Chapter 3 (or so)

Posted: May 1, 2013 in Cthulhu, Inc.

July 5th, 1908

Nearby the Northern Karelinski Village

Arkady’s eyes opened slowly. A gray sky hung over his head and he lay there, staring at it, marveling at its normalcy, trying to forget what had been burned into his memory. It was no use of course. No man could erase the horror of what he had witnessed from their mind and memory so easily.

With a start and a groan, Arkady rolled onto his side and looked for his stone. It had never left his side – would never leave his side. He wondered how long he had been unconscious, and decided that such wonderings were a waste of time with only the sun to mark the passing of the day. Besides, the aches in his body told him everything that he needed to know – he had been out for far too long and his family would certainly be worried by now.

Nothing surrounded him except the quiet desolation of the recent destruction. He rolled the rest of the way up to sitting, took his handkerchief, picked up the stone with it, and placed the fist-sized pockmarked rubble into his pack. Shakily bringing himself to one knee, he braced himself on it, waited a breath, and then lifted himself slowly to his feet and stood there, swaying with weakness. It must have been longer then he had thought. He searched his bag for hardtack and found nothing. Whatever animals had survived the blast, must have managed to eat what had been left of his food. He grew angry at himself for being so careless. With such a long trek ahead of him, and nothing to forage in the adjacent blight, he would not make it home. He grew angrier.

A blackness crept into his vision, trickled – small and snakelike – whisps inching into his sight. He didn’t notice. The weakness that he had felt was gone. In its place was a hole – a dark red hole not unlike the gaping cosmic maw that he had recently been baptized in. Anger filled every inch of his being until he felt like he would explode. Why had he blacked out? How had he been so stupid as to let animals…Animals!…take the last of his provisions?! Did these animals not know who he was!?! The stars shuddered when he passed, and these creatures…Vermin!…had the craven tenacity to steal from him?!! No being will defy me so…!!!

Arkady looked round for something to hit, and finding nothing, slammed his fist into the ground.

THOOM!

The shockwave from his fist blew a circle 10 meters in diameter entirely clear of debris. Bits and pieces of the shattered forest ran down on Arkady’s head and shoulders. Once the dust had settled, Arkady looked over his shoulder – towards home. Rage at his sloppy, foolishness propelled him – sending him in great arcing strides – bounding, until he reached the edge of a game trail near his village, where he promptly passed out.

Prologue

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Cthulhu, Inc.

June 30th, 1908

Northern Karelinski Village

The man was out gathering mushrooms when the sky was split open by a burning, blue column of fire. It blinded him at first, bright as it was. He turned away, blue specks floating behind his eyelids as he regained his vision.

When the man was able to see again, he evaluated this unnatural sky-body, as he would any other new item or occurrence that he came across. It looked for all the world like a flaming blue cylinder, stretching vertically up, across the horizon, and as bright as the sun. He wondered what it was, and where it had come from. He looked as much as he could, his eyes drinking in the details of the phenomenon like a thirsty horse at a river – but he couldn’t look at it for too long before his eyes began to water and burn. It was too bright.

The man figured that the village would be worked up, the women screaming and pointing to the sky – yelling that the end of the world had come – and the children bawling their eyes out in that confused but sympathetic way that young children have. He decided to head home. The mushrooms could wait for another day less interesting than this one.

The man made it back to the trail that would lead him to his village when the artillery began. At least that it was he thought it was. Booms as loud as the long guns that he had seen in Moscow as a boy rang out over the trees, sending birds in crazy circles – much as he imagined the people in his village must be moving right now. He quickened his pace.

The blue cylinder was gone now, replaced by a column of smoke, rising up from the trees over the horizon behind him. The artillery continued. Presently, the ground began to shake. He could feel the path beneath him quiver and shudder, as if the earth itself trembled at the epic display that it had just been witness to. The man began to run as the booming and trembling continued. And just like that, it was over.

When the man reached home, his wife was finally calming down. Tracks, tracing the memories of her tears down the dusty creases of her face, apparent before him. He held her close.

The village had survived with little damage. A few windows had been blown out by the vibrations, and Ivanetch – in his usual drunken stupor – had knocked himself part-ways sober trying to get out of bed too fast when the booming started. Other than that, all was well, and they would have stories to tell for the next few days. The man knew that this was all for the good – tragedy, no matter how trivially it impacted, always worked to draw the village together.

“The Missing…”

Posted: April 8, 2013 in Fantasy

Do you remember the guy who saved that one kingdom? You know, High-rule, or something along those lines? A little dude who ran around yelling at pots like they had just flirted with his girlfriend or something? Yeah, that guy.

How about that plumber? Now, I know you know that guy. That guy was always gettin’ into some kind of trouble: monkeys, lizards, mushrooms, carnivorous plants, the works. If it crawls or spits, this guy – I think he has a brother too – has probably tangled with it at one point or another.

