Chapter 7: Breaking a Sweat

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2009 by tabithatodd

Chapter 7 : Breaking a Sweat

Mr. Grey whimpered as Layla shifted uncomfortably. She had spent most of the night beside Chokan worrying as he moaned and writhed from the fevered dreams all night. Now she wrung her hands nervously as he shifted to his side and opened his eyes slowly. He winced as he tried to sit up and laid back down with some difficulty.

“How you feeling big boy?” She asked not hiding her frayed nerves from her voice.

“Painfully sore, it seems that I took more damage than I at first thought female” He responded with a whisper.

“Well, let’s survey the damage then” Layla said.

She knelt beside him and tapped his organic armor softly, trying not to induce any more pain than what he was already in. When she did Janka roiled from the vibration of the tapping and Chokan roared in pain while slapping her hand away. He glared at her and Layla shrunk back from him while Mr. Grey growled at him with his fur in hackles.

He winced and hung his head. He hadn’t meant to scare her or holler at her like that but every time Janka moved it caused immense pain to shoot through his body. It seared and burned his already inflamed nerves, making them scream in agony. Janka was injured but she would heal eventually but it would take time.

Layla watched as he pulled the armor off revealing the bloody and raw wounds beneath it. She gasped as he rolled to his back to let her inspect his side. The ribbons of infection traced along his ribs and across his abdomen. Hot red and burning tracks that looked painfully sore. The infection was creeping up his chest and almost over his shoulder. Layla looked at him and shook her head, this was not good at all even with Janka he may need medical treatment.

She stared at him as she tried to figure out how to explain to a hospital emergency room what he was. They’d never believe her let alone the fact of how to get to the emergency room without running up against another Gatherer and without a vehicle this far out from the only hospital. Saint Joseph’s in the town of Elliot Lake was the closest hospital she could think of at this point and that was several very long miles to walk. They were north of the town and a far ways away north of it. There was no way to get there fast enough without a car at their disposal.

As if reading her mind he first shook his head then shifted away from her. “There is no explaining to medical professionals what I am nor is it a good idea to even consider their intervention female.” he grunted as he rolled to his hands and knees. He stood, shaking softly as he limped his way to the back of the cave and began, for the second time, to strip down.

Seeing even more of him and how the infection was wrapping around to his back made Layla more worried now. It was massive and looked like a full system infection in such a short amount of time. She shivered at the thought of what she might do if he were to die and leave her alone in this whole mess of a situation. Her mind recoiled from the idea of it, denying it and pushing it away as soon as the thought of it emerged. No, she couldn’t think about that now, it can’t be possible, she won’t allow it. She can’t allow for it to happen, she had to survive at all costs.

Chokan whimpered as he dropped to his knees and scooped up some water in his cupped hands. He drank greedily from them, slurping it loudly. It was cold on his fevered throat as it slipped deliciously down it. Soothing while it wrapped him with a cool sensation from the inside out. He threw his head back and sighed softly. Layla touched his shoulder making him tense slightly, he opened his eyes to see her standing over him staring at him. She smiled weakly and took her bandana off her neck while dropping to her own knees beside the water spring. She dipped it in the water and gingerly brought it to his side, touching the coolness of the wet bandana to the fevered and sick skin of his wounds.

He watched her hands move over his broken body, dipping the bandana again into the water and then pressing it tenderly to his wounds. She worked her way from his side and up his abdomen and chest then over his shoulder. Wiping away the seeping infection and cleaning his wounds. Watching her gentleness stirred him in ways he didn’t imagine a human female would have. He felt his heart rate jump and skin flush under her touch. He smiled weakly when she smirked at him over his shoulder then blushed. It seemed the human female caused much more than just his heart rate to raise.

He stared at the cavern floor sheepishly while Layla finished up tending to his wounds. She finished with his leg, picking away any dead flesh and dirt from it as gently as she could. Layla rinsed the bandana and soaked it once more while moving in front of Chokan to press the cool, wet fabric to his head. Her eyes met his and he leaned in so close that they were nearly nose to nose with barely an inch between them. Layla pursed her lips and stood her ground making Chokan grin. He winked at her playfully making her giggle softly while shaking her head.

That’s when the urge became strong, it was a driving hunger that stirred through the very core of him. He wanted, no needed to kiss her, taste her lips and run his tongue across her mouth. He stared at her hard trying to decipher her body language, trying to weigh if she would reject his advances or reciprocate the kiss he so desperately wanted from her. He leaned into her softly and watched as her eyes widened and her lips parted slightly as she cocked her head slightly to the side. She felt it too then, it would be reciprocated after all. He leaned further in keeping her eyes locked to his as his mouth came closer to hers. He was about to kiss her when something slammed into his aching side causing him to howl and roll away from her. Mr. Grey growled as he stood over Chokan.

Seemed like the dog thought he would harm Layla. Chokan shoved the dog aside and spat fowl curses at it. Trying to kick it as the dog bounced away from him with its tail up and fur in hackles. Snarling and bearing its teeth at the Ravanian. Chokan shook his head and sat down, the sudden movements had winded him too much to even fight a small creature such as the dog. He grunted and turned back to Layla who was staring at the both of them with a twinkle in her eyes.

“Just like having a kid” She giggled loudly.

“Stupid dog” Chokan growled as he futilely kicked in its direction again.

Layla howled with laughter as she shooed the dog away. She sat next to Chokan and leaned against him gently making him look up at her. She knelled over him and leaned down brushing his lips with hers tenderly. Chokan moaned against her mouth, pressing against her as he slipped his tongue past her lips and flicked the roof of her mouth. The kiss was deep, hungry and long. Satisfying in the dark wetness of the cavern after the nights events. She tasted like sweet fruit, warm mouth inviting and soft against his.

Chokan pulled away from the kiss, this couldn’t happen. He had no idea if the human female body was either compatible with his own alien body or could even carry a Ravanian embryo. He shouldn’t have let it happen any way, it wasn’t appropriate. She was his charge not a suitable mate. Layla sat there staring at him as he wrestled with these thoughts. The frown deepening on his face.

Chokan rose with difficulty, moving away from Layla while she stared incredulously at him. He winced and looked back at her with humiliation for taking advantage of the moment. For feeling what he did for her.

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Chapter 6 – Mr. Grey

Posted in Chapter, New, Online, Plot, Published with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2009 by tabithatodd

Chapter 6 : Mr Grey

The family had retreated into the barn on the edge of their property when it started. Screaming and terrified they hid beneath the layers of sweet hay in the barn. The horses had been braying and kicking violently in their stalls around them. Jim, the father, tried to quiet them. They had tried to quiet the damned beasts so that the attention of those monsters out there wouldn’t be diverted to the barn. Right then, they had been safe for the time being, the sheep were screaming in an almost human like manner as the blackened and stinking abominations teared through the flock in their pens. The screaming had been almost unbearable and had made Sneakers shiver against his boy master. The mother, Trish, had cried uncontrollably while trying not to retch at the same time. The dog remembered the stench of her breath, foul with gastric acids that had backed up her throat, threatening to spew across the floor of the barn they were trapped in.

Then there was the silence, still and looming dangerous silence. It had happened suddenly. No more screaming from the cattle pens outside the barn, just eerie dead quiet. Tristan had jumped to his feet and was about to run to the barn doors when Sneakers caught hold of the boy’s shirt in his teeth, trying to tug his boy back to safety. It was then that one of the horses had screamed, it had sounded like the screeching that black cat Sneakers had caught in the back fields once. It made the dog shiver and growl. The whole family stared at the horse as tendrils creeped around it’s body, snaking along the sides of the mare with accurate speed, burning tracks along the horse’s flesh in smoky whispers.

The horse had screamed again, trying to kick away the offending intruder and only succeeding in breaking its legs against the destroyed wood of the barn wall. Ripping up its flesh in the splintered remains of wood paneling. Then it happened, still screaming bloody murder, the horse disappeared through the gaping maw of the wall. Never to be heard or seen ever again. The horses were riled up and jittering around their stalls, biting at thin air and kicking up hay and dust when one by one, they too disappeared through their own gapping holes in the barn walls.

The family stood there in shock and awe. Unable to believe what had just happened, unable to move from sheer terror. Is this what it felt like to be on the slaughtering floor, the victim of the butchering hands rather than those hands themselves? It had certainly felt like it at the time. Panic stricken the family huddled close in the middle of the barn, shaking with fear as tendrils ran across the floor from all directions, zoning in on each of them like heat seeking missiles. Sneakers yipped when a tendril snaked past him and snatched Tristan like a rag doll, lifting the boy up in the air and slamming him back down with a sickening crunch of bone and wood. Running for the the nearest hole in the barn walls the dog had escaped screaming into the forest that surrounded the property, all loyalty lost in the heat of the moment to fear.

