Beginning, and the End.

July 22, 2011
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A lone figure stood upon a hill, his trench coat danced in the desert wind; and his helmet was cold, despite the blistering heat around him, and for a moment, one could almost hear the wheezes coming from his mask filter. The word Swat was inscribed on his back, its meaning had been lost through the years and it began to dissipate from his back as the wear and tear of his current life removed it.

He stood watch, an eagle waiting for prey, over a small town. He watched the saloon more specifically near the edge of town, popular among traders, Caravaners and gamblers.

The microphone inside his helmet was synced to another, one who looked similar in clothing and stature. Although that’s where the similarities ended, his partner was a much different man than he, of course, woman would be more appropriate in retrospect.

He waited for a signal to come from the saloon, he’d not seen sign his partner since she left for the saloon five minutes ahead of him as he was patching a wound from earlier. Time was of the essence for the two, he did not want to waste what was precious to the two of them.

Suddenly a small electronic buzz came from his earpiece inside his helmet, then came another directly afterward. He scanned the town for the source, he knew who it came from. After a moment he saw her, walking down the street towards the saloon, it seems she had not even been there yet. It worried him for a moment but saw something bulky coming from her pack, spoils of war? Or a newly bought gift? To soon to answer, he’d find out soon enough.

She was close to the saloon, and whilst sending out one more electronic signal through her wrist band, she approached the porch out front. Three men were playing cards, two were heavier and aged, their beards were enough to confirm this much, but perhaps their looks were given through hard lives, rather than old age.

The last of the three seemed lively, young and strong like a bull or mustang. But also very dim, scars and bruises covered his body, a short stature as well made him out to be quite violent. He saw the figure, and his testosterone began pumping into every muscle in his body, his conscience and rationality was crushed beneath manhood and a macho attitude.

The two older men noticed it immediately, hell, they even smelled it coming off him. They rolled their eyes and got ready for the show, they didn’t hate the kid, but they saw the figure down the stairs, and they didn’t want any of what that girl had.

Not that they knew it was a girl of course.

They slide their chairs back as the younger man slide his, he stood, exhaling deeply and flexing every muscle like a short, non-threatening puffer fish. The figure didn’t even register the man and almost walked past him when he yelled to her.

“Hey! I don’t recall you being around here before, you new? Or you just passing by?” She continued walking, not paying attention to the man, the man who now stood in front of her, shoulders up and out, making himself look bigger as if fighting a bear. You could mistake the two though, at least in comparison to the short man.

“I don’t think you caught that, let me say it again so ya’ll can catch it easier. Where you from Boy?” There was no answer from the figure.

“You understand me?” The man laughed and looked at the other two behind him.

“Looks like we got one of those mental escapees from up north boys.” The two older men looked into their laps, retrieving their cards, and continued playing, not wanting anything to do with the figure. The man rolled his eyes now, shaking his head at his older friends.

“You guys are ****in’ girls you know tha-,” Before he could finish a strong gloved hand grasped his small neck, squeezing just enough for him to stop talking. The figure reached up with her free hand to press a small button on her mask. After a small click, a clearly feminine voice came from behind it.

“One: don’t call me boy. Two: I can indeed speak, although I find the words would be wasted on a mind such as yours. Three: Remember the gender of the person that made your new broken arm.” The man felt the pressure relieved from his head as she dropped him a foot down to the ground, he hadn’t even realized that he’d been off of it. He caught his breath for a moment and asked, “But I don’t have any broken a-.”

And before he could finish his sentence a second time two strong hands placed themselves on his right arm, one on each side of his elbow. He looked at the hands, confused at first, then his confusion turned to fear as he felt the two bend at separate angles. Then that’s when he felt and heard the sickening snap, and then a second crack from his forearm snapping inward from the force of the hand gripping it.

As she let go of his arm, he dropped, no sound came from his lips, but his face was bright red and sweat came pouring down his face. The figure kneeled down next to him as she had time to speak, “Take note, your right arm has now been broken, now you are on the path of the righteous. As your bones heal, you shall become stronger, wiser, and the deeds you commit shall be brought upon you and you shall kneel before them and repent.”

She stood and walked inside, the floors creaked and appear splintered and old. The men that have walked upon this wood through the years have been evil and soulless, their actions speak barely through word. She herself thought the building was a monument to sin and carelessness and she would rather watch it burn.

