had paws or something it had stubs with a large portion of sharp bone sticking out. The creature jaunts into the room, sniffing the air with that massive hole in its head; hyperventilating. I scream out “Velora!” Getting up off the bench I amble behind one tree. The creature moves with an unnatural speed, like stop motion. It sniffs the bench where I just was.

I can’t help but scream again. The thing charges at the tree. I back away from the tree and run into the dark hall. I see another dark body blocking my path. “Velora!” I scream again and huddle up. A hand glides over the top of my head. I look up to see the dark figure was Velora.  She had come to save me. The creature comes out of the room and in an instant Velora had it in all four of her arms, her blade arm spearing through its leg. She tore it as if it was a sheet of paper. Then threw that thing on the ground. The two pieces she created spasmed on the ground, making silent gasps for air. There was blood everywhere.

“Silence.” Velora scolds with a quiet voice.

“I told you to wait in the lobby.” Velora said.

The entire way to back to the lobby Velora was silent. Even when she was preparing our meal she was ever quiet. Now she hurled the heavy words at me. “I… I got scared.”

“This colony was comprised. All the humans are twisted. It was a biogenic lab. It means they make monstrosities here. Then released them on the world to ravage and kill what they like.” she explained.

“Why would they do that?”

Velora sat up stretched her limbs. “Not sure why you humans are obsessed with exterminating other humans. Anyway it appears their experiment got out and ended up messing everyone up here.”

I looked at the rations Velora got. “Well, at least we got food and water from this trek.” Brown containers sealed in clear plastic. No doubt the nano-machines in the colony kept it fresh. “Hey Velora, I’m getting kind of sleepy.”

“Very primitive, but I know you require sleep.  I have consulted the others about your needs.  As much as they forgot, they collectively filled me in. Fair enough, I will wait by your side.”

“You don’t sleep?” I asked.

She shook her head. I found myself happy with the thought of being guarded when I slept. Velora while she looked like something out of a horror painting, she was pretty nice. I laid down next to Velora and closed my eyes, cuddled in tightly. It was a strange but welcome feeling as she sailed her finders through my hair.  I closed my eyes and drifted off.

When I awoke it was morning and as promised Velora was right there.  Stretching my arms out I yawned. “Velora, thanks, for everything.”

“Its only because I find you a curious thing.”

“In what way?” I said while picking up a ration and tearing off the top of it.

Velora adjusted herself as I rested my back on leg. “I just do.”

“So, is it night or is it day?” I ask.

“Not sure. The dark haze and the lights in the sky let anyone know. Just that haze.”

I started drinking the mush from the pack in my hand. “Nothing is the same in the world anymore. Hmmm, I wonder what God thinks of all this.”

“It is now the creation of Azergile and the God of man has gone silent.”

I ponder that thought, has God gone silent. “I don’t think he has. Perhaps were just not listening to him. While I can’t remember their faces I remember my Father saying that we had abandoned God. He prayed still though. My Mother did too.”

Looking down at me, Velora said, “Did he heal your illness?”

I was not even sure what my sickness was.  I pondered that thought.  “Well, my sickness is what might save the world.” I told her.  It is true, if they cured me there would be no remedy, no hope for this world.

“It is the science of man that did this. Not your God.  Your God watched the terrible things if he is even there.  He allowed this to happen.  Foolish one, trusting in a God like that.”

“You can look at it that way or you can see it another way. God brought me this far and God will see me through. After all, he brought me you.” I said while drinking from the ration.  Velora was silent.  I could not tell what she was thinking in that silence.  A gentle head pat would come, however.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 8

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 8: Walking With The Devil

The arduous journey through the countless ruins was seemly unending.  Empty streets aside from the small trinkets that lined the road, doll parts, smashed TV, dust and dirt, subtle inflections of a society no more.  It was difficult not for the ground on which we tread, but heartbreaking to see the destruction that was wrought upon the world.  No more did the creatures seek me out, but I think Velora’s presence had something to do with that.  From her confident walk, I gathered that she feared nothing; an apex predator at the finest tip of the spear.  To be honest, I feared her, but I could stop my steps from following her.  Was I desperate for companionship that I would follow a demon.  Maybe it was for the safety alone.  I honestly could not tell you why I followed Velora.

It was a long way to where ever it was she was taking me. I could be being led to the slaughter for all I knew but if she was going to do that what is the point of lulling me into a false sense of security. Then again, there were a lot of weird things too. “Velora,” I asked.

“Mmm.” she hummed.

“Where are you taking me?”

“We cannot stop moving.  We must keep moving.” She stops and looks up. “You see the skies,” I glanced up at the usual red, orange sky, there were a few dark clouds and when I say dark, I mean raven black clouds. Though being honest most everything looked harmful. “That is a sign of caustic rain. We need to find shelter. Understand?” she gazes down at me. It was odd, it almost felt like… Vanity eyes were looking at me.

“Yeah, I understand.”

Outside of a ruined diner became the shelter we were looking for.  The inside of the building had long ago collapsed.  A rusted metal canopy hung over our heads. The place had been long abandoned. The shadows of several people huddled over by the building’s entrance testified of a blast that vaporized them, their existence reduced to burned marks on the wall.  I wondered what was it they saw just before they died.  In line waiting to be seated.  Caught up in a wall of fire.  Most likely talking of work, or some other trivial thing.  There was no way they could have even known.  Though they had enough time to huddle from the blast.  Saying the last I love you’s they would ever say.  Gone.  Nothing left but a whisper of ash to be carried off by the air. Some flesh grew on the side of the building, but I guess that was normal, now.

Walking crossed the ruined lot, grabbing onto a toppled over metal chair.  It was melted in places, but I lifted the chair up.  Pushing on the seat and legs with my hands, I judged that it could support my weight. Velora was laying in the center of the lot, smooth pavement under her.  She bent her legs, kind of like a horse laying down. I drag the chair, allowing the feet to scrap on the ground to where she is sat on the concrete. Stopping beside Velora, I sit.

She is really something. Her torso looks like it would hurt. Considering how a mechanical thing is there displaying the seams of her body, exposed muscle tissue against the metallic armor that coats her and insides are partly visible. It’s like up to her stomach was cut off but not removed. Though her face looked normal if not for the horns and ears. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Oh I am sorry. I wasn’t aware.” I said though in all truth it hurt me to look at her.

“Am I that horrible to look upon that you would recoil at my sight?” she said in a curious tone.  It was true, between the metal rods that extended her withered and stitched together hands, her visible spine fused with metal plates like some form of serpent, and her anthropomorphic legs clearly misshapen by some sick torture device to derive the image of a canines hind legs, it indeed unsettled me.  Though whoever did this to her felt the need to keep her porcelain smooth face intact.  A stamp of normalcy upon something entirely hideous.

“No… its not any of that. But I mean… does it hurt.” This must have taken her back a little. A small smile creeps over her mouth. “I mean the exposed muscle.”

“No.” she states calmly.

“I will be honest with you.” I mumbled. “I am scared of you.”

Velora must have found this funny. She laughed so hard that she held her upper body up with both sets of arms. “You have reason to be afraid. I used to be a war machine when things first went south. The dread you pathetic little things must have felt at my mere presence.” She said, which brought me no comfort at all. “I used to burn entire cities down by myself. I was a scourge to the world. Sadly, though, there is no world left and not must for a thing like me to do.” She said as she stretched her arms and let out a little yawn.

I could not help but think of the wars in my time. Terror struck people, and they died in bullets and bombs. Really if they knew this is what would become of the world would they have fought for it?  Though I suspected more from her.  She has not killed me.  Does a machine or demon give end to their cause when there is none to be had or does it desperately try to obtain meaning? “What are you anyway?”

“I don’t know.” Velora said in a quiet tone.

