The International Writers Magazine: Continuing our serialised
The Battle for Life Beyond the Grave - now reaches Chapter Sixteen
Great Beyond - Chapter XVI
Alaskan Storm Brewing
inside the grizzly infested wilderness of Alaska I found myself
standing outside a wooden fence surrounding a shack. Inside was
the guy I had threatened then turned over to my friends to be
beaten mercilessly for the assault and attempted rape of the love
of my life.
There was a hint
of evil, a slight stink of it in the air coming from the dark interior.
He was definitely linked to Shuggs people in some way. Maybe a
bagman or a low-level go between. The local wildlife seemed to pick
up on it too. There wasnt a living creature within ten miles of
the shack. It was completely silent there; unnaturally silent. I rapped
on the rickety gate with my scabbard and the noise echoed sharply over
the trees filling the natural basin around the shack. No response from
inside as the echo faded.
"Anyone home?" I called out. I knew he was in there. I could
see his shape through the walls, in spite of the darkness.
Several silent moments passed, then a door swung outward slowly from
the front. When it opened fully I could still see him standing in the
opening, but he was still encased in darkness. Something felt wrong,
then the shack exploded into flame. It quickly spread outward engulfing
the landscape. Several rounds of gunfire erupted from the doorway and
hit me squarely in the torso. The fire was no problem for me. Just another
source of energy; a very potent and useful one. The bullets werent
that big of a problem either. My skin was better than organic kevlar;
effectively bulletproof. However, my body wasnt totally physics
proof. I was knocked backward through the trees and into a boulder.
It stunned me and gave the fire time to spread farther. I pulled myself
together and started draining the flames of energy and sloughing it
off into the sky. I had to work quickly but I soon had it under control.
I ran along branches and cliffs channeling out the fire and releasing
it cooler and less lethal. I had the fire contained in a cube inside
the fence when I noticed the enormous convection storm forming directly
over us. The accumulated heat was rising and colliding with cooler air
causing the winds to build up and tear at the charred and blackened
forest. I quickly killed the remainder of the fire and flew up to try
to dissipate the storm. I wasnt sure what I was doing and it took
When the storm was calm enough to blow itself out I started searching
for him. I found him still inside the ruins of the shack. There was
a hand cannon melted into his fist. He was barely recognizable and he
didnt move. There was still some life in his body. He couldnt
speak, so I tried telepathy. He was weak but still somewhat alert. Something
was keeping him alive. I could sense it in his mind. I could feel him
resisting but he couldnt stop me. I looked into his memories and
discovered what he was doing and why he was here. I could see the army
being gathered on the other side. The search had ended for us there.
They knew where we were and preparations were being made for an assault
on the council. Their spies had discovered that the council was tearing
itself apart over conflicts between several factions. Some had fled
as exiles and the ruthless were taking control. On this side every agent
was being summoned to a massive assault on my family. It had been discovered
that we were guarding them, and the next logical step was to send their
forces there. Both sides were throwing caution to the wind for this
mission. They were coming at us with everything they had. Armies of
thugs, murderers, assassins, mercenaries, madmen and every manner of
soldier that could be called to arms against us were on their way to
my family. I knew it would be big, but there were only a few of us against
The city was going to become a war zone. The place I grew up would become
a desolate battlefield; soaked in blood and soiled forever. Intolerable.
I had to get back. I wrapped up the remains of my prisoner in a web
of energy after removing the gun and destroying it. Then I carried him
over my shoulder as I started to move over the landscape. I contacted
Urimaru and Jerry while I was nearing top speed. "Bad news."
"Is there any other kind?" Urimaru returned.
"What did you find?" Jerry asked.
"Ill be there before dawn. We have to get everyone together
and move somewhere else; preferably someplace deserted and defensible.
Armies are coming after us. Theres going to be a war."
This was met with silence for a moment. I was flying low and watching
for power lines.
"How are we supposed to convince May and your girl? Do we tell
them everything? Can we avoid telling them everything?" Urimaru
was thinking ahead of himself.
