set in a post apocayptic world of airships and greenery. first part
|It was a quiet, empty street in a deserted city. Buildings all around were crumbled, decaying carcasses of their former selves. It had been so long since humans had inhabited them that vines and other plants and flowers were intertwining through windows and creeping up walls. Huge concrete skyscrapers were fallen over each other like trees in a forest. Broken tarmac and various unrecognizable vehicles dotted the streets, homes to animal and plant life alike, they seemed almost natural the area was bursting with bright greens in the sunlight.
The world as we know it is at an end. All the great cities have fallen and people - those still alive - have deserted them in search of safety. None remained in the great city of Fafnir that didn’t have four legs or more, other than ghosts of the way things used to be.
A small girl was making her way up the street, passing the unrecognizable remains of cars and trucks. She took a keen interest in one building, the remains of which had branches bursting through windows and cracks in the exterior. A tree was growing inside ripping its way through the building, wearing it like a coat.
She stopped for a moment, taking a small digital camera from her back pocket and took a picture of the marvel, mesmerized by its beauty. She was a small girl, no older than sixteen. She brushed her pure red hair to one side revealing her glowing green eyes. Her skin was pale white and she wore a red shirt with a white vest and blue jeans. She walked in bare feet, as she stepped the plant life around her soles would dissipate, hauling aside anything that she could step on. She continued to walk up the street.
THUMP! THUMP! She spun around pulling a pistol from inside her trousers. THUMP! THUMP! The sun was blinding and obscured her view of the street behind her, but the sound wasn’t coming from there. She had a feeling she was being watched. THUMP! THUMP! Backing behind a car she looked around nervously. Next to her was an embankment from which the noise was coming from. She peered over through the crumbled mass of buildings and spotted a creature she had never seen before. It made a loud wailing noise and seemed to be fighting with another creature of the same kind. The creatures were huge with grey leathery skin and were bashing each other with what looked like massive white spikes that jutted out just above their mouths.
“They’re called ‘elephants’ my dear” came a croaky voice from behind her, she spun around with her pistol ready. Standing behind her was a small, old lady with a pump action shotgun pointed right in her face “now, now if you wanna keep that pretty little head on those pretty little shoulders, drop the gun… Now!”
She complied, like she had a choice.
“I had thought this place deserted, ‘til I saw you tottering around snapping pictures” the old lady grabbed her by the back of her shirt and held her up in the blistering sun. Her eyes weren’t eyes at all, just two deep holes, empty. The girl knew what she was so shut her eyes tight. The old lady shook her violently “OPEN THOSE EYES!” she yelled.
The little girl as in compliance opened her eyes wide to the old hags wicked grin.
“That’s a good little girl” she said “what’s this?” the girls eyes were glowing brighter and brighter. A vine slithered across the ground and shot up to grab the old ladies arm. Dropping the girl she went to raise her shotgun when another vine shot up and held her arm down. Countless plants converged on the old hag and held her in place on her knees. The vines began stretching and crunching under the strain of the hag as the girl snatched the shotgun from the woman’s, now feeble, grip.
“LET ME GO!” she yelled in desperation.
“Daddy says not to talk to strangers” said the little girl, indifference in her voice. The old hag was helpless as the girl cocked the shotgun, took aim and blasted her head clean off.
The vines released their grip - no point holding her now - and the girl threw the shotgun over the embankment before picking up her pistol and tucking it into her jeans. She took a glance at the elephants just through the buildings while pulling out her camera.
“El-ee-Fant” she tried the word out for the first time, rolling it around in her mouth like a sweet before snapping a picture of the fleeing beasts. She then turned her attention to the body laying on the ground, decapitated and lifted a hand. Her eyes glowed brighter and in response the greenery erupted pulling and tearing at the body. Slowly it was broken down, piece by piece, until nothing remained. She lowered her hand and made her way up the street towards a bus.
It was old, dusty windows hid what lay inside. She made her way around to an opening which revealed its dank interior. Nothing, the bus seemed empty. Unlike other vehicles which had become part of the natural look of the fallen city, no animals made their homes here. She peered inside, at the back of the bus, in the darkness, she could just make out a faint glow flickering from a hole. There were no seats inside, it seemed like a small metallic corridor as her feet scraped uncomfortably along the corrugated metal floor until she reached the hole.
Within, she could make out the faint flicker of a fire. Dead or dying plants laced the slope on the way down, crunching under her weight as the dead plants refused to dissipate like their living relatives in the warm sunlight. There was a small room that had been carved out of the road, bits of tarmac littered the ground. She could see the fire now and make out the shadowy figure of a man sitting on a stool in front whistling an odd tune. A strange scraping sound like metal on metal echoed around with the crackle of the fire. A make-shift door stood idly by, made from stop signs and scrap metal. She edged forward, over the tarmac, pistol in hand. The man was stirring a pot with a metal spoon.