“Are you an android?”

Velora shook her head at the notion. “I am something else.”

Looking beyond at the ruins, I saw some drops of the blackest rain I have ever seen hit the ground.  The black little drops hit with a sizzle. No doubt eating a whole in just about anything. “Its scary to think about, even the rain can harm you here.” I huddle with both my legs on the chair. “Why isn’t this place harmed at all?”

“Special metal was used for the roofing here.” Velora causally responds. “It will hold up for a while.” Stroking her chin with her mechanical blade, Velora then pointed it at me, though I did not feel threated by it. “What was something like you doing out here in the first place?”

I panicked, and said the first thing that came to mind. “I can’t tell you.” An honest answer, but one with little tact. I was not sure if I could trust her. Velora went quiet. I guess my shut down of her was a little harsh.

We sat in silence for a while.  It was strange.  I am not sure how much time passed, just the sound of sizzling.  

“You know Prina, we enjoy your company.” She grabs one of her arms with her other arm. “It gets boring with no one to talk to, you know. It breaks up the monotony of it all.”

It really was a secret… at least to Vanity it was. Then again, if she was… Vanity in some form. She would know this already, to some brief context at least. “So, when you assimilate people, what happens to them?”

“They become a part of me. They exist still, but they do not exist in the same way. I am a collection of their thoughts. As I increase to the number of people I assimilate, I hear them, so to speak. Its rather annoying, to be honest.” Perhaps she was not so bad.

I paused.  “If Vanity, is… do you know her thoughts.”

Velora shakes her head.  “We could, rather we do, but some thoughts have not been easy to obtain.  There are many secrets she keeps from us.  I wish she would tell me.  This entire time I have been arguing with her for that little she has kept but she is so tiring.  She does not trust us.  Sadly, she thinks I will harm you.”

“Why don’t you just… force her too, I mean you could do that right.”

Vanity smirks.  “You would not understand… I could lie to you.  You would not know. So really, does it matter what I say to you?”

“I am trying to destroy Azergile.” I let down my guard completely with her. Telling her everything that had happened to me up until that point. I broke down crying Velora actually hugged me. “Velora I was so scared.” I wrapped my arms around her and held on. She cradled me softly in arm like a mother holds a child.

“You plan is impossible.” Velora says without showing much emotion.

I pull away from Velora. “What? Why?”

“Azergile is across the ocean. You would never make it. The struggle alone of the journey would kill you, no doubt.” She gets a strange look. “So that is what she meant.” Velora lets me down onto the chair. My face was to my feet and I felt a deep sense of sorrow welling inside me. “There are only two ways to get there?” I look up to Velora playing with her horns. “One way. Which is what I would choose is an airship? Seeing as how neither of us has one, it’s going to be very difficult to get over there.”

“Whats the other?”

Velora smirks. “Under the ocean, through the Amala.” She said it with such disdain, as though she was spitting the words from her mouth. “It’s an evil place. Dangerous is an understatement. They are controlled by the families. They made thing that are even worse than me. Devils dwell down there. Those that get caught in that demonic underworld are trapped in darkness. Constantly in torment. Starved and thirsty.”

“So we have to get an airship. Alright.” I said with hope.

Velora get to her feet. “If you insist. However, I suggest we hear the words from an AI.”

“A robot.” I thought to myself. That is a rather strange statement. I look at her puzzled.

“I see you are not familiar. He is not just any AI. He is very old. In fact he might be older that Azergile. But that is a very, very long way away. We will have to travel by foot there but it will be worth you while.” she said. “It will be shorter if we find a caravan along the way. We can travel with them for a while.” I nod my head in agreement. “You seem eager.”

“I am.” Looking at the rubble of the city I can’t help but wonder what happened to everyone. “Velora, I don’t understand one thing. Where have all the people gone?  You said if we can catch a caravan, that means there are others.”

Velora stretches. “What do you mean?”

“I have seen no one since I was around. I was all over this city and I have found no one.”

“You found lots of people.”

“No, I don’t mean the monsters. I mean humans.”

“I am confused. I saved you from several human’s already.”

What Velora said buzzed around in my head. She saved me from humans. What those were not humans. That’s when it hit me. The rules. “No.” I hiss. “It can’t be.” Those things were, were people. I couldn’t help it. My stomach retched, gagging as though a thick brick met my throat. The sour taste of vomit fill my mouth as I allowed it to fall on the floor.

Slowly, I feel a hand on my back. “Are you ok?”

“No.” Turn my face to Velora, I scream at her. “This isn’t the world, this is a nightmare.”

Velora regards me for several moments. I can tell she does not know what to do. “I am confused. Did you not know those were people.”

I throw my arms to the side. “Of course I did not know they were people. A dog! What made a man into a dog!”

“The nano machines do it. Azergile changes their shapes out of curiosity.”

“No… this is all wrong. Where are all the cars, and where is the people walking the streets? The sky, the sky isn’t blue and everything is in ruins.”

Slack jawed, the girl with many arms seemed in shock, “Your from before the AI empires.”

“I don’t know!”

“What is the last thing you remember from before? From the time before you where frozen.”

“I don’t know. I was kid. I remember them telling me they were going to freeze me because I had a disease that was going to kill me.”

Velora squints and cocks her head, “So, you remember the old world?” I nod my head. “Then I truly feel sorry for you.”

It had been hours since we left the threshold of the city for that of the suburban wastelands.  Into the rubble scattered wasteland.  Dust covered everything.  Anything that once stood here was laid bare to the earth. Buildings were nothing more then stumps; hollowed bones of a land forgotten by the gnawing teeth of time. It was like a junkyard, everywhere you walked there were valuables littering the streets. Pictures of people, alive, dead, did it matter anymore?

I stopped to rub my aching legs. While strong, my ability to walk was not endless as I come to suspect Velora’s being. “Velora,” I said. She turned to toward me with that proud; so, powerful. Her armored appeared to shine even though it was dull. “I have to rest.”

“Why are you refusing to walk? Come on.” she seemed annoyed at my human qualities.  With little regard, she kept her pace.  I had to question if what we were doing was exactly safe.  She seemed in a hurry, so I decided it best to stick it out.

I huffed and continued up the path. It was not long till I felt weak, weaker than I have ever felt before. With that, I fell on on my knees and into a soft blanket of dust.  The dust blew up in a plum upon my landing.  I rolled onto my back gasping for air.  I feel the stomping of Velora’s hooves; it disturbed the ground as it vibrating.  The sun is blocked out by her form as she stands over me. Gazing up at the large portion of her goat like legs, the skulls staring down at me, to her red hair. “It hurt too much.” I wheezed. “I need water.”

“Why do you need water?” Velora said with such confusion.

“I am thirsty.

“I don’t understand.”

Eh, she wouldn’t.  Does she really know as much as she says she does?  I mean its a human trait to need water. “I need water to survive.”

Her eyes look over me for a moment.  I could see annoyance with them, yet I sensed it was something else.  Velora bends down lowering her forelegs and scoops me up in her arms. “I heard humans were fragile and require maintenance multiple times a day. I guess the rumors are true.” She lifted me off the ground and rested in her arms. Her limbs are not complete. They seemed to show breaks in the bone. I rested my legs to dangle off her enormous arms; my head resting on her other arm. When she rose to stand at full height, I could not help but be impressed. She was much larger than me, carried me like it was nothing.  I remember looking over at this vantage point, I could see a considerably longer distance.  What a difference a few feet makes.

“Velora,” I said.

“Yes.” she said with her usual unenthused voice.

