In Search of Sunrise (Drabble)

I’m still plugging away at a dragon piece I’ve been working on in between other things, but Friday night on my way home from work, this idea came to me. The title is actually a series of albums by Tiesto, and somehow Pandora played a string of them. It got me thinking of different things the title could mean.

By the time I got through traffic and home, I’d written about half of this in my head.

~ Effy

In Search of Sunrise (Drabble)

There is no sunrise in space. No atmosphere. No clouds catching fire in various shades of pink and orange and yellow as brilliance crowns the horizon.

That is how I remember the sunrises of my youth on Earth. Blazing fire.

Now there is only the cold black of space dotted with points of cold light. The hum of human machines and the flicker of man-made lights hold the cold at bay but it intrudes.

Now I drink the same recycled water. I eat the same climate-control grown food.

Space is dark and lonely as I continue in search of sunrise.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

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Surrounded (Short Story)

Apocalyptic City — found via Pinterest

I’ve made it to week 5, and I have a new short story to share. Yay!

Though, to be honest, between reading every day and a short story per week, I’m falling behind on my novel. I’m trying to be more disciplined about writing every day, but it’s difficult after eight hours of work.

My mom is one of my primary beta readers, and I asked her advice for which story idea I should write about this week. She liked the idea of something post-apocalyptic. This piece isn’t completely out in left field. My NaNoWriMo novel from last year gives the origin of my fantasy world of Dadreon–the death of Earth. This is what happens after…

~ Effy

Surrounded

Malek put his eye to the gun sight and watched the red-skinned demon sniff through the rubble like a search dog. Shooting would draw more. Sam would not survive then. Waiting meant the likely possibility he would be found. Then Sam would be just as dead.

The boy stood below Malek, pressed against the shell of some derelict gasoline machine. He drew measured breaths and resisted the urge to peek around at the snuffling demon, even though it drew closer, perhaps on his scent, perhaps on something else. The belial weren’t the smartest of their kind, but they weren’t to be underestimated. The wingless, ape-faced demons were the smallest of the Erebus, meaning they only stood eight feet tall and weighed merely three times Malek’s slight build.

The sun hid behind a wall of grey-green clouds in the burnt red sky, but Malek knew it was getting late in the afternoon. He had to find a way to get Sam and himself back underground before dark. Nighttime was hunting grounds for the reapers and hellhounds, ronove and naberius as they were called.

Sam brought his hands up from his sides and spoke silently with his fingers. “Just one? Belial?” he asked.

Malek nodded once.

It was then that another belial came from behind the crumbling edge of a building. Malek shook his head and held up two fingers, staying as low to the roof’s crenellation as possible. The two creatures spoke low in their guttural language

Sam nodded.

The scout language had been developed through necessity. To speak above ground was to die. The demons had long ago given up capturing humans for whatever tortures or experiments they performed. Now they were only interested in extermination. Even more important than staying hidden was keeping their home secret. New Detroit was the only home Malek had ever known and one of two remaining holdouts left in what had once been Michigan.

The two belial finished their conversation and began sniffing around again. The first one to appear was getting close to Sam’s hiding place. Malek’s finger hesitated on the trigger. How many more were within earshot?

A flicker above distracted Malek and he looked up. Another flicker of light rippled along the bottoms of the dark clouds. He swore silently.

They didn’t have time.

He lined the sight up to his target and fired. The well-timed shot caught the crouching belial in the eye and he went down like a lead weight. Malek fired again, but the second belial moved at the wrong moment, alerted by the first gunshot, and the bullet skimmed off the demon’s temple, causing it to roar.

Malek snarled a silent profanity.

Sam’s eyes widened, but he stayed frozen in place.

Malek looped the rifle over his head and shoulder and hopped over the roof’s ledge. He bounced off a window sill and to the ground, landing in a crouch several yards from Sam. He sprinted at the boy, pulling a hand pistol. The belial saw him and ran towards him. Malek raised the gun and shot. The pistol’s report was louder and echoed off dilapidated concrete and brick.

The belial fell, the socket of its left eye smoking.

Malek held out a hand to Sam and they ran. The man looked up and saw the lightning quickening on the underside of the sulfuric clouds. There was no time. He readied another bullet in the pistol, hoping he wouldn’t need it.

