Burn

0

New short story based on the events of last game. This one is from the perspective of She. As always, the main character is my own. The other characters mentioned in the scene are products of their own players. Jackal is the creation of another player and was used with his permission and input. Let’s just say, I’m really excited for this upcoming game!

**********

“What’cha doin?” Jackal asked, his face popping up and blocking the light from the campfire that they had built together.

The Unborn looked up from her work and rolled her white and black eyes. “You’re in my light,” she muttered.

Jackal shifted over a small bit and poked at the leather vest in the Unborn’s hands. “But really, what’cha doin?”

The Unborn sighed and brushed Jackal’s hand away from the vest. She picked up the small surgical knife and went back to carefully cutting the threads that held the blue and white patches onto the back of the vest. “I’m cutting off these rockers.”

“Pretty sure those ain’t rocks.”

“Rockers. Patches. Same thing. I never asked why they were called it.”

Jackal licked his blood stained lips and watched for a moment as the Unborn continued. Slice through a few threads, pull up on the patch so that it was easier to slice through more threads. The more she cut, the faster she got at removing the triangular patch from the vest.

“Wait, does that mean you’re not in Warsong anymore?”

“Yup.”

“Why?”

The Unborn looked up and glanced over to the Semper. “Let’s just say, the final straw was being told they didn’t have time to deal with my coming back from the grave and the screaming pain in my head and hands.” The Unborn paused and looked at her palm. She remembered the burning sensation in her fingers before pausing to shake her hands and going back to snipping away the threads that held the patch in place.

“That sounds really shitty.”

The Unborn nodded her head. “Yup.”

“She?”

The Unborn paused with a groan and glared at the Semper. “Anyxa.”

“What?”

“Anyxa. My name is Anyxa. Not she. Anyxa.”

“Oh… Then why do people call you she?”

Anyxa groaned and put the surgical knife down in her lap. “Because I didn’t use names. I wanted to show respect to people. To acknowledge that the ancestors invited them to the great whole just like everyone else. But no, ass holes don’t give a flying fuck who or what they do and respect. It’s all hide your face. Don’t scare them with your power. Don’t be alone. Save people but don’t come near the dying. Help the town but be nowhere near the problem. Don’t be trusted because of the power you have and where you’re from.” Anyxa paused and ripped the last few threads with a sharp yank on the patch, separating it from the leather vest. “Be held at arms length even though we promise we’ll take care of you. Fucking liars.”

Jackal stared a moment, licking his lips and sniffing as he turned to look into the woods. A quiet “I’m hungry,” muttered from his lips and then he turned back to Anyxa with a  shrug. “Yeah, people can be dicks. But actually, I more wanted to know why you were talkin all normal now and not like you usually do.”

“Because these fuck heads,” Anyxa glared at the patch in her hands, “don’t seem to care about respecting me so why would I respect them?”

“Oh yeah. I guess that makes sense.”

Anyxa pulled a square lighter from her pocket and grinned. She could see Jackal’s eyes light up in the glow of the campfire. She flicked open the top and with a swipe of her thumb, pulled a flame to the top of the lighter.

“If you don’t have time for me,” she muttered holding the patch over the flame so the flame could lick and taste it before beginning to consume the fabric and paint, “then I don’t have time for you, mother fuckers.”

Jackal grinned. “What’cha gonna do now? Hunt ‘em down? Can I come?” He balled his fists up and pulled them back, bouncing and ready to go.

Anyxa tossed the burning patch into the campfire.

“I’m gonna watch the world burn!”

Advertisements

Stop Me

0

This is one of the moments from the most recent DR event. It was a really intense event, which is why it needed me to write up what happened in it as opposed to a between the gathers moment. As always, Jeanie is my own character and the others are from the players who created them. I’m just writing down what happened in this scene as best as I can remember it

**********

Just a few minutes ago, the iron had been laughing and making obscene gestures at Father Ezra and his posse. His statements of necessary discipline had been a laughable joke. He was insane. He was wrong.

But he still had power.

