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Zero Hour (part 7)

What stood before him could not possibly exist. It just couldn’t. Yet, from out of myth it appeared. A gargantuan creature, deceptively so, for Zerosta knew deep down that it possessed a quickness that no creature of its size could possibly have. Suddenly he understood how truthful the creature was when it had said it could ‘crush him where he stood’.

Rising nearly twenty feet from the floor, its eyes peered down upon him. Deep cobalt orbs that seemed nearly as big as his head. But that was the least amazing part. The feeble light seemed to gleam off of its skin a brilliant crimson. Upon further examination it wasn’t skin, but scales, yet scales that were so finely interwoven that they appeared seamless. A ridge of spikes stretched from the tip of its head down the back of its long, sinewy neck, coming to an end right where its front legs met its body. The creature was easily three times as long as it was tall. Suddenly it cracked its lips into what could only be described as a grin, though a grin of such terrifying proportions. Smoke drifted up between jagged teeth that were easily as long as Zerosta’s arm.

“You seem shocked human. You shouldn’t; not after what I have already revealed to you. Yes…I am a dragon! Where did you think all of the legends came from? Certainly so many stories from all over the world could not have risen from nothing. Dragons, like magic, have always existed in this world. Of course that means other myths are true too, but that is another story.”

“But how? How have dragons existed, but remained unknown for so long? It doesn’t make sense.”

“Many centuries ago, before the legends were born, dragons lived amongst humans. Yes, many of the stories about rampaging dragons were true, yet we were only seeking to exist, just like every other creature. Back then humans feared dragons, and dragons ignored humans. Sadly, that is what led to the legends and the ‘vanishing’ of dragons. Humans began to hunt us down, one by one. Though many humans would perish in the attacks, they were so prevalent, persisting in their assaults. Eventually many of my brethren died.”

“Those of us who remained sought shelter within the earth. It wasn’t without cost though. We could not hunt for our food. We became trapped in our own shelter and the only way to survive was to enter the deep sleep. Dragons ‘vanished’ from the earth and the legends were born. Perhaps it would have remained that way forever, but then humans brought about the Great Wars. Not only did these wars ravage the land, destroying so much life, it also awoke the dragons from the deep sleep. We returned to the surface to find so much changed. Food was scarce, but so too were humans. We knew that if we were careful, we could reclaim our place on this land.”

Zerosta stood transfixed. The story seemed so incredible yet he knew instinctively what the dragon told him was the truth.

“If that is the case then why have you shown yourself to me? Why, if all you want is to live in peace, have you made your presence known to humans again?”

“My brethren may call me brash. I have no doubt that many will second guess my decision, but it was my decision. I sense that in this new world, we must not remain hidden. To do so would only lead to disaster, perhaps another time when all remaining dragons would be annihilated. Instead, I feel we must join with humans, or more precisely, specific humans. Together we are stronger than we would be alone. Plus, it is not as if the possibility hasn’t been mentioned in the legends as well. Think of all the stories of men riding dragons.”

“I have sensed something in you. Perhaps I shall be the only dragon to sense this, but it is so. I have sensed a greatness and a kinship in you. I cannot explain it otherwise. What I can say is that no other human, in this age or in the age long past, has evoked this feeling in me. What I propose is we, dragon and human, unite as dragon and rider. I, Baobab, shall transport you where you need to go. I shall fight with you in your battles. You must promise to fight my battles too. We shall merge our magic, perhaps learning an even more potent magic in the process. What say you, human?”

“I’m Zero. I agree. Together we just may be able to change the world.”

Baobab began to smile again, yet paused. Sniffing the air briefly, he spoke again.

“Someone comes. We must hide.”

With that pronouncement, he slipped back into the shadows of the cavern. Zero, instinctively became invisible again, fading from sight where he stood. Even then he could hear the faint sounds of approaching footsteps.

As he stood there motionless in the half-light, Zero began to think back on all he had learned from Baobab. Such a marvelous creature he was. It was amazing that something so very huge could simply vanish in that cavern. But was it really that amazing? After all, dragons had ‘vanished’ before, fading from sight and mostly from memories of man. It was only through legends and myths that any knowledge of the magnificent creatures was known.