Why do I ask? Well, turns out, that little guy – the one who yells at pots – turned up missing. What a turn of phrase that is. How do you turn up missing exactly? If you’re missing, you’re…well, you get the point.

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At the Wanky Unicorn

Posted: April 4, 2013 in Fantasy

Farfnir slowly drew his elven steel. It scraped along the leather scabbard, ringing in the air once it was free. Positioning the curved blade in front of him, he prepared to face the goblins blocking his path. “By the Gods of the Wyrde Wood, you will hinder me no further. You have defiled this land for long enough, foul creatures. No more will you stand in my way!” With a leap, Farfnir was upon them, dodging lithely to the right, and then, with a j-like motion, bringing his blade from the ground and up into the crotch of one of his adversaries. He pulled the sword through what was left of his opponent’s goblin-hood and resumed a guard stance — his blade in front of him — as green testicular ichor dripped onto the ground. The other goblins looked at each other and cringed; this was not going to go well for them.

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The State – 4

Posted: April 1, 2013 in The State

12.

Eedee managed to blink away enough tears to see clearly again, catching a hurried glimpse of Edward’s shirt as he moved into the crowd, a block ahead of where she stood. Cradling her hand to her chest and trying to ignore the pulsating flashes of pain she was feeling, Eedee lunged after him.

She darted carefully through the thronging masses; the ones collected here to witness the spectacles of the night. Edward jogged left. Eedee followed. Rows upon rows of vendor’s booths greeted her as she turned into the street, flanking her on either side. The street was jammed. People lined up three blocks deep to spin the wheel and win a prize from their local insurance company. Edward made a break for the sidewalk with Eedee in pursuit. The sounds of old women, singing karaoke in green and blue visors, escorted her off the thoroughfare and onto the less crowded white, concrete pathway.

Sir, you are going to have to stop running in this crowd.”

Edward looked up at the man standing before him. The one who was now blocking his path. He noted the black pants and black jacket, along with the walkie talkie on his belt before the man reached out and put his hand on Edward’s shoulder. “Do we understand each other?” The security guard tightened his grip on Edward and tried to turn him forcefully towards the other man’s face. “Look at me, boy. I said do we understand each other?”

Edward stared hard at the man’s boots. He felt tears well up in his eyes and saw them splash down next to the stale and discarded gum at his feet. When he felt the guard try to force him to turn once again, he said, “No sir, I don’t think that we do understand each other,” and looked, dead on, deep into the other man’s eyes.

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The State – 3

Posted: April 1, 2013 in The State

10.

Edward met the EMT at the curb as red and blue lights strafed palely across the afternoon. “Please, hurry,” he said. “I don’t think she’s breathing.”

As Edward ran up the stairs, following the medic, he struggled to keep from breaking down into tears. Sam had died over two years ago. That was a fluke, the doctors had said, somehow they had missed the epilepsy and it wasn’t Edward’s fault. No, he hadn’t caused it, it really had nothing at all to do with him. At least, that was what they had told him.

The EMT bent over the woman’s squat bulk and paused, listening closely with his stethoscope for any signs of life. He turned to Edward with a grim look on his face that Edward could only take one way.

What happened!!??” Edward shrieked at the man now standing before him.

Woh buddy, I’m gonna need you to calm down there.”

What happened!?” Edward yelled again, less hysterically.

Son, I’m going to need you to take a step back and stop yelling at me. I’ve got to radio this in, okay? She was old. These things happen. It’s a fact of life, kid. Please.”

The EMT turned to face the window, pulling his radio from where it was attached at his shoulder to call in the tragedy at his feet.

Edward stepped forward, his hands balled into fists and hanging by his side.

WHAT.”

HAPPENED.”

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The State – 2

Posted: April 1, 2013 in The State

7.

Pay attention, class. A covalent bond is different from an ionic bond. You need to know this for the test. It is fundamental to your understanding of Chemistry and passing this class.” Edward jotted down a note as the bell ending class began to ring. “Make sure to study this weekend!” The teacher’s advice followed Edward out into the hall of Mission High School as he made his way to his locker to collect his things.

The throng of peers flowing around Edward carried him slowly along, ushering him forward on the current of their weekend fantasies; people jostling him aside to escape their educational confines for a sweet two-day respite from their teachers and from learning.

Edward debarked from the throng at his locker and began to load books into his bag. He remembered to pack chemistry along in next to his notes for trig. Shutting the door to his locker, Edward turned and began to make his way down the hallway of the school and out into the glorious freedoms of the weekend.

His hand was placed firmly against the steel door leading outside, when a glimpse of bright red caught his attention and turned his head.

Wow. Gorgeous.”

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