Thursday, March 14, 2013


The sound of grinding steel on steel brought me out of the blackness. Pain was everywhere and so was blood. I could see it dripping down my hands and landing on the floor. I look up to see the trail leading towards the front of the train. I’m on a train, how did I get here? I tried to remember but my head seems to have other plans. I think I’ll just black out and let this thing carry me....wait, what the hell is carrying me! I try to scramble a hold with my feet and hands, but they were just sliding against the metal body. I’m pinned over it’s shoulder solid enough that I can’t even wiggle. I try to yell but nothing comes out. Why doesn’t anything come out!

I can feel my body give up the fight. The muscles in my legs feel like they are ripping as they stop responding to my panicked commands. The blood on my hands have made my attempts at grabbing anything close to me impossible. Blood, how much have I lost? I start to feel woozy thinking about it as my body tires. I can’t do it anymore. I’m going to die. I’ll just lie here and watch the blood streaked floor pass until it’s over.

A small puddle of blood starts forming on the floor. We’ve stopped. This is it. Time to die. The creature pulls me from his shoulder and puts me in a ball between his hands. This is my first look at it. It’s whole body is a grayish metallic color. I could only tell where the eyes were because they look like a liquid metal. No pupils, but I can tell it is staring at me. If I could move this would be the time to try and react. It’s going to crush me while I stare at it. I feel the warmth of my tears rolling down my face as the creature pulls me towards its body and towards the floor. The metal slides over me, pushing against me. I’m secured but not being crushed. Light rushes in through holes in the top. What the hell is happening? What is this thing!

Just as I start fighting again the explosion echoes through the inside of the creature, deafening me. I can’t tell if the world is spinning or just my head. I can barely breath as hot air blasts through the holes. The exhaustion, most likely from the blood loss, finally catches up and blackness slams into me much like the explosion would have. I welcome it.

The stars are the first thing that greet me as I open my eyes again. Am I here? Is this the other world? I reach my hand skyward and notice there is no response from my arm. About the same time I realize I can’t feel anything I notice there was no noise. I turn my head to the left, the pain is almost blinding. I close my eyes waiting for it to disperse and almost blackout again. When I open my eyes I can see at least thirty people in the distance around the wreckage of the train. I strain to say something, but my throat is dry and scratchy. I can’t tell if anything comes out. Something must have because a pair of boots quickly come into view followed by a face. Her mouth is moving and she looks quite pissed. I can’t make out what she’s saying. I try again to say something, still hurting, but I can feel the vibration of the sounds I’m making.

The woman must understood my “can’t hear you” because she takes something out of her pocket and leans over to inspect my ear. Her chest almost in my face, I can’t help but notice the symbol on her jacket. I know that symbol, but what is it? Lot’s of circles overlapping each other, I know this, I do, but why can’t I think of it? Forgetting all about the badge I try to lift my hand to scratch my ear. A terrible itching and pain mingle together. More annoying than any injury I’ve had since I woke up on the train. I want to reach in and tear the inside of my ear out! I close my eyes and grit my teeth trying to ignore it the best I can. All of the sudden my head is flooded with sounds as the annoyance disappears.

The look on my face must have told her my hearing has returned. She placed her hand on my forehead, chanting something I can’t quite make out. Everything fell silent again. Everything but her voice.

“Can you hear me?” She looked like she’s been skipping on a lot of sleep. Her exhaustion was palpable.

Hesitant at first, I tried speaking again, not sure if I could. The sound was scratchy and dry, but it was definitely my voice. “Yes.” There was a slight tickle/ache as I said it. I don’t think I’m going to be able to make long sentences. So I decided to just go with single words, my head was still really foggy.

“Where?....What?” Where am I? What happened? Is what I meant to say. I’m not sure if she is understanding that, because that look she is giving me doesn’t look like it.

She stood up, brown leather boots in my face. “Are you Bartresq Hudson?” It was a simple question, but one with a lot of anger behind it. I don’t think I’d want to be....wait, that is my name!

“” I was right, a lot of anger. She put her hands together is a strange symbol and spoke quietly, then the sound came rushing back. She walked out of my sight. I could hear her voice yelling, but with the rush of sounds I couldn’t make out what she was saying.