When the dog had worked up the strength and courage to come back to the barn to seek out his family he found the barn stank of rot and decay. As the gray dog trotted across the dusty floor. His whip like tail flicked back and forth nervously while he sniffed around, eyes darting back and forth. The dog had learned quickly in the fray of carnage that had besieged its owners a few weeks ago to avoid open spaces and inescapable places. It had witnessed the destruction of what had been home and hearth within minutes, his gray eyes the only surviving witness to the unfamiliar beasts that had come for the ones that fed, loved and walked him.

For the last few weeks the irony of feeding on the fleshy hands that had cared for him from puppy hood had been lost on his primitive mind. The unfortunate collateral damage of canine instinctual survival. Always the smart and opportunistic animal the greyhound made his way to the rotting carcass of the little boy that had played fetch with him on so many occasions, he sniffed at the rotting flesh, searching out the tasty tidbits that were left. Ripping at them like a rabid wolf the dog slurped and gorged on what was once his playmate without so much as a flicker of remorse.

It was all about survival now unlike the first week after the carnage had died down. The first week the dog had been reluctant only whimpering and laying beside each of his human companions. Nudging at them with his paws and nose thinking they were only sleeping. He couldn’t understand why his human family didn’t get up when he tried to make them. His feeble canine mind not making the connections between the living and the dead. When it happened his hungry belly and instinct for survival had taken over. He had turned first to the the man he had come to know as the booming voice of the household. The father was the biggest morsel of meat and it took him a full week to work through the man. By the time he got to the soft spoken female of the family, half the meat on the bones of the body had melted away to slimy goo that trickled across the wooden dusty floor of the barn. It seemed the child’s body was less susceptible to what ever was prematurely rotting the adult bodies. The dog, once known as Sneakers, chose to devour his favorite human companion last. A token, perhaps, of the dog’s undying affection and loyalty to the boy. Perhaps even a tribute on some primal level.

Chapter Five : Fevered Dreams

Posted in Chapter, Character Builds, New, Online, Plot, Progress, Published with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2009 by tabithatodd

Chapter 5: Fevered Dreams

As they slept with full bellies it was running its gauntlet within his body, everything it touched whithered and shrunk away from it. The seeds of infection dancing through his blood and body gaining steam and savage strength. His eyes fluttered and he whispered incoherently in his sleep.

Layla muttered and rolled to her side, facing him. Mr. Grey whimpered as she opened her eyes, brushing the dog away from his attempt to lick her face. Layla rose to her elbows, watching Chokan intently. He was tossing his head from side to side as he let off a pain stricken moan. Her eyes followed the line of his body to his abdomen where it roiled and squirmed violently.

Layla rolled from her elbow on her side to her hands and knees quickly, she crawled toward him pausing briefly to shew Mr. Grey away from him. As Layla lay a hand on his face his back arched and he let out a primal scream. One that sounded full of pain and agony.

“Chokan…” Layla whispered softly, “Chokan..open your eyes, wake up”

“Na-e-thatch, Nie Taile Hitha” Chokan growled loudly.

Layla startled backward not expecting this guttural language that slipped past his lips. It must be his own language, one she didn’t understand. She leaned closer to him and touched his arm trying to rouse him from his fevered sleep but it was no use. He was deep in a feverish dream that gripped his mind and body in suspended time. She would either have to wait it out or risk being harmed while he thrashed about.

Layla’s mind raced through different scenarios, what if he died and she was left alone to fend for herself with the Gatherers out there, what if they ended up holed up here for weeks on end, she didn’t know the first thing about hunting. They would starve to death. Layla touched him again, his body was hot and sweaty and it poured out of him like mini rivers. Janka was still roiling and squirming violently, as if she too were in pain.

Layla sighed, she would have to wait it out it seemed. Mr. Grey whined at her as she patted his head and sat by Chokan’s side, both of them watching the Ravanian closely for any tale tell signs of distress or the first beginnings of death at the door.

Chokan groaned as his eyes fluttered again, body wracked with pain. Janka rolled violently to the left of his abdomen as his back arched while his body spasmed, contorting itself into a painful twist of upper torso and lower legs. Grinding his feet against the fine sand of the cavern floor with a sickening crunch.

His dreams ran wildly from one scene to another, dark and darker still in content. Going from one battle scene to another. His life playing out like a film strip on a projector. The thrill of hunting in one scene and the devastation of the invasion in another. He moaned as his dreams replayed the painful losses of his loved ones and the finality of his home world blown to pieces while the Masters howled with triumph from their thrones above it. Just as quickly his fevered mind jumped from one scene to another until it stumbled upon an even darker memory.

He had been hunting with his two sons that faithful day. They had been out hunting Gracken, a rather large and cumbersome species of reptile that could feed their growing family for quite some time. Chokan’s older son, Brailen had already bagged a smaller Gracken, a female. Sotcha was itching to out do his big brother to prove his worthiness and garner his fathers approval. Chokan had been laughing wildly at the joy of the hunt with his offspring when the piercing screams had reached them, running their blood to a cold flow.

Both boys stared at their father surprise struck, awaiting his instructions. Chokan growled and turned on his heels, motioning to the boys to make haste for home. The scream had come from the direction of their small village Paravan. With a speed matched by no other, the three of them made for the village in record time only to have the siege befall their eyes in a grotesque mockery of battle.

The carnage was unspeakable. Limbs smoldering with no source of fire and strewn all about. Fellow villagers dying in the gutters, torn from head to toe. The villagers growling with agony as some unseen enemy ripped threw their bodies with its acidic touch, melting away whole limbs and stripping flesh in bloody chunks to dissolve at their feet before their eyes.

Rivers of blood flowed through the streets of the village, smoking as they touched buildings briefly and diverted around and through them in some instances. Chokan’s eyes followed the flow of his fellow villagers blood, his eyes falling for the first time on the enemy who was responsible for this gutless attack.

Its hulking frame stood before him, multi colored insect like creatures fluttering about its skin like dismal little points of light. Shimmering and dancing forbodingly about in Chokan’s field of vision like little fairies would flit across the sun filled forests.

Chokan eyed the dark beast, it was larger than even a full grown male Gracken if that was even possible. Its skin darker than the darkest night he had ever seen. The proboscis hung low and lazy near its wide clawed feet. Knees double jointed, almost looking like they were disjointed and backwards. The thing before him hummed with a metallic sound, it gritted on his mind and ears loudly. The claw like shortened arms of this creature pumped back and forth with enthusiasm. Ripping at something in its claws that Chokan could not at first identify.

The flesh like cord that hung from this beasts victim was pale and fleshy, blood flowed from the open ragged end of the cord, spilling fresh blood across the creatures flat and bug like feet in spatters. Realization dawned sickly on Chokans mind as he could now identify the fetal remains of an unborn Ravanian child within the grasp of this hulking creature.

He gagged and turned away for a brief moment not sure if his gagging would turn to vomiting. It rose in his throat, threatening to release its acidic spray onto his own feet. His mind racing with the scenes of the fetus gasping with lungs that were not yet made for natural air outside the womb, its eyes begging for release from its agonizing death.

The dangling cord scraping loudly on the ground as the child squeaked its last breath behind him at the hands of the enemy launched Chokan in a fit of rage at the beast. His claws digging deep into the black stinking flesh of the creature, ripping furiously at it. Chokan screamed profanities at it, raging blindly and ripping where his hands met flesh.

In his blind rage he missed the blow from behind that he suffered from another of the enemy. The proboscis ripped through his right shoulder throwing him from the other dying beast and into the ditch filled with dead or dying brethren. He rolled to his left and was met with the familiar eyes of his mate, belly ripped open and unborn child gone from her womb.

The realization of the moment tore Chokans mind from its safety of sanity as he howled incoherently while cradling his mate in his arms, the sounds of battle winding down as the last of his tribe succumbed to the enemy.

He didn’t remember passing out when he awoke in the smoldering remains of his village Paravan. The only thing he remembered was the agony of loss and defeat as he gathered the bodies of his loved ones one by one. His sons Brailen and Sotcha had died together while bringing down one of the beasts in a field near their home. His mate and unborn child he had witnessed their death. Chokans three daughters where no where to be found, another stab at his already broken heart as he began to shovel away dirt in the makeshift burial of his family.