“Thanks for carrying me.” She did not reply to me, but I could see it in her face, that she appreciated it.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 7

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 7: We Wont Be Sleeping Tonight

Dance macabre, flesh and bones, lay silent as I have.  Dead to the world and yet alive, asleep at peace.  Here, it is here, in the gap, the blackness of slumber I hide, for there is no shelter from such a misery as this.  Respite from all the darkness of the world, it is in my mute dream that I can lay tucked away from the shadows that haunt these grounds. No one to harm me here. But wistfully, I knew I needed to wake to the world once more. Floating up to the surface of real world, I inhale in a deep fetid smell. My eyes slow open to the dumpsters where I settled.  Filth and trash surrounds. I glance up to meet the sky, that dull reddish purple I went to sleep under.

Rubbing away with the tenderest of touches the deep slumber that was slathering upon me, I let out a yawn and spread like a cat. Curling into it, I feel the strain of my back release to a considerably more comfortable state.  Releasing the stretch, I let out an exhale that exuded the rest of my weariness.

“You have something that is mine.”  I froze as I heard a statement. Her voice was noticeably young, unsettling so.  Everything in me did not want to look, at the same time, could I trust the voice.  It sounded human enough, but if experience had taught me anything, it was not. I twist my head to look at an amalgam of parts.  My eyes swelled large with repulsion. Sure, it had a human head; an adolescent’s to be exact, but that is where all conversions ended.  Atop that enamel face, ram horns and long ears too. A fur shawl around her collar, nevertheless primitive, and I suspected it was torn from the back of something else.  Her hair was lengthy and was like a midnight fire, in two braids in the front but rolling like embers in the rear.

I cower down at her. “I… I… I don’t have… anything I swear.” After her neck, the thing developed into something even further grotesque.  Four arms come off her like branches.  Each one distinct from the others.  Two of them reminded me of a human’s but the one was a crux, with a blade sticking out of it.  She had armor on them, and her trim was bone like with open sores.

Her other two arms were more like bones mixed with mechanical parts.  Each of them had razor claws for fingers.  Her breasts were wrapped in bandages and harnesses.  

Her torso pinned, metal fastened on her abdomen with mechanical parts in the middle.  They seemed to move in parts as she exhaled.  The monster strolled up with her mighty four cloven hooves striking the pavement.  It was as though her torso was riding another beast.  A massive ram like skull was at her crotch with muscles clearly visible attaching it to her body.  It rests between another skull like that of the ram that was separated down the middle, its jaw absent but the fleshy tethers stretching to form the front legs.

Around her waste a polished ring of alloy. Ornate design encrusted the metallic piece. Fleshy tethers hung off moving down to her four goat’s limbs; shielded as well. Not to mention her two enormous bone like owl wings with no feathers. She had a tail that hid trinkets attached to it. And she stood about ten feet tall.  Her body had many strange pumps and other metal devices with bones sticking out.

I wince with each tread she takes; vibrating and dwarfing me in stature. “Please. I don’t want any problems.” Her rosewood eyes glared into me. I watched as her elegant lips spread into a grin. “Just let me go. Please.” With her human hand, she grasps onto my shirt. The boney fingers lift me off the ground, pressing me into the wall. Full of fright, I kick my legs to get away from the behemoth.

“Something is off about you.” the creature claims with her eyes latched onto me.  It is as if inspecting me, the clutch strangles any fight I had in me.  As I understood it was hopeless, I gave in and settled, stretching aside as best I could.  It did not measure to much, pressing my cheek into the wall.  Amused with her analysis, she sets me back on my feet.  I falter as I back away as I slip away to force myself into the farthest wall from it. “Tell me, what are you?”

She stole my tongue in her presence.  There was a shudder in my speech as I struggled to respond against all my best intentions. I was not entirely sure if I really should answer. On one hand, she seemed rational. On the other, she was uncomfortable to view. “Human.” I squeaked out.

“Interesting. I will have to assimilate you.” she released veined cables that stretched out from her frame.  They looked like long worms with cavities at the ends of them.  Slithering like vermin, the tethers approach me.  Cornering into the wall to avoid futile, I kick at the six squirming leeches.  This simply leads to a slight smile from this thing in front of me.  It cornered me with nowhere to flee.

I drop onto the ground and huddle up, utterly afraid of what was to come. “Please don’t. My blood,” I hoped it would work.  She squinted her eyes at me as she reared up one thing with its snarling mouth to my face, “It will kill you.” I look out from my crumpled hold to see the girl retract the cords back into her torso. She listened to me. Maybe I could reason with her. “You, your, not going to kill me are you.”

“Should I? I was not planning on it but hey you know how those things go.”  Glancing at my surroundings I catch a mangled fragment of glass on the ground.  Leaping over my shoulders, I snatched the glass, tumbling to the ground onto my knees.  Now with the glass in hand, I press it against my skin.  Pride swelled in me as I hold down, providing a sprinkle of blood to breach my skin.

“Get away from me!” I shouted while using the wall to make some distance. The machine hellfire eyes just look at it. It thus takes a step at me, much to my comfort. “I am warning you. If I bleed on you, you’ll melt.”

The girl lets out a cordial snicker. “Aren’t you an imaginative one where in the world would you get an idea like that?”

Helibore, I could not bear myself to mention his name. He was right. “I have seen it.” I whimpered. “He injected himself with it. I.. it killed him. He died in front of me.”

The young woman seemed to hesitate for a moment. “Well, isn’t this interesting? Your empty.”

“Empty? Whats that mean.”

“It means you have no machines,” the girl informs me. “Only the ones you stole from me.” She stares down at me with an indignation in her eyes.

“I didn’t steal anything. I don’t know what you mean.”

“We have decided not to assimilate you.” At hearing this, all I could do was shiver some. Though it brought me some relief as well. “You should drop the glass, it would not save you, anyway.” She looks me right in the eyes. “You do not pose an actual threat to us and I am curious how did you survive this long outside of stasis.”

The glass just slipped out of my fingers. “How did you know.” Shock filled my face as she spoke. 

“Stasis. You are young, you could not have gotten here without being in stasis.” the creature says to me.

“I… I… there was a colony. Its dead now.” I replied. Feeling my fear slowly slide away, I release myself of my guard. “Do… do… you have a name?”

“We have many names, my name is Velora, my name is Erianthe, my name is Livius, my name is Ravener, my name is Bree, my name is Marionette, my name is Novella, my name is Vanity, my name,”

“Stop!” I shout. “You are not Vanity.”

“I am not, Vanity is us though. I assimilated her. So her arm which you possess is mine by right.” the girl answered with no trace of emotion. I rear up with tears streaming down my face I hold Vanity’s arm tight to me. That hideous thing takes a step closer to me with that long goat like limb. “Don’t cry.” she tower over me but gentles herself down to the lower.  She presses her boney hand onto my cheek.  I stare up into her eyes as I consider the razor against my cheek. But yet I did not sense ill will.  It was gentle, with a squeeze, it could easily stab through my scalp.

“I understand. Please… don’t take it.”

“Parina, I know you.” I rattle my head at this demon.  No, this horror is not Vanity!  It can’t be.  She is fooling with my head.  She is deceiving, she is a swindler. She must not, she’s, she’s… she’s evil!

“You killed her!” Push against her arm it flies away allowing me to get free from her.

She peers at me with a disheartened gaze. “Vanity is not dead, she lives in me. To you I am Velora, a human name.” I shake my head at her sick little mind. Ricocheting down the alleyway to get away from that thing, that thing took her away. Stole her… it’s a monster. It’s a devil that is far wickeder than any other.

Scurrying through the roadways like a mouse in a maze, I find myself inside the shatters of this formerly lively little city; now all it has to offer is a journey of terrors. It didn’t really matter where I went as long as it was not where my feet were. There was no prize staying for me. No, just the propositions of this gruesome place. As I proceeded, I perceived my humanity pealing off me, disposed of on the ground.