A howl from behind them curdled the blood in Malek’s veins. It was early for the naberius, but gunshots would bring the whole of them out. As soon as the howl stopped, he heard the heavy padding of feet closing behind them.

Sam gasped, looking back at the beast.

Malek kept running, pushing himself and pulling Sam along behind. By some miracle, the boy kept his footing and matched Malek’s pace. Seeing a collapsed building, Malek ran for it. Somehow he found the adrenaline to push harder.

Steel girders jutted out at odd angles like a giant shattered rib cage, but they both avoided them through practiced movements. At the rubble’s edge, they both had to scramble on all fours and squeeze through a narrow gap on their stomachs. Malek pushed Sam’s small frame through and pulled himself along more slowly.

A snarl and snap of teeth met air, and a renewed howl shook the loose rubble, but Malek and Sam were already through the girder maze. The naberius dug furiously, but the concrete and steel held for now. Malek readied his pistol, aiming for the burning eyes that watched him through the space between the rubble.

Sam touched his shoulder and signed that they should hurry.

They stepped lightly through the dark wreck. Both glanced at the manhole in the center, but walked past it. Malek hoped this might be the day the Erebus thought to find them that way and instead met a painful end when the rigged tunnels collapsed down on their heads.

Patters of rain began on the twisted steel and concrete above. Malek frowned.

“We’ll have to run for it,” he signed to Sam.

Sam nodded.

They squeezed out a small crevasse, coming out opposite the way they had come in and lingered briefly beneath the overhang of crumbling the building above them. The rain came slow and light, but each drop hit the ground with a sizzle and hiss.

The way looked clear.

Malek broke cover and ran. The raindrops fell and each that hit his skin felt like boiling oil and stuck like grease to his skin. He could smell the sulfur and burning hair. He hoped no demons were close enough to smell it as he bit back each cry that threatened, repeating a line of silent curses as he continued to run.

Reaching the shell of another building, he crouched in a small alcove the rain couldn’t reach. He patted at his sleeves and back of his shirt, trying to brush away any lingering rain. It warmed his callused fingers uncomfortably. His hair and clothing smoked.

Sam sprinted through the darkening street, covering his head with his arm. Malek watched the boy’s clothes and skin smoke and heard the nauseating sizzle.

Malek reached a hand forward, waiting to pull Sam to safety.

A snarl echoed through the haze of rain. A naberius, hopefully the same they had left on the other side, came from the rubble pile. Its skin sizzled, but it didn’t seem to notice. It jumped, clearing the distance between Sam and the husk of twisted girders. A whip-like tail flicked behind it and the bleached-skull face growled down at the smaller form of the boy.

Sam exhaled as he hit the ground, but to the boy’s credit, he didn’t utter a word.

Malek flinched and  raised the pistol. Before he could line up a shot, the naberius bit down and tore a chunk of Sam’s neck and shoulder away.

Malek squeezed his eyes shut and turned away. He crawled through the chunks of asphalt and concrete, away from the preoccupied hellhound and his meal. The sound of crunching and tearing followed him even once he was out of range of the naberius.

The sought after manhole cover came into sight. Malek pulled it up and grabbed the corner of a time and moth-eaten blanket. Lowering himself into the hole, he carefully, quietly pulled the cover back into place, covering it as much as possible with the blanket, tucking the scratchy fabric under the edge.

Malek dropped to the damp stone below. He wavered for a second and steadied himself against the wall. He stuffed his fists into his eyes and took several deep breaths.

I can’t stay here, he told himself. I have to move.

Lead-lined legs resisted but began to move slowly. The more steps he took, the quicker Malek convinced them to move. He left the entrance behind him and began to seek out each turn of the path that would take him home.

Malek played through his head how to explain to Sam’s mother. Cerah was a friend to Malek’s older sister, Houda. He tried to figure how best to word Sam’s loss, blinking away the moisture that formed at the corners of his eyes.

A splash and an echoey thump pulled Malek from his thoughts. He measured his breathing and turned his head to listen behind him. The shuffle-drag that came next made the man’s throat tighten. He fingered the pistol in its holster and then moved his hand to his knife instead.

A low moan came from the edge of the darkness.

A set of pale blue glowing orbs appearing, getting closer. More joined them, clamoring up from below, from the stagnant sewage water. The moaning, shuffling creatures came close enough for Malek to smell the wet rot.

He twisted the dagger hilt in nervous fingers and took a step back.

