Episode 2 - Escloeopia - The Taken City

Episode 2 - Escloeopia - The Taken City

A Chapter by Luke Steed
"

Told from the perspective of a resident of Escloeopia

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Told from the perspective of an amnesiac resident of Escloeopia.

~////////////~

A muffled BOOM!! resounded in and through the apartment buildings on the Eastern 74th street of Escloeopia- an alarm clock so disturbing, even the dead could've woken up for their early morning breakfast. The alarm clock sitting on my nightstand shuddered, and the clutter lying around the room rattled and shuffled around under the boom’s shock.

I can’t say that my alarm clock wasn’t very disturbing, but I have to admit, this explosion was only a little worse. Wait. Alarm clock? What alarm clock?! My eyes jolted open violently and my body sprang up from my bed. I bolted for the window.

Before my eyes, I only saw carnage. Fire flooded the shops on the street level and bloody bodies lay strewn about on the sidewalks.

Then came the parabeasts. Those cursed, awful parabeasts. The beasts were like a cross between a crab, a spider and a turtle. The crab part, as bizarre as it may sound, consisted of fastening massive claws to its mouth and feet, capable of smashing a car into a pancake. For its feet, they looked like a half of a crab claw had been stuck in replacement so that they could stick into the ground- or even on buildings. Its legs took the role of replicating a spider’s. The bonelike legs arched up and down in the form of an upside-down V shape. The legs lurched forward sluggishly, yet powerfully, crushing the pavement beneath its weight. Over the poor creature’s eyes, a super-sized bandana was placed. They probably blocked off its sight so that it wouldn’t get spooked by all the treachery its masters made it inflict. They sulked around aimlessly. That is, unless they had a driver. Upon its back, a caravan was held in place over it’s impenetrable, turtle-like shell, which held and protected about five or six riders and made way for a driver to steer the beast. Some of the beasts that contained the riders were armed with gatling guns, but some roamed free without any drivers, free to take out their anger on innocent people. Why were they angry? Probably because the beasts were being used as big, stupid, poorly fed, poorly treated tanks. They weren’t animals- they were weapons.

What followed suit was an army of Copperoton’s violent natives- the snatchers. It was just about everyday that I might’ve seen a snatcher acting like a normal person on the train or walking around on the streets. Now, they marched around in shady groups and threw molotov cocktails into whatever store they hadn’t already ransacked. They clothed themselves with a leathery material that derived from the awful creatures of their homeland: the Danger Isles. They, like their parabeasts, wore bandanas over their mouths and sported a bulletproof vest over their leather coats.

I managed a closer look and caught a glimpse of their weapons. On some of their backs, generator rifles hung, most likely unneeded until a longer range target crossed their paths. They didn’t use those. The real weapons they were holding were their ginormous knives and machetes. Every one of them was skilled with their melee weapons of choice. The terrorists tackled their targets and brought them down stabbing and ripping, splattering blood all over the pavement.

I pulled away from the window and looked around my apartment. What is this place? Then a spark flickered in my brain. My gun. My gun? I don’t remember owning a gun!

I hurdled over the bed to the closet. Panicking, I ripped open the closet door, grabbed my gun, and frantically bursted through the door of the apartment. I had to get to higher ground- quick.

To the right of the hallway was the stairwell. I couldn’t take the stairs because the top floor would be a dead end, and I couldn’t hide on a balcony because I would be spotted without a second glance, but when I heard a sudden TMP TMP TMP-ing of the terrorists running up the stairs, my panic turned to adrenaline. There was one more option- the fire escape. I raced furiously for the window at the end of the hall, out of pure fear for my own life. As soon as I began turning the latch of the window that opened to the fire escape, I heard a war cry.

“OVER THERE! SHOOT HIS HEAD OFF!” There could be no delay. I had to smash through the window instead.

Diving out, I took cover under the window. Bullets phased through the wall, barely grazing my arm and shoulder. This couldn't shock me. Without stopping, I scrambled for the ladder and bounded up the steps.