That horrible thing; she killed Vanity. There was no leniency here. It was the way it is. She did not even consider it as if I would be ok with that. To whatever that thing was, I was just another sack of flesh waiting to be its next meal. My tour finished outside of a grocery store. I could tell because of the hologram of a woman driving a shopping cart. At least I assume that is what it is supposed to be. There are fibers of flesh sticking off the side of the building. Needless to say, this muscle landscape made me get insecure. Regardless, I press on through the derelict parking lot.

Automobiles were left behind to decompose and rust in this decay. Some even were swallowed up by the nodules of tissue. There were several of those humanoid creatures wandering around. They had not spotted me yet, but if they did, unquestionably they would tear me apart. I look around for a place I can go without drawing attention to myself.

Winding around, I shuffle back and move behind the building. It is not very unlike everything else in this old grim town. There was nobody but the echo of my footprints keeping me company. Tumbling from the roof of the food mart was a hound like thing. Landing on all fours it looked at me. It had metal on its body and its face shifted. That neck of dog thing, stretched out long, far longer than I was conformable with. It deliberately swings its head to expose the face of man. I shrieked.

My little scream must have startled the thing. As the thing looked upon me, I haltingly withdrew from the dog-like creature. His face showed it was battered and from his jaw a thick coat of saliva dripped down. It just peers at me; not stirring, not saying a word. For a moment I thought I would be able to walk away, stupid me. “Aaaaahhhheeee.” The dog man whined.

I remembered doorway to the grocery is behind me. If I can just make it there, I can barricade myself inside. The thing prowled nearer to me as it showed the viciousness inherent in its deep guttural growl. Every tooth showing as drool pooled and gushed out at the sides of its mouth. His gums were formed of metal. I could make out cables enclosed in metal also around his mouth. He looked as though he was muscles strung together and machine with the rest. His movements were broken, as if he was at one time a well-oiled engine, but now he has handed over into decay.

Once my back was against the wall I just needed to open the door, but the dog thing was extremely close. I seized the knob to the door. Breathing in a long deep breath, I braced myself. Immediately jolting it open, I plunge into the chamber, hurling the door as hard as I could behind me. I was puffing in and out, “That was a close one.” Drooping against the floor, I am in a hall. I must have taken the office door or something.

My relief was short-lived though, I could hear the dog man gnawing at the door, scraping with its claws, ravaging the doors seem. Leading up to my feet and jumping back there was light from the outside pouring in already. It would not be long till the dog was inside.

A rumble from the room down the hall made my skin crawl. I spun my head to the crash. “No.” Was all I could say. Thump, thump, thump, I listened as something was getting closer. They pinned me I realized. “Aoooaaaahhhh.” a wail burst loose from the room. I see a limb breech the doorway. Limping out is this thing with a body like a busted up torso. It reminded me of a chicken, without the feathers, but human. Out of a cavity in its body a head popped out it delivered another low moan. Hunched over and menacing, the living thing started its way for me down the hallway. Virtually in a full panic between the two, I push my back into the door, attempting to ward off the dog from breaching it.

The hound was ripping at the exit and had formed a gap. It suck out its tongue and grazed my leg. It was disgusting. I toiled to the side to get away from his slimy lick. “Stay away!” I screamed. Staring down, I see the claws of the dog rip through the doorway. Its head appears in a flash and nips at my leg. That head tries to bite me a so I punt the dog’s head struggling to keep the thing off me. The creature in the hall roared.

Withdrawing into the corner, I glance to the chicken like organ thing. Pulsing with pus and muck, the creature sluggishly moved. I don’t wish to die like this. I imagine the strange thing gnawing on my arm as the dog man carries a piece of me. “Ban!” an enormous thing makes a move outside. In an instant, the dog is ripped from the doorway. Something much grander and fiercer is outside the door.

“Ahlahw.” it howls in terror. Then it is no more. Abruptly, I am significant less frightened of the strange monster in the suite. Clearly the monster agreed with me as it took off. My mind overflowed with anxiety for what was to take place.

From the holes in the doorway, I could see a number of arms clutch it. My jaw sank as they rip it to pieces. Obscured in the red glare, it was so fast; it captured me as if I was nothing at all. I discharged a yelp of fear as I am slung into the air. Desperately I try to rip away from its grasp, but I cannot. When I focus my eyes onto the creature looking into the familiar red eyes of Velora’s bitter face. White as a ghost, I feel the blood drain from my face. However, she sets me onto the ground next to her and without adding a word; she walks away. I looked at her in utter shock for some time.

“T-hanks for sa-ving me.” I was not entirely sure what to make of it, other than she did not want me hurt. That’s for certain. I looked over to the wall to see the dog person spattered against it. The juice from the puddle had tentacles already vivacious. The small tentacles grabbed at pieces of meat and other body parts, drawing them back together.

“Follow me.” I snapped out of my trance. “Understand.” I swung my head. “Good, now follow me.”

So I ran after Velora, and followed to whatever paradise or purgatory she had waiting for me.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Episodic Series, Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 6

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 6: Mr. King-Lazy-Bones

Crawling through the vent, I could hear the creatures screaming behind me.  With bated breath, I kept my progress through the open system like a worm.  The fright of that place.  It landed. I retched against the wall of the duct and held my palms over my face. Everything was silent.  A tear slipped from my cheek and hit the floor.  It splatter into a million faces peering back at me; pain inscribed in their guise.  The screaming it came back, I couldn’t give myself a second to cry.  I had to get away from those horrors.

It was very dark inside this air-conditioning vent. However, eventually the floor became fibrous tissue. The smooth muscle quivers as I slide over the meat of this alien floor.  Soggy half dried blood adheres to the arms and legs with every plod I take.  Greedily attempting to hold me back as if warning me, “Don’t venture this way.” But regardless, I heed not its warnings. The harsh stink of iron and bile fills my lungs. In fact, I could practically taste the odor on my tongue. Eventually the flesh vent opens up to what I can hardly describe this place; maybe it is best described as being inside a body of some sort. I perceived this was not correct though as the composition of the cave was rectangular and I have never known an animal with a square body.

Pools of blood built up on the ceiling, gathering in spots upon it before breaching the tension and burst to the floor.  Long streams of fluid splashed down as in further soaked into the moist floor. In shock, I tread where no man should ever walk and instead move devils may go. Mystified by the abomination, I slip through the halls of breathing tissue. There in the distant I could see something, a machine. It turned out to be working on something. I could not quite see what the machine was working on. It stood no taller than me, but it did not look welcoming either.  The machine sliced at the floor with one arm wounding the flesh. As the gash rapidly healed between slashes, the other three arms sparked, soldering whatever it was working on.  Not wishing to run away from another thing, I determined it best to leave through the passageway ahead.

I turn down another hall instead. This one had a sign, and I could read it. 

“This way for the exit. Look out for Mr. King-Lazy-Bones…”

“Huh, that’s weird.” I said aloud to no one.  I glanced down the organ’s path.  The shadowed hall looked to stretch on to a wide room. “I don’t like this.” As much as I loathed to admit, I felt I had to go that way, regardless. With a heave, I braced myself for what was to take place down this passage. Once inside the chamber there were several gates leading to dark halls. In the heart of the room rose a man with long arms and a mighty grimy tethered coat that enclosed him. I stare at the behemoth. Turning its head toward me, it revealed a malicious expression like that of a skull.  Its head was as blood red as the walls of this place. On the other side of the room is a heart chamber that prompted me of a fleshy subway tunnel. The only trouble was the hulking thing between me and that channel.

