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post #24 of (permalink) Old 04-08-12, 04:26 AM
Adrian
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Default The eyes of the dead

The eyes of the dead


These are the torments that have befallen me. The plagues of the mind; the horrors of sights unimagined; the horrors that have ravaged me since I was a young man have finally come into the reality of my futile life. I am alone in the world of my mind and though there are billions of people who populate this world, none can save me, for I am a fleck of dust, a deposit of excrement upon the heel of the Emperium.

Excerpt from the Chronicles of the Forgotten.

***

Tasabar Oklees walked through the war torn city streets. He was not alone. Although those who surrounded him were familiar to him, they did not know him anymore, nor did they understand the basics of humanity. They were as dead as the corpses that still burned in the city square. However as dead as they were, they still walked, shambling through the shadows of a fallen world that no longer remembered its name.

Shotgun in hand, Tasabar stalked through the streets trying not to make any noise, but failing miserably. Broken glass and spent shell casings were everywhere and it was impossible not to step on them. He knew the art to staying alive was not to shift his weight once a step was taken, for to do so was to invite death by the breaking of the fragile clear splinters. Each step was a threat to his existence, each breath taken too loudly could be his last.

Tasabar was tired, almost too tired to even think, but his survival instincts kept him from giving up. His faith in the saying, “The Emperor protects” was non-existent, for he had seen too many times that the Emperor did not protect. The doctrine of the Emperor was a lie.

Tasabar’s home world had been besieged by the plague monger and try as humanity might; the plagues that ravaged everything and everyone could not be cleansed from the tainted world. Nearly everything had been burned in an attempt to stymie the spread of the plague, but in the end all the survivors did was deprive themselves of stable shelter against what was to come.

From the burning flesh-pits the corpses not rendered to skeletons pulled, clawed and tore at the blackened earth. They stood and walked and ran and jumped upon any who were not quick enough to escape or strong enough to fight them off. There was no hiding from them. It was as if they could see through walls or smell the living no matter where they hid.

Screaming mothers were torn apart as they attempted to keep the dead from their children; blood and flesh, intestines and lungs, broken skulls and gnawed bones were all that was left of the mothers and their children.

Many of those who survived attempted suicide but for reasons unknown they could not die by their own hands. Instead their wounded bodies were torn apart and consumed as the cowards screamed and begged for the end to come.

It had taken only a few short years for the plague to do its job. The night the commit slammed into the ocean no one could have known or imagined the horrors that would befall humankind; complete annihilation of every living thing, complete breaking of sanity as loved ones tore into limbs, faces, necks, arms and legs.

Tasabar Oklees had been there at the beginning and he had seen firsthand his father crush the skull of his infected mother before shooting himself in the head. He had seen his father writhing on the ground, half of his head missing from the shotgun round; unable to die until the dead consumed his screaming agonizing flesh.

Tasabar had run from the scene as fast as he could. He could hear them behind him; chasing him, stalking him, hunting and haunting his every movement. Tears had come from his eyes and ran down his cheeks even as he gasped for breath and held his cramping sides.

That night the city burned; flames leapt into the air like daemons fleeing hell alight by the flames of damnation. The fires cast illuminated ghostly shadows through the streets, crackling and popping and screaming in abject terror for even the flames were horrified of the damned who stalked the streets.

A woman cast herself into the flames in hopes of escaping the flesh-eaters. Her hair burst into flames along with her cloths. Her face and flesh bubbles and popped; fat and piss and shit spilling into the flames, but she did not die, she could not die, she could not escape the judgment of the plague god. She screamed and fell from the flames of the burning building only to be met by the dead who smiled down upon her writhing frame with lipless mouths and decomposing flesh. Milky white eyes filled with worms and puss stared hungrily at the burning woman even as Tasabar ran by them. They did not notice his passing because they were focused on the burning screaming woman.

Tasabar exited the alley and was thrilled to see the P.D.F. standing tall against the shambling masses. They fired las-guns, heavy bolters and flamethrowers and charged through the thronging corpses with Chimera and Leman Russ battle tanks. Tasabar jumped for joy as the P.D.F. killed the dead and crushed their skulls under foot.

The wind changed direction and with it the smoke from the burning buildings rolled in like the thickest fog obscuring vision and blinding sensors; crippling the effectiveness of long-range weapons. With the smoke came the dead, thousands of them, crawling, loping shambling, walking and running through the picket lines of the P.D.F.

Screams could be heard until morning light and even then the living wept as the wounds of the corpses poisoned their bodies. Those who had not been killed in the darkness suffered from scratches and bites. The dead were unable to kill them. They could not kill themselves, but the infection would finish what others could not.

Twelve hours later Tasabar Oklees walked the streets alone, tormented; the last living witness upon a dead world. He wept when he realized the dead had surrounded him. Terror filled him anew. Why did they not attack? Why did they leave him alone? They were all around, but they stayed their distance from him. A shattered mirror lay upon the ground and he looked down into its battered frame.

Looking back at him was a fleshless face and the milky white eyes of the dead.

1,090 words.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
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