Power to command an army. Power to mess with the head of an Iron Engineer. Power to get an Iron who lividly hated everything the Hansfield’s stood for to stand at attention, between him and her town, her Curie, her friends, ready to take a bullet for this awful man.

“We’ll see who has power when your organs become my lunch,” a full dead hissed through clenched teeth.

Jeanie felt her body glance over to Zero, standing at Father Ezra’s right side, and back to the Full Dead. She gripped her knucks tighter, ready to punch the Full Dead and send him flying across the room. Stop it! Let me go you fuck head! The Iron’s eyes narrowed and glanced at the rest of the crowd. The Curie leaned back with his arms crossed. Not a current threat. The Full Dead kept leaning in with his arms gripping the table edge. A threat, but closer to Zero. Nell was walking to the back of the group. Jeanie watched as her body moved on it’s own, shifted to make sure she could lunge between Father Ezra and the Rover.

Nell! Help me! Please! Don’t make me do this

The Iron’s eyes darted back to the Curie who discussed with Father Ezra’s broken and bloodied body. Everyone had something to say. Everyone was angry and harsh. The Curie was the only one who chose his words carefully. The only one who was paying attention.

“Did anyone notice how while we were discussing, the Irons were planning with each other on how to save him?”

Yes! Thank you! Now, please stop me! I don’t want to defend him.

“I think I want to go outside,” Father Ezra calmly stated, knowing that his men were circling around to the back of the building.

Jeanie watched, horrified as her hand darted out and placed it self on Father Ezra’s body. She felt the surge of power gathering. She felt the warmth as the radiation shot out of her hand and into his body, knitting every piece of him back to perfect health. No! Savannah would be right to shoot me down for this! To call down the power of faith into a man who was her enemy. But she couldn’t stop herself. She couldn’t even get her mouth to form the words she wanted to say.

The Hansfield soldiers burst through the door and grabbed Father Ezra. Zero hurried after them. Please no. I don’t want to go with him. Jeanie’s body turned and began to hobble after the Father, her left and useless leg dragging with each struggled step. Please Spooky. Someone. Please stop me. Help.

They hurried after, focused on Father Ezra and not the Iron who was unable to stop her body from moving forward, unable to stop herself from protecting him. Somebody! Help me! Please help! Her lips never moved. Jeanie’s grip on her knucks tightened.

“She’s a priest!” Someone noticed Jeanie protecting the man she hated. She felt her head turn to glare at the Natural One who said it, right as the flat edge of his sword slammed into her arm, shattering the bone. Hummingbird swung again shattering the bone of her other arm. “She can’t heal him now.” Thank you. Now Stop me from following him. “Take him to a cabin where no one is around,” Hummingbird continued, “Get information out of him.” Jeanie’s body turned to follow, dragging her messed up leg behind her. Hummingbird? Finish stopping me? Please?

Mitch carried Father Ezra. Hummingbird, Cash, and Jeanie hobbling along beside them with a few others tagging along. Into a small cabin. Father Ezra placed to sit on a bed. Mitch on the floor. Cash off to the side. And Hummingbird, up close with weapon in hand. Jeanie feeling herself constantly shift to get in Hummingbird’s way, protecting Father Ezra with her life.

Hummingbird stepped in close. Placed his hand upon her shattered arm. Put pressure on it. Jeanie grimaced loudly, trying to remain standing on her one good leg.

“Jeanie, dear, look at how your so called friends are hurting you,” Father Ezra exclaimed. “Why are you hurting her? Why are you causing more pain after you already shattered her arms?”

Hummingbird looked at Jeanie and then back at Father Ezra. Please just stop. Get me out of here. “What? How am I hurting her?” Hummingbird smiled wickedly as he pushed down on her arm again.

It felt like hours of watching her body move and speak without her control. Hours of defending a man or sitting with a man who sought to treat her like property because it was how he showed love to his children. Hours of watching as Mitch and Cash tried to remind Father Ezra of how much he was hurting her and had hurt her already. Hours of desperately trying and failing to take enough control of her body that she could beg for help.