"Well deal with it when the time comes. Sloan is right. We
cant fight a war here. Too many people could be killed. Well
gather everyone together after he gets back and meet at Mays house.
Well decide where to go from there."
Jerry was being rational. I was thankful that he didnt bring up
the glaring issue of our gross outnumbering. We all had enough to think
about as it was.
Marco was going
to be big time from now on. His uncle Sal arranged the whole thing.
He was the favorite nephew. He had always known this, and now he had
proof. Uncle Sal took him aside one evening and explained how he was
getting older and he needed someone around to look after things when
he was gone. Someone capable. Someone who had been everywhere and knew
everyone. Marco. He was relishing the reality of it. It was happening.
After years of running errands for minor bosses and thugs he was getting
a well deserved promotion. No more small time gigs. No more dimebags
or cons. No more deliveries or tips. He was going to be big time. People
would have to call him boss. He decided that he liked that.
Uncle Sal was very specific about this job. He had hand picked Marco
for this task to prove that he was ready to move up. This job was extremely
urgent. Some new people had been around asking about a cleaning crew.
Thats what he had been doing of late. Go in, kill everything that
moves, make the remains disappear. He had a knack for it. His crew was
in high demand. That made him proud. It made him feel respected. He
liked that too. This job only called for the killing. That rubbed him
the wrong way. He didnt like to leave the bodies; it left him
with a feeling of incompleteness. He offered to burn the place afterward
but Sal wasnt having it. They wanted a quick clean kill and the
bodies left where they fell. Marco felt that the status of his crew
gave him the option of refusing the job, but this particular job meant
promotion. There were four targets, all male in their late twenties.
They lived together at the edge of town in a brick building. Thats
where they were waiting; across the street in a big black car. They
arrived shortly after nightfall and watched. The minutes passed as he
sat nervously thinking about his new authority and how he could use
it to get more, and anticipating the rush of ending another human life
with impunity. He gets such a kick out of it. The lights inside went
out two minutes after midnight. They waited another ten then went to
the front door.
The lock was so simple he didnt even think as he opened it. He
just let reflex take over and they were inside without a sound. The
streetlights shone in through the window and lit up square sections
of the floor. There was plastic everywhere, wall to wall completely
covering the floor. He didnt smell fresh paint, and couldnt
think of many other reasons to cover the floor with plastic. He put
it out of his mind and decided to move in quickly. There were four doors
along a small hallway with another door at the end. He took the first
and waited for the others to position themselves. On his signal they
silently opened the doors and, .45s in hand, entered a room each. Marco
saw a room with mirrors on the walls and swords and other weapons leaning
or hanging in various places. The plastic covered the floor in this
room as well. He moved in to search for a target and suddenly felt steel
sting the skin under his chin. Someone had come from behind him. Several
things passed through his mind in that instant. Failure and the disastrous
loss of his promotion, the possibility that he could fight his way out
of it, calling for help and even the urgent debilitating fear of his
own death. This instant was all he had time to think in. The blade pierced
though his throat. A gloved hand covered his mouth and a rush of air
escaped from his opened windpipe. Some blood obstructed the passage
and a sputtering sound came out as his body was lowered to the floor.
Marco died within seconds. His crew had found the rooms empty and finding
him on the floor were taken from behind as well. Their guns were removed
and stored separately from the bodies. Thomas collected the blades and
cleaned and stored them. Bob and Roach disposed of the corpses and Anthony
replaced the soiled plastic. If any of the four of them had doubted
before that Sloan had come back and was telling the truth, all that
was gone now. They were coming after them as well. They returned to
their hiding places. Soon the room was still again, but no one slept
that night. The streetlights lit up window shaped sections of plastic
on the floor.
© Brodie Parker - Begun
May 10th 2004 - this Chapter July 2005
Chapters One & Two of our serialised novel - it begins here
Chapter Three here
Chapter Four here
Chapter five here
Chapter Fifteen here
Chapter Seventeen here
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Fiction in Dreamscapes
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