His shoulder screamed with each thrust of the shovel but Chokan forced himself to continue on, if they were not buried they would not meet on the other side in Falkour. They must be buried in order to pass the fields of Falkour and meet again.

“Falkour, Na-e-thatch, Nie Taile Hitha” He moaned as he laid each member of his family to rest and poured the earth upon them. Repeating it as each shovel full of dirt fell upon them.

Chapter Four : The Hunt

Posted in Chapter, Character Builds, New, Online, Plot, Published with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2009 by tabithatodd

Chapter 4 – The Hunt

He laid in waiting as his eyes tracked the deer back and forth in the darkening clearing. His pupils constricting and dilating with every movement the animal made. Frozen of any movement of his own high in the tree above the animal, the only sounds in his ears were those of the prey and his own slow heart beat and breathing.

His left leg screamed in agony from the damage it had taken in the heat of battle with a Gatherer and still he made not a movement or noise. Ignoring the raging pain in his leg, only gritting his teeth silently as a cramp came and passed in his left thigh. The deer below him jutted its head upward with flaring nostrils, sniffing the air occasionally for any tell tale signs of a predator then went back to grazing on the tender shoots of grass at its feet, unaware of the cat like eyes in a humanoid body staring hungrily at it.

Now Chokan shifted slightly into a crouch in the tree, getting ready for the death blow he meant to administer to this strange and foreign prey. He paused only briefly to sniff at the air himself, wanting to make sure no other predator would foil his own hunting excursion. Least of all another Gatherer that might be nearby and making its own plans for the meal on hooves he himself was eying.

His muscles clenched into coils of pent up energy, he could feel the tension in them gaining steam. He waited patiently all the while staring down at his unaware prey with the thrill of the hunt balled up in his throat. This was a third attempt at capturing one of these skittish animals, they were quicker than he had anticipated and much more agile than they let on to be. It was proving challenging more so than he could have imagined. He even envied their cunning considering they had no defensive weapons of their own.

Chokan sniffed the air a final time, leaving go of the branch with his left hand as quietly as possible only tensing briefly when the deer snorted but continued to chomp and chew at the grass shoots before it. Then all at once, as if primal instinct were driving him, he launched from his perch in the tree and on top of the back of the deer, grinding his primary claws into its thick neck while wrapping his legs around its torso and yanking hard to the left.

He drove the deer to its side in the clearing, both of them landing with a thud as the deer toppled over with him on its back. Growling low and quiet Chokan ripped at its throat, opening up the arteries present there and spilling the deers lifeline into the grass. Spraying the green of the grass a sickly red, the deer heaved and bucked in its dance of death, mouth gaping open and closed and eyes bulging with fear stricken surprise.

Chokan didn’t miss a beat when the deer tried to buck him off and kick at him, he held fast, grinning like a fool and growling with triumph. Finally, he had made his mark. He sniffed enthusiastically at the smell of the preys blood while it flowed freely from its confinement within the deers body. Chokan grunted and rolled to his left as the deer made a final attempt to kick at him and then lay still as it gasped frantically through the gapping wounds in its throat.

It gurgled desperately in an attempt to breath through its drowning lungs. Closing its eyes it gasped futilely for the last time then lay still at Chokan’s feet. He crouched, sniffing at his prey, purring with the triumph of a hunt finally gone to his favor. This beast would feed them for at least two to three days, just enough time to heal and continue on their mission.

He gathered the deer by it’s legs and threw it over his shoulders intending to make his way back to the cavern where he had left the human female Layla. Smiling, he trotted with the deer strung across his shoulders back the way he had come. Sniffing the air, he traced his way back to the edge of the bush near the clearing of the cavern and beach. The hunt had been challenging and so it had been vigorously good. He felt strong and virile as he trotted past the bush line into the sandy cover of the beach then towards the cavern. He stiffened then growled as an unfamiliar smell hit his flared nostrils. It smelled the same as that yellow creature that had tried to attack the Gatherer in the bush near Layla’s home, the creature she had called Belle.

It was a smell that irked him in a way he couldn’t understand. They did not have creatures such as these on Ravnos, nor did he know what to make of them. Friend or foe he did not like them at all. It made the hair on the back of his neck and head rise uneasily. Slowly he approached the mouth of the cavern and peered cautiously in. He saw Layla crouched at a make shift fire, fanning it into life. Beside her was a gray creature, sleek and long but large. He gruffed in Chokan’s direction and cocked his head to one side with his ears straight up. It made Layla turn quickly on her haunches to look back, she visibly relaxed realizing it was Chokan standing there and with food in hand.

“It’s about time, what took you so long” Layla teased.

“These deer prove more challenging than I though” Chokan growled, “What is that thing and why is it here?”

“This is Mr. Grey, he’s a grey hound, a dog” Layla chuckled. It seemed Chokan was uneasy with the dogs presence. She figured it might be instinctual and he didn’t realize it. She was anticipating his reaction to be like a cat and it was exactly as she had anticipated it.

“I want it gone, that creature is only a burden on our mission” he snarled as he dropped the deer next to the fire Layla had started. The dog snarled back at him as if to say I don’t like you either but didn’t budge when Chokan tried to shew it away.

“Oh come on, he’ll grow on you” Layla said.

“He will not.” Chokan growled back as he eyed the dog suspiciously.

Mr. Grey eyed Chokan just as suspiciously, his tail and ears straight up. The dog began pacing back and forth around Chokan, sniffing at him from time to time, testing how close he could get without invoking a swat from the mans foot or hand. Mr. Grey bore his teeth then lifted his leg and proceeded to piss on Chokan’s feet. When the dog was done he trotted back to Layla and plopped down beside her keeping a weary eye on the man. Layla stared at the dog then back at Chokan trying to decide whether to laugh or to be shocked.

“It seems he doesn’t like you either there Chokan” Layla said trying to stifle her laughter while Chokan shook his head and sighed with a defeated look on his face. It seemed he had lost both the battle to get rid of this dog beast and to assert his dominance as a male within the group. His irritation showed on his face as he stared bewildered at both the beast and the female. Never had he dreamed to fathom that he would not be in the dominant position in any group he may have been a part of, it was unheard of in his culture for the male to be the submissive and it was not only insulting but rage inducing. He growled menacingly the joy of the hunt ruined by the indignities this fragile human female had imposed upon his sensibilities. Indeed, they were different, how would they get along if they could not assert who was leader and who was follower. She is a stubborn hard headed female who did not know her place and Chokan meant to put her in it, he would bare this indignity until the time came where the female would find her place either by gentle means of a more aggressive nature.

Chapter Three : Present Situations

Posted in Chapter, Character Builds, New, Online, Plot, Published with tags , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2009 by tabithatodd

Chapter 3: Present Situations

The gritty sound of claws against the rock face made her grimace as she clung to the Ravanian under her. There they were in the cave, hidden from the enemy the Ravanians called the Gatherers. They were a crude species with a cruelty and taste for blood and destruction. Chaos was their game and mayhem was the weapon of choice. Tearing down whole planets while destroying epicenters in one fell swoop.

The Ravanians had already come up against this species on their own home world and came away obliterated. Now, only a few handfuls of the Ravanians were left. Their Royal Family gone, wiped out before they had had a chance to react to the enemy, it had been a silent invasion that had caught the whole planet off guard. Chokan grimaced as he shifted, gripping the rock face as he supported both their weight near the ceiling of the cavern. The symbiote shifted with him, he had explained to Layla in the car that she resided within him in a mutual manner. He was her transport and protection and her his immune system and insanely fast ability to heal. Layla grimaced as Chokan’s claws carved deeper into the rock to hold their weight then stiffened as the sound of a familiar whiny hum filled the cavern. It was here, just at the opening of the cave and it sounded hungry for blood.

The thing at the entrance of the cave hummed enthusiastically as it sniffed the air with its tubular elongated nose. Its eyes were tiny beads of black on the sides of its head, shining with an acute intelligence. The things proboscis darting in and out, tasting the air for its next meal. The skin of of what Chokan referred to as a Gatherer was covered in parasitic creatures that scurried and danced across its body in rainbow colors and caused an eerie luminescence in the darkness of the cavern as well as against its own pitch black skin. Like a chameleon the parasites lent a kind of color camouflage to the creature, changing colors to suit the background when needed.

The beady eyes of the creature darted back and forth, scanning hungrily for any signs of life to devour. As Chokan stared into Layla’s eyes he grimaced when the enemy hummed louder and higher pitched. It was a tactic they had seen before, Ravanians had a keen sense of hearing and it caused pain when the enemy used this it. Chokan started to tremble as the crescendo of the hum from the Gatherer hit a peek, then started to sweat profusely as the hum plateaued over, hitting even higher in frequencies. Chokan grit his teeth and bore his primary claws down hard on the rock face, trying not to make noise. The symbiote shifted violently as his pain crested from intolerable to blinding waves of nausea inducing pain.

