Run for the hills, the end is nigh!
The world as you know, shall be no more! Shutter your windows, barricade your doors. Store those cans of food and be ready to fight to the very end! Be ready to survive!
Well no, not really. The world outside the window is probably the same as it was yesterday – though there may be some minor/major changes. Though, I’m not sure I can say everything is just peachy here.
Last months genre challenge – Post Apocalyptic Sci Fi, was a major fail on two levels. Firstly, that genre should never have been that month – it wasn’t even on the challenge list. It should have been Steampunk Fantasy. So it was a fail before we even began. However, I did attempt it, and fairly liked where those 500 odd words were going – but then I hit a wall.
Well, not a wall exactly, but a one year old Border Collie that we’d agreed to dog sit – with her being in the house nothing was done. The wall started adding bricks all by itself and before I knew it the month was over and nothing else was added. On the upside, there is the benefit of a new puppy to look forward to. More on him later – he’s way too young to have right now.
See, talk puppies and I’m off track again. Let’s get this ship back on course and to the point. Here’s the massive short fall of last months challenge attempt. Be critical, be brutal – tell me how bad it is!
“Keep moving, keep it steady. The sooner we’re in, the faster we can leave.” Tom dished out his orders without looking over his shoulder. He knew time was against him and his crew. Darkness fell fast these days. Buildings were no longer safe. The city lay in ruins, and various conflicts could be heard ringing out all through the day. “Today’s the day we survive; let’s make this a smooth extraction lads. Everyone comes home. No one is left behind. You hear me?”
“Yes, Sir,” his crew answered in unison.
Tom raised his left arm, and everyone halted. Lowering his hand until it was horizontal with the ground, he signalled for them to kneel. He then tugged his ear lobe, asking them to listen. Distant screams could just be heard over and above the buzz of their enemy. “Drones nearby, everyone move with caution. Jones, I want you up there,” he said, pointing towards the vacant window of a ruined tower block. “You’re my scout. I trust you to keep us as far away from those things as possible. You will signal if they near our position and you will avoid drawing attention to yourself. David, I need you in that building, lower window on the far left. You’re my ears. Stay sharp out there.” He pointed to a building two blocks down from the tower block, making sure there was enough distance between them should trouble befall them.
He brushed the stubble on his chin and scanned the area ahead of him. He waited until he was sure there were no immediate threats before nodding to his men to get in position. Once they were in place he gave off more instructions. “Scott, Adam, you take up my flank. Nothing gets past you that shouldn’t. Callen, Matthew, you’re in behind them. You four are my lead team. Don’t let me down.”
Tom cast his eyes across the path they’d just walked, then turned his gaze to the remaining four members of his crew “Jordan, Dresden, Luke and Nathaniel, you’ll follow us in but you’ll hang back. Once inside you’ll split from us and take the south stairwell heading down. Scan each room, and floor that remains stable. We’ll take the upper floors in our sweep.” He locked his gaze with each man and gave a solid nod. “Keep the lines tight, your eyes sharp, and your footsteps light. Remember, we all make it back, or no one does. Move out!”
No one argued or refused to follow through with their instructions. Tom knew his part well, having been on several extraction missions since the Drones arrived with swarms of monsters and corrupted humans. Those devoid souls, whose numbers had been low when cities remained whole, grew in number as the months passed. With their growth, numbers of true survivors fell, and cities were destroyed as power changed hands. Now they’d be lucky to enter a block that didn’t have masonry crushing cars, or covering the streets.
Dust swirled about their feet, and clung to their boots, as they clambered over metal beams, careful not to cause too much noise. They didn’t speak as they picked up their pace crossing the road, hoping to avoid being caught out in the open. Shattered glass glistened in the sun like hidden rivers, dazzling yet dangerous. One slip the wrong way could spell the end for the unfortunate soul.
Well, there you have it. I hang my head in shame. Join us next month for Steampunk Fantasy and more puppy news!
Until then, happy writing!