Hours before Ruse, of all people, asked why no one had taken her down yet to set her free. The asshole who she hated for not respecting her when it came to her engineering, he was the one who reminded everyone how to free her from Father Ezra’s control. He was the one who reminded Hummingbird to swing his sword over and over, cutting into her body as she tried to protect Father Ezra, before she finally collapsed in a broken heap on the floor.

Someone immediately came over and began to patch her wounds up just enough to keep her from dying. She grimaced and grunted, finally able to answer for herself once again.

And Del wondered why she was so angry when she sat down at her meeting a few minutes later.

An Act of Faith

0

Dystopia Rising had a bunch of events this past weekend. I was at one and holy crow was it good. I should be sleeping, but I can’t sleep so I wrote a story based on the weekend. If you haven’t checked out this game, you really really should. The story is based on events that happened to my character, Jeanie. The other characters are products of their players. The world is from the amazing brains at Eschaton Media.

**********

“Updated symptoms,” Jeanie muttered under her breath as she wrote her notes down in her science journal, “Skin has finished healing in both sites. Infection pushed the staples out of the stomach. Tress helped remove the last of the sutures from the chest.”

Jeanie paused and ran her fingers across the y shaped scar on her chest. She had known the experiment that she was helping out with would be dangerous. The theory was sound and had quite a bit of knowledge to back it up. Surround the irradiated tank heart with living infection to increase it’s life span. Increase the life of the tank heart to ensure greater chance it gets used to give people their second chance.

The scar on her chest was a strong reminder of how dangerous the experiment really was. She had a second heart in her abdomen, not attached to anything. Beating at it’s own, slow, undead rhythm. She had zombie flesh slowly rotting inside her body with the hope that her body can keep it from rotting out completely.

She closed her eyes and dropped her forehead onto the table. Her left hand pushing into her stomach as a wave of pain flashed over her. She carefully took deep breaths and focused her breathing. She didn’t want to let either heart (or both) start beating too fast again. The graverobber, Sig, had gone back to Eden. If something went wrong, the only one who could fix it was Doctor Plaggue and he was often out with the hats.

The iron was on her own then.

She sat up and glanced down at her notebook before continuing her notes. “Periodic flashes of pain. Focusing on breathing seems to be keeping the hearts in sync with each other… or at least not beating too fast.”

Jeanie paused. Tress was a doctor or a sawbones? The irons should probably chat about that soon. Make sure they’re on the same page and regularly checking up on Jeanie’s health. Maybe get Nell for when Tress wasn’t in town. Either way, a doctor needs to be involved. After all, she was under orders not to die.

What would Nell think? Would she be annoyed? Appreciative? Understanding of the iron’s decision? Worried like Charles? Or would she understand like Ted that this was Jeanie trying to make a step forward, an act of faith.

Faith. The graverobber said there was a small chance of death. Jeanie may not know much about bodies but she was a scientist and understood the grave and the undead. The chance was much much higher than Sig would actually say. But, she had faith. Faith that she would survive this. She had no proof, but she was certain it would work. She would help usher medicine into a new age of science. She would help humanity evolve.

An act of faith.

What would Finch say? Would he agree? Would Savannah speak though him? Jeanie sighed. She would have to tell him. They would likely have a long conversation about it. Hopefully he would see that it wasn’t a suicidal choice but her actually trying to move forward in her faith and act on the very painful lesson he taught her at Devil’s Rest.

Jeanie shook her head and went back to her notebook. “Lethargy still present. Subject is staying in well populated areas to ensure regular rest and nutrition. Will have regular check ins with medical staff to look for symptoms not visible to non medics.”

Jeanie yawned and took a deep breath before closing the notebook and putting it away. She curled up on the couch and glanced across the room at the bar and to the red headed Rover who was wiping down some glasses.

“Wake me up if something happens,” she called out to him.

“Sure thing, kid.”

Jeanie closed her eyes and took another deep breath. She would get through this. It would succeed. She just knew it. She had faith it would work.

It had to work.

It would work.

Right?

Bonfire

0

Dystopia Rising story? Dystopia Rising story! This one is my Unborn, She. As always, the world is the property of Eschaton Media. The main character is my own original character. The rest are the property of those who created them in the game (and the Rover in this story was used with permission).