Layla frantically wracked her mind for a solution to alleviate the pain for him then it hit her. Of course, it was perfect. She reached around to her back pocket and pulled out two sticks of gum. Chokan glared at her for a moment before realizing what she meant to do with the gum. Layla slammed both pieces into her mouth and chewed quickly. Pulling the wad out of her mouth she split it into two pieces and stuffed one piece in Chokan’s right ear and the other in the left. He smiled as he shook his head in disbelief because it was working. It blocked the hum out just enough to make it tolerable to bear again.

Chokan grinned at her and nodded as she smiled back at him with a smart ass smirk that went from ear to ear. As Layla’s eyes darted past his left shoulder her grin waned significantly. It was standing right below them and sniffing vigorously at the air while that sickly proboscis darted back and forth, back and forth. Layla could feel her stomach churning with disgust, the smell that came off of this thing was like three month old decaying flesh.

She had never in her life smelled anything like it until running into one of these things 3 days ago and barely making it out alive. If it hadn’t been for Chokan stepping in between them she would have been another casualty. Either fodder for food or a slave to do their bidding. She had been told by him it was better to be food than a work mule for them. They were cruel and heartless, said to have zero emotion for the species they were destroying.

Layla gagged, it was bad enough her sense of smell could barely tolerate the stench but she wondered how Chokan handled it with his heightened sense of smell. Chokan glanced over his shoulder, following Layla’s line of sight then turned back to stare at Layla. She shrugged her shoulders while mouthing the words what do we do now. Chokan scanned the cavern ceiling for a crevice or rock landing, anything that he could use to his advantage. He grunted softly as his eyes fell upon a small rock face where the ledge came out just enough.

Grabbing Layla with one hand and clinging to the rock ceiling with the other Chokan launched Layla to the ledge. She landed with a squeak, her back to the wall. She had only enough time to blink as Chokan let go of the rock ceiling with his remaining hand, landing squarely on the enemy below him with both his secondary and primary claws at the ready.

He drove his secondary claws, glistening three in a row on each hand, into the Gatherer. It howled with rage while Chokan roared with triumph. Digging deeper with his secondary claws, pulling and shredding as he drove them deep into the back of his enemy. It howled again as he pulled his arms into opposite directions causing his claws to rip through the black flesh of its back sending a spray of green sludgy goo and multicolored parasites across the darkened cavern. Its double jointed legs crumpled as it collapsed in a sickening spray of slime that coated the cavern walls. Its beady black eyes staring at the Ravanian with pure hatred and contempt while the proboscis trembled then withered.

“Let the sight of my triumph over you be your last thing you see as you die my enemy” Chokan raged at the monster before him.

“Holy crap dude, talk about melodramatic,” Layla grunted from her not so prime choice line of sight, “dude I’m gonna bruise now and possibly puke. That’s thing is rank smelling.”

Chokan looked up and shook his head at her, humans seemed to whine about the smallest of injuries. She should have been grateful she was still alive to see the next battle. As these thoughts circled the Ravanian’s mind Layla screamed causing Chokan’s blood to run cold. It seemed the enemy was not quite vanquished and was making an attempt at a second coming.

Its slimy proboscis wrapped around his ankle and yanked Chokan’s feet from under him, sending him to the cavern floor in a crumpled heap. He cried out as the tendrils from the proboscis made their appearance to snake up his leg. While the tendrils carved smoky paths of acid across his left leg and toward his hip and stomach the Gatherer’s pitch black eyes stared into his with malice and greedy hunger.

In a raspy voice that shook the rocky cavern it howled with insane laughter. It was a voice not meant for verbal communications but rather grunts and hums, it was unnerving when it spoke with words, it lent a certain blackened horrifying air of evil to them.

“If I must die, then you come with me” the Gatherer grunted as the tendrils ran up Chokan’s left side, burning their acidic tracks deeper into his flesh. Chokan screamed in agony as one tendril buried deep into his side between two ribs, burning away his organic armor and his flesh. It was after the symbiote, going for a side door approach to kill her and subsequently him. It wanted Chokan to suffer long term and die slowly instead of quickly as it would come to it. Without the symbiote for his immune system Chokan was susceptible to every bacteria, germ and virus Layla’s planet had to offer. It would be a slow and agonizing death for him if Layla didn’t do something to stop the attack.

Layla searched first for a way down, finding a vine that ran along the wall she precariously leaned over to grab at it, nearly falling from the rock face the first few attempts. Finally grabbing it she tried to recall her days as a teenager sneaking out the second story window of her parent’s house and slowly made her way down the side of the cavern. She remembered it being a little easier than this back in the day, at 34 years old, not so much now. As her feet hit the sandy cavern floor she took off running in the direction of a large rock she had spotted in the back of the cavern near a natural water spring. Grasping desperately at the wet surface of the rock and yanking back she met resistance at first. Layla hadn’t realized it was half buried in the ground, again she yanked, desperate for a weapon to help her new found friend.

She yanked again as she started to panic and look for another source of defense when the rock pulled free with a force that knocked Layla on her ass. The rock slipped from her hands and landed in her lap on the way down. Great, more bruises to count she thought. Another roar of agony from Chokan prompted Layla to her feet quickly, newly found weapon in hand, to turn toward the scene of carnage before her.

The tendrils were now half buried in his side, his hands torn up from the acidic juices flowing from them and his desperation to pull them from his himself. The symbiote struggling beneath, roiling in terror as the tendrils were close enough to wrap around her. Layla let off a primal scream as she heaved the large rock over her head, nearly losing it over her shoulder. She launched forward at full speed ahead with her rock heaved over her and slammed it down on the left beady eye of the beast as it stared her down. Layla again heaved the rock above her own head and brought it down on the monsters over and over until she felt like her arms were jelly sacks of flesh. Her shoulders screamed in agony as she continued to beat the monsters head into a green bloody pulp. The black beady eye was gone, caved in with the rest of its skull from the rock beating Layla had administered to it.

Chokan’s hands stopped her, weakly catching the last thrust of her tired and weak arms in his hands, “The enemy is vanquished Layla” he whispered softly.

Layla stared first at the damage she had done then at the damage it had done. It didn’t look good for Chokan. The tendrils were still buried in his side and wrapped around his left leg. It seems the symbiote was okay, at least it looked like she was from the outside. Chokan stared back at Layla as she assessed the damage to his body, smiling softly at the courage she had displayed. It had surprised him as much as it had their common enemy. Perhaps he had underestimated the human species after all.

“Quite the little warrior you’ve become” Chokan chuckled, “I will heal eventually but this will slow us down quite a bit”

“You don’t say” Layla teased

Chokan shook his head and rolled to his injured side, gasping softly as Layla grabbed his uninjured side and helped him to a sitting position. After getting him into a tolerable position Layla moved to the back of the cavern going for the water spring. She pulled her bandanna off her neck and soaked it in the water. Trotting back to where he sat she began to clean the wounds and pull dying tendrils from his leg and side. The tendrils were no longer a threat, they were dying or dead now, shriveling into dust to her touch as she pulled them off of him. Layla’s mind wandered back to the beginning of her whole sordid journey to where they sat in the cavern. It was a long road they had come down and they still had a long way left. She looked up into Chokan’s eyes and shrugged her shoulders with a smirk. He returned the blasé gesture with a grin of his own and nodded his head softly. Boy, what a trip this had turned out to be she thought as she continued to clean Chokan’s wounds as gently as she could.

Already the less deeper wounds were healing before her eyes. The deeper ones would take Janka more time to heal, the symbiote was fine then. If he was healing, she came away from the fight unscathed and that was a good thing Layla thought.

“We will break for camp here in the cavern until I can heal enough to move on” Chokan said as he winced while Layla passed the bandanna across his ripped up side.

“Okay, we need a food source though” Layla answered back while jutting her hand over her shoulder and pointing at the water spring behind her, “We have a water source back there”

“Good and I can handle hunting for food as long as I do not come across another Gatherer” He grunted in disgust, “Another run in with them and I will not survive with the wounds I have at this moment”

“So don’t run into one dumb ass” Layla poked at him humorously.

“Smart ass” Chokan chuckled back as he waved her hand away while shakily getting to his feet. He limped toward the water spring in the back of the cavern. Using the reflection to survey the damage done by the Gatherer he grimaced and shook his head. It would take at least three or four days to heal enough to continue their journey and since they had lost what Layla called the car it would delay their trek through the rough terrain they were in.

