Tis Tuesday and another grand day for a Blogbattle! This week's word is "Drop." To read more blog battle entries, click HERE. To read Part 1 of The Sickle, click HERE.
Clovis felt like he had been running for days. He might as well had been. The way his tongue had glued to the roof of his mouth from the strain of unrelenting thirst was a sure sign that he would be a dead man…and soon.
He had been a moving target for several hours, running into the face of the sun towards the rocky cliffs ahead of him, hoping to find some kind of shelter. But with each determined stride, with each kick of the living dust that swirled around his feet, the farther away the mountain seemed to be.
Its promise of temporary shelter snaked through him pressing him forward, battling against the relentless distance that taunted him. It was almost as if the mountain was moving away from him.
He knew better. The soaring heat of Hydra Colony, and the glare of its suns were baking away his reasoning. He still had not gotten the chance to register what was happening or why Empire had disconnected him. He could only focus his mind on shelter, and the thirst that was quickly drawing moisture from his pressed lips.
Better dehydration killed him than them to get their hands on him.
The XX, what Empire had dubbed the denizens farmed in Hydra Colony, were too basic, too far gone from human or true terre to be considered female.
They were devoid of reason and even lacked the necessary organs to reproduce. They were all but maddened clay forms, incomplete, lacking the finishing touch from the hand of God.
Shrill cries and hoots similar to that of aggravated baboons echoed against the rock face of the mountains causing Clovis’ jaw to clench. The sound was beyond threatening and he had yet to formulate a plan for survival beyond running.
Foolishly, he chanced a look behind him, squinting past the blisters that were lingering just beneath his burning skin. At least six XX’s had emerged from the living dust just after he had collected the viable sample, and were now in hot pursuit.
Hot. How long would it be before the colony was completely cleansed by the fire that came after every Sickle trial? By the sudden rise of ferocity of the suns, Clovis reckoned he would survive a week at best before he was roasted alive.
That was at least a full five days before the fires ignited, putting Hydra Colony back at zero.
Another shrill cry, followed by a cacophony of others distinct from those that had previously assaulted his ears broke out behind him. Again Clovis looked back, just as his palm touched the rough surface of the mountain, and a prayer for a clear path to safety parted his lips.
Horror clawed up his spine with a chill that knocked the heat from his skin. Something large, larger than the XX’s had come upon them with neck break speed. Roaring like a lion, it tore down Clovis’ pursuers with blurring movements, dropping their lifeless forms to the dust.
Clovis choked down a terrible cry of his own. Six dead meant at least 36 would rise in their places, never mind the others who probably crawled upon the mountain, hiding in the darkness.
Tearing his eyes away from the beast he could only assume was born of his blood and the living dust, Clovis took to the mountain, gripping the Sickle with an unyielding hold.
Sharp rock threatened to break his skin, forcing Clovis to change his position several times, costing him precious time. The panting of the beast behind him bounced around him.
It was drawing close, too close. Clovis needed a plan. It was that, or die at the age of 40.
He finally pulled himself to a flat surface dropping his head to his chest, taking in deep breathes through his nostrils, anything to quiet his movements and mask his position.
A shadow sliced across his path causing him to startle. He slowly drew upward from his seated position, shifting the Sickle in his hand, praying no dust lingered upon the mountain. Blood would be shed before it was all said and done, Clovis just intended for it not to be his.
Again the shadow zipped past him, dancing to the music of bare feet against stone, and breaths shallowly and carefully drawn. With each pass, Clovis moved backward, slid behind a rock, climbed over a low over hang that kissed a narrow cave opening just at his feet, until he finally realized what he had done.
“You idiot,” He chastised himself. He had allowed his fear to surrender him to the hand of his appointment, allowing them to push him directly in to the position they wanted him in, and all with the movement of their shadow.
Before he could process, before he could undo the damage he had done, the roar of the beast cracked against his eardrums. Stunned by the closeness of the sound, Clovis blocked his ears, losing the focus he so needed to keep himself alive.
By the time he righted his swimming equilibrium, it was too late. The shadow of the beast began to fill the area around him. Clovis swallowed down the dryness of fear.
“I will not die this day!” He hissed, readying himself for the creature’s arrival, unprepared for the hooking hold that had grabbed him by the ankles dragging him down to the ground from behind.
Clovis hit the ground hard, chest first and winded, careful not to lose the Sickle, but unable to stop the rough hands as they jerked him backward, forcing him through the darkness. Down, down, down, he tumbled, unable to gain purchase with control, until all he felt was rushing air around him just before he hit bottom.
Stunned, he struggled to open his eyes. The drop should have killed him. But it may have saved his life…
THE END OF PART II
To read Part 3 “Awake” Click HERE
Less than 30 words shy of 1000. I actually tried to write a bit less BUT that clearly didn’t happen. I also wanted to try a different story line all together BUT that didn’t happen either. The Sickle just stuck with me, as did Clovis. I had to give him another week or else I am certain I would have gone mad.
I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to leave feedback and be sure to check out other entries of this blog battle.