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About Literature / Hobbyist Member echowolfFemale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 7 Years
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The hiss of the doors snapped colonel Brady awake. It had been a long hitch, and the ship had come in fast and hot. Too much speed and the mag brakes would rip the ship into pieces. And there was no telling which piece you'd be in when that happened. Sheer grit, luck and steady hands were all that had brought him home this time. After an exhausting debriefing session, he was drained and ready to drop. He dragged himself to his private quarters and stepped over the softly illuminated threshold into the arms of his radiant wife, Chrystina.
"Oh, I'm so glad you're home!" She breathed into his ear. "You've been away too long this time. I'll not let you go back. They can't have you."
His fingers traced the gentle curve of her cheek. The ethereal sound of their song softly filled the air between them, the tattoos in his fingers responding to those in place in her skin. Though invisible, they sounded with music when the two of them were in physical contact, growing louder as pressure was increased, playing longer as the touch lingered on.
A romantic gesture, perhaps, but a necessary one. Deadhands were incapable of full sensation in their hands, having undergone a specialized surgery to sever most of the nerves. This allowed their hands to remain perfectly still, not subject to minor tremors that would have proven fatal upon re-entry to planet-side. As it stood, the musical tattoos ensured that he would be aware of the effect of his touch on the tender, delicate skin of his wife's body.
"Look what I brought you!" Brady exclaimed, pulling a small metal canteen from his pocket.
"What is this?" Chrystina asked, taking the flask and unscrewing the lid.
"Real yogurt? I've only had it once, at my sister's wedding. How on Earth did you get this?"
"I can't go into details. Let's just say never take a 36 hour flight with 20 goats. They kick. I thought the metal hull was going to give. I almost jettisoned them, but at least now Vindhya will have a steady supply of milk soon. We just have to get their numbers up."
"Well I'll serve some of this tonight! It will be beautiful with the curry."
Brady allowed himself to be led into the dining area. The lights brightened, revealing the table, set for three.
"Where's Ben?" Brady questioned.
"Practicing piano." Chrystina responded. "I'll go get him, he can't hear me call."
As Brady sat at the table sipping cold water he reflected on his long journey. What he would not tell his wife, would never tell his wife, is that his flight was 72 hours, not 36. He was not a simple island hopper. The cargo he carried came from off-world. From Skylara, a place most people on Earth had no idea existed. She could never know that the goats were a clever, if obnoxious, cover for the load of inkstone concealed within the belly of his craft.
His wife and son appeared, Ben still peeling the keyboard sticker from his forearm. 12 now, he was getting taller each time Brady left and returned home again.
"Hey, Dad!" Ben said, throwing his arms around his father. "Lemme put this down and we can eat. Are you hungry? Mom made curry potatoes and naan. She said you got yogurt, too! What's it taste like?"
"Slow down, just try some. How's school?" Brady laughed.
"Oh. Well, I got my grades back for last season two weeks ago." Ben said, piling potatoes onto his plate. Grabbing a dollop of yogurt he spooned a big bite into his mouth. "Yuck! This stuff is awful. Why is it so expensive? You guys can have it." With that, he began tearing at a piece of bread.
"Wait, don't change the subject, Ben. Tell your father what happened." Chrystina admonished.
"Oh." Ben dropped his naan to his plate. "I had a surprise exam in History, and I failed. It tanked my grade, Dad. One test."
"So you're taking it again? You can't get into Junior Corps if you don't meet your History requirement by next year." Brady said, tucking into the meal. Their family was lucky. Brady's station as a Deadhand meant that his family ate from the limited stores of food provided by the indoor farms. Most other families in Vindhya ate re-purposed algae, printed, processed and flavored from a dispenser in the wall. This exceptional treatment was payment for the Deadhands' service and silence, placing themselves in danger each hitch.
After the meal, as Brady helped his wife clear the plates, his mind couldn't help but wander to the extra danger that his family faced. A danger they neither knew about nor were rewarded for. Brady had grown up on the other side of the world, in a military installation for the nation of Terra Firma. He was a double agent. Trained from a very young age to be an elite pilot, he had infiltrated the ranks of the sea-faring pirates and from there had worked his way up to be chosen as a "Deadhand" for the nation of Vindhya. The Deadhands were chosen from the leagues of pirates to keep the knowledge of the desert world that existed in the skies above their planet a secret. They were given elevated status and many luxuries not afforded to any other people in their settlement. They were also given a very short life expectancy. Piloting the ship into a small crevasse opening in the side of a mountaintop just rising from the ocean was a skill that few possessed, and none could accomplish without the Deadhand surgery. The mag brakes lining the entry tunnel could rip a ship into pieces- pieces that could be welded back together. Pilots were not so mendable.
If his deception were discovered he, his wife, and his son would be killed.