He dropped to his knees as he dipped his cupped hands into the water. Drinking deeply then leaning over to dip his head directly into the cool waters of the spring. It felt soothing and cool to his scorched skin as he pulled pieces of his organic armor off bit by bit while drenching himself in it. Layla watched with curiosity as each piece hit the cavern floor, revealing more of Chokan’s naked flesh. When Layla realized that he meant to strip down completely she blushed as she let off a gasp of surprise.

“Why do you gasp in such a manner?” He grunted at her, “Have you not seen a naked male before?”

“Well, yeah but holy shit Chokan, you have no qualms do you” She blushed back.

“Qualms? What is this qualms you speak of?” Chokan inquired.

“It means you don’t care that you are naked in front of a person you only met three days ago” Layla giggled sarcastically.

“It is a body, what is wrong with being naked? You silly humans always making big moles out of little mountains” He retorted.

“It’s big mountains out of mole hills Chokan” Layla howled with laughter as she covered her mouth trying to hide her amusement at his mistake.

Chokan stared at her as he pulled the last piece of armor off and stood, giving her a Full Monty view from where she was in the cavern. As she blushed he grinned sarcastically while he turned his back to her to wash his wounds in the spring water. It was Layla’s turn to shake her head as she walked cautiously to the mouth of the cavern to inspect the waxing afternoon sun.

She wondered if his species was born abrasive as well as arrogant or was it culture that caused them to be so aggressive. It was a miracle that they even got along considering how rough he could be. She looked up at the orange and red horizon, night was falling quickly and they still needed to find a food source.

As if reading her mind Chokan appeared beside her fully dressed and ready to hunt. He nodded softly as Layla side stepped him to let him pass by her. She gawked at his armor, it seemed as if it too could heal from damage it had taken on. Layla would have to ask him about that later right now all she could think about was her grumbling hunger and tired aching body.

“You stay here, gather fuel for a fire” Chokan instructed Layla.

“But, I wanted to come with you” Layla said thinking nervously about being unprotected without him around.

“I will not be long Layla, you stay” he said harshly as he turned back to the mouth of the cavern. Trotting off at a moderate speed into the bush.

Layla grunted as she spun angrily on her heels toward the spring water in the back of the cavern. She figured it was her turn to wash up, at least she could have some privacy while doing it. Unlike him, she did have qualms about being naked in front of others.

She stripped down to her panties and knelled at the water, first dipping her hands into the pool of crystal clear waters and then her head. She cupped the water and drank greedily from her hands. When she was satisfied and felt cleaner she redressed.

Layla inched her way toward the opening of the cavern to peek quietly out. Looked like it was clear and free of danger so she decided to go hunting for some wood for a fire. There was some dry drift wood further up the beach and Layla headed straight for it. Picking a few medium pieces of drift wood she dragged them back to the cavern entrance.

Layla grabbed her hunting blade from her hip bag and went back out to find a few birch trees and some fodder for starting up the fire. She stripped the bark from a few trees that were growing in a tight circle at the edge of the bush. Trotting back to the cavern as quickly as she could. It made her nervous being in open ground for too long, almost too open and ready for the plucking, almost like a fish in a barrel.

She thought about the .22 pistol, wondering if she should pull it out but thinking better of it. What if she mistook Chokan for one of them, what if bullets he couldn’t heal from, what if she ended up shooting her own foot. She couldn’t heal the way he could and she doubted greatly that she wanted Janka near her insides a second time. Layla shivered at this last thought, she had felt violated but then grateful too. It was because of Janka that she was still alive but if she had been asked first she thought she would have preferred death to having that thing inside of her.

Layla started gathering rocks from around the cavern and beach to make a fire pit in the middle of the cave floor. No sense in burning themselves to a crispy cinder building their fire. When she walked back into the cavern her eyes fell on the dead Gatherer and she shivered. What the hell to do with this thing, she wasn’t about to touch it, it creped her out and the stench rolling off of in made her stomach roll violently.

She stared at it, her eyes running over the bulk of it’s blackened body. It’s head was all but gone from being beaten in by the rock Layla had used on it. It’s bug like arms short and grotesque, they reminded her of fleas with a side dish of fly. The rainbow of colors that crawled its body were dimming slowly, florescent little bugs were scrambling violently in droves off of it, as if trying to escape the dead flesh. Layla cautiously approached the carcass of the beast covering her mouth and nose with her wet bandanna. She nudged it with her sneakered foot and then passed around it eyeing it wearily for any signs of life.

As she pulled together the rocks she had gathered her eyes kept darting back to the Gatherer laying dead in the middle of the cavern. The light of the day was waning quickly now, turning from orange to red. The cavern was darker and Layla’s mind raced with horrifying thoughts of the Gatherer jumping up just like in the horror movies to make a second appearance. She shivered violently and tried to push the thoughts away but they kept creeping back like a bad case of the heebies.

Layla sighed, done with her task she laid down the pieces of drift wood into her newly made fire pit. She searched her hip bag for the matches she had slipped into one of its many pockets. When she realized they weren’t there she started to panic, then realized they were in the back pack. Layla stood up and searched for it, she couldn’t remember where it had gone and then realized it was still on the rock ledge above her head.

“Damn it” Layla grunted, “now what”

She looked at the set of vines she had used to scale down the cavern wall, there was no way she was strong enough to scale back up them. Not this exhausted anyhow. She stepped toward it with forced resolve, she needed that damned back pack and the matches that were in it. It was getting cold now, it was still on the cool side at night in Elliot Lake and with the winds off of Oompa lake it would be even colder soon enough.

Layla froze as a rustling noise caught her attention, her back was to the dead beast behind her and her mind raced sickeningly with thoughts of tendrils dancing around her body poised to strike the deadly blow from behind her. She turned around slowly, her heart beat deafening in her ears as it thudded away in her chest.

She nearly screamed when the furry thing jumped up to lick her face then started laughing wildly. Her laughter echoed across the walls of the cavern as she petted the grey hound that had snuck up on her. It was gray with black and white spots, eager to see another living creature and very happy with it’s long whip like tail smacking Layla’s thigh enthusiastically.

“Where ever you came from bud, I’m happy you did” Layla giggled as she pet the dog on the head. She turned back to the set of vines with a renewed vigor and grabbed at the first one she could reach. She began to haul her self inch by inch up the vines, it was grueling work and Layla’s arms began to scream their protest to the torture they were enduring.

She reached the rock ledge and grabbed at it, nearly missing the first attempt and falling. A second grab produced a more satisfying result and she was up on the ledge staring down at her new found companion while he barked and whimpered. He was running around in circles nervously as Layla began her trek back down the vines. She shook her head as she tossed the back pack to the ground hopping she hadn’t busted anything doing so and cautiously grabbed the vines. She shimmied her way down them at a slower pace than she had up them and when her feet finally hit the ground the grey hound bounced around her legs happily as he wagged his ass around in joy at having her back with him.

“Well don’t get all in a tizzy now, I knew what I was doing” Layla laughed as she patted his head again while he licked her hand.

“Well, you think we should start a fire bud?” Layla asked the dog. When the dog cocked it’s head to one side with an ear straight up and one flopped over Layla flew into a fit of hysterical laughter at the sight of him, “I think I’ll name you Mr. Gray, lets go start that fire before Chokan gets back huh”

With the dog at her feet with his new name and matches in hand Layla knelt down beside her makeshift fire pit to busy herself with the task of starting a fire for the three of them. She wondered how Chokan was making out and what he might think of the new comer to their little unlikely group. She sighed, if it weren’t for the Gatherers and the threat she found herself thrust into she could almost swear she was just camping in the rough, if only it were the case she thought wearily as she struck the first match to light the fire.

Chapter Two : Car Troubles

Posted in Chapter, Character Builds, New, Online, Plot, Published with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2009 by tabithatodd

Chapter 2: Car Troubles

Layla’s eyes fluttered open as she sat up on the couch, she couldn’t remember falling asleep at all after the incident with Chokan and Janka. She muttered softly to herself while swinging her legs over the side of the couch to stand when her eyes fell on the man sitting in her arm chair.

Chokan looked human enough with his eyes closed, even handsome too. His hands were folded neatly against his abdomen. Layla let her eyes roam over his body. Well built, tall and olive complexion. She smirked uneasily when he stirred slightly, it looked like he was dozing lightly but she couldn’t tell. Janka on the other hand roiled and quivered beneath his folded hands as if she was hard at work doing only god knows what that work might be. Layla cautiously tip toed closer to them and leaned in to take a better look.