**********

The night was still young. A large bonfire in the center of the beach while the three Marsh Walker tribes and their guests celebrated and enjoyed fellowship with each other in the light of the flames. The new crew mates all cheered each other with pride for surviving and succeeding at the trials they had faced through the rest of the holiday. Tomorrow, they would awaken, climb into their boats and return to the water with the families they had joined. The guests would make their way back to the Grove, likely with a few members of the Katama guiding the way.

One particular Unborn of the Sankaty stood in front of the bonfire, staring into the flames. Her green skinned hands tightly gripped the scraps of the skirt she’d worn for years. Unlike the other new crew members, her face wasn’t covered with the joy of the night’s festivities. Her white eyes were focused on the dancing flames, free of their mask. Her cheeks, covered in soot and ash war designs, shifted softly as she chewed on the insides of her cheeks.

“What do you think of the party?” a voice asked.

“Huh?” The Unborn turned. Purple hair and a studded pink jacket adorned the Rover who had addressed her.

“The party? You enjoying it?”

She nodded. “Yes. It’s nice to find others of her kind so ready to welcome her.”

“You’ve got that in the Grove. Warsong. Your mom and dad.”

“They’re not like her. They all have others of their kind. Others who understand. Her mom understands a lot. He even guided her to the Kings who sing for the outcasts that are rejected. But he is still not of her kind. The ancestors made that very clear, to be careful of those who are not like her. She will make them proud again. Her new crew mates of the Sankaty are helping.”

“How so?”

“They are reminding her what it means to be one of the ancestors’ chosen people. They are helping her remember what the Fallow Hope caravan tried to destroy.”

“The Fallow Hope?”

The Unborn nodded and shifted her gaze to the skirt in her hands. “They called her an abomination. Prepared her to join the students of the blind. The Sankaty are helping her to reclaim her pride.”

“Good.” The Rover placed hands on their hips and nodded. “You should be proud. You’re medical professional, like your mom, and you do a lot of good for the town.”

White eyes glanced back to the Rover. “The town cannot decide if they want her kind. One minute they work hard to remind her that she’s not what the Fallow taught her and the next they use zed-be-gone to keep her trapped in the corner of the bar and unable to help or go anywhere.”

The Rover shook her head. “That shouldn’t have happened.”

There was silence between the two punks for a moment as they stood in front of the dancing flames. Around them, people laughed. On the other side of the beach, the four Grove Katama all sassed each other in ways that most of the Grove could not imagine.

“What’s that?” The Rover broke the silence and pointed to the skirt in the Unborn’s hands.

“The past.” The Unborn looked down at the skirt. Green and brown, faded with age. She saw the years of being hidden away when the caravan entered a settlement. She heard the harsh voice of the Ascended one who believed to the point of his skin bleeding the tenants of the faith. She heard the insults hidden in fake concern and the malice with which they gave her a name.

The Unborn tossed the fabric into the flames of the bonfire and watched as the green cloth burned with the dancing golden fire.

“You’ve got to make a choice, if the music drowns you out. And raise your voice every single time they try to shut your mouth.”

What Do I Do Now?

0

Dystopia Rising Story cause current plot is like OH MY GOODNESS! I know you always hear me say it, but if you haven’t looked into this game yet, please do. It’s so good. The people at Eschaton Media put out amazing work. As always, the world is the property of Eschaton Media. The characters are the creations of myself and a few other players. This is a Jeanie story.

**********

The iron stared down into the dented metal mug by the light of her glow. The water inside it was about as still as the calloused and heavily blistered hands of the iron who held it, very different from the thoughts rushing through her head.

It was over.

No more screams. No more gunfire. No more explosions from being shelled. No more cries and moans of the injured and dying. No more harsh orders and strainist comments from the enemy as they tried to demoralize and hurt the Iron.

Just quiet.

The quiet made every thought a scream.

She wasn’t supposed to survive the war. That’s why Jeanie had volunteered to go with the Life Guard. The chance of death in battle seemed high. Her fear. Her frustration. Her feeling of constant dread and hurt. It would all go away. It would be over. It was supposed to be over now.

