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Zero Hour Part 8

Tinamou stood staring towards the dark opening in the hillside. She still couldn’t understand how Judash, Tec and Stantion had followed Zero here. For that matter, why had Zero come to this place? It didn’t make sense. There was nothing around for miles. Well, nothing excepting rubble and the fallen remains of civilization past. Still, what would cause him to run here? She glanced to her left where Jaxes stood. It seemed he was just as perplexed as her, but yet he said nothing.

To her right, Judash stood with Tec and Stantion. She could tell they were in the midst of a heated discussion, but since they were just out of hearing, she couldn’t tell what the discussion was about.

A few minutes later, Tec and Judash strode over to her, and Tec spoke out.

“I must tell you, I don’t like where your friend has gone. Some of the nastiest weapons that have ever been created were made and stored in this area. Weapons that helped create the firestorm that ended the world as it was. Yet here he is. Perhaps we have misinterpreted the prophecy? Perhaps he will bring about the end of all things?”

“That can’t be true.” Tinamou gasped. “Zero would not seek destruction. He would seek salvation. There has to be a different reason that he is here. Maybe when he ran from those hunters, he just happened upon this place. Maybe it is just a coincidence that those weapons were created here.”

“Perhaps you are right young one. I know we won’t find out by standing here though. We must follow him inside the cavern. Whatever he is doing in there will give us our answers. Be warned though; you might not like what you see.”

Tec quickly gestured for the others to follow and led the way into the dark hole. Tinamou was not surprised to see Stantion follow at a distance.

 

“Oingo! Boingo! What are you two doing here?”

Zerosta rushed out to greet the diminutive brothers. Though travel worn, they appeared just as he remembered them.

“Ah! We have found you atlas giver. Praise the gods. We feared we would never catch up to you!”

“Call me Zero. That is my name Oingo. What do you mean you feared you wouldn’t catch me? Why were you even looking for me? Why have you even come north of the wall? You said it was insane and death to do so.”

“That is what we said, and that is what it will be for you. At least we feared it would. We had to come. You were so nice to us. We had to warn you.”

“Warn me? Why warn me? You already told me how dangerous it was to be here. There shouldn’t be any more warning, should there?”

Even as he talked with Oingo and Boingo, Zero sent thoughts to Baobab. What did he think of their appearance? Should Zero be worried? Maybe he would like to meet them?

Though a bit perplexed by the brothers, Baobab responded that he’d stay where he was. Something was bothering him.

“Warn you we must. You are being followed. The day after you passed our gate, another group passed us. Two humans and an Other. We hid. Something about them worried us greatly. As we hid, we overheard them talking. They were following someone. It was obvious to us they meant you. No one else had passed that way in months.”

As Oingo took a breath, Boingo continued the narrative.

“So, that in itself was worrisome to us. Who would follow you? We knew not, but still we watched. Shortly after that, a second Other appeared, following those three. We tracked them all here. The three tracking you, the one tracking them. Of course that changed less than a day from here.”

“We found a killing field. That isn’t strange in these parts, but what we saw worried us more than before. The group of three joined up with two others. These were Kin. I should say they were Kin assassins. The Kin kill all humans they come across. Something about averting a prophecy. Anywho…these two spoke to the Other, and then joined them in tracking you. The second Other still did not make its presence known though. He kept far enough back to see what would happen.”

“We knew now you were in grave danger, so we bypassed them and came rushing after you. We had to warn you of them. They mean you harm. We know it.”

“I know of these Kin you mentioned. I saw them myself. I saw them kill a couple human refugees. Yet, they did not see me. You’re sure they are coming this way?”

Just then Baobab spoke out in Zerosta’s head “It is too late…they are here. Hide yourself.”

 

Tinamou could hear talking from somewhere ahead. It confused her. Who was Zero talking to? Was he even there? Perhaps Tec had been wrong. That was when Tec motioned for them to stop.

“OK…Zero is just ahead. Obviously he is not alone. Perhaps I was wrong. He may have been found by the hunters. They could be who we hear. They could be deciding what to do with him. Stantion, see if you can find a place to set up. We may need some cover. If you get a shot, take it.”