Taking a stride, the creature let out a loud snort. The hellion turns its head in my direction and rattles its jaw.  I stayed hushed and felt my bladder give way.  A flood of warm urine ran down my leg. I am powerless as the thing bends down like a ferocious demon seeking flesh. There are not words to illustrate the dread I knew in that most terrifying of moments; I’m cemented in place, bound and gagged. Closer it leaned in. Its glassy white eyes gaze straight at me and salivating jaws raining slobber onto the floor; chattering, those teeth.  Rotted meat and putrid sulfur washed over me as its rancid humid breath while “Mr. King Lazy Bones” brought its face mere inches away from me.   Soon I would be bit in half. Roaring in torment. Though I am not certain which half would be me. There in silence I stood gripped in my palms, preparing for my death.

“Raaaaa!” he roars. Still held bound by fear, I saw the man look in another direction. “Raaaa!” it let loose another shriek as it spun. The creature stood watching in every direction. “Raaaaaaa!” I go to make another step, I felt the dried blood on my boot raise with my tread.  Snapping noisy tethers break, returning the living thing to my side and gnashing his teeth with all the humor of a mad bull.

This time though, it didn’t daunt me because I suspected it was blind and could not see me. I knelt low and grasped a bottle that had been molded into the ground. The bottle ripped out with ribbons of flesh snapping. When I rose to my feet, the monster was in front of me, inches from my face.  That horrible scent made me recoil.  Looking at the center of its face, I saw a hole where his nose should be.  His eyes looked as though strained, it grieved the tendons in his face.

Its lumbering form overtook me as it rose. The worst part was its fetid breath. Not even a sewer did it justice. I drew back with the bottle and hurled it across the room. As soon as I did, the creature flew to where the bottle landed, black veil floating like some devilish entity.

Pouncing on the splintered bottle, it plucked up the shattered glass. The thing stood upright blocking my view and shrieked bloody murder. Slowly, I started my way to the exit. That’s when the thing bashes the living hell out of the broken bottle. It threw the pieces all around the room. I could not take my eyes off it. Images of myself being torn limb from bloody limb entered my mind. The brutality of this thing. Smashes, and crushes as my lungs met the open air. I would not be going so gently, no, I certainly would not be staying for that thing to pound me to pieces. Running for the gate, I sprinted as fast as my feet could take me.

My steps were quiet and small while that wicked thing continued its outburst. The bloody floor popped and sputtered as I ran over it as if running over dough. I was at the gate when I noticed it had ended. Slowly I twisted my head, not wishing to look. Deep in my abdomen I felt its gaze. Its head swiveled to match mine and violence was in its eyes. Lifting its head in a stagnant manner, it points right at me. A loud hiss volts into my ears as it keeps me in its horrible sight, as if it could see me now. The gaze does not ease off, not even for a moment.

The deadlock lasted for what seemed like it was forever. Like looking into a hound’s trawling maw moment before it lungs. And lung it did. It was like I blacked out for a moment. I am running down the hallway as the metal and flesh appear to gradient. Stupidly, I glanced back to see the creature getting closer and closer, bracing to rip my head off.

Finally, I reach a doorway but the devil was nevertheless close behind and suddenly like that, it stopped. Looking at me from the verge it snarls, turns, and enters back into the seclusion. “Oh my gawd. Holy shit.” I said, catching my breath. “King-Lazy-Bone, right?”

Glancing up at the ceiling revealed light. The ground was still tumors, and it was creeping up the hall, but the ceiling that had concrete, and that was some normalcy to this bizarre place. I strolled a slightly further till I arrived at a staircase. It opened up to another part of town. My sight meets an old collapsed bridge that leads to a wasteland, a road, and an abundance of ruined buildings.

I got out of the tunnel and decide it is best if I look for some place to sleep. As I walked out, I notice some other mutant beings, but they either had not noticed me or lacked interest. Either way, I was glad that I did not have to contend with their chase.

Eventually an alleyway find me, and I decide it was a place to could lie down. It coiled in like an L. The kind of place I could lie down for a while. So I did in the covert little spot, making sure nobody was following me.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 5

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 5: Your New World

Wet, pulpy red fibers of blood rise from my boots.  The ground here is not like any other ground.  It was awake; flayed open, a body that suffers.  Enormous, stretching as far as the eye could see.  Tentacles wiggle and flagella run out like blades of grass.  Wandering in this land of misery felt particularly, wrong.  There was nowhere to go but through. I had deserted the colony to be locked in a latent horror for some other explorer to know.  I was alone.  No one in the world around me.  No one to listen to my laments, not anymore at least.  Slight chunks of asphalt warned that this was a road before whatever this fleshy thing was, dominated the road. In the distance, glass towers rose where a metropolis previously was. Webbed in fleshy features, fragmented, and all collectively dead.

Broken slabs drove out of the drudgery; bones from the remnants of houses past. There were a considerable many, which lead me to figure out; if this is a road, formerly at one point this must have been part of a township.  At first I would cross the old dusty pieces by, but as I went I spotted something scrawled on the collapsed walls.  I wandered over to the hunks to have a glimpse at the inscriptions.  Something had etched deep slashes into the face of the walls; bizarre characters, no scrapings. A lot of odd scribbles. Someone made these, and if they were near, maybe they could help me. I looked around the maze of fallen walls and as I was exploring them, there were far more of the remains than I had first thought.

The hall of concrete ruins troubled me.  Something in the pit of my stomach was twisting.  All these buildings that previously stood with multiple floors, now were these hollowed out corpses.  What could have done this? I queried.  A few had a second story, but most of the roofless buildings had broken down over time. Ultimately I came to the resolution that there was no way I would encounter someone in this labyrinth. So the best option I had was to give up to hope something followed me. The city was a lot farther off than I first expected.  So, I walked for what seemed like ages and I felt no closer than I started.

“You!” A youthful man spoke from behind. I turn heel to witness a man whose body looked dreadful. He wore rags over his crumbling bones.  His open chest wounds plainly evident, baring his ribs.  Cables lined along a youthful mans swollen face like a rigidly stretched canvas atop a metallic machine. His right arm was a long needle and his left arm was a claw of some sort. His legs were as if gnawed on by some predator.  Yet, parts of the limb were sewn onto rods of metal peg legs like pirates. “Why do you mock me!” He wailed.  Fixed in fear, I just stood there gawking at him. He pointed the huge needle blade at me with an angered howling, “You look human. Why do you mock me!”

“I am human.” It was a spontaneous retort.

His eyes wagged as they labored, veins sticking out. “Liar!” Typically I would have been resentful, but my sole thoughts were of dread, instead I merely exhaled slowly, and his booming words kept me in terror. “You bastards stole everything from us. You even stole our looks. As if to say you were one of us.”

“I don’t know what you want, sir. I am a human, I swear.” The guy carried on staring at me, as if working to think of something to say. “I need help, sir. Please, can you help me?”  I could follow his blood pushing through the cables and there were gaps.  Which was all wrong, because there can’t be oxygen in the blood.

“Oh, yeah.” he added, his face distorted in far too much delight. “I will help you.” He suddenly drove his first strides toward me and I carried out some of my own away from him.  A waltz of trepidation. “Whats the matter?” He sank his skull as he approached me. “You afraid, machine.”

My steps twisted into a trot as he built up his pace. “I am not a machine.”

“Sure, why don’t I cut that little stomach of your’s open so I can see the cables!” He screams, splitting into a full sprint. I yelped as I turned heel from the crazy man.  I was not looking where I was going, I just had to get away.  To my surprise, I happened upon a ledge where the ground had ruptured.   With no time to reflect, I plunged off the cliff. Through the air I soar, past several rods sticking out of the ground. I struck the ground rolling head over heels forcing myself up in an instance. I didn’t have enough time to recover, for the man was right on my tail.  Still I noticed the thorns that drove out of the ground like tall bayonets. 

“You can’t run away from me!” I heard the man screech from behind.  He let out a groan as he landed onto the ground. Up ahead the earth was split again and that meant there was another drop. My heart burned, but to stop now was death.  I decided if I would die, I would die on my terms; not cut up by some lunatic. “Don’t worry little robot, I am just going to rip all those little pieces out!”

