Chapter I. This Sleeping Planet

Chapter I. This Sleeping Planet

A Chapter by Writer #00
"

Boy meets girl: Boy-->It has a gun. Girl-->I just want to be your friend.

"

Duke:

 

He’s been traveling for a while.  He doesn’t know where from.  Everything looks the same to him.  He supposes it’s the same for anyone else who travels.  If anyone else travels.  If anyone else is left on this planet, aside from the bodies suspended in the water-colored gélatine of glass cylinders and things that want to kill him.

 

He’s used to being alone.  He considers it relaxing, a necessity even.  Maybe that’s because he’s been alone for as long as he can remember.  Fourteen years.  Fourteen solitary years trekking across the desolate white of this sleeping planet.  Only his conical hand drills, twilled cloak, khaki shorts, and muddied rain boots that stopped above his knee.  That was it.  His body, some clothing, and an improvised weapon originally used to bore into the ground, not harm those who trod on it.  Then again, there weren’t many of those anymore...

 

He’s fine with that.  He didn’t know what he would do if he met another traveler.  Chances are they’d be trying to kill him just like all the other breathing (and a few electrical) creatures he’d encountered so far.  Chances are there’d be one less traveler to roam this dusty planet.  He didn’t know which of them would best the other, but he doubted they’d take the time to make peace.

 

That’s why he really, really hoped the generally humanoid creature with the electric shotgun hadn’t seen him just now.

 

Iris:

 

She unstrapped Mortician from her back, letting the leather fasteners hang from its side.  She aimed the tip of his bayonet at a shadow poking from behind a rusty file cabinet partially submerged in dust and sand and ash.  It was a mobile, anthropomorphic being, judging by the shadow, and it wielded blades of some sort.  She hoisted the gun over her shoulder, not bothering to move the hair from her right eye.  She could aim just fine with a broken sight and one eye.

 

Her finger hovered near the trigger, debating on whether or not the mysterious being was hiding or waiting to pounce.  One press of a lever and the thing would be ash; she needed to make sure she wasn’t killing anything worthwhile.  For all she knew, it could have been another scrap of lost prey like herself.  It could also be a spiral-eyed Leiser.

 

She glanced down at the shadow again.  A prey’s mistake, or an inexperienced hunter’s.  Anything but a threat.  Still, though, she couldn’t lower her guard.

 

“Who’s there?”  She called, her voice cordial and welcoming, not like she were luring the creature out of the shadows so that it could make eye-contact with Mortician’s long barrel.

 

The thing didn’t move.  Smart, she thought, are you hunter or prey?

 

“Are you travelling?” she asked.

 

No answer.

 

She took a risk, if only because she desperately wanted to ease her loneliness, and set her shotgun down.  She wasn’t used to being alone.  She’d grown up with somebody until the darkness came and she had to befriend Mortician.  Unfortunately, their friendship was formed too late and she couldn’t keep from becoming alone.  The damned Leisers.  She cursed at the memory.  Shivered.

 

And eased closer to the enigmatic creature behind the file cabinet.  Hunter or Prey?

 

Duke:

 

He wouldn’t fall into its trap.  Its voice may have harbored hospitality, it may have set the gun aside, but he didn’t trust it.  He didn’t know what it planned to do.  What tricks it had up its sleeve" literally.  If he walked out, if he answered it, who’s to say that it wouldn’t whip out some other weapon, or take up its electric shotgun once more?  There was one tiny hook between him and Death, and he wasn’t about to close the gap.

 

 

He’d seen its attire: orange headphones slung around its neck, unnecessarily short, denim shorts that matched its sleeveless coat.  It was the gold, Rabotte-fur collar that caught his attention. Rabottes were vicious creatures, creatures he’d had to set up elaborate traps in order to catch.  The gold ones were smart, too, aside from strong.  He’d never caught one.  They’d see his traps before they set foot in them.  Sometimes, they’d even destroy them.  The fact that this variation of a humanoid had actually managed to kill one...

 

He began to creep away from the file cabinet, but he didn’t know where else to go.  The other bits of disoriented signs of past life were either buried by dust or too far away for him to go unnoticed.

 

He put his hands in his drills, clutching the grip inside of them, preparing to attack the thing.  He leapt from behind the file cabinet and charged soundlessly, one of his drills thrust forward, whirring menacingly.  The creature’s visible left eye widened and she gasped as the rotating tip reflected in her eye.

 

Iris:

 

She hadn’t expected such an open attack.  She’d assumed by its behavior that it was more of a long-distance pseudo-fighter.  She only had too little time to react before her eye was gouged out by a surprisingly swift boy. 

 

She dropped into a back bend, the arm-and-drill of her adversary whizzing over her in a blur.  She flung her foot up as she back-flipped into a split-second splits and rose to her feet again, having put at least two legs of distance between he and her.  Or so she’d thought.  The boy was too quick, already jabbing at her body.  She barely had time to evade the sharp movements (to save her breasts from being punctured) when another series of rapid strikes would be tossed at her.