As he was talking, Tinamou watched them. Something felt wrong, but she just couldn’t put her finger on it. She was about to let it go when she saw something pass between Tec and Stantion. What was going on?

“Once he is in place, we will go forward. Tinamou, you and Jaxes will be in front. If it is just Zero, he will respond better to you. If he sees us, he may panic and run away. That could be bad. If there are hunters there, they will pay too much attention to you and we will be able to kill them.”

Without waiting for either her or Jaxes to respond, Tec pushed them forward. Not having any idea of what else to do, she stepped forward. They entered a huge empty space. Light spilled down from an opening somewhere in the ceiling of the cavern. She didn’t see Zero anywhere. There were just two small furry creatures standing on the other side. Who were they?

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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in stories

 

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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 5)

For more than two weeks he had wandered this desolate land that still, surprisingly, held life. He felt no closer to his destination. Sure, he learned the wasteland was not a certain death, though for an unwary traveler, it should have been.

The first several days, as he relied on the food and water he carried from the south, Zero saw very little. There were signs of animals passing through the scrub, and across the small creeks, yet he could not make himself test the water. He could not stand trying to eat the tiny plants. Eventually he would have to, yet what if the first one he tried turned out poisonous? So, he disdained the local vegetation and his meager supplies continued to dwindle.

He also felt certain he was not alone. A furtive sound here, a small scent there, it all led to his belief that the wasteland was not death for humans. At least it wasn’t if you were careful. So, at each sign he would attempt to trace the source. Many times he tried and failed until finally, on the fourth day when his supplies finally gave out, he met his first wastelander. It was a young boy, probably no older than ten, yet with a haunted look in his eyes. Even now Zero was not sure why the boy trusted him enough to stop and talk. But he did. In truth it was quite fortuitous for Zero. Within minutes, a storm sprang out of the north, and had it not been for the boy knowing where shelter could be found, he would have spent a night drenched to the bone. As it was, they spent a cold night shivering beneath the remnants of some building.

When Zero made to start a fire, the boy frantically stopped him, warning of the dangers it would attract. He claimed that many strange creatures wandered the lands now; Creatures seemingly come alive from myth.  Some had no precedence. Yet, they all lived now. It was claimed the firestorm created many, and woke the others from their ancient slumber. The boy couldn’t be sure, but he certainly knew better than to look for trouble. If the creatures weren’t bad enough, the hunters were. No one saw the hunters. No one knew what they looked like, but they knew they were there. Almost daily one could find the remains of someone foolish enough to have come across them. The boy couldn’t figure out how Zero had not seen any.

They talked deep into the night, the boy relating all he knew about the land. How to tell if the plant you were thinking of eating was poisonous or not. How to avoid the more dangerous predators out there. He even gave advice on how to approach others like him. It was probably because of the way Zero had made his earlier approaches that the other refugees avoided him. Zero learned a lot, yet the boy could not tell him what he needed to know. He knew of no weapon that could help his people. He knew of no way to free them. The boy seemed to find it unfathomable that people would group together like that. They would become a big target for the hunters. It was always safer to remain alone and mobile.

Part of what the boy said made sense. Sure, the hunters would find them easier if they were in a community, but isn’t it true that safety lies in numbers? The more people in the community, the harder it would be for the hunters to overcome the defenses. Zero tried to explain this to the boy, but he was adamant about the mistake it was. Nothing would convince him otherwise.

When Zero woke the next morning, the storm had passed. The sun had just broken over the horizon and promised a warm, dry day. The boy was gone, vanished as if he never existed. Zero wasn’t surprised.

Since then, he followed the boy’s advice and found other survivors more receptive of him. Slowly he learned more and more about the land that he traveled through. He continued north, never really knowing where he was heading.