“I’m makin’ soup” he called over his shoulder. He knew she was there and it made her uneasy “I won’t hurt you” she edged closer as the man went back to whistling his strange tune and stirring his pot. His clothes were old and torn, caked in dust, as though he had sat in the same spot for years stirring his pot. His hair was white and patchy. She raised her gun and aimed at the back of his head.
“Now, now where have good manners gone these days” she was thrown back by some unseen force and pinned to the wall of the cave. A vine broke free from the ceiling and hung precariously in the centre of the room.
“I heard that… that ruckus outside” he explained “I do hope you realise that lovely lady was my darling wife” he began scraping harder against the pot and gripping the spoon dangerously tight. She lost grip of her pistol and it dropped to the floor below her. She was pinned and was starting to panic.
“Now” said the man getting up out of his seat, an odd sense of calm about him. As he turned around the girl saw his eyes, or lack of. Just like the lady outside he had none, just two deep holes which every so often, bugs or spiders would skitter out of, across his face and into the opposite socket. The fire was burning brightly as he lifted the pot.
“Would you like some soup?” he said lifting a spoon of some black substance to her face. The girl reached out an arm and in response the vine stretched across to her hand, her eyes began to glow bright green. She fell from the wall and landed on her feet, the vine in her hand slowly snaking up her arm. She picked up her pistol and looked up. The man had dropped the pot and spoon and was stumbling backwards panicking.
“Daddy says not to talk to strangers” she said staring him in the face. The whole room erupted in a WHOOSH! And nothing but green caked the walls, ceiling and floor. The man fell to the floor shaking.
“How did you…?” he said shakily. The girl stretched out her arm and with a flick of her wrist, vines erupted from the walls to wrap themselves around the man’s arms and legs, lifting him into the air.
“I know you” he said helplessly “you will never win. They will find you and end you” she tilted her head from side to side slowly and a small patch of flowers gradually formed under the man.
“What are you going to do?” he screamed. She flicked her wrist upwards and the plants under the man combined to form a small tree. She held her arm close to her chest before thrusting it up into the air. The man let out a pitiful yelp as the tree suddenly grew straight up, through him. A sickening crunch echoed around the room and the girl looked away. When she gazed back she saw the man was ripped clean in two. No blood. No guts.
The pot lay overturned on the ground, sickening black ooze seeping across the floor. She tucked her pistol into her jeans and pulled out her camera. After snapping a picture of the ooze she proceeded to climb out of the hole in the ground. She had found what she was looking for and could hear the engines of a small airship waiting for her outside.
“EMILY! Oh my god I’m glad you’re ok” said a man jumping down from a small craft hovering above as she exited the old bus.
“We picked up some strange readings around here and came as fast as I could”
“I’m alright uncle Barley, I couldn’t find her anywhere” she sulked “but I have something to show you” she pulled out her camera and flicked through countless pictures to her most recent snaps. “This is an ‘Elephant’” she said excitedly.
“That’s wonderful” he said hugging and kissing her. Barley was a big man, strong with a massive belly and no hair, he had an amazing moustache though, which Emily enjoyed playing with and taking pictures of. He wore a white shirt with brown trousers and huge black boots. “Well, c’mon” he called “Let’s get back, the others will be worried about us”
“Ok uncle Barley” she said happily. They both climbed up a rope ladder onto the small airship. It consisted of a small balloon tethered to what looked like a boat. There was a massive jet engine attached to the back, and though small, it had a large cargo bay underneath. It was usually used to carry supplies to needy villages or transport refugees but today Barley had commandeered it to search for Emily. Across the side were the words ‘The Black Wyvern’ which was odd as it was painted in a bright brown.
They took off heading north, the engine geared up with a hi-pitched squeal while Emily and Barley tethered themselves to the deck with the latter taking the helm.
“Hold on tight!” he called over the noise. And with that the engine let all its built up power go all at once and the ship shot through the sky, leaving nothing but a small blue jet stream as it went.
The body back under the bus hung in two, dangling precariously from the ceiling. A shadow skittered across the now plant encrusted room towards the pot that lay on the ground. A large bandaged hand reached down and dipped a finger in the ooze, before lifting it to his bandaged face. The figure sniffed at the substance on his fingers and proceeded to wipe it off on the clothes of the corpse hanging in the centre of the room.
“Emily” muffled the figure in a deep croaky voice. He took a black magnum from his waist and held it up in the air. He fired two shots and put the gun back in its holster on his waist. A few seconds passed and BOOM! A massive explosion erupted blasting the bus above him thirty feet or so into the air. The bandaged man jumped up onto the city street as the bus landed just over the embankment behind him. He sniffed the air before looking north and slowly started walking along the streets in the direction the airship had gone. The bandages covering his body flapped around in the wind.