As a boy, Brady had lived a carefree existence on a satellite island of Terra Firma. When Brady was six years old, pirates had captured the island, to a person, except for Brady and his grandfather, out on the ocean in a fishing boat. No one ever saw the islanders again. When Terra Firma had learned that the pirates were being manipulated by Waalid, the leader of the nation of Vindhya, Brady had sworn to get answers...and revenge.
A heavy tread from behind him caused Marlon to jump in fear. Father placed his hand reassuringly on the young man's shoulder. "Another bleak night. Why don't you let me take watch and get some rest? Nothing like the rain to get you to sleep."
"No, thank you, Father." Marlon replied. "You took watch last night, and tomorrow you have to harvest the garden before the frost."
"Marlon, you worry about this old man too much. I do just fine, I always get my nap in the afternoon."
"Father, you're the only family I have left, I have to watch out for you."
"Well, good night, Marlon. I'll come and get you at sunup."
Marlon expected little trouble inside the walls of the library. The only time anyone had disturbed the ivy covered brick building was just after the two of them had found the abandoned structure. The two had hidden in the tall grass near the lake while the gang of disheveled men tore through the place, tossing and kicking the books and tearing the plants from the garden plots. It had taken Father two months to reclaim the garden from the overgrowth and weeds when they had originally found it, and three more to coax the beans into bearing their first tender bounty. After the destruction, Father seemed a bit dispirited, but had simply packed a bag and traveled into the remains of the small town of Greensberg, to the local hardware store. He and Marlon had chosen seeds from the deserted isles of the store, picking their way over litter and scattered debris. Most of the big ticket items like generators, flashlights and all of the food had already been looted, but the two were able to track down watering cans, gloves, seeds and an assortment of tools. Father had insisted on leaving money and a note behind the counter. Marlon would have argued, if he had thought it would have done any good.
Secretly, Marlon was relieved at the steadfast dedication to doing the right thing that the Father evidenced. Just after the event, while Marlon wandered the empty streets alone, he had been well and truly convinced of a nameless evil within himself. One vile and wretched enough to deny him access into the kingdom of Heaven when nearly every person around himself had ascended.
Father had soothed him those three years prior by saying, "Do you really think the Lord would leave his flock without any shepherds? And leave those who remain no way of reaching Heaven? I believe this is a test of our faith, Marlon. We must not allow this trial before us to cast doubt into our hearts. You are a good person. I know it. God left us here for a reason, Marlon. We must find our purpose in His new world."
Although Marlon had his doubts as to the truth of the old priest's words, he came to know the Father too well to ever doubt his character. The old priest was a good and kind man, truly devout to his faith. This simple and clear truth helped to resolve the anguish that had plagued Marlon since the event was first widely described as "The Rapture."
The rain had begun to fall in thick, cold drops. It streamed over the windows in the library, temporarily blocking out all light and any view.
Marlon pulled his blanket around his shoulders more tightly and huddled down into the worn, cloth covered chair.
Nights like these were always the hardest. Without any visibility watch was nerve racking and nearly pointless. The sun slipped fast behind the distant hills, catching for a bare moment on the windows of the skyscrapers in the distance. A long forgotten relic, the Greensberg single story library stood neglected, its countless books keeping their stories silently as they crumbled into sweetly scented dust.
Everything was crumbling. The buildings, sidewalks, and morales of those left by the rapture. Almost 75% of the world’s population was taken. So many of those left had become hopeless or lawless that the population had swiftly dwindled into scattered groups and roaming bands.
Without clear leadership nations sifted quickly into border-less wastelands. Marlon was sixteen when the rapture had happened, and both his parents had ascended without him. He never thought of himself as a sinner, but the End of Days had come and chosen who it would, leaving everyone else to anguish and impotent repentance.
Honey, I've never even seen you,
I only know your avatar-
But I can tell from the delicious, wicked way
You twist your words
I’d lick you right out of your pixels.
You play such games with me
You’re much better than I am
You’ll win, every time.
And even if you were losing
I’d let you win, every time
Because I know how terrified
You are of losing.
You’re afraid.
Afraid that I will hurt you
And I know that means that I could
Maybe even more than you hurt me.


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Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
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BrittanysDesigns Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the fave <3
Paul-Shanghai Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for adding my drawing 'Melancholy II' into your favourites folder - thanks again for your support :)
lightningtumble Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the fave! It makes me a happy pony!
BrittanysDesigns Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the fave and watch means a lot to me <333
BrittanysDesigns Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the fave <3
OnceUponAWinter Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2011
thankyou for the fave <3
Nawasa Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
You are very welcome!
Retrubutionist777 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for adding my story to your favorites!
Nawasa Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I'm not going to lie to you, it made me cry.
But in a good way.
Retrubutionist777 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, really? I'm-shocked. It's that powerful?
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