Thursday, May 17, 2012

Story Time: Incursion

It occurs to me that while I say I am a writer, I haven't actually posted evidence of my writing abilities. This is partly because my writing abilities are spread out all over the place and it usually takes me a while to put them into a format that can actually be READ.

So here is a story I wrote a little while ago that I finally got around to typing up. (You know you're a writer when you start editing your story only to suddenly realise it's 3 hours later.) I found it a little while ago after completely forgetting I had written it and was surprised to find it actually made sense and was entertaining.

Oh and hopefully somebody doesn't steal it. If they do steal it, let me know, I want to know who I have to go all Chuck Norris on. 

A bit of Back story: Basically the idea for this story is bad sh*t happened. There were a bunch of earthquakes and storms around the world and all of a sudden these weird creatures that hunt during the day appeared out of nowhere and killed a large portion of the earth's population. This particular scene is set in a grassy forest area of Australia but for the readers sake you can just imagine it in any forest, hilly, rocky area near you. Makes it more interesting for you.

The main character was just attacked by one of the creatures only to be saved by some crazy person. This is what happens:


Incursion



As Vincent finally fell to the ground in amazement, he stared up at his saviour and had his first proper look at the man who had saved him.
It was not what he expected.
The man was shorter than he had first appeared, but that was probably because he had been rolling and diving a lot. He was thinner too, not very muscular.
The only thing bulking up the guy was the weird coat he was wearing, which, on closer inspection, appeared to be made from various parts of the creatures that he had just killed.
The man walked over to Vincent, casually cleaning his blade on the edge of his monster-made coat, lifting the material high enough to show some dirty, worn hiking boots.
“Are you a doctor?” asked his saviour in an oddly high-pitched voice.
Oh. The man was actually a woman.
“Ah . . . no.” Vincent was thrown off by her out of the blue question.
The woman sighed heavily and rubbed her shoulder. Whether it was out of agitation or pain, he wasn’t sure.
“What about a scientist? Any kind of scientist,” she asked half-heartedly.
“No. Sorry.” He straightened himself up and found he was slightly taller than her.
“And there is probably zero chance you have any sort of military background is there?”
Vincent looked the woman up and down. Was she being serious? Or had he actually been killed by the creature and this was his version of purgatory?
“No chance. Listen, what-“
She interrupted before the question could pass his lips.
“So what exactly did you do before the first incursion?” She crossed her arms over her chest and straightened her back like a soldier.
“I was a consultant,” Vincent answered, failing to make it sound impressive. “At a telephone company.” He crossed his arms too, mirroring her stance.
After a short moment she pulled back her hood and let out a loud exasperated “HA!” And with that, she turned on her heel and wandered back casually to the dead skeletal creature still lying where she had killed it. Vincent followed cautiously, looking around to make sure there were no other surprises lurking behind a tree. He wasn’t certain if he was as completely safe as he had first thought, even with the creature dead.
“It seems,” the woman continued to his surprise “that every useful person in the world is dead. What we are left with are people smart enough to survive on their own, but not intelligent enough to succeed at it.”
While she rambled, the woman knelt down next to the creature, pulled out a knife, and with what looked like great skill and experience, cut off the creature’s tail in one swift motion. Vincent watched with a combination of disgust and fascination as only a small amount of greyish plasma seeped out of the wound. It occurred to him that this was the first time he had seen one of these things up close. Even though it was dead, Vincent was happy leaving a solid ten feat between him and . . . it. He watched in silence as the woman worked the creature over and rambled about her problems.
“You see the first Incursion go everyone’s attention. Scientists, military, news, media, everyone knew about it; so everyone could study it.”
Putting the tail to the side she rolled the creature onto its back like it was nothing more than a mattress on a bed, and sliced straight down its abdomen. Compared to the sharp spines and scales on the things back, the underbelly was a surprisingly thin yellowish membrane. She started to peel some of the skin off.
“Unfortunately for us, the only time when we had the best recourse was when we had no idea what was going on. So everything went to hell. Literally.”
She laughed at her own joke and rolled the thing back onto its stomach. This time Vincent watched as she holstered her knife and produced a pair of pliers from the deep pockets in her coat. With precious, the woman grasped firmly onto one of the creatures spines. Placing a firm foot onto the neck, she gave three quick yanks and popped the spine right out of its back.
“Can I ask what you are doing . . . and . . . why?” asked Vincent in disbelief. He had been standing rigidly still the whole time and desperately wanted his questions answered. There seemed to be more and more popping into his head with everything she did.
At the sound of his voice the woman looked over her shoulder at him. She raised her eyebrow and looked him up and down with a speculative gaze, then returned to her pliers and spine collecting.
“You know you can come closer,” she said. “I think if this little guy was still alive he would have objected to me hacking off his pretty tail.”
Oh great.
Not only had he almost died twice today, he was now stuck outside in the daytime with a delusional . . . vigilante? What was she exactly? Saviour or psycho?
