This is a venue for whatever random literary accidents I happen to spawn. Feel free to hang around. If you read something, post a comment. It's the only way I know I have readers. I make no promises of updates, but they'll probably be more regular if I know I have a readership. I have ideas, I just lack time. And experience. And talent. And confidence in my ability as an author.

I should probably take a moment to address content. As the story is laid out now, there are no plans for sexual content of a graphic nature. That being said, I mince no words when it comes to violence or profanity, and sexuality probably won't be any different. The only promise I can make is that I will make sure to present such things in as tasteful a manner as possible. An artful scene change will be provided whenever the story allows.

To review-
Profanity: Yes
Sex: Maybe
Violence. Very yes.
This is not a children's story. I leave the decision to read it to you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wanderer: Exodus 4

Noah rose and regarded the carcass before him. The massive corpse was a monument to his determination to survive, and his willingness to kill any devil that tried to stop him.

Haynes approached the body and began examining appendages. The massive fore claws were obviously too large to be of use to him. They massed as much as he did. Each leg segment was at least as tall as Noah. They were likewise useless. Then he noticed the smaller second set of claws. They projected from below the primary claws, tiny mockeries of the two massive engines of destruction. Tiny being relative. The foremost segment of each claw was a yard long and wickedly curved. The outer edge of each was razor sharp. Haynes smiled.

With a little work one claw came free. The second followed soon after. Halfway along each massive digit was a large spur that had been part of the joint. They made good handholds.

Noah hefted his new weapons. They were lighter than he expected. Not too light, though. They reminded Noah of his high school days, when he would hurl himself into any martial art he could find a teacher for. He’d spent a lot of time with tonfa in his hands. It was just like old times, except bigger and sharper.

I just killed a hundred long foot mantis with a pair of sharp rocks. I can raze Hell with these. Or a hell, anyway.

Despite his momentary jubilation, Noah knew his best chance for survival was to stay hidden. The lesser devils would probably go to ground if they thought something of this size was on the move, but it was only a matter of time before someone realized the titan was dead. He didn’t want to be there when the scavengers showed up.

Thick, cord-like tendons had pulled out of the forelimbs along with the claws. Haynes evaluated this material, and decided it was the best rope substitute he would find. He fashioned a lanyard for each of his blades, and placed a length of the sinew into his bag. As he worked, he noticed something odd. Beneath the thick layer of red dust, there seemed to be a faint design on his right trouser leg. Noah started to brush away the dust to view it more clearly, but then decided to leave it for another time when he wasn’t being chased by corporeal manifestations of negative emotions. Or whatever the hell they were.

Another question to ask Death when I get out of here. I should be making a list. Maybe the next devil I see will have a pen attached to his tail.

Noah slipped his hands through his newly made weapon straps and began to walk. He moved away from the area where he had started his journey. Away from the cave with the corpse at the bottom. Away from the field of slaughter.

Time passed. Noah couldn’t tell how much. He didn’t need sleep, and there was no night or dawn here, only twilight. He moved carefully, using the terrain to hide his movement and climbing to scout for opposition. He spotted the occasional devil, but he evaded notice. He resisted the urge to fight, even though the weight of the twin blades and at times even his own body screamed at him to do so. Combat wasted time and made noise. Haynes could afford neither.

Devils seemed to be becoming more common. At first Noah thought he could had just wandered into a more populous area, that he could just double back and travel through a less popular area. But the area behind him was also noticeably busier than when he had passed through it. The devils were becoming more active. Or there were more of them. The devils were also larger than before. Once Noah worried when he saw anything larger than a big dog. Now most of the devils were man sized. It didn’t bode well.

I’ve got to come up with a new strategy. Roaming like this was fine when there were only a one to an acre, but I can’t evade them if the keep concentrating in this area.

Then the situation changed completely. Noah had been traveling along a shallow, wide canyon when he came to a sharp turn. Peaking around the corner he saw a sight that would fuel his nightmares for years to come. The canyon expanded out into a basin, and on the floor of that basin was a pack of devils. A pack of devils and one young woman.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Wanderer: Exodus 3

The blood was already drying as Noah climbed out of the cave. He listened for several moments at the mouth of the cave. No monster broke the silence. It was only a matter of time, though. Even if they hadn’t heard the struggle, the smell of the corpse at the bottom of the hole was bound to attract notice eventually.

Best to be gone when that happens.

Noah climbed out of the hole and looked around. The landscape was still deserted as far as he could see.

Time for some more recon. Let’s hope it goes better than last time.

Noah began to climb again. He reached the apex faster than he expected. He tensed as he surveyed the plateau’s summit. It was blessedly empty. From his vantage point Noah could identify several knots of devils, as well as a few large individual ones. All were distant enough not to be an immediate concern. On the other side of the plateau, on the plain that had become a butcher’s floor, there was no sign of the strife that had stained the rocky sands dark.

These guys sure don’t like to spend time out in the open. Can’t say I blame them.

Noah heard claws scrape against rock and spun around. Climbing onto the plateau was some sort of large flightless bird that hadn’t quite made the jump from dinosaur to avian. It stood four feet tall, with a pair of wicked claws on its wings, and four more on each foot. The saurian bird let out an odd clattering yell from a throat covered with both feathers and scales and then lunged at Noah. He dodged to the side. They circled, the bird squawking and snapping its beak at Noah. Finally, it committed to a strike. Noah slipped to the side and grabbed the bird by its long neck. Before it could bring its claws into use, Haynes twisted until he heard a snap. The bird went as limp as the weasel.