 

She could hunt Rabottes, but they were large and slow when bipedal. This guy was almost inhuman. She wanted to shout ‘stop’, but all her energy was being put into avoiding those wicked twin drills and slowly easing him into her trap.

 

Just a few more steps forward, there you go, she thought as the sole of her tattered flip-flop bumped the end of Mortician.  Okay, Iris, now think. 

 

His left-hand drill sent a few strands of her white hair falling past her eye.  She gulped, and she had the right to, for his other arm had been guiding a drill to her stomach.  Iris flipped from prey to hunter in under an instant, grabbing Mortician by its barrel and swinging it between her body and the spiraling drill.

 

CLANG.

 

Duke:

 

The force he’d put into what he’d assumed would be the final blow ricocheted off of the thing’s makeshift shotgun-shield.  The energy sent a wave of momentary shock through his right arm, causing him to wince mentally.  A tiny fraction of distorted attentiveness.  Just enough for a Rabotte-killer. Its hand shot out, grabbing his wrist and managing to send the dirty expanse of inorganic junk spinning from below his feet to kissing his face.

 

He tried to get up, but it had his arms in a tight lock, immobilizing his feet with its own.

 

“I could’ve killed you, you know,” the humanoid thing reminded him, releasing him, “but I’m letting you go. Foolishly, probably.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you used my ignorant kindness to your advantage and stuck one of those things"“ it pointed at the hand drills that were now lying on an old mint case, “in my back the moment its turned.”

 

Warily, he rose to his feet, brushing the dirt from his sun-bleached cloak and watching the thing from over its over-tall collar.

 

They both stood there for a bit, analyzing the other. 

 

“So you’re not going to kill me after all, eh?” the Iris concluded, folding its shotgun down into its more convenient form.

 

He shook his head.  No, he wasn’t going to anymore.  Maybe having a partner that reflexive and agile and lethal wouldn’t be a bad idea.  He liked his solitude, true, but that was only because he’d never tried having company.  It was all he’d known for the past fourteen years that were his life.

 

He thought back to the Rabottes and Lun Châts that had almost taken his life many times over.  The days of worrying in a sheet-metal cave, black rain finding undetectable cracks to seep through.  The cold nights of the months of Frimaire and Nivôse when he had to sleep without a fire at the sight of tracks that bore a likeness to those of Leisers.  The moments when he was starving and thoroughly drenched in despair.  The moments he thought: why don’t I just lay here in the cold, let the murky snow be my blanket...

 

“Are you a traveler?”  His voice was raspy, in need of lubrication from infrequent use.

 

It shrugged.  “I travel, yes, but it’s really more of aimless wandering.”

He didn’t reply.

 

Do I have a goal? He wondered.

 

“What do you say we stick together?”  It asked “You and me.  Watch each others’ backs, care for one another in sickness, all that goodstuff.”

 

He analyzed it once more.  A foldable electric shotgun worn on its back, it’s spear-bayonet clipped to the side of its dark-blue shorts.  That gold Rabotte’s fur.  It would either be an alliance, no matter how unstable, or another meeting, next time with Death. 

 

“Sure.”

 

And the two set off together over the dunes of metallic waste as the dull sun rose to its pathetic zenith.

 

 

--Chapter I. This Sleeping Planet

 



© 2013 Writer #00


Author's Note

Writer #00
I think one of my weak points is characterization, so I'm trying to make a heavily character-driven story (hints the vague setting). Please tell me what you think of the characters so far.

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In Chapter 2 I think you mean 'trod' not 'treaded.'

Posted 7 Years Ago


This comment has been deleted by the poster.
Gerald Parker

7 Years Ago

Because we don't use this anymore as the past definite of 'tread.' It's obsolete and it jars. You've.. read more
Writer #00

7 Years Ago

Thank you, I've made the corrections...but I still think 'treaded' makes a better past definite than.. read more
Its a little strange, but its good. It kinda me of reading a play having each characters being so separated or playing off each other. Not a normally done, but its always good to be different.awesome.

Posted 7 Years Ago


Writer #00

7 Years Ago

Thanks. You picked up on the separation of POVs. This was originally written in first person, but .. read more
Right now i cant expect the characters to develop too quickly to here but i am lovin it so far. Dialogue could be more creative in my opinion but i hope i will have time to read more. I like the misunderstanding at the beginning tho. Its not fun without a little struggle at first

Posted 7 Years Ago


No, the character is well, but I would like some dialogue to set up the mood

Posted 7 Years Ago


Writer #00

7 Years Ago

Okay, I'll take that into account in later chapters. I tried to create an atmosphere of solitude an.. read more
Rhianne Ney

7 Years Ago

You're so welcome. It was really fun to read

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Added on February 4, 2013
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Writer #00
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I'm participating in the Summer Writing Project through Jukepop.com, an online serial website, those entering had to submit a novella on Jukepop.com. The finalists will be decided by the number of +V.. more..

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