Vincent looked down at the creature she was decapitating and decided for the moment she was his saviour. But his decision was completely concrete.
Taking a few steps forward, he got a good look at the nightmarish creature lying before him.
The creatures that stalked through cities and towns alike bore a resemblance to cheetahs of the African plains; if they had been possessed by demons and reengineered by aliens. Although most of their looks and behaviour were cat-like, there were certain things that chilled your soul when you observed them closer.
Like a large cat, their bodies were thin, muscled and long. Their heads were small and smooth, with huge eyes that possessed no trace of pupils or lashes, and never seemed to blink. You could never tell what they were looking at. Their nostrils were above their eyes rather than at the end of their nose. This was probably due to the large under bite of their jaws. Sharp needle-like teeth stabbed upwards on all sides of its face, ranging from the size of a pin to a kitchen blade.
Vincent had seen for himself how easily those fangs could pierce flesh, and how terrifyingly strong their bite was. Bone could be snapped like it wasn’t even there.
Working down the body, Vincent observed the odd bends in the creature’s legs. There were four predominant joints, unlike the three he had imagined. It also looked like their joints didn’t just move forwards and backwards. Rather, it was like a ball and socket, it let the legs move in many different directions.
No wonder they could turn and jump so fast.
Vincent knelt closer to the feet. He was fighting the overpowering urge to run from the carcass, but its feet were not at all like he expected.
Unlike the clawed paw of a cat, there was instead a firm, hoof-like foot, similar to a horse’s, but shaped differently and padded on the bottom.
Keeping his eyes fixed on the creature’s head Vincent slowly leant forward and extended his index finger. He swallowed hard before poking the creature’s foot and snapping back instantly; afraid it was only pretending to be dead and would spring back to life at any second.
It didn’t move.
“Seriously dude, it’s not a zombie.”
Glancing to the woman at his right, Vincent couldn’t stop the sickening feeling coursing through his body. This creature wasn’t right. It was unnatural.
“Where did they come from?” he asked her without removing his eyes from the beast.
Pausing with the knife in one hand and the freshly stripped scales in the other, she turned to look at him with a surprised expression. As her eyes glazed over in thought Vincent began to look at this strange creature.
Her hair was the most interesting point; it was three different colours. The tips of the shoulder-length braid were blonde, before turning red in the middle and returning to her probably natural brown at the roots. Yet, aside from a very square jaw, everything else about her seemed average.
Seeing she was about to say something, Vincent took a deep comforting breath in preparation for another deranged monologue.
The girl’s mouth gaped open for a moment before she shrugged.
“I seriously don’t know.”
For the first time she actually looked like a normal person. There was fear in her eyes.
Great. The crazy lady was going soft. Vincent needed to break her out of the stupor or she wouldn’t be much help if any more beasts turned up to play.
“Well in that case,” he exclaimed over enthusiastically “let’s start with an easy question. What’s your name?”
That did the trick. The girl’s vacant expression and half smile were back on her face as she finished off with the carcass. She chuckled to herself as she stuffed the assorted bits of creature into an empty bag she pulled from her coat.
“I doubt you really need to know my name. You’re not going to last long enough to remember it.” At that thought, however, she came up with a question of her own. “How the hell have you survived this long anyway?”
“Uh, uh, uh,” he said flamboyantly, waving a finger at her. “Answer my question and I’ll answer yours.”
Unsurprisingly that made her smile. If she responded best to crazy, the he was going to get as crazy as need be for some solid information.
Heaving the beasty bits bag onto her shoulder, the strange woman with the square jaw and multi-coloured hair stood up straight and offered Vincent her hand.
“I’ll make you an offer.”
Oh this was going to be good.
“You can come with me and I will try my best to keep you sage, if you promise to be useful and interesting. If I see any signs of sulking, suicidal there-is-no-hope talk, or if you pull something stupid, I’m leaving you for Mister Bony’s friends.” She gestured to the remaining bits of the creature next to her.
 Well considering the alternative was to get eaten by those things anyway Vincent already knew his answer.
“Aye aye, Captain.” He saluted her with his left hand and made the deal with the other.
“Grey.”
“What?” Vincent was confused already. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
Chuckling to herself again she began to walk towards the hills to the west. She spoke to him over the bag on her shoulder.
“That’s my name. Grey.”
“First or Last name?” he asked, gathering his bag and hurrying to catch up.
“Oh no, you have to answer my question first before you ask another.”
Ah. This was a question for an answer game. Because games were a great thing to play after near death experiences.
“And what question was that again?”
“Why aren’t you dead yet Mister Not-a-doctor-soldier-scientist-phone-consultant-man?”
Jeez, there was no need to rub it in.
“Well you see, up until an hour ago I haven’t had any issues with the beasts. They stayed diurnal, only coming out during the day, and I would just find some hidey hole near water or up a tree to stay put.” He turned back to look at the dead killer behind them. “It shouldn’t have been out this early . . .”
That scared him. Night had become a sanctuary for him, and many other humans. If the creatures were awake during the night as well now, they all needed to become extra cautious.
Before his thoughts could turn even more morbid, Grey interrupted.
