Shadowblade
02-15-2007, 10:27 PM
New thing I'm working on. Critiques will be very appreciated.

Chapter One

The dead city was a silenced king, devoid of a people, magnificent and wretched. Graves knelt quietly down onto the broken concrete, simultaneously motioning for his two men to do the same. While he took a few ragged breaths, he pressed his shoulder against the hot, rusty skeleton of an ancient car and leaned out, studying the landscape before him. The warm afternoon lull was deceptive. Only the warbling of bluebirds sounded as they flew back and forth above the empty street, oblivious and perhaps even uncaring to the Earth's afflictions.

World just keeps on spinnin', the major shrugged to himself as his dark eyes scanned the street. No use cryin', right?

Right.

Hundreds more of the ruined cars lay dead before them, creating a twisted graveyard of forgotten steel and rust and stone. At the end of the street, a black, crumbling mansion loomed in the distance like some fallen giant. Graves ran a scarred hand through dark, sweaty hair.

Almost looks like some Poe shit, he grimaced before spitting to one side, his saliva warm and gritty. Graves gripped his assault rifle tightly and raised it, wiping sweat from his face with the back of his gloved hand. He didn't let go of the gun. Ever. One mistake was all it took. One slip.

He glared out at the herd of prehistoric vehicles before signaling for his two men to move forward, pointing to their destinations. Each nodded and proceeded, almost like beasts, running as close to the ground as possible. Once both of his men were well behind cover on either side of him, Graves darted forward, hiding behind another vehicle, this one a van. The air smelled sharp, acidic, metallic. Bloody. Graves took a deep breath of it, letting it violate his nostrils. He didn't mind the odor. It meant he was alive. More than he can say for others.

But gotta keep movin'. Can't stop.

He adjusted his vest and started to move, but paused as a flash of sunlight reflected in his eyes from one of the mansion's windows; he automatically crouched and raised his rifle up, peeking around the side of the back. For a moment, nothing. He noticed that the man to the right some meters away, Ed they called him, on account of his horse teeth, stared at him questioningly. Graves nodded up toward the large house, indicating the possibility of a hostile target. Ed raised an eyebrow, unhitched their only pair of binoculars left and raised his head carefully over the rusted hood of an old pick-up truck, to see for himself.

Graves almost flinched as the shot sounded through the lonely street, but immediately raised his rifle instead, to locate the target. It was definitely in the house, he knew that, but he was also much too far to do any effective damage. Not with his current weapon anyway. His breath sounded harsh and foreign, almost impossibly loud in his ears as he scanned the building through the rifle’s crosshairs. The shot's echo was a dying laugh, fading back into the day's nothing.

Come on fucker, he willed quietly as he gripped the rifle tightly. He ground his teeth as he searched. Flash again you son of a bitch.

But no more flashing. Nothing, but warm silence. Summer. The major glanced to Ed's body, slumped unceremoniously against the truck, to find that his head had disappeared. The binoculars lay mangled on the ground beside him. He shook his head, turning toward his other man, Mason, who was now sitting in the front doorway of one of the broken houses lining the street. His legs shook uncontrollbly. Graves tried to motion to him, but the man didn't notice. His eyes scanned the mansion fearfully with an even shakier rifle. Graves spat onto the hot concrete and slid toward the hood of the van, crouching.

Useless. House's not so far though. If I can just get to it, then I can kill the bastard without worryin'. Unless it's a-

The blast of a shotgun suddenly bellowed, echoing throughout the street and startling a flock of ravens from their roost before allowing silence to reign the street once more. For a few moments, the major was made of stone. He then crept quietly toward the back of the van and looked out, to the doorway where Mason once sat. And he felt hot, frantic fear rise from his balls to his throat.

Shit.

Standing in the doorway, over the mangled corpse of a once, very-much alive solider, stood a child clad in a dark, violet bodysuit. Graves almost got up and ran, but then the mental flash of Ed’s headless body convinced him not to, and he pressed his back against the hot metal. He noticed his hands trembling and drew a long, shaky breath.

Calm. Calm. They're not invincible.

He exhaled.

Just damn near impossible.

He turned his attention back toward the doorway. The child was reloading calmly over her kill while her dark, impassive eyes scanned the area. Her hair, equally dark and shoulder-length, swayed continuously in the dusty, warm wind. She looked to be about twelve.

