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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-03-12, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Default An act of defiance

An act of defiance


Everything had fallen down around him in a literal sense. It started about two in the morning and did not stop until late afternoon. It started with a muffled boom that shook the earth, toppled buildings and collapsed bridges and some habs in the lower East quadrant. Minutes later there were more booms, closer then the first one but still far away enough to somewhat ignore with the vague awareness of a person slightly alerted to sirens down the block; somewhat nervous, but still not worried about the disquiet because it does not affect him.

Moments later everything changed for Martain Haal as he was tossed up to meet the ceiling of his bedroom with his face and chest, momentarily deafened and shaken like a child in the hands of an Oark. Most of his body slapped the ceiling hard enough to shove the plaster and boards underneath upward and allow his body entrance to the attic beyond, missing the rafters by just centimeters with everything but his left arm and leg.

Haal was sleeping on moment and the next he was there in the attic screaming from not so much the pain, but the shock of the moment. Sure his face hurt from meeting the ceiling in such an intimate manner, but his body had been relaxed and therefore absorbed most of the impact. He had plaster in his hair and eyes and mouth, he was sure his nose was broke along with some of his teeth, but he was alive for the moment.

He struggled to move and found that his left arm and leg were severely beaten and bruised from the impact with the rafters, but they were not broken. As he sat up he hit his head on the underside of the roof and imbedded a nail in his scalp. He was already numb so the nail did not hurt his so much as scare him and draw more blood to run down his paste covered face.

The booms were all around his hab now and he was tossed once more around the attic like a ball through a washing machine. He screamed and bit the inside of his cheek as he fell through the joist space, cracked through the plaster ceiling and fell to the floor beside his bed. This time he felt his shoulder pop from its socket and there was pain like he had never felt before. He wanted to scream, to let out the pain in the only way he knew how, but the impact with the floor had knocked the breath from his lungs and he struggled to even get a breath in his lungs.

Another boom and the hab collapsed around him as he was lifted and flung from the floor to the ceiling once more. Everything went black for a moment before turning all shades of red and spotted stars. The booms seemed to be so far away now but Martain didn’t care. He was in the ceiling again, in the attic where he had first been tossed like a doll from the hands of a giant.

The carpet rubbed along his shirtless back. It took a second for Martain to be able to feel it, for the feelings of his body to return. The carpet was in the attic. How could that be? How could the carpet be in the attic? It was not possible for the carpet to be in the attic, was it? Martain tried to move in the small space available to him and found that every movement brought pain the likes of which he had never known. Another nail stabbed him as he turned and ripped through the skin of his chest. He felt his skin tear and he recoiled from the nail. What had happened?

In the darkness Martain lay there trying to make sence of the strange scary events that had hurled him about so violently. His mind struggled to put two and two together, he was disorientated and confused and in pain. He called for help but no one answered his pleas so it was up to himself to get out of this situation. He tried to push his body down through the rafters but was met by the carpet. It was to resistant for him to push down. It did not seem right for the carpet to be so hard unless the floor was under it. The floor was under the carpet. The floor… was under the carpet.

The thought and realization of so basic a principal as the floor being under the carpet struck him almost as hard as the ceiling had only minutes before. He was in the attic while lying on the floor! It was as if a light had been turned on; he was trapped between the roof and the floor of the hab that had fallen down around him. He was trapped… in the dark… on the floor… with the roof a breath away from his body.

‘Oh, this is not good.’ he said to himself. Working for what seemed like hours he was able to get his legs pushed above him, bent and poised to kick at the boards above him. He launched his legs upwards and cracked a board, retracted his legs and kicked once more. The board above was cracked even more and water seeped in to drip upon his face. The water ran through the plaster and into his eyes. The paste burned his eyes, but he did not stop kicking the boards above. Martain wiped the paste from his eyes the best he could and lashed out with all the strength he had left. The board gave way and his right leg broke through into the open air above.

Martain smiled; success! He felt real accomplishment along with exhilaration at the thought of being free from his prison until he found that his leg was stuck between the two halves of the broken board with the splintered edges digging into the meat of his leg with every movement he made. Rain water was running down his exposed leg and soaking his groin and stomach, seeping along his sides and pooling under his body. It was cold and uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as staying here trapped between the roof and the floor of his hab with his leg exposed to the rain with splintered wood digging in. He cursed and kicked his bruised left leg into the board that held his leg captive.