That brought him back to what he had learned. What did Baobab mean by other legends and myths were true too? What other creatures were real? Or, were all legends based in fact? Could it be that all other legends and fairy tales were based upon fact as well? Were sprites and fairies and elves and dwarves, the list seemed endless, real? For that matter, were the Others one of these myths turned real? Or were they just some mutated race of humans? A result of the devastation that occurred through the Great War?

Somehow Zero felt he was only beginning to reach true wisdom. Even though he had learned so much already during his journey into the Wastelands, he felt there was so much more to learn. Dragons existed and, thinking back upon when he first entered the Wasteland, he remembered Oingo and Boingo. They were something different. Were they a forgotten legend, or perhaps something new as well? Certainly they hadn’t been human, yet they acted something like humans. What other beings would he encounter here?

All while he was pondering these truths that seemed to hang just on the edge of his understanding, Zero listened as the footsteps slowly grew closer. Realizing just how long it was taking for the unknown visitors to appear, Zero wondered how far they were when Baobab warned of them. It had to have been when they first entered the cave, which meant that Zero should never have heard the footsteps, no matter what strange acoustics existed in this place. His hearing just was not that good. So, how had he been able to? Had he gained some ability just from being ‘chosen’ by Baobab? What had he meant by merging? Would they share abilities? Would they develop new abilities? He just didn’t know.

What he did know was the footsteps were very close now. Soon he would know who was making them. That knowledge did not prepare him for the revelations to come.

He watched the entrance to the cavern as the footsteps steadily grew nearer. He watched, with shock as the two appeared from out of the darkness. What were they doing here? How had they even gotten here? There was only one way to find out, so slowly Zero let his invisibility fade away.

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Posted by on May 4, 2011 in writing

 

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Zero Hour part 2 (blogophilia v 4.3)

Zero slowly made his way back towards home. He had stayed out way too long. Lately he found himself staying away from home longer and longer. He claimed it was because no one saw him, but that wasn’t really true. Sure, sometimes he seemed invisible, but most of the time it was just they treated him that way. No one listened to his suggestions. No one even bothered to ask what he thought. Of course, they noticed when he did something ‘wrong’. Especially Jaxes. He always found fault in Zero’s actions. It didn’t help that Jaxes was the son of the chief.

Jaxes’ family had always led their village. It was his great-great…well too many greats to remember grandfather that first gathered the refugees together after the War. It was said the family originated from Brussels. Zero didn’t know where Brussels was, but was sure it had been full of blowhards who thought they knew everything. At least it was if Jaxes was representative of the population. Simply put, Jaxes was an ass. He always criticized Zero, even when it was obvious that Zero was right. So, Zero avoided him at all costs now.

The sun had set hours ago, yet Zero still worried he’d see someone as he entered the small village. So he walked with a slow, methodical pace. Dreading the moment he arrived. It was probably that fear that caused him to hear the scuff of rocks up ahead. He froze, terrified of what it might be. His terror was well regarded.

An Other appeared in the path ahead. An Other! What brought it here? They never came this close to the wasteland. It was said they had drifted down from the wasteland after the firestorms and refused to return. No one knew for sure though. All that was really known was the Others sought out every human they could find. They enslaved those humans, forcing them to work the rest of their lives in misery while the others threatened them with death. Zero’s village was one of the small remaining enclaves of free men.

Zero could barely breathe. The thing was huge, nearly seven feet tall. Its skin was a motley grey and seemed made of scales rather than skin. A course hair covered most of its body. As he stood there, he watched the beast begin to sniff around. It seemed to have caught a whiff of something. It stared right at him.

Zero was so terrified he couldn’t even move to get away. His breath stuck in his throat. He was going to die! He knew it. Suddenly, a guttural bark shattered the night silence. The beast grunted in reply. It took one more sniff, then strangely turned and loped off into the night, towards the bark. Zero was alone again.

Zero couldn’t explain it. Sure, people seemed to ignore him, but he really thought it was only because they hated him. Now he wasn’t so sure. The Other had stared right at him. He was five feet away. The night sky was clear. No way could it have missed seeing him, yet that is what happened.

Then thought returned to Zero. The village! He had to warn them. The Others would enslave them!