What is going on? I still can’t feel my body or move. The scent of burning wood, steel, and blood were all around.The sound of heavy footsteps getting closer pulls my attention just as I started to resign myself to staring at the stars again.

“SiO2-83, please hold the prisoner up.” Her voice seemed to have a bit of pep in it this time. Wait, prisoner? What?

I tried struggling, but the only thing moving is my head. Out of the corner of my eye I see the large creature, much like the one that carried me on the train. This one was green with splotches of red. Bloodstone, yes, that’s the name of the mineral. It stood there, holding me upright to face the carnage I was rescued from.

I lost my breath before I could start voicing my protest at being labeled a prisoner. The scene was horrible. The train I had been on was crumpled like a piece of paper. It must have been going full speed because the houses around it didn’t stop it as it derailed. There were rows of bodies being layed out by uniformed people that were sifting through the wreckage. Magi rescue workers trying their best to put out the flames and heal those still alive.

A woman wandered aimlessly calling out a name as two of the rescue workers ran after her. Sheets covering the bodies were stained with the dead beneath them as she started running towards them. I had to turn away afraid that she might find the child she was most likely looking for.

The bile in my stomach rising. “What happened here?” I would be under one of those sheets if that creature hadn’t saved me. Would someone be looking for me?

The woman walked in front of me to block the scene. I could see her much better now. Her blue and grey cloak ran to her waist. The hood was pulled back showing her light brown disheveled hair. Her dark brown eyed looked to have a new fire behind them. The disgust was apparent on her lightly tanned face, her lips in an upside down smile.

“I, Auditor 74892, have placed you under magical containment for your crimes as stated under article 2 section 7.62b of Brodshav’s Codex. You will be transported to a proper holding facility until your trial.” She sounded like she’d said this speech a thousand times, and probably had. I could tell she enjoyed it.

We stare each other down for a moment as I try to process what just happened. I’m under containment? Wait, what’s ‘article 2 section 7.62b? Realization dawning on me as I see the wreckage behind her. And then? Anger. “You think I did this? Are you crazy? I don’t know what happened, but I know I could never have done something like that!”

I guess I said something to surprise her AND piss her off. Some one off to my left rushed up to grab her as she held her hand towards me. I could hear the young girl whisper to her “Don’t do it Kulver. We all want desecrate this man’s mind but you know he’ll get worse than what we can do.”

I can’t tell if I’m more angry or confused, probably both. “Could someone tell me what the damned is going on?” Apparently I’m not the only one angry, the girl turned fast and was going to slap me until Kulver caught her hand.

She wasn’t paying me any mind “You’re right, he will. We can’t do anything we may be punished
for, no matter how much happier we would be.”She let go of the girls hand, sending her off to hopefully assist any survivors. Her gaze met the eyes of the large creature holding me “SiO2-83 please carry the contained to the truck.”

Effortlessly, it turned and started walking. Off to my left, there was yelling. Auditor Kulver’s voice was easily heard over it. “Contain the damn thing!” The yelling quieted. Then a new voice, a familiar voice “Hg80-318 I command you to protect Bartresq. He is now your master, please watch over him!”

The words sprang out before I could even think. “Who was that! I know that voice! Tell me now!” Auditor Kulver rushed over, telling the creature to halt. She placed her thumb on my forehead and then....darkness. A field, the sun. brother? The words came easily and automatically “Bartyraq, I thought you’d be too scared to sneak away from your training.”

He was out of breath from running, his hands on his knees. “I told you I’d come, didn’t I? Besides, you’re birthday is more important that my training. Just don’t tell them that.” He winked and rustled my hair.

We walked towards the house in the middle of the field. A small two story place with wooden stairs on the side. There were two windows, one on each side of the door. One of them was boarded up. A little mishap from my magical studies. He looked at the window “still haven’t figured out how to fix it?” He laughed.

I was a bit embarrassed, but I was more happy to have him there “No, but I can show you how I broke it.” I laughed back.