He stopped for a moment to take a small drink from his water skin. As he lowered it from his lips, he caught sight of a couple off in the distance. Slowly he headed towards them, following the boys advice again. Perhaps they would know what he needed. As he grew closer, he noticed the couple watching him. He was just about to raise his hand in greeting when the shot rang out. Without thinking, he dropped to the ground looking for somewhere to hide, though he knew it useless. He was in the middle of a killing field. The land stretched out for miles with nothing to break the monotony of the landscape.

~~~

“Nice shooting Tec. You got both of them with one shot. I never could have done that!”

Stantion couldn’t hide the awe from his voice. This was only his second foray into the wasteland hunting. Humans were such easy prey. Stantion couldn’t figure out why the elders were all afraid of them, but it was true. A deep-seeded fear lay within his entire people. All humans needed to die, and Stantion was now helping with that. Tec, his father and mentor, slowly lowered his rifle.

“Did you see where the other one went? He was approaching from the south, yet as soon as I took the shot on the others, he vanished.”

“What other one? I only saw the two.”

“You weren’t looking like I told you. You must learn to look Stantion. I’m telling you, there was a third human down there, approaching the others. Come on. We’ll find him soon enough. We have to make sure those two are dead. He must be cowering in a fold in the land.”

“But Tec…they are dead! You took them both out with one shot to the head. No one can survive that. Why must we go down there? We’d be exposed to counter-fire.”

Tec shook his head and lightly smacked Stantion in the back of his head.

“Humans don’t use weapons any more. They think that by forsaking weaponry of all kind, they will not be killed. It is a foolish wish, though one that serves us here. We will not face any danger. We must make sure they are dead though. Either could be the traveling man. If we were to leave without being certain of his death, then we would never know if the prophecy was averted. Plus, I want to know where that other human went.”

Slowly Tec moved forward towards his kill, eyes scanning all around for the slightest bit of movement. After a moment, Stantion followed, muttering to himself about his father seeing things.

~~~

Zero lay completely still on the rocky ground. He watched as the two hunters slowly walked out of the west, towards him. He was stunned. They weren’t Others, like he assumed they would be. They appeared completely human, though the closer they came, the less certain of this he became. There was something different about them. Some simple thing, yet vastly important, that made them different from all the people he knew. These must be the dreaded hunters of whom the boy warned him. Worse yet, they were walking straight towards him, obviously on their way to make sure of their kills. There would be no way they wouldn’t see him. What would happen when they did?

Zero remained as still and silent as he believed possible. He knew if he ran, they would just shoot him down. What could he do? Then, just when he felt it inevitable they would see him, they inexplicably stepped right by. They continued the short distance to the couple, knelt to examine them, and then stood again. The taller of the two glanced back towards where Zero lay. Certainly he would see him now, Zero thought. He didn’t though. With a shrug of his shoulders, he turned away and the two headed off to the north. The direction Zero had been going.

Zero lay on the ground not moving an inch as he watched the hunters depart. He watched till they were nothing but specks on the horizon, and then watched some more. Eventually, hours after they left, he slowly crept over to the couple. They were dead as he knew they would be. What were their names? Who were they? Why were they killed? The questions haunted Zero, yet no answers revealed themselves.

Finally, as dusk was beginning to settle over the land, Zero headed off, not north like he had been travelling, but east. It seemed the safest direction for the time being, since he had no desire to meet up with the hunters. He walked long into the night before finally stopping beneath the tattered remnants of a sign that seemed to read Lo  Al mo .

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in stories

 

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White-Out

 

White-Out

Northern wastes, where white, as forever fields
hold the cold sun captive in ice shackles.
An old, lone wolf growls—raising its hackles
as gusts swoop down to gather; white death they wield.
Howling…scouring, it shall never yield
to the whims of man, frigid blast tackles
till all that’s seen in blindness—frost sparkles.
Silent, blinding tomb—storm erected shield.
Hunker down, ride it out…your life depends
upon the warmth within the offered shroud;
shared heat that flows, through the touch of a hand.
When all is said and done, the madness ends.
The sun returning, banishes the clouds
leaving not a sign that death stalked the land.

© February 24, 2011 CRF

This is a sonnet I wrote for a challenge at Alabaster and Mercury. The challenge was to write a sonnet utilizing one of three lines. The line I chose was “where white as forever fields hold the cold sun.”

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in poetry, sonnet

 

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The Mist

Misty valley - swifts creek02

Image via Wikipedia

The Mist

I think back to the day that was,
the day the mist arose—around me.
It swirled up, surrounded…obscuring
what used to be so clear to see.
This hazy murkiness that enveloped
my clarity, till all that was left
faded into shadows of what was.