“Would you like to feel?” Chokan whispered softly, startling Layla, “Janka is disposing of the toxic poisons that she removed from your body”

“Fuck, I thought you were sleeping,” Layla almost screamed, “you scared the shit out of me”

Chokan laughed as he grabbed Layla’s hand in his, shoving it on his stomach roughly. The symbiote churned and recoiled under her hand making Layla recoil herself in horror. Chokan stared at her as she wiped her hands compulsively on her jeans, shivering at the not so distant memory of Janka’s movements against her skin.

“Doesn’t it bother you a parasite lives in your gut?” she asked disgusted at the lingering sensation of Janka’s movements on her skin.

“It does not” he replied with a dismayed look, “she is a symbiote not a parasite and her name is Janka”

“Don’t get your undies in a wad now, excuse me for asking” Layla grunted as she flopped back down on the couch, “So, you gonna tell me about these Gatherers and what not?”

“Very well, I will tell you” Chokan began, “The Gatherers are the first wave of the invasion. They collect food and slaves for what is only known as The Masters. These Gatherers are what one would refer to as the quiet before the storm”

“Pfft, quiet they are not” Layla grunted, “It’s gonna be a shit kicker of a storm isn’t it Chokan?”

“Do not interrupt me female” Chokan hissed, “What little I have been able to gather as intelligence before my home world was destroyed the Masters have never been seen. No one knows what they look like or why they come to destroy whole planets. It seems as if they aimlessly wander the universe marauding different planets for resources with no real goal or aim in mind.”

Layla made a face at him and leaned back to take inventory of what he had just told her. She closed her eyes and threw her hands behind her head. Thinking to herself how utterly complicated her life had just gotten. When she opened her eyes again she could see that he was staring at her. His cat like eyes darting up and down her body. Layla shivered, unable to explain why it affected her that he was checking her out. It felt weird but interestingly arousing in a way to have him staring at her like he was.

“So, what about you, what exactly are you now?” Layla whispered with a blush.

“I am Ravanian. Our home world was called Ravnos” He started, “We are a feline like race with the capabilities to heal quickly. We have primary and secondary claws as defenses which you have already witnessed earlier. As you know we carry a symbiote who is our immune system and we are their transportation and protection.”

“What’s with the fancy jewelry by the way?” Layla blurted as she reached to touch it. Chokan growled and slapped her hand away from him as he rose defensively.

“You do not touch it” He yelled loudly, “It is a symbol of our coming of age, of the rituals of Pentok”

Layla cringed backward and bowed her head, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was insulting to touch it”

“No, I should apologize Layla” Chokan muttered, “I am not on my home world, it is still difficult to get used to the different ways of your home world”
EDIT: Chokan cringed visibly at his outburst and how it had affected Layla. It was still a difficult task to adjust to the different cultures of their two worlds. He had not meant to make her feel as she had been made to feel albeit these humans were extremely sensitive he thought to himself. His mouth opened then closed as if to apologize but could not muster getting past his pride to do so. Layla stared at him through her bangs covering her upper face as he wrestled with his thoughts then shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly with a look of defeat on his face.

Layla’s head snapped up and forward suddenly when she heard an all too familiar sound she really could have gone the rest of her life not hearing. It was that same metallic humming sound and it sounded like it was just outside her back door. Layla stared back at Chokan as he nodded knowingly. So he had heard it too then, it wasn’t just her imagination as she’d hoped for.

Chokan stepped toward the other side of the living room, avoiding the large bay window as much as he could and motioned for Layla to follow quietly as they both retreated away from the sound of the Gatherer. Crouching, Chokan cocked his head to one side, listening intently as the Gatherer moved away from the back door and toward the front of the house.

Layla moved past him to her bedroom to gather what she needed. As far as she could tell they had had a close call and it sounded like the Gatherer was moving away from them. As she looked back at Chokan, looking to see if she had the green light she slammed her fist into her mouth to stifle the scream that nearly let loose from her throat. Layla nearly fell backward into her bedroom when Chokan rose quickly and caught her. It had been him on his haunches who had lightly grazed her ankle with his fingers to warn her not to move. Chokan had barely had enough time to stop Layla from walking into the bedroom where another Gatherer was sniffing at the open window.

He pulled her close to him as they both stood in the hallway between the bedroom door and bathroom door. His arms around her almost protectively as they both tried to stay as still as they could. The Gatherer made one final loud sniff at the window then spun around with a high pitched squeal. It crouched low with its double jointed legs and took off at a gallop Layla couldn’t believe could be achieved by this hulking breed of monster. When she looked back up into Chokan’s face she could see that it was finally safe enough to move and breath again.

“We must hurry and gather what we need to leave now” He said

“God damn best idea I’ve heard all day” Layla grunted, “Just let me grab a few things and we’re good to go. Car is in the garage, there’s a door that leads right into it off the side of the house.”

“Very well, let us be done with it quickly then” Chokan answered back.

Layla ran to her bedroom and grabbed the nearest back pack she had out. A red and black back pack with pockets galore. She knew she would need to pack light but decided to take her side hip bag with her for more important supplies like her .22 pistol and the hunting blade her best friend had given her as a joke for her farewell party back in the city.

Not so much a joke now is it Layla thought as she stuffed both the pistol and hunting knife into the hip bag. Packing clothes, socks and other essentials she giggled absently as she stuffed a few pairs of her underwear deep into the backpack. Mom always did say bring a clean pair of underwear with you, at least she wouldn’t be able to say she died with her granny panties on.

As she was finishing up Chokan entered the bedroom. He looked around, poking at a stuffed teddy bear then riffling through the contents of her sock drawer.

“Hey, don’t you know it’s rude to look in a ladies panty drawer?” Layla teased.

“What are panty drawers?” Chokan asked looking confused.

“Oh never mind, a good joke wasted, sheesh” She said.

As Layla stuffed the last of what she needed in her back pocket, a couple of sticks of gum, a crashing sound shook through her house. Layla did scream this time and looked to Chokan with a terrified stare. He frowned, sniffing the air like a bloodhound searching for a missing child. His eyes widened and he growled loudly.

“We must go now” He growled

“That sounded like it was from the garage, that’s where the car is” Layla said

“Where is the door to this garage, you stay here I will see if the vehicle is still intact” He answered

“Back down the hall, through the kitchen, there’s a second side door right into the garage.” Layla said, “Be careful Chokan”

Chokan made his way back down the hallway and into the kitchen carefully, keeping low to the ground and slinking as quietly as he could. When he reached the garage door he had to side step the kitchen counter nearly knocking the vase of flowers off of it. He cringed slightly as he grabbed at the teetering vase before it fell and continued to make his way soundlessly to the garage door. Opening it as gently as he could manage while peeking through the crack to see into the darkness of the garage Chokan sighed.

It seemed this “car” Layla spoke of did not look right. The Gatherer had ripped the front of it off exposing what looked to be its engine to the darkness and cobwebs. The light fixtures in front were smashed out and a few pieces tinkled to the ground as a gray bulky shadow passed by the garage door. Chokan backed up quickly, the Gatherer was still present in the garage which meant that they would have to find another means of transportation.

Chokan spun violently on his heels as the blood chilling scream wafted toward him from the bedroom. It was Layla screaming. He rushed head on toward the bedroom, claws swiftly emerging as he ran through the hallway. He growled as he burst through the door of the bedroom only to stop dead in his tracks at what he saw.

Layla was cornered on one side of the bedroom while another Gatherer stood at the gaping hole in the wall where the window had been. It sniffed the air enthusiastically, humming away as it reached with its absurdly short bug like arms toward Layla. She screamed again prompting Chokan to launch forward to attack the Gatherer when a sound he had never heard before wailed in his sensitive ears causing him to lurch instead of lunge and slam to the floor. It was an incredibly loud bang that was followed by a flash of bright orange light and an acrid smell he could not identify.

Chokan had only had time enough to look up to see the Gatherer’s head explode into little shards of skull and greasy flesh as the flash of bright light receded from his vision. Behind the monstrous alien animal in the window an old man stood pointing something at the dying beast.

Turned out that the old man who lived out in the bushes had heard the sounds and had come to investigate what was going on. Old Man Mac grunted as he stepped over the crumbling left overs of the window, nodding in Layla’s direction as he did. Mac chortled softly as he offered his hand to Chokan and looked him up and down.