But it wasn’t.

A rustle of branches. Jeanie jumped and scanned the forest behind her. Her eyes noticed… nothing. Just the wind.

The iron sighed and took of sip of the water in her cup. She scrunched her face for a moment and slid her tongue across her teeth. This was definitely not the high quality hooch that was served at the Dunwich.

“Fuck, I need a drink.”

The Dunwich. Charles. Fuck.

She had sent him a letter letting him know to not expect her to come home. She wasn’t supposed to survive. How would he handle watching Jeanie walk back into the bar? Would he be angry? No. More hurt. Scared maybe. Was it possible for the Ascensor to feel heart broken? Did he love Jeanie enough to feel that way over her most recent attempt to join the grave?

Jeanie let her right hand slip off the mug and traced the triple X hedon logo tattooed to her wrist. She scratched the dried blood off her wrist til the three purple Xs could be seen clearly. Would Charles even understand?

The iron kept scratching off the blood that had dried on her skin. She winced in pain as she accidently scatched where a blister had opened. After a moment’s pause, she kept going. A black 25 tattooed next to the hedon logo was the next visible piece.

A slave brand.

She didn’t need that anymore. They won the war. Bay Towne declared freedom in the Mass.

The Iron ran her fingers through the matted and blood stained hair before shaking her hand to let the chunks of her that her fingers pulled up fall to the ground.

Charles would love that. And the knowledge that she could go freely as she wished without slavers going after her in the Mass was a nice change from the rest of her life.

But Jeanie spent so long fighting… and failing… to be free…

What would she do now?

The iron scratched at her forehead and grimaced as she felt her fingers tear open a blister.

She needed to get herself back to the Dunwich and get a drink. Hell, she needed a lot more than a drink.

Quarantine

0

Unlike most stories that I write, which take place just after or just before an event, this is a retelling of one of the moments from this past Dystopia Rising event. Dear goodness, this stuff was good.

**********

When they go to repair the morgue, all the Psions are going to be quarantined to the bar and away from the morgue. You’re considered a Psion for this. If any Psion leaves, it is going to be considered endangering the town and they will be executed.

The bar was nearly empty. Most everyone was by the morgue or in triage. Both places the unborn pharmacist were not allowed near at the moment. Despite the fact that she could stop people from dying, if that’s what they wanted. She could be a first step before they went to doctors for their injury, a quick fix to keep them alive until the doctors could get to them. She could help, if only they would let her.

There were about ten people total in the bar. The young half breed doctor. The dragon. The new female bar tender. The bone hat bar owner. The blue ridges. A few others.

There was a scream echoing from the skinless skeleton creature that entered the doorway. She grabbed her head from the pain of the scream.

“BONEHEADS” someone shouted as one or two launched themselves after the undead visitor.

Another scream.

“If they keep coming, we may have to spray down the door.” The bone hat walked with authority across the room. “It has to be a last resort. It’ll hurt She if we do.” He pointed with his gun towards her as she backed into a corner away from the newest Bonehead entering the room. “Someone protect She.”

There was another scream.

Her knees gave out from under her as she collapsed to the floor in a moment of agonizing pain. Her head hit the ground.

Peace.

A deep breath and her body relaxed. She could feel them, the ancestors. Reaching out. Brushing against her fingertips. They were ready for her. A euphoric calm washed over her body. Everything was going to be alright.

“She? Can you hear me? Say something?” a voice cut through, disrupting the peace and calm.

She closed her eyes and shifted. No need to worry about the gunfire and screams. No need to worry about the frantic running of feet across the bar room floor. Focus on the peace.

“She? Talk to me. Tell me if you can feel this.”

Why wouldn’t that voice go away? Leave her be. Let her go to her true family. She wasn’t suffering, go to someone who was.

The euphoria began to fade. The sounds of the running feet and the weapons hitting hard against the bone of their attackers became louder. The voice became clearer.

“She are you okay? Stay with me.”

She sat up. The half breed doctor had been kneeling next to her.

Something was wrong. The room was… different.

“She,” someone called out, “Get away from the door.”

Then it hit her.

The smell.

