The International Writers Magazine
:A Serialised Novel in progress
If you missed the first seventeen chapters go here to start

The Great Beyond Chapter 18
Brodie Parker

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. Dio’s 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 I’ll 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 wasn’t having them harmed; end of discussion.

Our sources told us that the council’s army numbered around sixty thousand. They were divided evenly along the western and northwestern fronts. The eastern front was faced with fifty thousand from Shugg’s 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 Dio’s 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. You’ll 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 won’t take up too much of your time," I began "I know you’re 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 we’re here. You know that you don’t 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 Jerry’s 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 infantry’s 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 wouldn’t be entirely defenseless. A rifle can be used to crack open a skull, bullets or no. While planning this move one of Dio’s men asked why we didn’t just kill them all like this and be finished with it. Jerry answered him, "Because we are not murderers, we’re 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 didn’t move at first. They took positions and started taking aim. Moments later confusion and chaos erupted along their lines. Realizing that they couldn’t 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 wouldn’t look me in the eye.
"It’s ok." I told him. "I know you’ve been seeing Gloria."
He looked surprised. "I’m sorry…" he started.
"Don’t be. Just make her happy." I gave him a hug and that was that.
He looked relieved beyond words, though I couldn’t understand why. Jealousy is a neurosis of insecurity and self doubt. He should have known better.
"What’s next for you?" Thomas asked me while we were celebrating.
"We have to go back." Urimaru broke in. "We can’t hide here anymore, and we no longer need to. Dio and his men are going to watch things on this side for a while."
"I’m not, but my successor will." Dio joined our conversation with a satisfied look on his face. "I’ve lived here long enough, and I’ve done everything I needed to do on this side. I’m going with you, just by a different path."
"We’ll be happy to have you." Jerry slapped him on the back. "The more the merrier."
"Where do we enter? They’ll be watching for us, and we need some time to regroup before a confrontation." Urimaru was always thinking ahead.
"In the Gray Area. They won’t 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.
"We’ll have to risk it. Besides, sticking by Sloan has paid off so far. I see no reason why it would stop now." Jerry’s 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.
"We’ll 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

Missed Chapters One & Two of our serialised novel - it begins here
Chapter Three here

Chapter Four here
Chapter five here

Chapter Six here
Chapter Seven here
Chapter Eight here
Chapter Nine here
Chapter Ten here
Chapter Eleven here
Chapter Twelve here
Chapter Thirteen here
Chapter Fourteen here
Chapter Fifteen here
Chapter Sixteen here
Chapter Seventeen here
Chapter Eighteen here
Chapter Nineteen here 12.01.05

I sold my soul to rock and roll right here at Hackwriters…
If you like Brodie's writing, tell him so, every writer needs feedback Ed

More Fiction in Dreamscapes

More First Chapters


© Hackwriters 1999-2005 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy - no liability accepted by or affiliates.