There was only one she needed, the barkeep, his actions speak for themselves, once a serving member and chairman of a long lost order. He now resides in this hole, defending himself daily from the excrement around him. She needed- they needed his knowledge and advice for the coming days.

The bar has gone silent since the sole scream came from outside, light whispers came from the men at the table, the ones not passed out, that is. They stared at the figure, they feared that figure, as would anyone given the circumstances.

She approached the bar, the men there dispersed to nearby tables, giving her room to talk to Pete, the barkeep. She stood before him silent, Pete was only the second man she still respected in this world of theirs. Pete was cleaning a cup calmly, looking up and seeing the figure made him suspicious, he asked her one question.

“How go the travels friend?” He said looking up at her.

“Honest Hearts are hard to find in the wastes.” He smiled, pointing a thumb to a door in the back and then began to walk back there, she followed.

The saloon was quiet, no one spoke, the men were trying to listen to the two in the back room, to no avail. Four men at a small booth near the eastern window began talking.

“You hear anything?” Asked a heavyset man who had his back towards the room. The other three shook their heads, trying hard to listen in on the conversation. They sat for a moment when the larger of the four men came to an idea. He leaned forward.

“Andy, go check and see what there doing.” Andy, whom was a lanky young man closest to the back room began to shake.

“Why me?!” He said, still shaking.

“Cause your closest!” Andy shook his head.

“Nah, I don’t think that’s smart Rick.” Rick slid a small bag in front of Andy, serious in the matter.

“50 caps for ya if you do.” Andy thought for a moment, he remembered a nice hat at the general store that he’d been wanting for out on the trail. His current one was starting to wear down and holes began to form in its top. He pulled the bag to him and placed it loosely in his coat pocket.

“Fine, be back.” He said getting up from his seat, the whole saloon was staring at him now, he didn’t like all the eyes on him. He tried his hardest not to notice the eyes but it was difficult. He approached the door silently, he treaded lightly on the old wooden floor, every squeak sounded like air horns. He neared the door, his ear was sitting on the wall next to it, safest thing since the walls are almost paper thin. There was talking, obviously, but what they talked about was unclear to him.

“-dnight head here, and speak with Joseph out front, he’ll let you in with the pass-code. Remember to go through Kings valley before nightfall on your way there.”

“Why? What’ll happen otherwise?”

“A creature lives in the valley, and its nocturnal. I’ve never seen it myself, but I’ve heard stories.”

“From who? These inbreeds you serve?”

“Don‘t you question my choices!”

“I’m sorry Peter, it won’t happen again.”

“It is alright my child, go now, you and Alpha have much to do.”

“Alpha?” Andy whispered, the bag of Bottle caps began to fall from his pocket making a small metallic clinking noise. Another noise came from the other side of the wall, like a weapon unsheathing. In a moment a large combat knife pierced the wall, inches away from Andy’s young nose. Andy himself went cross-eyed at the knife, thinking it was a dream, he fainted, everyone heard the knife hitting the wall and saw Andy fall to the floor. They had guessed he was killed by the knife, and by the figure.

The knife came from out of the wall and back into the figure’s hand. The figure and Pete walked back out to a crowd of angry men, weapons ready, and aimed at them. The figure stood still for a moment, looking over every man in the room, she gave a battle assessment, judging what to use.

“Human targets, little to no armor, no need for AP rounds, probably can’t stand hollow point’s.” She thought grabbing a set of clips from her side pouch.

“Now that’s settled, what weapon? My pistol’s quick but only eight shots, rifle will probably do the trick swimmingly.” She readied herself to grab the rifle from her back.

“Cover? Bar seems sturdy, thick, defendable. Fine.” Her feet were ready to move at any moment, her knife stood at the ready as well, she dropped the two other clips and left the HP rifle rounds. She was ready, were they?

“Now guys, calm down, Ju-” Pete started but was interrupted by a very burly bald man, he held a sledgehammer in his hands, and he didn’t seem like a construction worker.

“No. No Pete, we won’t. You can walk out of this, but that guy’s goanna get strung up you hear?” His nostrils began flaring, his veins were bulging from anger, he readied himself, so did the figure.

“Now guys, Jared” Pete spoke to the large man known as Jared directly, “You don’t wanna do this, its stupid.”

“Stupid!” Jared became enraged at the implied insult, his eyes were mad, he was red, he believed he was demeaned in front of all these people.