The board gave way with a pop and crack and now he lay on his back with both legs extended above him aimed at the emperor forsaken sky above. Slowly he retracted his legs and shifted his body to the hole, sat up and squeezed his torso through. The sun was beginning to rise, the rose red of the dawn stretching as far as the eye could see in both directions. In both directions? That was not right. He allowed the rain to cleanse the paste from his eyes for a moment. With clear vision he looked again at what was around him.

For a moment he thought he was on the roof of his hab, that it was still standing and that he was seeing the city from an elevated place, but as he looked in the flickering light and the atomic glow of the wasted land he realized that every building, hab and structure had been razed, brought down to their very foundations. The fact he was still alive was a miracle.

Through the dark black clouds they came slow and ponderous, without any need to hurry and no desire to quicken their pace. They floated like massive iron balloons in a windless sky, like whales of myth through an ancient sea. Every so often a star would leave the side of the vessel and moments later on the other side of the world an orange glow would light the night sky.

Dawn was close, but the sun was not rising, light was not replacing the darkness, hope was not displacing fear that was welling up in Martain’s heart.

What could he do? He did not have any military experience. He was not trained to fight and kill. Martain was a salesman by trade. Sure he was in good physical shape. He exercised often and kept his body firm, not for war but so when he met a woman he would not be embarrassed to talk to her. He kept fit so he could meet women, not to fight, not to wage war. The thought of war coming to his home world was as far removed from his mind as the thought of strip dancing for an assembly of Orks. It was inconceivable to think of and even more shocking to behold.

Martain wanted nothing more than to climb back inside his hab and never come out again, but he knew he had to do something, but what? What could he do to combat this? Deep in his soul he knew there was nothing he could do but survive, to live in hopes that help would come. Slowly Martain walked along the roof of his hab and stepped down to the ground and walked into the shadows left by broken walls and shaky structures that still stood testament to the ruin of what used to be.

His body hurt and he dearly wished for some pain reliever to take the sting and dull throbbing along with the pounding headache away. He called out but the only sounds that came to him were of pain and terror. It seemed that everyone who had survives thus far were too consumed with their misery to focus on the one thing that was mostly needed; survival.

Something smacked against the wall next to Martain and the bricks exploded in a shower of powder and plaster that slammed into the side of Martain’s face and neck. Instinctively he hit the ground and began to crawl away from the crumbling wall. Where could he go? Everywhere he looked they were advancing, slowly, patiently and ominously dispatching the survivors of the apocalypse.

As he crawled through the rubble panic began to set in. He wanted to get up and run for his life, he wanted to fight, he wanted to live but the feeling of helplessness crippled him. There was nothing he could do against this invasion. Martain heard something behind him. It was metallic and terrifying.

Slowly he turned around and saw the eyes of his killer. They were green and glowed brightly. They were cold and lifeless. They were unfeeling and merciless. In that moment Martain Haal knew he would not live to see another day. He understood that his time had come. As the Necron slowly impaled him on its spear-like fingers and lifted him into the air the rain mixed with his blood and his tears ran down his ashen face. He did not scream or flinch from the pain, but embraced it the best he could and through blood drenched lips he spat upon the iron face of his enemy.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-09-12, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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What do you think?

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.
Other stories from Adrian.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-11-12, 02:08 PM
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I was in a rush when I added it to the Compendium so did not have time to read it, and forgot to come back.

I like the premise and much of the description captures his confusion and despair well. However the discovery that the building has collapsed seems to repeat instead of progressing, so it breaks the momentum. Instead of:
"He tried to push his body down through the rafters but was met by the carpet. It was to resistant for him to push down. It did not seem right for the carpet to be so hard unless the floor was under it. The floor was under the carpet. The floor… was under the carpet.

The thought and realization of so basic a principal as the floor being under the carpet struck him almost as hard as the ceiling had only minutes before. He was in the attic while lying on the floor! It was as if a light had been turned on; he was trapped between the roof and the floor of the hab that had fallen down around him. He was trapped… in the dark… on the floor… with the roof a breath away from his body."
As you have already mentioned the carpet being unexpectedly in the attic I feel the inner monologue progresses better if it moves onto another quality of the carpet, its unexpected hardness:
"He tried to push his body down through the rafters but was still met by carpet instead of planks... but carpet harder than was natural. The carpet was as hard as ground. The carpet... was on the ground. The realization that the ground was under the bedroom carpet struck him almost as hard as the ceiling had only minutes before. He was in the attic and lying on the ground floor! He was trapped between the roof and the floor of the hab that had fallen down around him. He was trapped… in the dark… on the floor… with the roof a breath away from his body."
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