Sunday, October 8, 2023

On the Run

 
On The Run has returned. It's been five years or more since I wrote this, and I was very gratified by the response at the time. I decided to bring this back and continue the story, especially since the other story I've been working on has links. So... here we return to the story of Eric and Anna, and if you want to see the original (with all the comments and replies) here you go.  

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 though 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

11 comments:

  1. We need to read first chapters I think...

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  2. I have to go back to the beginning of the story...

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  3. Loved your descriptions and the cool setting and how you put us right there in the middle of it all. Such great writing, Greg. :D

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  4. Oh, this had a great awakening to it. An almost pioneer feel..as I have felt while being in Kansas in a sea of grass. I could imagine the Wilder family making their way through the grassy sea and yet being there I also felt the horror of losing someone in that grass too. (sorry to get side tracked) I felt the alienation and separation yet moving forward. And a certain sorrow that comes with it. Such solid description that fill me with just a little envy (how did he do that). I really enjoyed this piece and can't wait for more!๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค Thank you so much for your comments! Just what I needed this weekend. Wishing you all the best with your writing. Here's to lots of fun, plots and dialogues along the way.

    Caitlin&Megan
    Ivy's Closet
    Ellie

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  5. Uy que mal parece que todo se complica nuevamente. Te mando un beso.

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  6. Yes! I am so glad you started writing this again! Loved this installment! The descriptions are so vivid I feel part of the story.

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  7. This is a very detailed description about the intensity of the conflict.

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  8. I missed it the first time around, so...I'm diving in! Harpies, uh? You know how to pick them ๐Ÿ˜‚.

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  9. I remember this story from several years back! Glad you are continuing it, Greg.

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  10. I will come back to this story once I have finished The Sands of Time. I've bookmarked it. ๐Ÿ‘

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