He would not have that.

His anger built until it exploded, he charged, screaming like a mad dog. The figure threw her knife, it hit Jared in the left shoulder, he stumbled, caught off guard by it, he smashed into a nearby wall. The room then erupted into a firestorm, glass and bullets flew from all over. The figure ducked, grabbed her rifle, loaded the HP round clip and grabbed a nearby bottle for later. She loaded and lifted herself above the bar counter, resting on solid granite began to fire short bursts. With every burst another man would fall, Pete slide next to her, breaking a wood floor plank with his bare hand, revealing a petite lever action shotgun and some ammo.

“A lock isn’t enough for you Peter?” The figure said jokingly, mocking Peter’s bleeding hand.

“It’s quicker this way,” He said firing a shot at a charging drunk, the drunk buckled and fell face first to the counter breaking a few teeth on the way down. The figure grabbed the bottle from earlier and tore off some of Andy’s shirt, placing the rag inside, she then grabbed a lighter from her pocket and lighted the now drenched rag.

Pete noticed as it was too late, she threw the bottle over her head, it flew and hit a man in the chest, breaking, and then engulfing the man and several other’s in fire. After that everyone was either dead or wounded severely, The figure stood, admiring her handiwork, Pete stood too.

“Why did you do that Child?” Peter asked, calmly, strange enough.

“Sudden urge.” Beneath her mask lay a devilish smile, ironic.

The figure heard a table overturn to her right, she looked, just as Jared charged once more at her, she dodged him, then grabbed the impaled knife and ripped it out swiftly. Then, very quickly stabbed Jared in the back, making sure to stab the knife flat, in between his vertebrae. Jared stopped his charging scream, he was silent for a moment, he fell to his knees, and stared out the window once more before, well, before the end. His heavy shoulders fell first, into the splintered wooden floor. Andy then lifted his head off the same wooden floor, rubbing his head where he fell on it.

He turned to see Jared, still, and looked up to see the figure standing before him, the dusk sky shone through the adjacent window, the figure was glowing, beaming.

Andy looked up and asked, “Who are you?”

And the figure looked down and said, “I am called Omega, the end.”

“Omega.” Said a dark figure standing at the doorway, scanning the bodies in the room.

“Alpha, hello, I have not seen you in quite awhile.” Peter said joylessly.

“Peter,” Alpha nodded, acknowledging him, but no more.

“Omega, I can tell you’ve been here.”

“That obvious Alpha?” Omega said smiling again to herself.

“Indeed. Heaven forbid you go ten minutes without killing, but who am I to judge?”

“Very true, Peter we must be on our way now.” This whole time Andy scrambled to a corner, his eyes began to water, he was scared, and he smelled like it. He was curled up in a ball, slowly crying to himself. Alpha heard the cries and strolled over to him. He examined the boy, he was 15, 16 tops. He was dirty, skinny, he did not eat much for he was poor, besides the 50 Bottle caps on the floor that were now his, as well as anything else on the bodies in the room for that matter. He worked with the Caravaners, it was a hard life, but he had no where else to go, and was desperate.

“I am sorry for what you have seen here boy,” Andy looked up at Alpha‘s mask, he’d been staring at Jared’s lifeless body for a minute or so, and looking at something alive, although it was a mask, seemed so much more caring, optimistic even. Behind her mask Omega rolled her eyes at Alpha’s bleeding heart.

“Don’t bother with the boy Alpha, we must go.”

“After all this death, I must allow some good to come of today!” Alpha snapped back, Omega was silent for the time. Alpha turned back to Andy, he placed a hand onto the side of his head, his right side, he whispered to himself, then stood, nodded at Omega and left. Andy felt some ease afterwards but was unsure why.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

M.S.Canyon said...
Aug. 16, 2011 at 2:40 am

I've gotten three 1 out of five stars for this story, I believe that to be of the religious ideals protrayed through the charecters.

Let it be known, I am in fact, athiest, but having a religious society of knightlike people whom follow Judeochristian values makes for interesting charecter personalities. Especially Omega whom is an extremist.

Or, maybe I'm simply not that good a writer, please, if you find yourself compelled to give any story anything less than three stars, expl... (more »)

IamtheshyStargirl said...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm
I loved this! Wonderfully post-apocolyptic, steampunk, weastern-y story! (I've lost where I was going with that sentence, eh...)
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