Upon reaching the roof, I jerked my head left and right looking for a route of escape. All that surrounded me was disappointment. All of the buildings around my apartment complex were a few stories higher and none of their windows overlooked my building. Any and all escape routes had been blocked off. I broke down. There was absolutely nothing I could do.

I had to find something I could do. A thousand thoughts seemed to race around my brain all at once. In the midst of my panicking, I glanced down at my shorts. There I saw my gun stuffed into the waist. It was a revolver- a six bullet cylinder, probably a .44 magnum based on the size.

I pulled it out. I popped the cylinder of the gun out and checked the ammo.

Only one bullet left.

There was no way I’d survive with the only bullet I had. There could’ve been at least twenty of them running after me from what I heard.

I stumbled to the fire escape, bracing myself for a fight. Any fight. I’d do anything to defend myself. In this moment, I thought I had everything to lose, but I didn’t know what ‘everything’ was. I couldn’t remember anything, which was the weird part. What was I trying to defend? I had no idea. It was only a premonition of myself- a self that I didn’t even know.

I peered over the side of the building and down the fire escape, ever so slowly and carefully.

Nothing.

Nobody climbed up after me, which meant that I was probably safe for now. But knowing the things they were doing on the street, there was no telling what they would do next. They could’ve been plotting another way to corner me- a way to corner me without losing any of their men. Somehow, I knew they were up to something else.

There was a silence. A distant cacophony of screams and fire echoed from the streets… Then, dread broke the night once again.

BOOM. Windows shattered. The building shuddered.

Another BOOM. The tremors kept on, like steps.

BOOM.

BOOM.

BOOM.

And there it was- the parabeast. Its huge pincers peeked over the horizon of the building, opening for an ear-tearing screech. The beast lurched upward with another BOOM, and let out it’s mighty roar, a shrill one, but definitely a roar. I faltered backward toward the edge of the building, now standing face to face with the creature in all its awful glory.

I raised my gun and cocked it, ready to fire once its mouth reopened, but as it boomed closer, its mouth wouldn’t budge. I inched backward as the parabeast inched forward, my heel bumping the back ledge of the building, and finally, I was cornered. Checkmate. I glanced down to the alley below and looked back into the face of the parabeast, now within range of smashing me within its pincers. It opened its mouth, and I had no choice but to shoot.

I pulled the trigger the only way I knew how- progressively and carefully. My last pitch effort had to work. I had to take this thing down. And, in the blink of an eye, and before my finger fully released the bullet, a screaming howl seared through the air from my right.

The missile slammed into the parabeast’s left side brain, sending it flying into the next apartment building and tumbling into the alley below. The blast blew me back too, and too far. I, like the parabeast, tumbled down into the cracks of the city.

Now, falling isn’t like some may think. It’s quick, scary, and you can see everything happening before your eyes. Death. That’s what it feels like before your body slams into the pavement. But I was lucky.

My body cracked into the wooden scaffolds sitting in the back alley, breaking the plywood boards in half with every impact, and breaking my fall.

One. I fell to the next level.

Two. My head spun.

Three. The last board broke my fall, splintering under my weight. The impact crushed me, knocking me out.

And there I laid on the pavement, half dead.

~////////////~

Black. I gaze at it for a few minutes, and all of a sudden I’m somewhere else. As my eyes creaked open, they passed under a series of lights. The lights seared themselves into my eyes and made my head throb. But that was not the only part of my body throbbing, it was also in my shoulder and all throughout my back as well. Not to mention that my ears still rang from that terrible roar. I also couldn’t move my head around to see what was going on. It hurt too much. No, everything hurt too much.

My first attempt to lift my head was met with one of the sharpest pains I had ever experienced. My head plopped right back down on the soft pillow, letting out a violent yelp, and almost triggering the rumbling. The whole bunker rumbled, which probably meant I was underground. Small pebbles fell from the ceiling and onto the floor, and some fell on my face.