Then I stopped, staring at the forest to the west. Something was off. Bartaryq continued walking towards the house. talking as if I hadn’t stopped. Not bothering to turn and ask what was wrong. Then I turned to look at him and saw why. I was there beside him, still walking to the house. This was just a memory. But that forest was still off. Before I could try to figure anything out I heard a voice, a voice I knew. A voice of a person I knew I didn’t like.

I snapped awake, not tired at all. Still not able to move. This made me grumpy. Auditor Kulver sat across the table from me. This made me even more grumpy. No one would tell me what was going on, but she looked like she wanted me to know. And not in a friendly manner.

She walked over and placed my left hand, roughly, on the table inside a chalk circle. A line of chalk connected it to one on the other side. She sat back down, placed her right hand in the other circle. I could no longer see her. The image of the train wreck was blinding me. She spoke.

“You are charged with being a Kalku. You have been witnessed practicing arts that have been forbidden since ancient times. You have been witnessed stealing ancient artifacts for the sole purpose of releasing an unknown quantity on the world. You have been witnessed taking the life of persons by both your hand and the elements. You are accused of causing the Sonamora Train Incident which took the lives of 203 men, women, and children. And you are accused of the crime of hereditary execution.” Finally she paused, but not long enough for me to take it all in.
“Your trial is set for the morning. Until then you will be placed back under full containment.”

“I what?! I didn’t do any of that. What the hell is going on?” She leaned across the table, placing her thumb on my forehead again. I turned away before she started whispering, but she just grabbed my head with her other hand and continued. The darkness came again, and then that forest....


  1. So many questions, but virtually no answers. Enough of a tease to keep me interested and wanting to find out what the answers are, however. Very interesting opening to what could be a much larger story you have here!

    The first five paragraphs are a little rough. There are some tense changes, and it might make it easier to read if Bartresq's questions to himself are separated from the rest of the narrative by carriage breaks. The interaction between the girl and Kulver is a bit unclear. Does Kulver make a move towards Bartresq and the girl stops her, only for Kulver to stop the girl before she slaps Bartresq? I'm honestly not sure how that confrontation physically plays out. It's also not clear if the creatures are robots or some sort of stone/metal golems, although if that's a question you don't want to answer yet, then that's not actually a problem.

    Again, this seems like a good start to a much larger story. I'm intrigued!

  2. I'm gonna go with Heath here and say this is quite an interesting teaser for what I hope is going to be something more. I like the feeling of following along with Bartresq and being a bit lost and confused. The way the entire thing opened with the train wreck was great; it set the stage for the following disarray. There is a bit of technical editing that can be done, but the story is there and I hope to see some more of it. Glad to have you back!

  3. I'm trying to not overlap things and fry myself at the moment, so no content editing from me for this one currently. (I know you must be disappointed.) It's an intriguing story, though. Has a strong Fullmetal Alchemist vibe to it. As that's one of my favorite animes, I could see this becoming a favorite story. lol

  4. Nice start to a world. Lots of great details that make me want to learn more. It does seem he is a little too alert and attentive when he wakes up outside the train. From the reader's perspective he is probably dying, yet he is noticing the lady's mood and being rather cogent give the situation. It's only after we learn that he is in some magical bind that it makes sense why he can be this with it. I'm not sure a good way to clean that up easily.

    It's also unclear what happens when he goes into the memory. It happens rather fast and it seems like it could be a vision she is planting in him, or just a dream, or something else. I think you intend it to be just a memory that comes to him when he blacks out, but the transition into it could be a little more fleshed out so it doesn't just spring up.

    A few small notes -

    The trying to hold his feet part is awkward, you might change it to ‘tried to find my feet,’ 'tried to get to my feet' or something more natural.

    Things like “I felt my body give up,’ can be revised to much more concise “My body gave up.” It will make it more active. In the same vein - “ I reach my hand skyward and notice there is no response from my arm. “ could be altered to “I try to reach skyward, but my arm doesn't respond.”

    ‘The blood on my hands have made my attempts at grabbing anything close to me impossible.’ instead of telling us this, show us with an action, “I grabbed for the metal body, but the blood on my hands makes it impossible.”