C'mon in, take yer shoes off, and set yerself down. Here you will find comics, cartoons, musings, rants, . . . whatever strikes my fancy, or "Spins my Plush", so to speak.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Day After . . .

8-A Strange Benefactor

The sky was a pale grey as 387 looked out from a sea of Genies. Each was dressed in almost identical uniforms, except for the series of numbers located over each soldier’s heart. 387 himself was also dressed in the uniform, the only clothing he had warn since he was a young boy--basically as long as he could remember. He looked around at his fellows and watched as they slowly raised their right fists into the air in perfect unison. His eyes shot to the front and slightly above the throng, and he, too, shot his fist into the air.

Drakon stood upon his balcony, looking over his troops. Slowly, he raised his arms as well, and swept his hands as if motioning for someone to step forward. At first 387 thought that it may be himself, but he suddenly had a sense of motion behind him. The sense was hard to describe, as there was no sound--in fact 387 could hear nothing at all--or any indication at all. He just knew.

387 turned, knowing that to turn from Drakon was wrong, but an overwhelming sense of curiosity took away any self-control that he had ever had.

Even before his head had gone fully around, a slender arm brushed past his face. He felt a tickle at the back of his neck and spun a little faster to see a second arm that had brushed against his hair. He straightened his gaze and found himself looking into those shimmering green pools. Before he could even react, he was engulfed in that fire red hair, as the softest lips in the world parted his own. There was no more female and male. There was only one perfect being. And 387 could only feel . . . something. A belonging. A happiness. A wholeness. A . . . peace? Whatever it was, he had never felt it before that day in the Crucible, and, until now, he hadn’t felt it since. All he wanted was to stay in this embrace forever. He didn’t need food. He didn’t need water. He didn’t need air. He just needed this . . . female. To hell with Drakon.

“SKREEEE . . .”

The lips pressed against his suddenly fell away. Those shimmering pools rolled back and overflowed their banks. Her weight was nothing to him, but as she slumped into his arms, it was suddenly more weight than 387 could bear. He looked into her eyes and saw fear, and hatred, and all he could do was mirror those emotions in his own eyes.

He grabbed at her waist to lower her to the ground, and felt something wet and sticky. He looked down and saw only red. It flowed from a hole in her side where her left kidney had once been. It splattered over her clothing and his. It pooled at his feet. In fact, it all seemed to be flowing straight to him. As he raised his hand, it dripped from his fingers and disintegrated in the residual energy of his own just-released bio-blast.

387 only then became aware of the fact that all this had happened as if in slow motion. And with the realization that she was dead . . . that he had killed her . . . time stopped for a moment, then snapped back to real-time. 387, the angel still in his arms, turned toward Drakon. The sea of Genies had disappeared somehow, and the sky had turned fire red. Drakon stood on his balcony, looking at the scene below him.

387’s eyes filled with the same water that had been in the angel’s eyes, and his mouth dropped open.

“Forgive me, sire,” he mouthed, but still no sound penetrated the all-encompassing veil of silence.

But then, . . . a crackling. Faint at first, but building. Looking around to see the source, 387 could not find an explanation. Then a bead of sweat dripped past his eyes from his own forehead. He followed the gleaming marble to the ground, where everything was now on fire.

387 eyes shot open and he sat upright in a dark cavern. He gasped for air as he looked into a crackling fire built in a fireplace hollowed out of one wall. Over the fire, a freshly killed and cleaned fowl cooked, and the scent made 387 suddenly hungry.

He lay back onto the furs that made his bed, and he realized a sharp, shooting pain in his head. He remembered the chip, and what he had done to remove it. Without emotion he came to the realization that he had lived, and that what he had just experienced was only a dream. His personal situation resolved, he turned his attention to his surroundings.

He turned his head to a beam of light breaking through an opening in one of the four cold, stonewalls. The direct light blinded him for a moment, and he covered his eyes with his hands. As his pupils adjusted, he realized that he wasn’t alone. Attempting to guard himself, he flinched, but his once perfectly-tuned body no longer wanted to obey. Even his words of warning caught in his throat.

A large form blocked out the beam of light, and once more his eyes were forced to adjust.

“So,” the deepest voice he had ever heard rang softly in his ears,” you have finally decided to join me?”

The voice was like two oil drums beating together.

A large palm wrapped across his forehead. It felt cold and hard, not unlike the rock that made up the room,” The fever has broken. I must admit, I did not think it possible that you would recover.”

“ . . . ,” again 387’s words could not find their way out of his mouth.

“Ah, so you think that after all this time you will monopolize our conversation. I think not,” the voice was deep but comforting--it reminded 387 of another sound but he could not remember from where. “Worry not. If your life’s energy has returned, your voice will find it’s way.”

387 felt one of the rock-hands slide under his head and raise it, far more gently that he would have believed possible. He then felt a hard surface against his lips, as water ran past them and down his throat.

He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was, but now that it was in his mouth, the injured soldier couldn’t have enough, and he used all his remaining strength to suck in as much of liquid as he could. He felt a tickle in his throat and knew the water had gone down the wrong way. He coughed and choked, and in his own mind cursed as he felt the spray on his face as the fluid spit from his mouth.

The hand lowered his head back down. “Patience, my friend. We must not have you drown before you recover from your injuries.”

The beam of light suddenly grew brighter as the form moved out of the room. 387 opened his eyes in one last effort to see to whom he had been listening. He saw the flip a long red gown against the stone wall as the figure passed through the portal and was gone. No longer able to fight off the darkness, he fell into sleep once more.

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