A Chapter by Idiotekque

It's about time I got some answers around here ...


Chapter Seven


The table was drenched in blood, the floor around it stained and slick. Kerning lay on the floor motionless, his clothes as soiled in red as the ground he rest against. Tavis’ eyes were closed, his hands flush against the side of the table as he watched silently over his friend.


“Tavis… is he?” I had to catch my breath"the whole scene caught me off guard.


“Gonna be nursing a nasty shiner in the morning? Yes.” His reply didn’t seem the answer the question in everyone’s mind. “I punched him. He’s fine"it’s not his blood.”


Kerning moaned incoherently, rolling to his side. He did have it coming.


“How is she?” Alyssa scooted past me, going to Jane’s side.


She didn’t look good. The amount of blood she lost was staggering; her skin now shaded a pallid white. She was still breathing though. I guess Kerning didn’t have any blood to transfuse. Even if he did, I’d hate to guess who it was from. Maybe she was better off with whatever she had left.


“She’s hanging in there…” Tavis crossed his arms, his voice barely above a whisper. “We won’t be able to tell if the venom is still spreading until later tonight.”


The doctor struggled back to his hands and knees, half of his face slick red as he looked around the room. “Nnsffwhaa…”


Kathaerin strolled into the room, stepping on Kerning’s fingers and invoking a pitiful whimper from him before she looked over the woman on the table. Her fingers drifted along the moist surface, trailing up against the heavily wrapped dressings around Jane’s chest. Delicate cherry strokes followed her fingertips, painting the stale white gauze.


It was an odd moment. Tavis merely watched, his eyes following Kathaerin’s movements in a quiet vigil. The girl retracted her touch, wiping her fingers against the edge of her pants as she locked eyes with him. The corner of her mouth creased as she gave him a subtle smile, backing away slowly. As casually and quietly as she had entered the room, she slipped back out, leaving without a word.


“Alyssa"take them.” Tavis interrupted the uneasy silence, sitting down in a chair beside the table.


Alyssa hesitated, nodding in reply after a moment before she brought her hand to Tyr’s shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. The two left the office, but I wasn’t ready to leave just yet.


“Kathaerin,” I spoke quietly, but firmly enough for Tavis to pay attention. “She’s dangerous, Tavis.”


He blinked, raising his gaze to me as my words reached his ears. The look on his face told me that it wasn’t my business"that I had fallen into this far too late for my words to mean anything"but his façade cracked all the same. He didn’t have to like what I had to say; only hear it.


It was time to go. I followed the girls out into the alleyway, leaving Tavis alone with Jane and the doctor. If I were a religious man, I would have said a prayer for the poor woman. Whether I had been one before, it was hard to say I was one now. Only time and a stroke of luck could save her.


Alyssa led us through the winding nooks and crannies of Radi as the day wound into night. It was a slow trip"Alyssa didn’t know the smaller city like Kathaerin did, but she knew her destination well enough. We soon came to dirty warehouse on the edge of town, sandwiched in by two larger brick structures that were thoroughly boarded up. The entrance we came to was locked, but Alyssa had the key. What was this place?


The door was made of thick corrugated steel, and as she pulled it upwards it groaned as if we had disturbed its ancient slumber. I couldn’t help but sneeze as we stepped inside; the dust was so thick you could cut it with a knife. There was no light besides a high vaulted series of vents near the ceiling that allowed a fraction of the paling evening light to trickle inside. Tyr stood beside me, the collar of her tank top pulled up over her mouth as Alyssa stepped forward into the darkness. I couldn’t tell what she was doing"I couldn’t even see her as she left us near the entrance.


What?” I mouthed silently as a faint spark shimmered in the black.


It buzzed and flickered peacefully, the image dancing against my retinas, but the warehouse was still shrouded in darkness. Slowly a soft electric glow radiated from whatever Alyssa was doing. It was still extremely dim, but I could see well enough to not trip over myself. I moved closer to the girl, examining exactly what she was doing. As I grew nearer, I only became more confused.


She had finished; within her palms was a small container. It looked like a simple glass jar, but it glowed calmly, a droning hum emanating off of it. She set it down on the floor, letting it cast its soft electric light vaguely against the walls of the enclosure. It reminded me of a jar of glow flies, but that explanation was fairly unlikely. Alyssa must have picked up on the dumb look on my face, sending me that sort of what the hell are you looking at stare.


“Oh right,” She slung her pack to the floor and sat down. “New guy.”


“Hey, it’s Slate now. Remember?” I did the same, looking back towards Tyr as she came up behind us.


“It’s energy.” Tyr interrupted, reaching down to pick up the jar. “The world works differently now"here.”


