As he stepped through the Gate he felt a warm breeze caress his face, and then he was blinking in bright sunshine. It was warmer here and all around him, as far as the eye could see, was grass. He could hear the faint humming of the machine behind him, but otherwise it was quiet save for the sloughing of the wind. As he looked back at the Gate he could see air shimmering like heat rising off pavement. It was blue- gray metal, with the usual runes engraved on it. You could, of course, see right through it- but at times the view would change and you would see swirling mist or strange colors, and sometimes even other places, landscapes. But for now the Gate was clear, there was no indication that mere moments before he had come through from another place, another world- another time.
This one had been close. He looked around and all he could see was grass- tall, waving in the breeze- as far as the eye could see. No sign of life, other than the gnats and dragonfly- like creatures he saw, and what looked like birds overhead. It was so quiet. Any direction was as good as any other, so he started walking. There were a few clouds on the horizon, and the sky looked like it did at home.
The sun was high so he figured it was about midday. He had water and a bit of food but he would need to find a river or some source of fresh water. He shouldered the pulse rifle and kept moving, feeling a little panic inside as he contemplated the fact that there could be nothing here to find- but he squashed that down and focused on his first priority- water. Better too if he didn't dwell too closely on what had happened on the other side. No going back there. He felt a twinge of guilt as well- had she made it? He had stayed back, to cover her escape- he could still see her face as she went through, fierce and hopeful and sad, all at once- and he almost lost it right there. But that would accomplish nothing, wouldn't help her- so he squashed that too and kept moving.
At some point a smudge on the horizon became more and he quickened his pace. In the distance over the swaying grass he could see ruins- an immense city. As he got closer he could see the extent of the disrepair. Towers and columns reached for the sky even as the outskirts were littered with debris. As he entered the city he could see strange bird- like creatures on some of the crumbled towers. Something about them seemed off somehow, so he kept his rifle close. There were no other signs of life.
As he picked his way through the rubble he heard a screeching cry, and one of the creatures overhead peeled off and dove at him. As it got closer the only thing he could think of was harpy- there was certainly a resemblance, since the creature seemed to be a mashup of human and bird. The teeth and claws were no joke though, he could see that, and he squeezed off a pulse that tore through the creatures wing, causing it to screech in pain as it plummeted to the ground. He immediately began backtracking, heading for the outskirts in a tactical retreat, as more of the creatures joined in the attack.
What a ghastly chorus, he thought as several of them now swooped to the attack. He squeezed off a few more rounds but he needed to conserve his rifle charge as long as possible. Still he took a grim satisfaction as green beams of light took out two more of the things, causing them to thrash on the ground in their dying. Then there were wings beating around him, in his face, and he felt something bite deep into his side. Desperately he whirled and swung the rifle like a club, feeling something break as he connected, and he fired again, point blank, all around him as panic almost overcame him. He had a respite then, as several of the creatures hopped away and then took wing, and one who had been shot in the face lay smoking in the dirt.
He was back on the outskirts of the city then, and he collapsed against a pile of rubble to catch his breath. He could still hear the screeching, and saw dark shapes swirling deeper in the city. He checked his rifle charge and found it dangerously low. Typical. He was going to miss that comforting wump-wump when it was gone. As he sank to the ground, the adrenaline slowly leaving his system, he touched his side and his hand came away all blood.
How much longer can we do this? When does it all catch up to us?
I used to do flash fic with Carole but alas no time
Okay I LOVE THIS!! and SO intrigued!! Like where is he? what happened? what are the creatures? Why is he running? CAN I HAVE A FULL NOVEL PLEASE? :DReplyDelete
Thank you! I appreciate it! The only thing I know is they have been running and have gone through multiple gates- but time may be catching up to them.Delete
Nice setting, it feels tense and unpredictable.ReplyDelete
I agree, great setting and writing!ReplyDelete
I love this setting! This really reads like a proper novel; your writing is fantastic. I love your descriptions and attention to detail -- you make it super easy to envision what you're writing about; I would've imagined something similar to the images you included even if you hadn't shared them. I'm definitely intrigued and would love to read more about this character and this world. Awesome flash fic! :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you! That means a lot. And I'm glad it made sense descriptively. It's a scene I've had in my head for a long time, soI'm glad it came out clear. :)Delete
Ooo I like.ReplyDelete
sherry @ fundinmental
I agree with the others who have posted. The setting is fantastic and I'm definitely left wanting to know more. Great writing!ReplyDelete
Thank you, I may write more as now I even want to know more.Delete
Okay, I have questions! Who is "she"? What happened to her? Where the hell is he? WHEN the hell is he? And where did he come from? And is he dead, to be consumed by bird people? Also, really with the bird people? This is really good! Perhaps you should continue it so I can have all the answers! :DReplyDelete
Ha ha okay she is his partner, they got separated and are on the run from... somebody. They go through these gates and end up in other places but also other times. And he is not dead. :)Delete
THANKS! :D They also must find each other again. In... 1778. Revolutionary America. Hamilton helps them reunite. And then they go back to a time less stabby but also less bird-people attck-y.Delete
Hamilton is a time traveler (add to his many skills). Seriously though Rev America would be an interesting stop. I feel like I have to have them meet now- how can they be apart and I just stop??? And a time less stabby would be good- they need some peace. :)Delete
Gate jumping? Sounds like risky stuff. Interesting place though! And you never read anything about harpies---nice!ReplyDelete
It is risky! I had a condition in mind called Gate- touched- basically multiple trips through Gates are tough on the - and if I ever continue this I may get into that. :)Delete
love the imagery! wow you are GOOD with descriptions! The creatures reminded me of one of my latest sci-fi favs Hell Divers those creatures were harpy-like :)ReplyDelete
Loving it Greg!ReplyDelete
Sorry Greg. I haven't finished reading these all yet but I'm just letting you know I haven't forgotten and that I have been reading. :)ReplyDelete