Considering I rarely share original writing on here; I thought I’d post this right after writing it, this is possibly the start to a new novel, one that I have already somewhat mapped out in my head, I hope you enjoy it so far, and feel free to leave a comment.
The stagnant smell of damp erupted from the ground vents and hit the noses of ten or so disgusted people walking the rat-infested streets of what was once the proud city of London. The mechanisms for such inventions had been lost in translation over the years and as the contraptions creaked open, spewing excess toxicity across the scope of a suffering civilisation, John Shardik could only wonder how much longer the inhabitants of the planet earth would have to deal with such ambiguity to their technologies.
“Why is it that you continue to worry about them John?” Enquired a shrill voice from John’s right side; a dark haired woman with thin, narrow eyes and a perfect posture was looking up at him, noticing the wonder her friend still paid to the old world innovations their movement had yet to be rid of.
John Shardik thought about this issue, wracking his brain around it, trying not to sound ignorant but only returning to the same answer over and over again. “Everything about the vents bothers me June, the fumes they produce, their haunting, feeble movements, the enigma of what’s below them, and how they work… there’s nothing about it that isn’t a mystery to me. Does that make me dumb? Because it sure feels like it does with that look you’re giving me.” John turned a face of concern towards his friend and she only chuckled.
“John, our knowledge is only relative, you’re not ignorant because you can’t explain the reason why the interlopers left these kinds of machines behind; they wouldn’t be our oppressors if they didn’t keep secrets from us. The only thing you really need to worry about is meeting one of them; because once they begin forcing their agenda upon you, well, you’ll succumb to a very Orwellian love of big brother.” The turnaround in June’s statement was not a shock to John; all his life he had been warned about the interlopers, the ones who had ruined the world they struggled to live on, the ones who controlled every negative occurrence from high up in the sky, in the orb that was their base of operations.
The two of them walked for a while down the dank, musty streets, appearing as if to be on their own despite their being part of a crowd. Their mission was simple, and it seemed to them to be the only righteous thing they were left able to do in their God-forsaken planet. The people of London were dying, as were those in various settlements across the screaming earth. They needed medicine, and John intended to provide them with such, the vision of his group was grand and their cause just, however, they operated with fear of those above them, the interlopers. If they interfered with their plans, there could potentially be hundreds of people going without their intervention, and that was not a loss they could afford to take in their stride.
“June… have you ever been up there, to the asylum?” John asked tentatively, his rookie nature truly shining through to his friend and superior, June raised her eyebrows and opened her eyes wide at this comment, giving them the appearance of an average size. John considered asking her to forget his question, however, his curiosity got the better of him, and he waited for an answer, his brain hungry for the information he so craved.
June eventually answered with just a slight hint of a stammer, her voice showing a faint tremor that John could only assume was associated with the terror of the virus-shaped orb in the sky; its silver prongs sticking out from countless points on its intimidating metallic surface. “I… no… I’ve never been there… I’ve heard stories, and my brother… Michael was lost to their terrible cause… I still hear from him, but he begs me to join him, something which I will never do… I won’t give up for the sake of reuniting with those we have lost to the interlopers’ cruel game.” June bit her lip hard at the end of her sentence; her anger suppressed by the brief shot of pain she received from her toothy grip.
The group of freedom fighters reached their target right on time; the smog clouds drifted slightly as they arrived, what in the distant past would have been moonlight reflected of the dreaded Asylum-X as its anthropomorphic stare intimidated those collectively pulling their efforts together below its metallic gaze.
The orphanage they were attempting to share their resources with was bolted shut, and the assembly’s shaggy bearded companion Hale brought his strong hands towards the large, oak door for a hearty knock, one that was followed by the sound of scurrying footsteps, the pitter-patter of excited children before the great door.
Hale turned to John as the door creaked open and whispered desperately to him; “do you have the remedies Shardik?” His husky voice alerted John to the urgency of their errand. John stroked his damp, sponge-like hair in deep thought before remembering the package’s location.
John rummaged through his heavy jacket; its many pockets contained a number of uninteresting items it had collected over the years, and yet what he was looking for was only in the last place he looked; the parcel emerged from one of his several inside pockets, and it contained several bottles of what John could only describe as miracle cures, medicine which he, along with the entire assembly, hoped could restore wellness to the decrepit world around them.
An old woman poked her head through the gap the great oak door had revealed, her face riddled with boils and wrinkles, she was very sick, and as she coughed the assembly covered their faces with their sleeves, a standard safety procedure in such a sickly civilisation.
“What business do you have here?” The woman’s croaked tones exasperated, she was clearly having a stressful day, and the sudden appearance of several figures at her door wasn’t exactly what she had been hoping for as she attempted to get the children of the orphanage settled and into bed.
June answered the woman with honesty in her voice and her heart on her sleeve, and the elder woman listened intently, her proposal was interesting to say the least. “We’re here bringing medicine unapproved by the old people, I know that you are afraid to ask for help, the hospitals have been overrun with the sick and the dying, but we’re coming to you. We know you’re sick, we know your children are sick, and we want to help in any way we can.”
The old woman smiled at the concept of such a marvel, but was not entirely convinced of the goodwill of those at her door, as far as she was concerned, the interlopers could be anywhere and everywhere, and deception was not something she would put past them. “What do you want in return? You are traders after all are you not?” Her croaks becoming more and more legible as her eyes lit up with excitement.
Hale looked the woman dead in the eyes and gave her a straight up answer, one which she accepted wholeheartedly given the miracles she was being promised. “We need your protection, your support, if we get enough people on our side, then we can effectively be immune from the interlopers by sheer mass. Will you help us?” Hale’s lazy eye wandered into the distance as his other stared intently at the old woman, who nodded eagerly at the offer.
“You have my word; we will be part of the assembly.” The woman smiled at the surprise on John Shardik’s face as he heard her speak the name of their organisation. She cackled a little with glee and finished with a small but significant comment as she took the package full of remedies from John’s steady hands. “People around here are becoming very familiar with you, who knows? Some day we might have ourselves enough followers for a revolution.”
It was at this point, when the old woman closed the door and the assembly turned to make their way back home that bright searchlights appeared above the gathered revolutionaries, the suddenness of the lights’ appearance dazzled the gathered men and women for a moment, long enough for them to hear the announcement that came along with the illumination.
UNETHICAL TRADE LOCATED
UNETHICAL TRADE LOCATED
FRAUDULENT PRODUCTS DETECTED
PERPETRATORS WILL BE CAPTURED AND TRIED
The metallic voice reminded the assembly of the spiked orb hanging high from the sky, and as they looked upwards, they saw that indeed, Asylum-X was exactly where the searchlight was coming from, they were spotted, they were terrified, and all they could do was flee.
Hale shouted for his group to run while figures in black suits abseiled from the city’s rooftops onto the ground below, tracking down the members of the assembly, ready to capture, they held tasers and were pointing them directly at their targets as they chased with seemingly impossible speed towards the revolutionaries.
The team split up, all of them taking their leave down a different route, all would eventually lead back to the same place, but their only hope was to split up their hunters along the way; unfortunately for John however, he was not fast enough; and as he stumbled across a stray cobble on the mossy street, a black figure from his left hand side fired its weapon, and the pain of the semi-lethal apparatus left him in a spasm on the floor, writhing around pathetically as if in seizure. All John Shardik could see while he lay there was the dazzling light of the Asylum above him, and the black figure before him taking of its mask, revealing a mess of long, bushy brown hair underneath, slowly going fuzzy in his mind as he passed out; he cursed in his head as he faded away, knowing where he would find himself when he woke up, and fearing for his life.