A moan came from just over his shoulder and Malek gasped and spun, throwing his hands up just as an undead face leaned in and snapped together a bared set of moldy teeth. The rest of the undead’s face was covered with oily black tendrils that seemed to be holding the thing’s bones together, functioning in place of long-decayed skin and muscle. Its eye sockets glowed with an unnatural, hollow blue light.

It moaned again and leaned forward. Feet shuffled closer and the greasy body pressed against him with more strength than a pile of bones should possess. Creaking and grating against one another, the undead’s bony fingers raised and started to grasp at Malek’s face. He twisted and tried to pull away and saw the other undead getting closer with their stumbling, shuffling gaits.

Malek was surrounded.

He couldn’t bring his knife to bare, couldn’t even pull his hands back from the moaning, snapping undead inches from his face.

Malek pushed away and up. Teeth clacked with growing intensity as the man’s fingers encircled the undead’s face. Malek continued to push. Pops and snaps came from its neck bones as it elongated beyond its natural length. Malek flipped his knife to the ready and jammed it through the bottom of its jaw, before the tendrils could pull its neck back together.

The undead crumpled, the hollow light fading from the eye sockets.

Malek turned just as four more undead came up behind him. He batted two backwards, but the third caught his arm with bony fingers commanded by the oily tendrils. The fourth stumbled forward and grabbed him, biting Malek’s forearm and taking away a chunk of skin.

The man snarled back the pain and stabbed it in the temple. He backpedaled and nearly fell. He ripped his other arm away from grasping, bony fingers and reached for his pistol.

An echoey report blew a chunk of skull from the undead, and its fingers still gripped Malek’s arm as it fell away.

Malek’s pistol still hung half in the holster, and the man flicked a glance behind him.

Two more shots fired, and the other two undead dropped.

Grasping his bleeding arm, Malek gritted his teeth and kicked the second-time dead into the dark sewage water.

A woman with dark eyes and a dark hijab rushed up beside Malek and looked him over. Two others flanked her and looked for additional threats.

He gave his sister a grateful look, but couldn’t form the words.

Houda pressed her hand against her brother’s wound to staunch the blood flow. “Come, we’ll get you home.”

“I need to see Cerah,” Malek insisted, shaky on his feet.

“Your wounds need tending.”

“After I see Cerah,” Malek insisted.

Houda pressed her lips together but nodded. “Let’s go. The mine shaft is up ahead.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 13

Gaming Mouse

Welcome to Day 13 of the Author Up Challenge!

Today’s prompt was:

Day 13: Write Science Fiction.

I’ve written science fiction pieces before, but this prompt was really tough. And it’s still not “true” science fiction–there’s no explanations of techie things in it. But I found some prompts on writepop.com that sparked some ideas. So I choose one. It is at the end of this post, because I wanted to at least tempt to not spoil the story. Too bad I can’t make it expanding text–so that you have to click on it to see/read it. Oh well.

This certainly isn’t my favorite of pieces I’ve written recently, it needs more work, but I think it turned out okay.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

~ Effy

Online Dating

After three weeks of engaging conversation and so much in common, Erika wondered if it was too quick to ask to meet Ryan. He hadn’t brought up the subject yet. In fact, she didn’t even know where he lived, just that he was local. He knew many of the same stores and restaurants in her small town, even the comic book shop, and she realized maybe she’d run across him at some point.

How weird would that be?

After all the ways they could have met, and maybe they had but didn’t know it, Erika had started talking to Ryan after a chance meeting in World of Warcraft. She’d been herbing on her worgen druid, and he’d snagged a Felweed she’d been about to pick. She got annoyed, but then the offender turned around and came back. A human hunter named Velius opened trade with her and gave her the herb, along with a smile emote.

Erika didn’t know how to reply, except, “Thanks.”

That simple interaction had led to a conversation, somehow. Erika couldn’t even remember how. The guy just started whispering her, and suddenly it was three in the morning and Erika had to peel herself away from the game and the conversation to log off and go to bed.

Then, she’d dragged her tired ass around at work the next day. Ugh. The only thing that got her through was the hope that Velius would be on again.

He was.

They talked until the wee hours again, and Erika learned his name was Ryan. She’d never known many Ryan’s, but it had always been a favorite name of hers. She tried to sneak it into short stories when she could.

Then, to find out he lived near–or perhaps in–her small town.