Old Man Mac was the crazy old fart that Layla had heard about. He lived in a school bus that had been retrofitted with a wood burning stove and painted blue. It even had it’s own propane tank that serviced the stove that ran off of the volatile gas source. She had heard Mac had gone the way of One Flew Over The Coo Coo Nest after the first Gulf War and gone hermit crab when he got back to his home town of Elliot Lake.

It was odd that he was this far out on the other side of Oompa lake though, Layla was on the north side of the lake while his nutty blue bus resided on the south side of the shared lake. Old Man Mac’s rough gruffy voice violently shook Layla from her inner thoughts with a jolt.

“Interestin’ get up you got going there kid” Mac gruffed

“You must be Old Man Mac, you live in the bush on the other side of Oompa don’t you?” Layla interjected to change the subject quickly. She cringed as Mac eyed her suspiciously. When Mac turned back to Chokan he leveled his shot gun at him. Chokan growled as he stiffened while the barrel trembled before his eyes.

“Don’t move boy or I swear I’ll blow yer brains all over this room like I did that thing” Mac growled.

“Mac, it’s okay, he’s on our side” Layla said as she stepped between the two men shakily while pushing away the barrel of the shotgun. Mac eyed balled the both of them wearily again then huffed as he turned his back to leave.

“Best thing for you two is to get the fuck out of dodge” Mac said, “There’s some crazy shit going on and it ain’t looking all that pretty”

“That was the plan” Layla grunted sarcastically.

Mac stepped over the rubble of the ruined window while ducking his head. He disappeared around the corner of the house and back into his beloved bush as both Layla and Chokan watched him leave.

“We must do the same Layla” Chokan said softly

“You bet dude” Layla said as she grabbed the back pack and hip bag. Slinging them onto her body she spun on her heels and nodded to him.

Both Layla and Chokan moved fluidly together as a unit, moving quickly through the bedroom door and down the hallway. When Layla made to move toward the garage door Chokan grabbed her arm and shook his head no. She frowned and cursed under her breath when she realized that the crashing sound had been her car taking a pummeling from the god forsaken Gatherers. Cursing loudly as she side stepped Chokan she made for the front door only to stop suddenly and stare out her living room window.

What she saw both intrigued and disturbed her. A Gatherer had caught a deer in mid stride and was tearing gruesomely at the poor things flesh, ripping it apart in grotesque shreds of red bloody strips. The deers skin and flesh gave so easily to the Gatherers disfigured short arms, like a hot knife through butter. The sounds of the flesh ripping away from the animal made Layla gag uncontrollably. She tried to look away but it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

When the Gatherer was done it’s head tilted to the side and that little beady eye made contact with Layla’s eyes. She swore it was sizing up the distance it would take to get to her and how long it would take as well. Chokan grabbed her shoulders and pulled her away from the staring match with the Gatherer, whispering it was time to move now. That got Layla moving with a jolt, it seemed they’d have to take the same way Old Man Mac had and exit stage left through the back door.

Chokan lead the way back to the bedroom, stepping through the shards of glass and guts without so much as a second thought or hesitation in his stride. He grabbed Layla’s hand and pulled her through the now missing window of her bedroom roughly. As Layla cleared the ruins of her bedroom window Chokan yanked on her arm drawing them into a running pace straight for the bushes. Layla was about to protest when she saw exactly why he had done it, a Gatherer was at a trotting pace in their direction. Its acidic tendrils unfurling from its proboscis like mouth in anticipation of the capture. Its little arms in a flurry of excitement as they pumped back and forth with its running gate and its beady little eyes glistening intensely at them with hatred.

Chokan grunted as he pulled Layla into his arms and hurled her past the bushes while he spun on his heels. His claws glistening in the sunlight of the afternoon as they buried deep into the side of the Gatherers head while Layla landed on her ass with a jolt and let out a yelp. The Gatherers tiny malformed arms were still pumping back and forth as it sunk to the grassy edge of the bush. Its green blood lazily dripping off of Chokan’s claws and hands.

The pitter patter of the Gatherers blood on the grass make Layla wretch with the dry heaves as Chokan grabbed her by the hand and yanked her forward. Growling as he told her to move it now. They started running through the bush, Layla leading with Chokan on her heals at a steady pace. She didn’t know which way to go but every time she went to turn in a certain direction Chokan either grunted no, not that way or pulled her back to a seemingly chosen path he already had in mind.

Tree branches scraped along Layla’s face and arms making her wish she had worn a long sleeved sweater instead of the tee shirt she had on. She thought briefly of the sweater in her backpack as another thicket scraped across her forearm making her wince in pain. Layla grunted as Chokan pulled on her, making her lurch to the left just before she ran into a small sapling tree head on.

As they hit a secondary foot path that crossed paths with the one they were on Chokan steered them roughly into it. He slipped past her daftly as she grabbed at his hand so she wouldn’t loose him in the bushes. God help her if she lost herself in these bushes without his protection, she was dead woman walking if she did.

Layla yipped with glee as the path ended in a clearing with a rock cut jutting out from the left. It seems that Chokan had had some type of pre chosen path in mind after all Layla thought, well at least the man came prepared. It was a cavern that he was aiming for. It would provide them with protection from the elements and a place to regroup from the surprise attack they had endured.

Chokan paused briefly to sniff at the entrance of the cavern then nodded as if satisfied it was safe enough as he plowed forward head long into the darkness. He spun around as he grabbed Layla’s waist and heaved her up onto his hips. He lunged upward claws distended and dug deep into the rock face. Clinging to the cavern ceiling he motioned for Layla to maneuver her way into a laying position between his body and the cavern ceiling.

“Rest Layla,” Chokan whispered as he dug deeper into the rock face to secure both his weight and hers.

“Are you going to be able to hold this position for long?” She asked, “I mean I ain’t no light weight you know and you don’t look like it either”

“Never mind me, just rest and catch your breath before we have to move again” he grunted as pearls of sweat broke out on his skin.

“Looks like we have to find another car huh?” Layla poked, trying to lighten the dismal mood that had befallen them

“Shhhh…I said rest female” Chokan growled.

“Men” Layla grunted sarcastically.

Chapter One : Monstrous Beginnings

Posted in Chapter, Character Builds, New, Online, Plot, Published with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2009 by tabithatodd

Chapter 1: Monstrous Beginnings

Layla stepped out onto her front porch listening to the birds chirping in the woods next to her Elliot Lake home. She had just moved here from the city to escape the rat race and the daily grind of city life. Elliot Lake was a beautiful little town surrounded by woodlands and lakes of varying sizes. The town was small with mostly retired people and a good number of younger families.

It used to be a mining town back in the eighties. Booming with uranium mines the town was built around the natural resources that put them on the Canadian maps. Layla smiled softly as she watched a fox trot by, probably hunting for the same birds that were chirping in the wooded areas of her one acre lot. It was peaceful here and that’s they way Layla wanted it. No humming power lines, no street drag racers, no screaming neighbors and most of all no distractions. Life in Elliot Lake was as lazy and hum drum as a natural water fall bubbling over a rock face in the middle of nowhere woodlands.

Layla opened her front door to let out Belle, her Golden Labrador and turned back to the stairs as she began her quick trek to the mailboxes at the end of the road. Belle happily yipped as she followed behind Layla, dancing her canine dance around her feet as they walked down the gravel road. When they came to a fork in the road Belle let off a sudden growl as her brown eyes darted back and forth through the thick brush. She was tracking something, probably the fox she saw trot across the front yard Layla thought with a smirk.

Belle growled again and her fur stood on end as she crouched low and started to creep with her tail stiff and straight out. Bearing her teeth as her tail shot straight up Belle began to bark as a dark hulking shadow moved from the brush to a less dense set of trees off the side of the road. Layla frowned, it was bear season and the beginning of it. Bears were now beginning to come out of hibernation and those buggers could be nasty when they felt threatened or cornered. It was also a dangerous part of the bear season because they were pretty grumpy when hungry with so little food to compete for.

“Shoosh Belle, you’ll startle the bugger and make it mad” Layla whispered as she pulled out her bear whistle.

Belle regarded her for a moment then went back to barking at the bulky shadow that seemed to just stand there and stare back at them. Layla frowned, that was an awfully big bear. Maybe the shadows were playing tricks on her waking and groggy mind. Layla strained to identify the shadow more closely, wondering if she should just get her mail later. That sounded like a good idea as Layla turned on her heels quickly and headed back the way they had come but Belle wasn’t following her.

“Belle, come on now, let’s go” Layla called, “BELLE, NOW” As Layla hollered her commands at Belle she took off into the bush and straight for that shadowy figure. Layla startled but hesitated as she slowly drew the bear whistle to her mouth.