Graves licked his lips, his finger tapping the trigger of the rifle softly and incessantly. He shifted position slightly, his knee digging into the ground.

Engage? While she's distracted...? Or run?

For a few seconds, he sat immobile, unsure of what to do next. The images and memories of the Children flickered through his mind like the quickest movies in a dark theatre.

Do somethin' dammit, he screamed inwardly. Somethin' other than wait for the piece of shit to come and frag you!

He decided to act and tensed, either to run or attack, he actually had no idea which, but hesitated when the child suddenly looked toward the mansion where the sniper waited, her dark eyes focusing. Graves held his breath, crouching as low as he could.

He forgot to exhale as the dark eyes suddenly looked over in his direction. Graves immediately pulled his head back, closing his eyes tightly.

Fuck.

Calm, measured footsteps sounded as the girl began to walk down the stairs, toward him. She cocked the shotgun.

Shit. Act. Now.

He opened his eyes and threw himself forward in an adrenaline and fear inspired sprint, only looking back to shoot at the approaching girl with one hand. Concrete chips flew around her in a flurry as she raised the shotgun up, never flinching even as one of the bullets grazed her cheek. He jumped over the hood of a car just as the slugs riddled the other side. Without looking, he raised his gun over the hood and sprayed bullets blindly, hoping to buy some time. The sniper hadn't shot at him, thank God, but who knew what could happen in a few seconds?

Graves then spotted a dark narrow, little alley, between houses, leading into the backyard and other streets. He rose quickly to his feet and ran without a second thought, spraying the walking girl and diving in between two of the houses. In one motion, he rolled into a crouch staring at the corner, where she would appear. After a few seconds, he got quickly to his feet and ran to the end of the alley, climbing over the broken, wooden fence. He stayed low as he darted through a backyard, occasionally looking back in case the girl was following.

Into the house. Wait.

He ran into the house through the back door and into an abandoned kitchen, closing it behind him. Then, with a crooked smile, he turned and looked out the door's small window, toward the fence, gun ready. His hands no longer shook. He had seen only one of the things destroyed in his life, but one was enough to convince him. As soon as the son of a bitch walked through the door, it'd get what was coming to it.

And then, God or Life or Fate decided to play a small joke.

They began crawling over the gate like ants, every face the picturesque of inhumanity. Each carried an automatic rifle in unfeeling hands, and each marked him with eyes as empty as the abandoned house he hid in. The smile dropped from Graves' face and if his bladder were full, he imagined he'd have wet himself. He stumbled back, mouth suddenly dry as he turned tail and ran through the house toward the front door, not looking back. With a cry, he threw his large frame through the door, splintering it to pieces as he dived and landed heavily onto the hot ground. And that's how he found himself staring at a pair of small, black boots.

He looked up to find an expressionless boy standing over him, wrapped in a tattered, brown sheet. At first, Graves almost attacked, his trigger finger tightening and his arms raising to position. But he didn't. The boy's face was an empty slate, but what made Graves hesitate were the eyes. They were grey, almost silver, and stared at him from behind strands of dark hair. It wasn't the color that detered the major however, but the life they exuded. This wasn't one of the soulless things following him.

But then what is it? Not a kid, that's for damn sure. Not walking around out here like he's at the fucking fair.

A crash sounded from inside the house behind them and both looked back. The marionettes had reached the back door and were most likely sweeping every room, searching.

"You should probably get going," the boy spoke, his voice soft. With that, he began walking toward the house, the brown cloth trailing behind him.

Graves stood to his feet with a grunt. "And you're just gonna fight all them things by yourself? A kid wrapped in a blankie?"

"Something like that," the boy answered without looking back.

For a moment, Graves was in a state of flux, shocked into silence and indecision. Fight? Or flight? Engaging that many of the things was a death sentence, he knew, and running would definitely give him enough time to save his hide while the kid distracted them. But running wasn't a part of his nature, especially when there was a boy who probably didn't even have eight pubic hairs walking into the fight with nothing but a blanket and a prayer.

Hurry up and decide, Graves told himself.

He lingered a few moments longer before shaking his head and jogging toward the house, rifle cocked.

Fuck.

Rizzle85
02-16-2007, 06:10 PM
Wow thats pretty neat.

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