That’s two for the away team. I didn’t even get dirty with this one.

Noah looked around. He thought he’d avoided detection, but then he saw it. It was awesome. It was terrible. It rose up from the land, sand pouring off of its carapace like water. It looked like a crimson mantis, but its head was longer, and it had two sets of fore claws. It turned and regarded Noah with one multifaceted eye, and then the other. He started running when it took the first step towards him. Footsteps rang like sledge hammers falling one after another. This thing was impossible. It was the size of a house. Noah had ridden in aircraft smaller than this thing. The only direction Noah could run was towards the valley where he’d seen the dead men. The other sides of the plateau were too steep. Noah hurtled over the ridge and tucked into a roll.

He came up unharmed and started to run. The monstrous insectoid’s head appeared above the plateau. It had been at least a football field away only a moment ago.

This thing’s too fast. Gotta come up with a plan B.

Noah ran through an arch in a rock wall and took a hard left. Winding along the wall was a steep path leading upwards. Haynes took it as high as he could and then climbed up over the arch. When the monster came through the opening, it stopped and looked around quizzically. Haynes pulled two jagged rocks from his bag and steeled himself.

God help me if I screw this up.

Noah leapt from his perch onto the beasts flattened abdomen. It was like hitting the ground. The impact didn’t even phase the monstrous devil. It turned its head to glare at him with one eye, but that’s as far as it could turn. Its arms couldn’t reach its back. Before it could try and throw him off, Noah ran along its carapace and started climbing its back. The monster thrashed back and forth. It almost dislodged him. But Haynes reached its head. He wrapped his legs around the mantis’s shoulders, then slipped a sharp stone into either hand and stabbed them into either eye of the monster. There was a hellish shriek, and Noah was hurled clear of the beast. It was a miracle he didn’t break any bones. The beast fell to the sand and moved no more.

Noah rolled to his feet and stared at the carcass. It somehow seemed more massive now that it was dead. It didn't seem possible that he had killed it.

Just when I was starting to believe this was going to be easy, they break out the giant insect demons. Death and I are having a long chat about travel destinations next time I see her.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Wanderer: Exodus 2

Haynes ducked back out of sight.

Okay. That may have been the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

Noah considered the implications of the scene on the plain as he tasted bile. Who were those people? Why were they there? How did they get there? Were the candidates like Noah? Did they come as a group? Were there other people there?

I won’t find any answers here. Time to move.

Noah risked one last peek over the ridge. The fighting had died down. Rags that might have once been similar to Noah’s clothing lay bloodstained on the ground. He couldn’t see the bodies. Noah wasn’t sure he wanted to. The devils started to disperse. Most headed towards the mouth of the valley plain. A few clusters of nightmares headed back towards the ridge. Back towards Noah.

Noah moved away from the ridge and walked around the other edges of the plateau, looking down. He saw an outcropping that looked like it might conceal him. He started to descend. Under the outcropping he found a small cave. Providence had smiled. Noah slid into the cave and hoped nobody was home. The opening was only two feet wide, and the cave narrowed as it angled down into the cliff. It was dark, but it was dry and unoccupied, and anything coming down the cliff should miss it completely. Unless they were looking for it. Unless they lived there.

Several sharp stones broke off from the cave walls as Noah climbed into his hole. He noticed this mostly because he broke them off with his shins. When he reached the bottom he collected a few of the stones. A couple looked like they’d make good tools. One felt especially good in his hand. If felt almost like a real knife.

I’m in a cave in the middle of unfamiliar enemy territory, and I’m happy I found a rock. I need to take a long hard look at my afterlife when I get out of here.

Noah half stood, half lay a few yards from the mouth of the cave. The walls at the bottom didn’t seem to hold any recesses or passages.

He heard scrabbling and rocks falling along the cliff. It sounded like several somethings were climbing down the cliff. A silhouette passed the cave. Noah tensed, holding his knife-rock like a blade. A second devil passed. Noah sat in the dark, one shadow among many. A tiny, frightened shadow clutching a pitiful weapon. Several terror-filled moments passed. The world was silent. Then came the sound of claws on stone. A triangular head appeared at the mouth of the cave. The bestial devil chattered with a mouth that was all teeth, then hurled itself into the rock burrow. It hurtled towards Noah like a hellish missile.

Haynes reacted without thinking. He crouched down and then lunged towards the creature. His empty hand shot forward and grabbed the thing by the side of the head and slammed it into the cave wall. A vicious stab pierced one eye and went into its brain. His assailant went limp.

Noah held in his hands the corpse of a weasel the size of a German shepherd. The fur was a rich purple where it wasn’t stained blue with blood. The same blood that stained Noah’s hands.

Noah was an accomplished close combatant. He had trained in several martial arts in high school. In the marines he’d been the best unarmed fighter in his platoon, and no one snuck up on him while he was holding a knife. In a few years he could have been teaching unarmed combat at a police academy. But he’d never killed anything with his bare hands before. He expected to feel nauseous, or horrified, or at least shocked. Instead Noah only felt a new sense of determination. This world held many horrors. But those horrors were made of flesh and bone. They knew pain, and they knew death. Haynes would bring these nightmares both.