“BELLE, come here now” Layla hollered nervously, “Damned dog”

Layla started toward the bush with caution gripping the bear whistle like it was a lifeline. She wondered if she should run back for her .22 caliber pistol that was in her lock box in the bedroom. No time she thought to herself as she edged toward the bush line, straining to see where the shadow and Belle had gone. The smaller trees were swaying with the recent passing by of Belle’s body but the bigger trees beyond that were bowing with the other shadow things movements, she could see whole birch trees bowing dangerously close to snapping point. These trees were not baby trees either but whole, full grown trees. What could possible be big enough to do that to full grown established trees Layla grunted under her breath as she stepped closer to the ditch just before the woodlands.

Whatever this thing was it was huge and Layla doubted it was a bear at all. Maybe a moose but it was too wide and too tall for a moose. What the hell could it possibly be she wondered. Her thoughts were interrupted with a scream that she could not identify right away but soon realized it was Belle who was screaming out of sheer terror and pain.

“What the fuh..” Layla grunted. The rest of the sentence would never be finished as Layla was slammed to the ground and knocked unconscious. Her head had hit a fair sized rock jutting up from the side of the road that bordered the bush on the other side of the ditch she was standing beside.

The thing standing above her hummed with a metallic tinny sound as it dropped the body of Layla’s dead dog Belle. The carcass was ripped apart from neck to shoulders, rank tracks of burnt flesh were still melting in slimy rivulets onto the gravel road. Its beady black eyes glistened as it turned its head sideways to look at its newly found prey. It seemed to be regarding Layla with an intelligence that rivaled human intelligence. Its snout quivered with anticipation as it sniffed closely at Layla’s face leaving little trails of drool and snot across her cheeks. Opening its mouth wide it let the digestive tendrils flop lazily out of the end of its proboscis like mouth. A few droplets of acidic fluid dripped on Layla’s left cheek with a plume of smoke as her eyes fluttered open.

Layla tried to scream at the hideous monster in front of her but not even a squeak flowed out of her fear clenched throat. She tried to skitter backward from it but the gravel prevented her from being able to dig her heels in or going very far as it crunched under her flailing feet. Layla rolled to her left to be met with Belle’s dead eyes staring her in her own. Nothing was left of the dog but spine, nerve endings and a few blood vessels with the dog’s head. Little rivulets of red chunky liquid flowed down the slope of the road and into the ditch. Layla’s eyes followed the flow of liquefied flesh knowing her own flesh would do the same as Belle’s when her eyes fell on a man crouching at the ditch except this man was different somehow.

Layla’s eyes met with his dual colored eyes, they looked cat like not human at all. His black long hair was wavy and down past his shoulders. Some sort of ornamental like jewelry on his left ear glistened in the morning sunshine as he cocked his head to one side. Layla could see he was wearing some weird type of clothing, it looked almost alive and she could swear she saw parts of it ripple and squirm.

The man bore his teeth, also cat like, as two sets of glistening knives seemed to grow from the backs of his hands as Layla pleaded silently with her eyes for him to help her. The shear terror in her eyes seemed to move the man into action.

The man moved with accuracy and speed charging the monster with a roar of rage and anger while he raised his built in weapons high above his head. He pounced on the menacing creatures back and began stabbing ferociously at it. A green substance began to flow from its back and mingle with the liquid remains of Layla’s dog coloring the stagnant water in the ditch a sickly greenish red.

Once again the cat like man drew back and stabbed at the monstrous beast. Fluid flowed in fast spurts across the gravel road even spraying Layla in the face. The smell was awful, like decaying flesh in the hot summer sun. Layla realized the smell wasn’t just the green goo flowing from the beasts back but the beastly monster itself that reeked of decay. She gagged roughly at the smell as it intensified and crawled toward the other side of the road where she promptly puked the mornings breakfast into a bed of wet leaves.

Layla screamed impulsively as a hand touched the back of her shoulder, turning as she threw up her own hands reflexively trying to shield herself with them, the bear whistle still roughly clenched in her right fist. The man crouched next her and regarded her silently as he seemed to be waiting for Layla to calm down enough to speak with her.

“Female, are you wounded?” The man asked softly

“I, uhm I don’t think so” Layla said as she surveyed her own body to see if she was hurt, “who or what is that thing?”

“I am Chokan, of the House of Daemar” He said, “and that thing is called the Gatherer”

Layla stared at him hard, what the hell was this dude on she wondered nearly out loud. Her eyes caught a movement and she scrambled backward nearly screaming as she did. His abdomen, it was wriggling and squirming around. Layla pointed at his abdomen with a gapping mouth, trying to ask what the hell it was when he started laughing at her.

“That is Janka, my symbiote.” He laughed, “I am her transportation, she is my immune system.”

“Fuck me sideways” Layla grunted as she lay down, “good god, I suddenly don’t feel so good”

“Where do you reside female?” Chokan asked, “We must take refuge quickly, where there is one Gatherer there will be many others”

“Up the road, only house on this road” Layla sputtered as she passed out. Chokan lifted the female human gently into his arms and looked up the road. He could see the roof top of the house and began to walk toward it quickly. The females eyes fluttered briefly as Chokan hopped the stairs of her home in one leap. Not only must they take refuge but it seemed that this female was succumbing to the acidic poisons in the beasts saliva.

Chokan would have to act quickly in order to save her life, the poisons were quick with the females of his own kind and he presumed it would be for female humans too. It was a tactic that effectively castrated the species it was used on to keep reproduction to a minimum as well as control the species while the alien Gatherers silently invaded the planet.

As he entered the female’s home his eyes darted around the room and fell upon some sort of large sitting apparatus. It would have to do for what he meant to accomplish he thought as he laid her gently on it. Her eyes fluttered a second time and came half way open as he leaned into her, nearly laying on top of her fully. He removed the organic abdominal plate from his armor then lifted the female’s shirt above her round pink breasts. He paused briefly to stare at the two mounds of supple flesh on the female’s chest, seemed they were not that far off anatomy wise between the species he thought as he smiled softly.

Laying belly to belly Chokan winced as tendrils forced their way out of his abdomen and into hers. Janka reached far into the female humans abdomen with her tendrils seeking out the poisons that ran rampant through her body and sucking them up into the them for later disposal. Layla’s eyes popped open and she started screaming as she kicked and slapped at Chokan. He grabbed her harshly by the arms and hissed for her to stay still as Janka continued to finish healing her from the Gatherer’s poisons.

“Get the fuck off me” Layla screamed

“Calm yourself female” Chokan hissed angrily, “you pull away and you will kill all three of us”

“I don’t care, get her out, get off me damn it” Layla growled as Janka withdrew already done what she had been asked to perform.

“We are done anyhow female” Chokan grunted as he pulled away from Layla roughly and stood at the side of the sitting apparatus she way laying on.

“I have a name asshole” she hissed between clenched teeth, “It’s Layla”

Chokan regarded the abrasive human female as he sat on a smaller sitting apparatus. His shoulders dropped abruptly as he stared at the woman as she started to sob uncontrollably. He frowned and offered his hand to her gently as a peace offering. As she stared at him he shrugged his shoulders and tried to smile at her, it didn’t turn out all that great as Layla began to sob harder.

“Layla” He whispered as gently as he could, “we must prepare to move out of the area. There will be more of them”

“What the hell are they Chokan, why are they here? What do they want?” Layla asked between sobs

“I will explain to you on our way to your Royal Family” Chokan whispered.

“Royal Family? We don’t have that, do you mean government?” Layla whispered back not knowing why she was whispering but only following suit with him.

“Very well then, your government” Chokan said, “We will camp here in your dwelling until dusk then we must move quickly to where your government is”

“You’re kidding right? You do know the government is in Ottawa right? That’s across the province, miles and miles away, hours away.” Layla grunted in disgust.

“We must warn your government Layla, this invading species has already destroyed my home world and people. They are dangerous, you have seen what it can do.” Chokan pushed adamantly.

“Okay, but I insist on driving ’cause I don’t think you know how to do that do you?” Layla pushed back.

“What is driving?” Chokan asked with a funny look.

Layla began laughing hard, she laid back against the couch as tears of laughter ran down her already tired looking face. Who would have thought her first morning in her newly adopted home town of Elliot Lake would be this eventful. Her dog was dead, she nearly became some hideous creatures lunch and now she had an alien man sitting on her arm chair staring at her like she was some lunatic while she laughed her ass off. This was going to be an interesting journey she thought to herself as she stared back at the alien cat man before her.