She sat down next to me, putting the object in my hands. I could feel the buzz against my fingers as the glass vibrated softly, the hair on my hands and forearms bristling up. It was electricity! But how was that possible?


“I couldn’t explain the science behind even if I wanted to.” Alyssa began"I had a feeling I looked like a little kid who was just enlightened on the details of how babies are made. “The day the world ended, it began anew… just, worse.”


“There’s something I still don’t understand. I can’t remember.” As odd as the jar of electricity in my hands was, something else had been weighing on my mind. “What… happened? What kind of disaster could do all of this?”


Tyr looked at the ground; I couldn’t tell if she was trying to find the right words to answer me, or if the subject made her upset. It didn’t matter much"Alyssa had no problem giving me the hard facts.


“Sol died.” She said, glancing upwards. “Not much warning, just poof.”


Sol? The Sun? How was that even possible? How were we still breathing? How was anyone, anywhere, alive? I didn’t even need to ask the myriad questions; the girls knew exactly what I was thinking. It was rather obvious.


“No one knows how or why it happened.” Tyr continued. “The space research people back then started seeing changes in Sol’s surface. Temperature and density and… all that complicated stuff. A couple days, a week, a month later"we don’t know"it was over. The world was laid to waste.”


“Some say that what was left of Sol fell, becoming a blanket of heat in the sky, wrapped around the atmosphere.” Alyssa recounted the story, but didn’t sound very convinced. “As the world turns, the blanket’s warmth shifts across the sky. Day turns to night, and night turns to day.”


“The life-giving heat of Sol’s remnants keeps us ticking, but it slowly eats through the sky. Someday it will burn its way through, and Solus will catch fire once and for all…” Tyr drifted off, her tone like a small child telling a ghost story.


“Solus?” I repeated, confused by the word.


“Earth.” Alyssa stated, her voice sounding a bit grave. “It was beautiful"perfect. There was no war, no hunger, no crime. Yet the heavens razed it with fire, and the wasteland you see is the result. No one could bring themselves to call such a place, Earth. Everyone died. Everything died. God died.”


“We’re alone now.” Tyr spoke softly. “Solus.”


It was an enormous amount of information to take in. No Sun? Their explanations were more akin to fairy-tales than factual information, yet the pieces slowly found their way together in my mind. I had thought the dust-veiled sky had dulled the light of the Sun, but thinking back, the sickening truth created a knot in my stomach. There was only light. No brilliant spotlight shining in the blue"simply a blanket of light cast upon the wasteland. It was impossible.


“Sorry for the downer, yeah?” Alyssa leaned back, propping her head up on one arm.


It was hard to tell how much of an understatement that really was. Somehow, beyond all logic, the planet was still alive. We were all still breathing. I was clearly no astronomy major, but dead stars meant bad things happened. Earth was a planet in a delicate balance; a jewel of life in a sea of lifelessness. Had the Sun shifted a bit out of position, we’d all have been frozen solid or burnt to crisps. Yet here it was gone"just gone"and I was tromping around the desert thinking ‘Gosh, it’s awful toasty today.’ Not to mention our little nightlight that would have made Ben Franklin s**t his bloomers.


I needed sleep.


“Slate…” Tyr pulled me from drowning in my thoughts, placing her hand on my shoulder. “There’s no use worrying about it. We’re still here, right?”


“Just one more question.” I offered Tyr a slight nod. “How long has it been? What’s the date?”


Alyssa looked back towards me. “49 D.M. That’s short for Dues Mori, AKA God has died. You know how dramatic the scholars are.”


“That means…” I trailed off.


“Yup, you’re the best looking seventy-year-old man I’ve ever seen.”

© 2011 Idiotekque

Author's Note

If anyone's noticing quotation marks in random places, that's because this site turns em dashes into them for some reason. I'll go through the chapters and fix that ... eventually. Remember to leave a comment and rate the main book page!

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I'm still working on it, I just have been busy with work and a number of other (shorter) projects. I was debating whether or not to post more of this story online (some publishers don't like anything that's been publicly available before), but no matter what I decide, I still have no problem privately sending further chapters to anyone who wants to read them and asks me.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Wow, I hate to see it end but the end could be a beginning. Are you toying with continuing this story?

Posted 8 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on December 31, 2011
Last Updated on December 31, 2011
Tags: post-apocalyptic, medical, suspense, dark, fantasy, fireflies, rest, respite, answers



Makawao, HI

I'm 20 years old and I'm a writing student living in Hawaii. Writing is my passion, and I'm striving to break into the market doing something I really love. more..

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