rocket

dig

 

The rockets rainbow glow spread across the heavens in its wake.  We were once again throwing our science and machinery into space, a feat as dazzling in math as beauty.  We are here.  We are doomed.  Our salvation is waiting for us beyond our shielding atmosphere, away from this tiny blue dot.

This rocket wasn’t even going that far.  It’s payload was orbit.  And yet it was still an essential stepping stone as the launch provided an opportunity to test capabilities that will make it easier for us to one day send our identity reaching far and wide.  The farther we can go the longer we will survive.

We have long operated from the principle of necessity breeds invention.  We run up against a need and then we figure out a solution and then we figure out how a more efficient solution and then, when possible, we automate that which frees us up to tackle new problems.  That was our history and is our future too.  We know we need to venture into that final frontier and so we will figure out how to make that a reality.  And on and on, and what a wonderful reality, beautiful and exciting, it will be.

desert kings

Greasy lights, casting dully from hanging oil lamps, smudged the sparkling fog while glints of teeth and flashes of eyes marked the coyotes’ path.  The time for calling to the heavens had come and gone and the pack slunk to their den to shelter from the heat of the coming day.  It had been a hard night, as most were when the moon was hiding in the sky, and their songs had been low and passive, more from a sense of obligation than of celebration.  They didn’t worry, though, because they knew there would be nights again when they could raise their voices in a beautiful cacophony and boldly remind the world of their presence.

It was only a matter of time and, despite the ever encroaching advances of men, the pack knew they had plenty of time.  They had ruled the deserts and hills long before the apes had learned to use tools and the coyotes instinctively knew they would regain their crowns once man had built tools they couldn’t control. The fools would wipe themselves out.  They had forgotten their place in the world and the coyotes laughed in the fog, the snarls and grunts bouncing awkwardly against the pre-dawn.  Oh yes, they would rule again.

The comforts of their dens welcomed them in and cradled them together in snuggled and nuzzled slumber.  They dreamed of skies filled with the fire stars their ancestors had known.  They dreamed of the giant moon beaming with returned joy.  They dreamed of running through scrub brush dotted deserts reclaiming ghost towns faded to dust.  Their invisible crowns rattled but the earth swallowed the sound.

One by one the oil lamps were extinguished as the sun stretched over the horizon and the lights were no longer needed to battle the dark.  A slight morning breeze running down from the creases in the high plateaus sent them creaking on their stands but their minders didn’t care.  Tools had blunted their senses.  Neglect had dulled their instincts.  They could no longer feel their doom squeaking from the wrought-iron chains.  Even if they could, as the coyotes already knew, it was far too late.  Man might hang on for a few more generations but the tools of their destruction had already been created and unleashed.

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we should have

The cleaning crew found the skeleton sitting at an antique desk, the skull leaning across his left arm and a pen still firmly grasped in his right.  The parchment the deceased had been writing on had yellowed with time and the words had faded away.  They called the disposal unit and asked for the whole mess to be transported back to their lab for further examination.  The skeleton and surrounding area of the room had survived relatively unscathed compared to most of the ruins they had scrubbed so far.

Once the remains were safely moved to their lab the disposal unit notified them and they abandoned their remaining cleaning pursuits for the day to run tests on the anomaly.  How had he survived so much longer than the rest of his people?  Why were his remains still discernible while the rest of his race had been turned to dust?  Those questions were just the beginning of the information they hoped to glean as they strapped into their shuttle, blasted away from the scorched surface of the dead planet, and returned to the master ship.

After hours of careful examination they determined that the human had died of exsanguination.  They were disheartened by this discovery, for a time, because they had hoped to find some trace of the deceased’s blood to test for toxin and radiation levels to help them ascertain why he had lived while the rest had died.  However, they then noticed that the human had cleverly created a way to use his blood to refill his pen.  He wrote himself to death.

They found it curious that someone would willingly choose to expire in such a manner, but they could not judge him because they weren’t aware of the circumstances surrounding his decision.  Plus, they were elated to know that all the blood they would need, and then some, was there for the taking in the pages he had written.  It just needed to be extracted.

For documentation purposes, following proper protocol, they did a full scan of the parchment and preserved the man’s final words, his story of death, before starting the process to remove the blood from the page.  Eventually they were forced to admit that the tests were inconclusive and they could not ascertain why that one human had been able to survive the event that had decimated the rest of the planet.  There was nothing in his blood to indicate he had received a smaller dose of radiation or that he had built of antibodies to fight the toxins that had poisoned everything else.  There was no evidence that he was different in any way from the rest of the specimens they had collected and analyzed.

Being a species of logic, they could make the jump to the idea that he might have had a strong enough will to push on through the pain and disease longer than the rest of his kind, but they wouldn’t say that with certainty because there was no way to prove it.  In their published report of their findings they glossed over all speculation, included the data they were certain of, and also included a copy of the human’s writings.  They understood their was a warning in his words, and while they would never need to heed such advice, they found it fascinating all the same.

Here, in its entirety, are the man’s last words, preserved so that those who need to heed the lesson within have the opportunity to do so:

I’ve seen the damage assessments coming in, and so I know our history will be lost.  We were here for such a short time, compared to the stars we studied, I’m sure there are worlds out there who wouldn’t even consider what we had here as a history at all.  We were the brief flash of a dying spark in a universe full of steady and intense infernos.