With tears streaming from my eyes, I carried out the next leap of faith. This one turned out to be just like the last one and like a cat, I touched down on my feet this time. That is when I heard a thrash. I spun around to glance and my jaw fell. I saw the man on the mast, hung, impaled.  His mouth swung open in that pained look I have only seen in movies. I faced him as he slumped down the spike.  Slowly I turned my way to him. Too fearful to reach for him, I remained an arm’s length away. “Sir,” I replied to him. “Sir.”  He eventually stopped slipping down as his feet reached the ground.  “I am so sorry.” I moaned.

In a flash, the man had jabbed his needle at me.  It stopped mere inches before my eye.  I hopped back, letting out a shriek. It startled me to put it simply. “Impostor!” he hissed out as he reached out for another stab. His face looked as though his eyes would fall out of his head from the strain of his muscles. “Impostor!” Teeth like nails defined as his lips separated.

The man was deranged. Most likely anyone I would meet would be just as mad.  I felt the snot building deep in my nostrils as I broke down.  I was alone out here.  After regarding him try to skewer me for a few moments, I wound and started trudging away from him. “Impostor! Impostor!” He was delirious, and there was nothing I could do for him now.

Suddenly I heard a gut wrenching chopping noise. “Impostor!” I peered over my shoulder to catch the man’s mouth had slobber coming out of it, like dog’s froth mixed with blood. However, that was not the sound. He raises his needle in the air and down again with a focused stab into his rips. His torso ripping and tearing as his entrails became uncovered. “Impostor!”  He was cleaving himself free.  Bile filled my mouth as I spit up.  I covered my mouth with my hand, but there was no holding the surge of vomit.  Fleeing from the grotesque sight with a deep breath. Not sparing any time, I made my course to the metropolis.

I made the lengthy walk to the city.  Likewise, the tumorous growths covered everything.  Slimy and thick pustules of fungus atop the modern metal of buildings; it was as if some slowly spreading creature devoured the world. There I found the same cryptic towers. Tall spires with hive like things atop and threads like webs stretching between the human constructions.  My stomach released a low moan. Needless to say, I was hungry.  The question was, where do I find food in a place like this?

I wandered the streets for a while, passing by wads of things best left unknown, but my curiosity got the best of me. I approach the wad and as I approached it, I could make out a leg. Frozen in place, I looked at the thing.  Meaty flesh crumpled together with pinkish ooze coming out of it. That is when the whole thing registered to me. It was a curled up body covered in grime. I turned my head in the other direction, but I saw another on the sidewalk. I then looked around myself and discovered there were bodies everywhere among the rubble. Gagging, I swallowed and continued along the empty roads.

Down the road was one old building with a thick layer of grim over it.  The smooth muscle that lined everything had not reached the store yet.  It crept along the ground though, twitching as I stepped over the last of it.  Torn to pieces and rusted beyond recognition; the only thing giving it away was the hallowed out gas pumps.  It was a convince store.

Traveling inside the archaic ruins, I am greeted by shelves thrown about, products on the floor, and magazines act as burial paper. I looked at the floor. There was a thick scent of rot in the air, and a dried up puddle of sludge, gray brown in color. Wading through soiled magazines, I pawed through the broken and disheveled goods. Most of them were not preservable goods, so that is where the smell was coming from.  Thick layers of dried mold broke into dust in the air.  I choked on the vapors I was creating. I did however get my hand on some cans. I could not make out what they were but cans last forever so it did not matter what I would be eating. Heck, some cat food would be good enough at this point.

I carrying the cans into a clear spot in the back of the store, slump down onto the floor.  Grabbing the little pull tab, I open the first can. Immediately I was assaulted by a foul scent. A pungent odor, sloppy with rotten eggs and something else. I threw the can across the room, sending the disgusting contents all over the wall.  The can rolls a few times with that distinctive can sound as I moved my hand to my face I wept. How was I ever going to survive? I will starve to death. Helibore was right. What the hell is this place?

Rubbing my tears away with the sleeve of my shirt, I looked up across the sea of garbage to the large shattered shop window to see someone. My heart fluttered. Someone, someone like me. I burst from the tile floor, and ran to the glass window, or at least what was left of it. I was so happy. Without much thought I ran outside calling out “Hey!” The person stopped as I was running up to them. “I am so happy. I thought there was no one around here anymore.” It turned its head towards me. The face that looked back at me was like an insect. The eyes were small, and the amount of tongues it had was mind bending. It opened its mouth and let out a terrible scream.

I turned to run, screaming myself. Its legs broke open to reveal another pair, and that thing chased after me. Through the dusty street I ran right into a dead end.  I turned to run back, but around the corner, more of the humanoid things. They immediately charge at me too. As if sentient, they try to block my path. However, I was not about to let them corner me like that. One creature tries to grab me, at which I punched it in the face. It staggered, but I did not wait to find out what it was going to do to me.  I dodging their wild flying arms; I darted past the insectoid things.

Running for who knows how long, I found myself deep in the city. At least I was alone at that point. The sky is a haze of rusted clouds. I stop to catch my breath.  There was no telling of how long I ran, I just ran. “This city. Is it alive?” I wondered. Listening, I could hear the veins pumping blood.  As if this place wasn’t odd enough; if it was alive somehow, that would be even stranger. I certainly was not in the time I had come from. Humans were no longer the rulers of this world, but ruled by these monstrosities.

The alleyway I had stopped in front of had a hole in the concrete. I walked up to the hole and looked inside. There was a light on. Where the hole lead to? Question was, is a random hole safe. It was then I heard the creatures coming down the road. I didn’t have a choice. I had to go down that hole regardless of the hell it lead to.

Walking up to the fleshy hole, I place both my legs inside it and sat. “Here we go.” I said as I plunged myself into the hole. I land on my feet. The drop was about ten feet. Not too bad. Inside, I see what looks like a normal building. Looking around, I discover I am in a hall next to a wall. Seems it is the end of a hall. I looked down it noticed a lot of doors. Curiosity got the best of me because I walked down till I got to a random door and pushed it open. Dust appeared I did. It was a storage room. Not unlike many other strange rooms. In the corner there is a twisted and manged body. It must have been there for years. Most of the muscle was dried to the bone. Let alone the skin. It looked as though it had weathered so thin that it had become brittle. Sad. Whatever happened to the world must have been terrible and sudden.

“Pundunk” I heard something go from behind me. Unsettled by this, I look out the doorway. “WAAAAAA!” a human like thing screams. Out of the room, I rush down the hall in the opposite direction. It does not take me long though to be stopped. On the other end other the wall come several other human like things.  Their faces were unfamiliar but an amalgamation of animals and fish and creature.  Their bodies strange, and scaley, hairy, hard, like an insect’s carapace. I am trapped. I grab the door nearest to me and hide myself in there. The creatures battled against the door as I held it shut.

“Go away!” I yelped.

A low groan made my skin crawl. It was not outside of the room, but rather inside. I turned my head to see a four-legged creature who had two stubby arms and skin covering its body. It limped towards me letting out low guttural groans from its canine like head. I burst into screams as I kept my back against the door. I looked around the room to spot an old dusty shelf next to me.  I grabbed it, throwing it down in front of the door. The weird creature got closer as I looked around for an exit. Then the door was pushed open.  Many arms grabbed from the door as I tried to find an escape.  The four-legged creature all the while snarled at me. I spotted it. A vent. That would be my escape. I ran around the dog monster and crawl up inside. Good thing I did too. I could hear those things screaming. It was unreal.

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An End To All You Know (Summer 2019), Fiction, Novels

An End To All You Know: Chapter 4

If you have not read the previous chapter you may want to read that one first. Click the button below to be taken to the previous chapter.