It emanated through the room from the door to the building. It caught in her throat. She gagged and hurriedly made her way to the bar, opposite from the doorway. She had to get as far away from that smell as She could. Oh God, it wouldn’t go away.

The Unborn glanced around the room. Everyone was walking as if it were all fine. Most everyone had relaxed a bit knowing that they were safer. No one else seemed to notice that the room had such a putrid and unavoidable smell overpowering it.

They had sprayed the door.

The colonial came running through the door. Screaming for help. Who could save people? She stood on the stage screaming, trying to hand out supplies for people to bring to triage to help save lives.

The Unborn tried to make her way over. She gagged. She had to back up. She couldn’t get over there.

The colonial screamed again. “If you can save people, get over here now!”

The Unborn tried again. Struggling to get closer. Each step closer to the door and the smell got worse. Each step closer to the door was more difficult. She stopped and gagged again before backing up quickly. She tried calling to the colonial, getting her attention, but the colonial was focused and opening her mouth almost made the smell worse.

She had to get away.

The Unborn backed up again to the bar corner.

She had been told, the only way she could leave quarantine was if it had become too dangerous in the bar. They had tried to keep the bar safe, but in doing so, prevented her from leaving the bar even if it became dangerous.

They had succeeded in their quarantine.

The pharmacist could no longer go to help anyone. She could no longer try to show the town that she wanted to be a friend and not the enemy. She was under quarantine and confined to the corner of the bar, away from everyone.

Just like she had always been kept away from everyone on the caravan.

Maybe the town wasn’t that different from the caravan.

Quarantine the monster.

If something attacks, it’ll kill her while everyone else gets away.

The Unborn sat down on the bar stool of the empty bar and sighed.

Maybe the ancestors were right.

Do not use them to replace us, your true family.

They are not one of us.

What is Freedom?

0

My goodness. If you haven’t checked out Dystopia Rising by the amazing people at Eschaton Media, you need to do so. This past weekend was a game and it was intense and wonderful and made the world amazing. Seriously guys, play this game.

**********

Jeanie glanced over at the new ink on her left forearm. It was one of two new pieces. Or maybe one new piece and one updated piece. The updated piece was on her shoulder. The bow of ship leaving a cloud of smoke. A number added to the bow of the ship A-825. The new piece was down on the forearm, in purple. The number 25 and the Hedon triple X figure.

Do you want to be free?

What kind of question is that? Of course.

Do you want to be free?

Yes.

She slowly slid her fingers over the new number and sighed. She had spent years fighting to remove the numbers that had been tattooed to her face back in Motor City. She had searched and fought and cried. Mickey had gotten ahold of the syringe that removed the numbers branded into her skin. She had cried in agony as she remembered the pain of having it placed on her cheek while Caleb had held her and the brew burned the ink out of her skin.

Only to have not only the old number returned but a new one.

And by her own choice.

You know how the Dock Workers ink their story into their skin? Well, Irons sort of do the same. We claim the ink in our skin as our story and wear it with pride. Only I haven’t. And I’m trying. I’m trying to be proud.

As much as she wanted to be proud, there was a certain hurt that came every time she got new ink and remembered the pain of getting her first tattoo. There was a certain pain in the knowledge that she was once again marked as property of someone else, as a slave. She was trying so hard to reclaim pride in her life and in what she had lived.

It still hurt.

Hey Jeanie. Have you torn up your papers yet?

No. Why would I?

Slavery is illegal now. You’re free.

Her papers were still in Charles’ pocket. She had not torn them up yet. He had asked, but for some reason, she wasn’t ready. It wasn’t the right time yet. And despite numerous members of the town reassuring her that she was now free, she didn’t feel free.

She never had.

Remember the first question you asked me?

Yeah.

Well, I’ve never felt free. And every time someone reminds me that I’m an Iron or comments on my glow, I don’t feel free. And I’m trying, but honestly, it’s hard.

Jeanie sighed and stared down at the empty glass in front of her.

Would she ever feel free?

“Yo, asshole,” she shouted to the red headed rover chatting at the other end of the bar before waving a 5 chuck lager at him. “I want another.”