“Sir, don’t move! Your shoulder’s in pieces!” A voice said from above. A nurse, perhaps.

My head would remain on the pillow. I glared at the ceiling, and my eyes showed little emotion. As more of the lights passed before my eyes, I pondered the situation I went through before I blacked out. I mean, it had to have been real. My body was hopelessly broken, and, not to mention, I had been taken to this mysterious hospital by someone who cared enough to pick up some random, half-dead nobody out of a dark alley. My main question was why?

Why was this happening so suddenly? I remembered my walk to work being just fine the day before, so where did everything go wrong? If there was an attack on the city this big, there would’ve been a warning… right? … Right?!

I was pushed into another hallway guarded by two doors. The end of my bed barged through them. My bed rolled past rows of groaning soldiers who, also in their beds, were against the wall of the corridor. Suddenly, the nurse sped up, and behind me I heard several men trying to barricade those doors. A lot of yelling and frantic shuffling went on, but these noises began to echo softer as we traversed further down the tunnel. But through the muffled chaos, something began banging on the doors. Something wanted in.

Something about that banging felt methodical, almost familiar. It was only as startling and violent as before, but something was different. It wasn’t feet this time…

Eventually, even the banging grew dimmer as we delved deeper. At the finale of the journey, the bed stopped. The head of it was twirled around and positioned against the wall. I was only limited to my peripheral vision, so my surroundings weren’t clear. Out of my pathetic line of sight, I saw two doctors running toward my bed. Neither of these guys looked qualified for their job. One had on a pair of broken glasses and donned a bloodstained coat, as if he performed experiments on people instead of treating them. The other was abnormally tall and muscular and barely fit into his coat- the stereotype of a muscle-brain. They began investigating me like another of their incapacitated soldiers, too quick and not thorough enough.

The first doctor beckoned for the nurse to leave, “I can take it from here.” The doctor turned to me, avoided eye contact, and leaned over the bed to take a closer look, “where does it hurt?”

I noticed that his eyes were very glassy, and he had a nasty bruise surrounding the eye with the broken lens. My attempts to speak came out only as moans and grunts, reacting to the painful pressure he applied to the different parts of my body.

“Hmm, I see.” He shifted his focus to my shoulder, as if he understood my grunts.

He tapped his finger on my shoulder, lightly. The pain of a thousand suns shot up my neck and my upper arm. I screamed and almost passed out.

The doctor clicked his tongue. “Not good. He’ll need surgery within the next 24 hours before his whole left shoulder gets paralyzed.” His brutish assistant scrawled something on his clipboard.

“The left clavicle and the upper spine are his weak areas,” said the larger doctor, sighing. “This one’s a goner unless we can get him better treatment at an actual hospital.” The buff doctor was blunt, yet sounded surprisingly smart.

The next BANG set the bloodied doctor off. “We’ve gotta move,” he said. “If we don’t get to other soldiers, we’ll be risking more lives.”

I could sense the bigger doctor hesitating, then following his comrade down the hall. Not being able to save everyone was a tough thing to wrap his mind around, but that was the harsh reality.

The banging was monotonous, but each pound was more terrifying than the last- until I heard another roar. The doors slammed open, flying and tumbling down the hall. The metal doors skidded across the concrete and stopped in front of my bed.

Screams were heard.

The snatchers were ready for blood.



© 2018 Luke Steed


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Luke Steed
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Added on January 30, 2017
Last Updated on April 23, 2018
Tags: sci-fi, fantasy, explosions, epic, strange creatures, city, terrorist attack, terrorist


Author

Luke Steed
Luke Steed

Fort Worth, TX



About
My main project right now is Copperoton: the Snatcher Saga, a long sci-fi adventure book. The first couple of chapters are still being worked on, with the first being the most heavily focused on. My o.. more..

Writing
Copperoton Copperoton

A Story by Luke Steed