Zero ran like the wind. Where just a minute before he hesitated in his return, he now raced through the darkness, worried he’d be too late. As he rounded the last corner and the village came into view, he realized how right he was. The village lay in ruins. Every hut seemed to be torn apart. Debris littered the area. Nothing moved.

Slowly he began to move among the desolation. The Others had missed nothing, it seemed. Not one building remained standing. Here and there, Zero saw a body torn apart. Mostly they were older villagers; ones who wouldn’t be able to work hard, he noted. Sadly, there were a few toddlers among the remains. No one between the age of 6 and 50 remained. Not among the dead. Perhaps some had escaped?

Just as he was about to give up the search, he heard a small gasp. Turning to his left, he felt his breath catch in his throat again. Quickly he rushed over to the old man lying in the tumbled remains.

“Grand-papa!”

“Zerosta. You are OK. The Others didn’t get you. I feared the worst when you were gone so long.”

“No grand-papa. They didn’t get me, though one almost did. I don’t know how it missed me. Stay still while I bandage these wounds.”

“There’s no time Zerosta. I don’t think anything can be done to save me. You can save yourself though. The Others will return. I doubt they are just looking for more slaves. They are planning on claiming this area too. You must be gone before they come back. You must go north over the wall.”

“Over the wall?!? That’s insane. No one goes over the wall. That’s certain death. It’s a barren wasteland there.”

“Yes, it’s a wasteland, but hardly barren. Before the War, a powerful nation of men existed. It existed north of the wall. Then the War brought death and destruction. Waves of fire tore through the land, destroying much. Yet I doubt it destroyed everything.”

“But grand-papa…”

“No buts. You must go. It has been prophesied. It is said in man’s greatest hour of need, when all seems hopeless, one will arise. He will be the travelling man. He will go north into the wasteland. In doing so, he will change what is. He will end what was. There’s more to it, but that is all you need to know. Shortly after you were born, I realized the prophecy was about you. I can’t tell you how I knew, I just did.”

“You must go into the wasteland. You must find a way to free our people. I know you will. You are the one. Perhaps you will find a clue in that land. It was said that during their time of influence, the world was connected in a way it has never seen before or since. There was something called the World Wide Web. I don’t know what that was, though it makes me think of giant spiders. Never mind that though. Time grows short. Perhaps you will find answers in that ‘web’.”

“How will I know what to look for? Even if I find this web, how will I understand what it says? I can’t do this grand-papa. I want to stay with you. I will make you better.”

“No Zerosta. It’s too late for me. You must go. You must promise me that you will find answers. You are humanity’s only remaining hope. Please say you’ll go.”

As he finished his request, Zero’s grand-papa wheezed out one last gasp and collapsed. Tears welled up in Zero’s eyes as he held the limp body in his arms, crushing it to his chest. He seemed to be trying to urge him back to life with sheer willpower.

Finally, as the sun crested the horizon and a new day began, Zero realized it was hopeless. Nothing would bring life back to the dead. He wiped the remaining tears from his eyes. Then, he reached out reverently and closed his grandfather’s eyes, whispering “I will grand-papa. I promise I will find a way.”