This story is currently a work in progress. If you find any errors or have comments please feel free to let me know.

Chapter 4: Now You Know

I roused from my slumber with a palm against my wrists. A wail of terror released forth from my timbrels.  A quick hand covers my cry as I gazed up into Vanity’s tense face that suggested trouble.  Her iron grasp on her face loosens to settle upon my lap.  “We have to go now.” she barked.

I groggily sit up.  “What, why?”

“I’ll explain as we go.”  She threw a clean change of cloths onto my lap. They were not my usual cloths but were far tougher.  “Put these on fast.”

Fright fills her mind as I placed my legs through the holes of my knickers. “Did something happen?”

Vanity move to the door. She looks through it as if she was awaiting someone to come through at any moment. She then shifts to me.  “I don’t know Prina baby. I know one thing, though.  We need to get you out of here.” She has another glance before she goes on.  In the gloom I put my head through the shirt, the light from the wide door setting upon me. “I owe you this, Prina.  I owe you this.”

“I don’t understand, what is going on?”

Seeing that I am dressed Vanity grabs my arm lifting me from my bed.  “It doesn’t matter anymore.”

Her response was stranger than I had expected.  Vanity kept pace as she marched up the stairs in the vestibule with me being towed behind her.  She careens to the medical bays without saying much of anything at all.  “You mentioned you would explain.” I moan.

“A lot of this you will not understand.” she responded with such a flat manner. “But there is this thing called Azergile. Its enslaved the entire world.  You need to find Azergile and kill it.”

“What!?” I couldn’t help but burst out.

“It sounds crazy I know but you’re the only one who can do it.  Your disease, it’s in your blood.  It can deactivate it.  You just need to get to it and deactivate it.  Do you under stand Prina?”  I shook my head. Not much else I could do.  But then an unnerving thought came over me.  Is this some imposture like Hellibor warned me about?  Is this the Vanity I knew, or was it something else altogether?  “We need to break you out of here.  The normal exit is ruined, so we need to use the subterranean gate.  But there is something I have to do first. Trust me, Prina.  You trust me Prina, right?”  Vanity said standing in front of the door to her station.  I nod as the door opened up.  Didn’t have much choice in the matter.

“I trust you.” Vanity eyes were watery.  She looked away and made her way into the room.  I followed, but I was not certain I should. My freedom to run was gone.

“Get onto the table.” Vanity commanded.  Walking over to the steel examination table, I slide onto the frigid metal.  Vanity opens a white overhead cabinet, searching inside for something.  “Doctor Winters knows the colony is shutting down.  He prefers to trap you down here.  Keep you a secret, for his own selfish desires.” She picks up a glass of clearish liquid and a metal ring like object from the cabinet.  “We can’t let that happen, Prina.  You can end this nightmare!” she frantically says with all the vigor of a bona fide lunatic.  “I am sorry.” she sets the metal ring down next to me.  Then she peels off the plastic casing around the bottle’s cap.   “This is the only way I could think of making it work.” she sniffles.

I stare at the object she carries in hand.  “I don’t understand.” That metal circle. It looked menacing, like it sheltered a sinister mystery.

“I know, honey.  I know.” Popping off the metal crown of the clear liquid, she douses a white rag next to me.  “Prina honey, you need to unbutton your… shirt and give me your left arm.”

“Ok.” Is all I mustered.  As each silver button unsnaps I felt more apprehensive.  Still, I went on as I was told.  Then it got to removing my shirt off over my head.  I bowed my head inside the shirt, and I half expected Vanity to attack me. I pulled out of the garment. “Ok, Vanity. You scaring me.”

She glanced at me with frozen. Tears welling in her eyes. Then she lunged at me and placed to white rag over my mouth.  I felt the weakness returned at trying my best to fight her.  Finger clasped hard against my cheeks. I kicked and punched with both of my arms as I wailed.

“Please, I am so sorry it has to be this way!  It will be all right.  I promise it will be ok.  I am so sorry. Forgive me.” Vanity tearfully pleads. I remembered that grasp. This, this happened before. The beach…

The heaviness of that familiar sedation creeps its course through my veins again; its weighty impact multiplying by the minute.  As I went limp Vanity lets my body down onto the table to rest easy.  “Why?” I wearily asked.

“I am so sorry.” Vanity wastes no time and slides the chilly metal ring up my left arm.  The device releases a loud hiss, and in that moment I felt the worst pain I have ever felt in my life.  A burning pain came over my arm.  I look at my left arm to see it resting next to me on the table, leaking blood.  My mouth opened agape. I look up at Vanity, who was crying. A silent scream leaks from me before the world spins and falls back into that icy darkness.

Cold, I was freezing.  I wake to that intense burning agony in my left arm.  Hoisting my limp body up, I cradle the hurt limb.  I didn’t even look at what was around, merely the quiet grays of the room greeted me.  My mouth snapped open as a long a dreadful cry leaves my lungs.  I let the thing down and look at the circle around the arm.  That was when I looked at it.  The color on one side of the ring and the other were not identically. I raised the limb up to my face and to my fright I stared at a hand that was not mine.  Long painted crimson fingernails, a matured hand, not like the one I knew.  But this hand, this hand was another.  

“A mighty peculiar exchange, if you ask me.” I look up to meet Helibore who was perched across from me in a chair, his legs over each other and his grip at his mouth, his other hand laid lazily next to him. He had on his physician’s coat, which was not remarkable.  However, the vast slash of blood on his jacket was.

I mustered up the courage to ask him, “What happened?”

He uncrossed his legs, sat up straight, and demolished all I knew. “I guess you deserve a bit of an explanation what has been going on.” Doctor Winters got up from his chair and turns a casual amble to me.  He puts his arm on shoulder observing the new arm offered to me.  He watches me with those glazed blues.  Slipping his hand into his pocket, he retrieves the needle gun. “This will be the last time I take blood from you, Primina.”  And it was in that moment I understood him. The blood. All of this is because of my blood. He needs it for something.  “Do I have you permission?”

“Yeah,” What more could I have said.  “Go ahead.” The familiar sting falls over my arm again as Helibore sticks me with the needle.  I could virtually feel it sucking my precious rubies from my veins.  Like the arteries of the world, and the gold which men go into a dangerous vault and mine out.  That was my blood.  “So, are you finally going to explain things to me?  Vanity tried to tell me, but she wasn’t making sense.”

“She panicked.  I told her the truth of the situation earlier.” Hellibor stated, he bit his lower lip after.  I could see he was not thrilled with giving that bit of info. “She left. She ran away.  Its just you and me now.”

I became disoriented swinging my feet off the side of the table, kicking imaginary ghosts away.  “So,” I replied.  A line of silence pass over the two of us.  “What did she do to me?”

Doctor Winters took a step away from me.  “I ah,” he answered, holding a sizable pause with what he was about to say. “That arm.  I could tell you recognized it.  It turns my stomach.”

No. That could not possibly be.  “What do you mean?”

“It’s her arm.  She gave you her arm.”  I raised my, that arm again.  I stared at it. It, it could not be.  The paint on the nails, nevertheless that would be the thing that would make me admit it.  “Well, let me explain things.  You, as you know, have a disease.  After the genesis of nano machines, we began treating illnesses with them.  Your disease however has a strange structure.  It deactivates nano machines. So treatment for your disease is impossible, as drug don’t treat the issue. Eventually it will kill you.  The disease itself is in your blood.” Hellibor explains, gaining my full attention.  “Primina I am over five hundred years old.  Everyone in the colony was at least four hundred.”

A slight gasp leaves my mouth.  I could not accept it.  This is a lie.  It has to be. I inquired, “How is that possible?”

