The International Writers Magazine:A Serialised Novel in progress
If you missed the first seventeen chapters go here to start
Great Beyond Chapter 18
We set up a barrier of transparent
force around the ring of hills where we were defending from. Our
troops moved in from the south over temporary bridges that spanned
the deep river cutting off any retreat.
We all knew that
we were in this for the long haul. We had seven thousand men armed eclectically
with everything from manrikigusari to nunchaku, from knives to broadswords
and even bare knuckles. No one carried guns or crossbows, or any other
sort of projectile weapon. Dios men liked their fighting up close
and personal. Near the center of the hills about twenty feet down in
a bunker were my mother and Gloria. They were in a deep dreamless sleep
induced by Jerry and Urimaru. They would wake up after this was all
over without the slightest inkling that anything had happened, which
Ill admit was unfair to them and even a bit dishonest. They had
a right to know what was happening, but let them register a complaint
afterward. I wasnt having them harmed; end of discussion.
Our sources told us that the councils army numbered around sixty
thousand. They were divided evenly along the western and northwestern
fronts. The eastern front was faced with fifty thousand from Shuggs
side of the fence. There was no way these two factions were going to
work together. They were most likely going to try to wipe us out before
they turned on each other. They were armed mostly with pistols, assault
rifles and automatic ordinance. Some were armed more simply with hand
to hand weapons, but they were few. We knew for certain that there were
at least a couple of Howitzers, and a M1 Abrams tank could be seen parked
among the throng of warriors on the eastern front. Everything that could
be mustered against us in a few days was now bearing down on us, itching
to be unleashed.
I was assigned to the eastern division with three thousand men and Dio
as my second in command. Jerry and Urimaru both had grievances to air
with the council, so they each took two thousand and a respective front
along the west and northwest. Two of Dios generals were assigned
to act as seconds for them. We had planned carefully and everyone was
in position an hour before dawn on the day of the battle. The enemy
was nearly one hundred meters from the hills, spread out over the flat
expanse. We formed ranks in front of the only natural opening created
by the hills, posturing for a quick retreat into a more defensible position,
making it look as if we were ready to run. Urimaru and Jerry were doing
the same. We kept a mental link to coordinate our attack, and if need
be retreat. Confronted with superior firepower and greater numbers the
men began to look nervous. They never once spoke a word of it aloud,
but it was apparent on each of their faces. The sky was growing lighter
with the false dawn and the smell of sweat and anticipation permeated
the battlefield. Dio told me to address the men.
"What do I tell them?"
"Inspire them. Youll think of something." He spoke a
word to someone near him and an attentive quiet spread out through the
ranks almost instantly. I hovered up over them about fifty feet up where
everyone could see me. Making myself heard was no trouble at all.
"I wont take up too much of your time," I began "I
know youre all aching to do what you do best."
Some laughter and agreeable comments followed, making me feel a little
more confident. "You all know who I am and why were here.
You know that you dont fight for me today; I am already dead.
You fight for yourselves, for the living. You fight here because the
threat I face will effect all of you if we fail. The tyranny, from good
or evil that must surely follow must be stopped, and it must be stopped
here and now by you. This world, your world is yours to defend. Now
you have your chance to stand up to those who would take it from you
and to tell them that while you live, you will live free!" I was
building into a crescendo, and the anxiety plaguing the men began to
erode. They all watched as I moved around in a circle over them, following
me as though hypnotized. Suddenly I heard Jerrys voice in my mind
telling me it was time. The sun was creeping over the eastern horizon
behind the enemy. I drew my sword in a flash, and in one final address
to them and to the enemy who must surely have heard me, I invoked Tennyson.
"Though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth
and heaven, that which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts
made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to
find, and not to yield!"
Then time slowed and stopped. Jerry, Urimaru and myself extended the
seconds into one unending moment in which we moved out over the immobilized
enemy and began crippling their weapons. We had all the time we needed
to move through them and remove triggers or fuse barrels shut. I tied
the barrel of the tank into a knot first, then got to work on their
infantrys ordinance. They all stood frozen in this one moment
that would last for as long as we needed to level the field a bit. We
left them their now impotent weapons so that they wouldnt be entirely
defenseless. A rifle can be used to crack open a skull, bullets or no.
