The still, cold night was momentarily disturbed by the sounds of bare feet slapping against damp leaves on asphalt, and hands and uncovered knees scrambling over moss-laden car bodies, until the only sound was a labored breathing that gradually eased. After a few minutes the world seemed like it had rolled over and gone back to sleep. But Ayla knew better. She closed her eyes and saw the night brightly.
A dropship sliced the sky like a scalpel with quick precision, and the five dark beads of blood that dripped from that wound were soldiers of fortune, members of Anchor’s elite paramilitary arm, slipping from ship to ground on invisible cords of graphene. The dropship rippled away. Ayla was alone with the soldiers under the tarnished light of the crescent moon. The soldiers were silent silhouettes against the more distant shapes of abandoned equipment among bare elms. The fog rolling in seemed as if it were following them in lockstep, giving life to the sharp red beams of their laser sights. But with her eyes closed, Ayla saw through the fog, saw everything as threaded golden light, clearer than the starkest contrasts of the visible spectrum.
The soldiers fanned out, searching among the wreckage of this hostile and unlikely place called Earth, now discarded like a cradle after the child has outgrown it. Through their advanced optics their vision was greatly enhanced, but Ayla pulled the cool night air into knots around her. No technology would be sufficient to find her. But it was a difficult state to maintain, as hard as holding your mind thoughtless and empty, and she would eventually falter.
One soldier drew close by unfortunate happenstance, and his path would lead him to her, intentionally or not. Ayla reached out with appendages more subtle and nimble than fingers, which were bludgeons in comparison, and pinched the golden thread that man was made of. With delicate ease she unraveled him like a wool sweater. It was quick, and he felt no pain. He simply dissipated into the fog with a slight hiss. Ayla stifled soft tears. The others would know. She didn’t want them to, but they would know, and she would have to do the same to them.
She pulled the night tighter around her and tried to will them to go away, to give up their search. But this was something she could not control. Each person’s actions were their own, as were the consequences, no matter the intentions. The next soldier made of golden light approached, and Ayla reached again.
Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page. Image by Sathish Kumar, used with permission.
8 thoughts on “Consequences”
Wow!… Mr. Shocky, you’ve sure captured my intrigue with this adventure of “Consequences”.
I would like very much to see more of this story unfold. Could you please help us out with that???
Who is Ayla and why is she of interest to Anchor? …whatever or whoever that is.
Why is she on the run?, why is she barefooted, with uncovered hands and knees?, is she human?
The soldiers must not realize her special powers, at least not yet, because, for all their dropship deployment, space ripples, and graphene technology, they are no match for her natural defenses.
Earth discarded?…what happened?…where did the people go? …are there any animals left?
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Thanks; I rather enjoyed this one, too! (Is that weird? I definitely don’t treat them all equally.) Are you taking me up on my sequel offer with this one?
YES!, please! I would love a sequel and will appreciate it even more because of your thoughtful offer!
Thank you so much!
And I’m sure I speak for many of your fans out here, with this… but for me personally, I sooo look forward to the arrival of your stories. Each one is a gift that marks the passing of time with just the right amount of sparkle.
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One sequel coming up! You should be aware, though, that this is akin to having a wish granted by an evil genie. It comes with a “results may vary” warning label.
The piece is written and scheduled for publication on August 29, 2020. It is titled “Something Drastic.” I hope you enjoy it!
Edit: Here’s the link: https://warmuppages.com/2020/08/29/something-drastic/
Sheesh – and this is just a warmup page? So much potential…
Roughly what % of these do you grow into a rough draft? Or do you have a hard & fast rule that warmups stay warmups?
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Hi there, and welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.
No hard rules, but I have not developed any of the posted warmup pages into anything more. That being said, there have been a few times where I’m writing the warmup page and I realize it needs to be explored further. When that happens, I do not put it on the site (so that way I have the ability to sell it later; many publishers do not want pieces that have already been on a blog). In my “Other Works” section, you can find “It’s a TRAP” which originally started as a warmup page.
As a guess, let’s say I’ve done this (pulled a warmup page from publication to develop it further) 10 times. I’ve published/scheduled 327 warmup posts, so that’s about 3%.
Long way of saying: not many!
[…] Notes: This was written as a follow-up piece to Consequences. […]