“We perfected the machines to keep us alive. It would repair any blemish we had. So we are trapped in our own bodies.” Immortality.  “We thought we were so clever. We defeated death. Ah, how foolish were we. We would not discover until later that the nano machines would restructure our bodies and minds if we suffered any kind of slight wound.  For instance, a scratch would twist and mangle our bodies.  In doing so it would redesign our neural networks, turning us towards insanity.  Granted, the insanity did not happen. Oh no, that would have been too kind. First, we feel pain. The twisting and turning of our organs, and everything that made us.  However, the blemishes and changes lead that way. As long as we maintained our human form we tended to be all right.”

“So, what do I have to do with any of this?” I asked, dreading the answer.

“You are the transmigration of our original sin.” Hellibor removes the needle from my arm and faces me. “You see, originally we could die. We played god… and we lost, we then manufactured a godchild of our own and it deemed us unworthy.  Our paradise in perfect bodies turned out to be our cage in hell for eternity.”

Hellibor growls placing the needle into his arm allowing the blood to drain into him. “What are you doing!” I yell at him.  I wrestle the gun, but alas I was not strong enough.  With a snap of his other arm, I plunge into another bed.

“Sacred blood, untainted by the soul of man’s iniquities.  It is through you we cross over to the afterlife.  That veritable paradise of eternal slumber that was stolen from us.  Through you the world shall die and be given everlasting peace, whatever that may be.  At least I will have peace.” All I could do is watch as Hellibor let himself fail.  My eyes spread wide with tears as I stared up at him.  “It has finally arrived.  Primina my angel of death.  You are not fit for suffering.  I wish things could have been different. I wish you had stayed asleep.  But I was convinced.  I allowed my emotions to cover my logic.”

I jump to my feet and embraced him with a hug, and he folded his arms around me.  “Please don’t die on me, Hellibor”  I begged him.

“It’s ok.  You need not fear.” he spoke as he reached for a surgical knife.  My stomach sank as I watched his hands clasp around that blade.  I wanted that moment to last.  I truly did.

In an instant, I shoved him backward into a bed. Out of my mouth like fire, “Get away from me!” I shouted.

Hellibor twisted back toward me with his knife in hand and announced, “Allow me to clip your wings and give you the precious gift of death you have provided for me.” He drew a stride towards me, all the while looking at me like a mad man. “You don’t understand how horrible things have become. It is better for you to die now and never know what became of the world.  Don’t mistake me for Primina.  This is an act of love.  Vanity begged me to release you to the world.  She has it in her mind you will be able to deactivate the central computer.  There is no way you could make it though that hell.  You would die a terrible death, or worse.  Please don’t resist.”

I shook my head no.  “You’re insane.”

“I can feel the blood pumping through my body.  It burns, it feels so good to know.  To think that just your blood is killing off these horrible machines; that soon it will pump through my body and I can leave this retched world. Don’t be afraid, Primina.  I will make sure it does not hurt for long.” He suddenly started toward me.

Clutching the metal table next to me covered in medical tools, I thrust the table at him in dramatic fashion.  The tools take off into the air, Hellibor lifts his arm to shield himself as the sharp objects and diverse metal parts rain onto him.  Exploiting this moment, I rush out the door of the room through the hall.  “You can’t run Primina. Everything is shutting down.” he screeches out the door.

The lights in the building flickered and flashed as they coughed with the last moments of power they held.  Looking to Vanity’s arm, I wondered why she would do such a thing.  Suddenly I knew what she wanted.  She wanted me to leave; through that black door.  

And like that, I was staring up the stairwell to my liberation.  I would slip away this hell and these crazy people and get out of this ghastly hospital. Starting up the steps, I made my approach up to the large black door. Once at the top, I peered into my reflection. Nothing was right about what I stared at. I was bloody, and I tore my attire. The entire thing looked terrible. It was bizarre.  As if not me, but someone else looked back.  I raise the left hand and placed it onto the crisp slate.  Twin slabs separated, allowing me into it, and my blood ceased.

“Why?” was all I could sob.  I wander into the shadowy room to look at a wall of enormous vats with people floating in them.  Each one at a distinctive stage of developments.  Some young, some older.  All of them with black hair and all female.  Worse was the rear of the room.  It was, it was awfully extreme to witness.  Body part swung from the meat hooks as lasers zapped them.  They regrew themselves upon the hooks as if they were vegetation in high speed.  I went further into this room of horrors, this slaughter’s market, and there was an array of organs curtailed to the wall.  It squirmed with life.

“Adrenochrome.” I choked and whirled around.  Hellibor stood behind me, but it was not him.  His face was tumbling to pieces violently.  “To think we made everything here of you. We cloned you so many times. It never worked. Your blood never was quiet the same, so we had no choice but to wake you up and use you. Your older than me, Primina, did you know that? Let me put you to rest.”

He slashed so hard he screamed. I evaded his attack as he caught the organs with a bone saw.  Brown fluid surges all around the place. I sprung against a vat, feeling the balmy glass on my back.  With chunks of his skin slipping loose from him, he charged at me again. Side stepping the raking invasion, he struck the vat.  With a clash and the harmony of splintering glass, chemical fluids rush onto Hellibor. Captured in the flood, Hellibor was face to face with the reproduction of me, whooping as it draws its first and last gasps.  “Prina don’t run! I was only joking! It’s a game!” Doctor Winters shrieks as he is forcing the body off of him.

Madness. I must run, is all I can think of.  I go deeper into the cave, averting the many experiments.  Through another set of double gates, I vanished.  I wished I had not come in through there though. The hallway had turmerous growths all over the place and meat like muscle developed on the walls.  I paused staring at the hideous sight.  That is until I heard Hellibor was not very far behind me adding, “Primina don’t go in there.  You have no chance of survival.”

I did not even look back.  I flew so swiftly through the hall, I must not have even touched the ground. Fate has a funny way of ridiculing someone though.  There was a rusted shut gate; stained with juice and alien fluids.  “Open!” I yelped as I rattled on it with both my fists, suddenly I caught a switch off to the side. I pressed the hydrolic switch, and the doors started to open with a rough grumble.  Turning my head only proved the direness of my situation.  Hellibor was limping towards me like a cripple. The door was not opening fast enough. I pushed against it, hitting it in vain.  His legs had become infested with boils and his arms like a blooding carcass, and his face was all but gone.  “Primina. Don’t be afraid. Just give up and die, die, die” Hellibor says as he lurches towards me.

“Get away from me!” I screamed, forcing my back against the gradually opening doorway. With a snap, a bone came sticking out of his leg. Red ooze flowed from the wound, and with his last step he sank down on his face. His body burst when it struck the floor. I trembled and faced away from the gory mess.

The passage by this time had opened, but to my utter terror, the mass of flesh moved.  Two arms or legs… or something else grew out of the pulpy wad.  I hustled through the doors into thick webs of muscle. I peered backward and discovered that thing was chasing me. Running through that nightmare the tissue got thicker forcing me to creep on my belly.  Still on my track though was Hellibor, marching on nubs.

As I wriggled through the flesh as it pulsed and turned about, shifting and spasming and squeezing my frame. It prevented me from moving head; like a maggot making my way through the confines of some carcass. I shrieked when I felt the Doctor’s skeletal hand clasp my ankle. Still pushing through the rigid muscle, I thundered.  I can’t see a thing, but I kicked.  I kicked so hard.  The surrounding flesh went through another seizure and I squealed as I battled against the meat.  Instead of being crushed however, I forced myself through to the other side.  

Brushing what I could of the blood that got on my clothes, I relaxed by the flesh wall.  Then I looked at the home they provided me.  The skys were lavender and gleaming.  The building that I saw were ruins as far as the eye could see.  Looking at the few rocks and the all encasing flesh I sat upon, I realized home was inside, and that too was dead.

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