Zero stood and began to move around the village remains, gathering what he could for the journey north. Within an hour he was ready. Resolutely he started out on the path that led to the wall. He never looked back, though before the village was out of sight, tears were once again flowing from his eyes.

~~~~

 

This was written for blogophilia on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=194143027273589

 

Blogophilia 3.4 Topic: “Traveling Man

Bonus Points:

(Hard, 2pts): include the ‘web’ (as in world wide web)

(Easy, 1pt): mention Brussells

 

Final date to post: March 22nd, 2011 GMT midnight

Final date to post ALL GUESSES: March 19th, 2011 GMT midnight

I will say that Colleen provided the topic and that Dahlia provided the picture. Picture guess is these boots were made for walking.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in stories, writing

 

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Zero Hour (blogophilia v4.2)

Zero stood quietly contemplating as the sun, making its final gasps, inched beneath the horizon. Where moments before a blaze of hues, scarlet foremost, lit the sky, there now existed a weird moment of half-light. Night had finally arrived to end another day of his useless existence.

As long as he could remember, life meant nothing to Zero. Well no, that wasn’t exactly true. He supposed he would pay a peso for his life. It certainly wasn’t worth anything more. As he watched the darkness creep closer, he wondered what it would be like to actually matter.

Nothing he did ever made a difference in this madness the world had slipped into. In fact, he didn’t even think anyone saw him. He may take up space in this world. He may breathe oxygen, thereby actually living. Words sometimes crossed his lips. Through all of this, physics stated he existed, yet in the end did he? No one ever noticed him, instead they kept on walking right past him. No matter the occasion, nor if he even made an attempt at standing out.

That is why he now solely went by the name Zero. He was nothing. He was a zero. He didn’t even remember what name he used to use. It didn’t matter. No one else knew the name either. At least not in connection to him.

Yet tonight was different. There was no single thing that he could point to, but he knew that a change was in the offing. There was something in the air tonight. Something inexplicable that signified…he didn’t know. Hell, the world could be heading for Armageddon right this second. He didn’t believe it was that, but you never knew.

Of course, whatever was to come didn’t necessarily mean he would be noticed. It could mean that he would just cease to exist. Physics might decide, just like the rest of the world, he was not there. What would that be like? He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer. In the end, all that mattered was that a change was coming. He had to be ready to face that change. He had to embrace that change, for in his mind it was the only hope he had left.

 

~~~~~

This was written for Blogophilia

https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=192729654081593

 

Blogophilia 2.4 Topic: “Something in the Air

Bonus Points:

(Hard, 2pts):  use a word starting with “Z” three times (we take this to mean the same word three times – NOT three different “Z” words)

(Easy, 1pt): incorporate a type of currency

 

Final date to post: March 15th, 2011 GMT midnight

Final date to post ALL GUESSES: March 12th, 2011 GMT midnight

 

I’ll say SLJ for the topic and Joanie for the picture.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in stories, writing

 

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Sweetest Nectar (sonnet) (IV)

Sweetest Nectar

Mine eyes doth drink of your essence so pure;
distilled from the sweetest fruits of this earth.
So that I realize the truth, my life’s worth,
I continue drinking from your allure.
For in you, I feel so safe and secure.
Like a newborn baby upon his birth,
your soul, it fills me with such glee—such mirth.
Let it never end, let there be no cure.

And though I know—alone I can be me,
I’d rather stay and sip from your chalice;
continue to assimilate your love.
For only then do I really feel free,
from all the strife in life—free of malice.
You’re the Nectar of God, sent from above.

© September 4, 2010 CRF

So, yesterday I was skimming through posts on the tagsurfer section of WordPress. I came across a poem that was called a sonnet in its title. It certainly was a poem. I’m not putting down the inspired work of another. My problem is with it being called a sonnet.

By far the majority of sonnets are written in iambic pentameter, (the kyrielle sonnet has 8 syllable lines). However, they all have uniform line lengths. This poem’s lines varied from six syllables to eleven syllables. It was also 16 lines long. Every sonnet I have ever come across has 14 lines. They also have a volta (turn) that occurs somewhere around lines 8-10. This turn provides an unexpected change in meaning, or expands on the original thought in an obscure manner.

Another characteristic of sonnets is that they have set rhyme schemes. These are different depending on the type of sonnet. In mine, I wrote a petrarchan sonnet. It’s rhyme scheme is abbaabba cdecde. Other main forms of the sonnet are the Shakespearean Sonnet and the Spenserian Sonnet. They have different rhyme schemes. To my understanding, the rhyme scheme is what determines which sonnet it is.

What this poster did by calling their poem a sonnet was to provide a disservice to both their readers and themselves. By calling it a sonnet, those aware of poetry forms will find fault and lose the intended meaning of the poem simply because they are too caught up with the form being wrong. Those of their readers who don’t have this knowledge, but wish to try writing a sonnet themselves, would then perpetuate the erroneous assertion of that being a sonnet. It will dilute the form, and eventually, a sonnet would become anything written about love.

In all fairness, perhaps this poster was not aware of the various requirements. Perhaps they had witnessed someone else do this very thing, and thought they were writing a sonnet.

I really don’t like to critique in this way, but if you are saying you are writing in a classic style, you should make sure that you really are.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2010 in opinion/editorial, poetry, writing

 

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