“So the reason you’re alive is common sense and luck. Good to know, because I am seriously lacking in both.”
“I dunno,” he glanced back over his shoulder again at the huge creature before it disappeared into the distance along with the uneasy feeling it gave him, “you probably need a lot of both to take out one of those; which, I might add, was pretty damn impressive.”
“Nope,” she answered cheerfully, “Just really stupid.”
Vincent made a noise in agreement. “We’re all stupid if we think we can survive for long against all this. I guess that’s a trait we should all be happy to have now.”
“Amen to that.”
They walked in silence for a while, occasionally stopping so she could climb a nearby tree or rock face. Scouting, he assumed. It was hours before they talked again.
“It’s still your turn,” she stated while climbing over a particularly awkward cluster of boulders.
“What? . . . Oh yeah, forgot about that.”
Vincent had just enjoyed the silent companionship. He hadn’t seen another human in months and was relishing in the company. There were no houses in the area, no burning piles of rubble, and no monsters. The weather was even nice.
“Let’s see then. I could ask you about your past, but I get the feeling you’re the type of person to give absurd or obscure answers to make yourself look interesting.” She confirmed this with another loud “HA!”
“I could ask about your theories on the incursions or what you think is going to happen to the world next, but you’re probably going to share that with me eventually whether I ask or not.”
“Probably,” she laughed, slightly impressed by his intuition.
“Sp what am I left with?” Vincent asked rhetorically as he pushed through a large scrub bush.
“Is that your question? Because you probably won’t like my answer to that.”
“My question is:” He paused to add effect. “Is your coat made from what I think it’s made from?”
He had been examining it for most of the time he had been following her. It was greyish-brown, fell to her knees, and was both gruesomely terrifying and impressive.
Without stopping or looking back, Grey explained her garment.
“If you’re thinking of Mr. Bony back there, then yes, I am wearing some of his cousins. Possibly his mother. Maybe even an uncle or two. It’s hard to tell, they all look the same.”
The shoulders of the coat were brandished with spines of varying sizes.
“You could put your eyes out if you aren’t careful,” he cautioned.
“That’s kind of the point. As long as it’s not my eye.”
He couldn’t are with that. What better way to defend yourself from the enemy that with the enemy’s own weapons. Smart.
“Your turn.” He was eager to ask another question.
They continued up the rocky hill for a while until he thought she had lost interest in him. By the time they reached the top, he was out of breath and beginning to get hunger pains.
After a quick survey of the surrounding area, Grey dropped her bag and sat down cross-legged on a grassy patch. Vincent followed suit. They both pulled out water canisters and sipped with restraint. Clean water was a luxury now, you savoured every drop like it was your last.
“Why are you still wearing a tie? “ Grey asked with a mixture of humour and confusion.
Vincent looked down at the horrible lime-green and canary yellow tie he still wore. It was dirty, burnt, and torn at the bottom. He loved every inch of the satin eye-sore.
Stretching out on his side he made his best underwear model pose.
“I’m hoping the apocalypse will need a poster boy.” He smiled faux-seductively.
They both laugh at the outrageousness. He sat back up and put away his water before holding up the end of his tie.
“But seriously, I wear it because I don’t want to forget that we used to have a functioning society.” Vincent still hoped that one day he would wake up and this would all have been a dream. Or a hallucination. Or a tumour. Anything to show that the last year of his life hadn’t really happened.
Grey stared at her container for a bit before putting it back into her bag. Standing up, she gazed off into the horizon in silence while Vincent stretched his shoulders. Maybe she was remembering lost loved ones or hoping for something better, but he could tell she was as morbid as he was when it came to the future of humanity.
Defusing the tension, he jumped to his feet.
“My turn! Where are you taking me?” I seriously hope you didn’t just pick a direction and start walking.”
Grey pulled her bag up from the ground and shouldered it. As she brushed the dust from her pants she said “I’ve got a number of places that are sage in this area, but most them really only have enough room for one person.” They began to descend the other side of the large vegetated hill. Vincent could see a few houses scattered around the distance along with a number of lakes and rivers. They were heading in the direction of the larges river.
“The place I’m taking you, I’ve really only been once. I would have set it up as a base but I couldn’t do it by myself.” She turned to smile at him. “But now I have you.”
Vincent didn’t like her smirking at him like that.
“Why do the words “Slave Labour” suddenly spring to mind, I wonder?”
She laughed at the scared look on his face. “Ha, no, nothing like that. Think ‘Teamwork’. Or ‘Bed’. Or even better: ‘Running water’.”
“You have running water?!” That excited him. The closest thing he had had to a shower in the past year was when he tried repeatedly pouring cold creek water over his head with a bucket one night. Needless to say, he had chosen to stay filthy.
Grey led them both onto a small gravel hiking trail that would wind them through the thick trees and further down into the valley.
“We will once I put you to work, slave.”
Vincent groaned as she laughed at him manically. 
As he followed her down the path, he seriously hoped this insanity was worth her saving his life.

 *


Well there you go, evidence I know how to write. It's also probably evidence I have a strange and morbid sense of humour, but mostly everyone knows that already. 


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