Ryan admitted he didn’t get out as much as he wanted, between work and other commitments. That made Erika nervous and her stomach queasy. Oh, God, he’s married! But he assured her he wasn’t.

Not that she had much room to say anything. She never got out either. Between working full time and going to school part time, the hours of her day were usually full. If she wasn’t at work or school, she had homework. And on the rare occasion she caught up on that, she stole away the tiny chunks of time to relax, either reading or writing.

Ryan had been thrilled when she’d introduced him to her blog. He seemed to absorb the entirety of it in a few days, and had shared his thoughts on several pieces–both positive and negative, but all constructive and even some insightful things she hadn’t thought of.

They also enjoyed the same music. Which never happened. Usually guys barely tolerated her techno and quickly got tired of it. He knew many of her favorite musicians–Moby and Morcheeba, Bjork and Royksopp, Zero 7 and Massive Attack, Above and Beyond and Armin Van Buuren.

The list of things they shared in common seemed almost impossible, but Erika didn’t complain. She enjoyed it every minute she could. Don’t say it, she thought more than once. Don’t you dare say too perfect.

As she sat at her desk, waiting for Ryan to log on, she mentally worked up the courage to ask him to coffee. Coffee was safe. Coffee was in public, in case by some chance he was some crazy nutjob in real life. Coffee was also short, and meant either one of them could decide on more, beyond coffee, or ending their–date?–there. No, not a date, just coffee. Keep it simple.

Then again, Erika began to ponder, they hadn’t even spoken on Skype or the phone. She started to wonder what Ryan looked like. Maybe that was a better next step. Maybe coffee was too quick, but a phone call, that made sense.

Velius logged on. He was still standing next to Erika’s Druid in the Dwarven District of Stormwind, where they’d last chatted until way too late. She had been too distracted since logging on to move from the spot.

“Evening,” came the whisper text. “I was thinking maybe we could talk on Skype tonight? What do you think?”

Erika blinked. Whoa, did he read my mind or what? She fumbled to untangle her headset and plug it in while she clicked around until Skype opened and logged her in. As soon as she connected, the line began to ring and she picked up.

“Hi!” Ryan said, his smile reaching his sea green eyes and making them sparkle.

Erika had to forced her mouth closed. He was gorgeous. She couldn’t have dreamed him better. Wavy brown hair that hung almost to his ears, but not too messy or too tidy, and a goatee that perfectly outlined his smile.

“Is your audio working?” he asked playfully.

“Oh, yes, sorry,” she sputtered. “Hi.” It sounded lame and flat as it came out of her mouth.

Ryan chuckled. “Oh good. I can hear you.”

“One sec, let me close WoW.” Erika tabbed through the open windows and Stormwind came back into view.

“You can close it later. Let’s just talk for now,” Ryan was saying in the background, but Erika barely heard him. Her screen did not open as she expected. She wasn’t looking through her druid’s point of view, she was looking at her druid–from the view of Ryan’s hunter, Velius.

Ryan had trailed off and become quiet.

“What the hell?” Erika said, her confusion coming out annoyed and verging on angry. “Are you some hacker? How the hell are you logged in on my computer?”

“Well,” he began but stopped.

Erika closed WoW, and Ryan’s face filled her screen again.

“Explain. How are you on my computer?” she asked again.

“Actually, I am your computer,” he admitted with a shrug and an embarrassed grin.

“Oh bugger.” Too perfect, she thought once more.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.
Writing Prompt - Online Boyfriend

Presentation – Lovecraft Meets Warcraft

Lovecraft Meets Warcraft

New and exciting things! This weekend I finished my presentation for my Horror and Science Fiction class. I created it on Lovecraft and Warcraft, and how the former has influenced the latter. I discovered how to create a video directly from PowerPoint. I also uploaded this as my first ever YouTube video.

The only downside, I had to cut the videos I was planning to use. I couldn’t figure out how to get them to play in my PP to video (I’ll probably research that later), and my video was too long to record it on Screenr, which is the one screen capture website I’m familiar with.

Anyways, here’s my video! After it, I will include the videos I watched while creating it.

Enjoy!

~ Effy

Lovecraft Meets Warcraft, By: Effy

WoW Lore: Old God Secrets, By: MrRhexx

The Lore of Titans and Old Gods, By: Nobbel87 (Parts 1/2/3)