While planning this move one of Dios men asked why we didnt
just kill them all like this and be finished with it. Jerry answered
him, "Because we are not murderers, were warriors. There
is no virtue in killing a defenseless opponent. Those are the tactics
of a villain, and we are better than that. Men, real men fight valiantly
and die gallantly, or they are not men."
When we were finished we returned to out assigned positions at the front.
We removed the barrier and time resumed a normal pace. "Kill them
all! Leave none alive!" I screamed and charged forward followed
half a second later by three thousand men. The enemy didnt move
at first. They took positions and started taking aim. Moments later
confusion and chaos erupted along their lines. Realizing that they couldnt
shoot they gradually began to charge forward, spurred on by their own
commanders. Their attack was clumsy and slow. By our initial posture
they expected us to crawl back into the hills, instead we bore down
on them, meeting them closer to their position than the hills. I drew
first blood, slicing three or four into pieces with the first swing.
Another fifty followed before I looked around to see our men mowing
them down like grass. They were still organizing an attack while we
had breached their lines and were slaughtering their soldiers. They
tried once to form two flanks around us but Dio was prepared for it
and on my signal drew the men back and then forward again in a new formation.
They were so well trained that within twenty minutes of fighting the
enemy was half its original size. Still they came at us with everything
they had. I cut path after path for men to follow into their lines.
Blood and severed limbs and entrails were everywhere. The coppery stench
mixed with sweat was overwhelming. The disorder of the enemy faced directly
with our precision and ferocity increased each time a new line was organized.
I started taking down leaders as they arose to rally their men, making
it more chaotic until their numbers were only about twice as many as
ours. Near the back men began to retreat. As soon as I noticed I gave
a signal to someone back in the hills and a bright blue flare went up.
From behind the enemy three thousand of our men appeared out of a disguising
web we had placed on them. They pressed an attack, catching everyone
trying to retreat and pinching the rest in between either side. Soon
two more flares followed and reserves for Jerry and Urimaru came in
behind their enemies as well. An hour later they were vanquished, none
survived. After a head count we had dozens of wounded, but not one fatality.
Our plan worked perfectly. All that was left was to clean up; changing
blood into harmless rainwater and disposing of bodies.
We met up at the studio where my friends were comparing their first
war stories. Thomas fought with Urimaru to whom he had established an
instant rapport, as I suspected they would. Bob and Roach were getting
gloriously drunk and cleaning and bandaging wounds. Anthony was somewhat
withdrawn and when I spoke to him he wouldnt look me in the eye.
"Its ok." I told him. "I know youve been
He looked surprised. "Im sorry
" he started.
"Dont be. Just make her happy." I gave him a hug and
that was that.
He looked relieved beyond words, though I couldnt understand why.
Jealousy is a neurosis of insecurity and self doubt. He should have
"Whats next for you?" Thomas asked me while we were
"We have to go back." Urimaru broke in. "We cant
hide here anymore, and we no longer need to. Dio and his men are going
to watch things on this side for a while."
"Im not, but my successor will." Dio joined our conversation
with a satisfied look on his face. "Ive lived here long enough,
and Ive done everything I needed to do on this side. Im
going with you, just by a different path."
"Well be happy to have you." Jerry slapped him on the
back. "The more the merrier."
"Where do we enter? Theyll be watching for us, and we need
some time to regroup before a confrontation." Urimaru was always
"In the Gray Area. They wont be able to get to us there."
Jerry always had an answer.
"Can you do that? That place is supposed to be dangerous to tamper
with. What if you cause a permanent tear?" Dio was constantly surprising
me with what he knew.
"Well have to risk it. Besides, sticking by Sloan has paid
off so far. I see no reason why it would stop now." Jerrys
confidence in me was still unsettling. I had assumed that by staying
with him and Urimaru that I was somehow being taken care of. They seemed
to think it was the other way around. They were all looking at me as
if waiting for a decision.
"Well try it tonight." I said. "Until then"
I raised my glass "a toast. To victory."
"To victory." They answered.
© Brodie Parker October 2005
Begun May 10th 2004 - this
Chapter October 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
Chapter Eighteen here
Chapter Nineteen here
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