I’d stare for hours into that grey fog;
hoping to find just one clue,
one simple sign marking the path
to take, to bring me out of this Stygian life.
Yet there was nothing (discernible) amongst
the shadows. Nothing, to provide even a glimpse
of what could be (would be)…if I stepped forth.

So I stayed rooted to that spot;
holding my breath…silent for fear
of breaking (revealing) myself.
The shadows around made little sense,
and yet—I knew with but a little more light
my clarity would return. All would be well
again, and the shadows would breed
familiarity…but would it ever come.

Shapes shifted, sounds drifted,
half forgotten truths lay
tantalizingly out of reach.
The mist clung to me;
refusing to release
its damp hold upon my life.
This mist—a jealous lover,
a tormenting tyrant…
a diabolical deity.

Till finally, out of the dark sprang forth
a brilliance my eyes could barely see.
A fiery orange hue shifting to gold,
burnishing the leaves upon the path,
that was right there beneath my feet.
A luminescence, that with each breath
grew in scope, melting away the cringing
tendrils of mist, baring me (and all around)
to sight once again—revealing the path.
A path, that had I just trusted (in faith)
would have led me out of this mist
so long ago. I see now—I’m free.

© January 5, 2011 CRF

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in poetry

 

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The Path Ahead (Poets Round Table No. 201)

The Path Ahead (Poets Round Table No. 201)

Beneath a luminescent orb, a path opens before me;
Untouched, unknown…pristine whiteness promising—newness unseen.
And yet it leads me away from you; or perhaps to a new you;
for we each have our own path—to mold us (forge us) for what’s to be.

It is a natural way for me: I strive to make a name
by charging towards such light from grasp; the great universe’s frame!
I get to where I think is There, and looking back I find this
new home’s missing warmth that kept my inner fire—my heartbeat’s lame.

And on and on the dreary trudge, no sought after comfort found,
‘Till heart is quiet, and soul is still, and in the silence; sound.
Soft pelting of rain, wind whispered song; heart lifted; a soul sings.
Then slowly I drift down, feet firmly placed upon the ground.

With every day that brings me forward, isn’t one left behind,
sad I cannot keep with me, all the treasures each day finds.
There’s a sadness in closing the book, caressing softly its cover,
I go, yet all this I’ll keep within the heart’s lock of poet’s rhyme.

The Travelers:
The Falcon: www.myspace.com/Craig_Fallon
SLJ: www.myspace.com/all_thumbs_in_austria
Lissa: www.myspace.com/jarasangel
Spirit Wild: www.myspace.com/spiritwild

The travel guide:
D.J. Myke: www.myspace.com/jmichaeltodd

The Poets Round Table is a weekly event. If anyone would like to join in, feel free to contact D.J. Myke.

 

May You all have a wonderful New Year, wherever your paths lead you.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in poetry

 

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The Land of Complacency (XXX)

This Land of Complacency

Somewhere along the way to fame and fortune
I became lost; got tangled up amongst the weeds
of self-doubt and procrastination.
And though I felt myself sliding into the hinterlands
of obscurity, with every breath I took
I found another reason to delay my path.
These reasons seemed vibrantly necessary,
and so, I stopped, dallied along the side of my road;
watching everything pass me by.
I put down roots, deep into the soil of redundancy,
fastening myself to the land of complacency…
watching the world move forward
as I stayed in the past, unable to find reason
to take that next step—away from the known.

Even knowing that the future holds the key,
for me, I’m still standing here. Stuck in my past;
afraid to move on, for fear of humiliation—failure.
Yet, even in failure we succeed. For then…
and only then do we realize what we can
and cannot do. Only then can we move on
to bigger and better pastures.
For even in failure, we learn a bit more
about ourselves. Perhaps the truth
about me is that I’m doomed
to remain in the past…I’m doomed
by laziness and cowardice…
I’m doomed.
© September 30, 2010 CRF

This was loosely inspired by the Spirit wild Chronicles posted on MySpace. It can be found following this URL

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=43333579&blogId=539540993

So…Thirty days later and I have finished my 30 poem in 30 day self challenge. It has been quite interesting, though I think I stuck to a few different themes. One thing I noticed was that I sometimes felt a little rushed because of the self imposed time limits. Still, I think it helped to improve my creative process.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2010 in poetry

 

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