But, to us, it still felt like we had at least the start of a full and meaningful existence on the planet we called Earth.  We had grown so much as a species.  We had learned and developed and studied and conquered and created.  We created so many beautiful things.  We also created many ugly things that proved our undoing…

Who sent the first rockets speeding into the atmosphere to deliver their nuclear payload doesn’t matter anymore.  The result is around me now, and around you if this letter somehow survives.  We vaporized ourselves over petty squabbles and misunderstandings.  We killed ourselves and our planet because in our pride we had grown ignorant over the generations.  Our excess made us greedy.  Our inventions made us lazy.  We forgot how to think for ourselves.  Most importantly, we forgot how to question the status quo and to continue searching for new knowledge.

My time is running short now.  I’ve written too much to survive.

Challenge yourself.  Never stop seeking knowledge.  Find new worlds.  Explore.  Adventure.  Hurt.  Heal.  Question everything.

We should have…

it’s a living

The alley stank of filth, the castoffs of the dregs of society.  Litter spilled out of the trash cans.  Half-eaten globs of food were left in various states of decomposition across every surface they could stick to.  In places it looked like someone had intentionally smeared their waste on the wall.  It was not a place one would want to walk alone on a summer day in the height of tourist season.

It was winter, near midnight, and rain clouds blocked out the feeble light of the sliver of moon hanging onto the edge of the world.  It wasn’t raining, but it had, and it would again before the night was out.  The rain would wash the traces of spilled blood into the corners of the alley where it would go unnoticed among the trash.

He watched, hidden in the darkest depths of the alley, with eager anticipation as she stumbled out of the bar alone.  Her drunken faulty steps carried her across the street to pass in front of his alley, and he bent his will towards her, using the magic that was part of his nature to coerce her to enter.  It wasn’t a challenge.  Drunks never were.  Challenge or not, they tasted just as sweet either way when he was hungry, and he hadn’t eaten in days.

She barely paused at the entrance to the alley as he stripped away her last bit of control, and then her steps grew stronger, more certain, as he guided her through the detritus to where he waited.  She was young, and lovely, a true beauty among the humans.  She stood before him, no longer aware of anything, completely devoid of thought.

He reached out and gently tilted her head to the side, exposing her slender neck.  He gazed lovingly across the supple surface of his meal.  His fingers stroked the smooth skin and felt the flesh pulsing with the life beat flowing underneath.  Life for him.  Death for her.  His fangs sank deep.  His head exploded with rapturous joy as he tasted her.  He felt strength returning to his body and smiled, the upturned lips allowed a stream of blood to flow from his mouth and drip from his chin.

If it hadn’t been so long since his last meal he wouldn’t have needed to kill her.  He could have taken just enough to carry on, release her from the spell and send her back into the night.  But, it had been too long for him and once he started he could not control his thirst, his lust for her life’s blood.  When he finished, her corpse slumped to the ground at his feet, and he wiped the blood from his chin with his right hand and licked up the excess.

He could see the moon through the clouds.  He could hear the whispers of the humans in the neighboring buildings as the went about their boring lives oblivious to his existence.  He could smell their blood and while it called to him he’d had enough to regain some control over his needs.

Leaving the dead to rot in the alley, with his regained strength, he scaled one of the adjacent buildings, jumping from shadow to shadow as needed, and then hoisted himself onto the roof.  From there he jumped, changed into a bat, and walked the paths of air through the night in search of his next hiding spot.  It wasn’t the most glamorous lifestyle, especially compared to when he had lived like a king and been treated with the fear and respect he deserved, but times had changed and he had been forced to change with them.

Approaching his 2,000 year of life, he had been forced to adapt many times and it no longer bothered him as it once had.  Perhaps one day the humans would wage a war that would decimate their numbers and capabilities and then he’d walk among them as a god again.  He could be patient for that likely eventuality.

With the taste of his last victim’s blood still in his mouth, he knew for the time being that he had all he ever really needed anyway.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Written as a thank you to The Cutter for helping me reach this major milestone.   He requested/said: “I’d like to see more stories from the vampire’s point of view. (And cool vampires like in the old days, not the whiny vampires in tween lit like Twilight)”

Well, how did I do?

…..

Are you a faithful kingdomite?  Do you have a request?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can put together for you.  (And for all those who already have their requests in, don’t worry, I have them all written down and I’m already working on them.  Your posts are coming.)

contagious

He was the third child.  The third of eight… there used to be a ninth but no one ever wanted to talk about that anymore.  He was like his brothers and sisters in many ways, but he was unique in one very special way.  There was a host of living organisms that had taken up residence on him while his siblings remained pest free.

His brothers and sisters nagged him, made fun of him, chided him on cleanliness and called him many names: dirty, different, abhorrent, weirdo, gross, freak.

He bore their verbal abuse without comment.  There was nothing he could do about the living things growing ever more pervasive across his body.  He had tried to kill them off early, it’s true, but they had proved very adaptable.  Eventually he had given up and let them flourish.

Besides, he knew something his brothers and sisters didn’t know.  His infection had gone through its incubation period and was getting ready to spread.  He was contagious and his nearest brother would soon be overrun with the swarming organism too.  Sure, “soon” is a relative word when planets measured millennium the way others might measure a day, but Earth knew it was only a matter of time until Mars was crawling with humans too.

Jokes on them.  That will teach them for calling me a freak all these years.

………

Word Count: 227

My response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge:

FREAK (noun)
 3
Remember:
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