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 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 4:37 pm 
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Part 13.

Snookeroo didn't think he could risk a peek up: he only had a very general idea where the creature was. He did, at least, have the genesis of a idea on how to use the savelk to his advantage. He'd hunted them more then once and observed them more so. I can make this work, he thought. Just keep cool.....

He pawed about in the fern; finally finding his knife but he put it away. He needed something that'd make substantial noise after thrown...

If it were possible to characterize hissing as muttering; then the skuda was muttering. It didn't like that it couldn't find Snook and it didn't like the approuch of the savelk. Snook had found his binos: still looped about his neck, though more tucked into a armpit now, He really liked this pair but there was no help for it. He pulled them stealthily over his head and after a couple seconds acertaining the direction the creature seemed to be in; he whipped away the bino's: out into the stars. They clattered off something; a rock maybe; over past the skuda. It sounded to be slinking in that direction. Keep going, urged Snook. Keep going....

A yodel; all the closer. And others; a herd was definately passing thru. Snook figured he'd need at least one more distraction: he had to get the skuda further away and to his right more. Then he could chance standing up. But what to throw? Oh.... Shoes. The clodhoppers were big and heavy. The thought of skipping barefoot thru the savanna was hardly cheering....but you had to play the cards in your hand.

I need to play less poker, he decided, folding up a leg to begin yanking on shoelaces.

Grass was compressed; some bare dirt once and a while, too. The savelk would be near soon... and he'd need to peek up now. He and the herd and the skuda's distances all had to be taken into account and the timing was critical. He'd gotten his left shoe off. He hefted it a couple seconds then pitched hard; far, to the right. It vanished that way and he rolled to his knees; rose up to his eyes cleared the night-murky featherfern.

There they were.

The first impression on seeing savelk and the one that would linger: size. They were huge. Full grown males pressed 3000 pounds; one hunter had bagged a titan among titans of a estimated 4000.

Then the legs: 4 long, girraffe-like legs. They had 3 toes on each instead of hooves but the toes were diverse measures of wide and splayed out along the ground. Slow, thoughtful steps: savelk on the march never seemed in a hurry. The rest of the savanna waited on them; not the other way around. Yodels; no longer individual toots and honks, played close, then further back. Leap-frogging communication, back thru the herd. Something of importance was being spread among them: a natural telegraph. Snook had a idea what that info likely was. Where was the skuda?

Snook turned about; keeping only high enough to see over the fern. He could hear it, barely. It'd taken after the thrown shoe. But there was no sight of it. The lad considered. Throw another shoe or just head to the savelk now? Now.....they were close enough: the lead animals passing abreast; not 40 yards away. maybe only 30.

Snook stood and hobbled, one-shoed, toward the savelk.

The creature was still out there; may even have been able to see him. But Snook controlled his urge to run. A walk, fast walk, yes, but not more then a walk. You didn't run at savelk. You didn't shout; you didn't try to sneak up on them. If they saw you doing such, it could get dangerous.

Snook could hear nothing of the skuda....he kept control; while fancying bone-plates slamming shut on the back of his neck any second....there....A savelk. A half-grown female; big as a full-grown earth horse, passing left to right: she was ignoring him. He slowed, waited till she passed him, then slipped into the herd. More yodels. But they kept going. Walk; walk. Just a fast walk...

A older female let Snook pass in front of it without comment. His one-shoed clumping along made a steady-gait some work. But he was among the savelk. Long legs rose and eased back down all about: long necks in front of svelte torso, greyhound -like in it's porportions to the rest of it. So majestic, he'd insist...

Where was the skuda?


It was half in, half out a clump of salad's-fang...a bush that looked like lettuce with thorns. It was crouched low: but it's mode wasn't of attack. More of disgruntlement; having been had and knowing it and hating it intensely.... but not able to do anything about it. Snook fast walked past the creature; not 10 yards from where it stared. A smirk wanted a place on his face but he tried to concentrate on staying in motion. The skuda wouldn't attack; it didn't dare.

Triggering a savelk 'amok-response' as the brainy types had titled it, was a likely way to get killed.

Savelk were herd animals: mutual defense was a must. Not many creatures were foolish enough to try anything on a full-grown savelk. Thay had young but all the grown-ups instinctively kept tabs on them. Something tried to make a meal.....

There was a debate over which were considered more hazardous: young males, perhaps on their 2nd summer north or the older chiefs; with a bevy of summer marches and winter nestings for guidance. The youngsters tended to strike wildly at anything close; regardless of friend, foe or bystander. Mature males perferred to be more decerning of what they wanted to stomp the innards out of. One kick; one sweep with a back leg and the irritant was on it's way to decomposition.

But colonists had learned a trick: a admittedly percarious(some said foolhardy) little tidbit.

Walk up quietly. Don't act like a attacker; don't seem like you're up to no-good.

To the savelk; lack of furtiveness or threat meant safe: there was no need to worry. A man that darted from shrub to shrub, trying not to be seen might draw 3 or 4 savelk out; with them fully prepared to make turf-additive out of him. A man that strode up like he were out for a sunday walk about the park wouldn't recieve more then a cursory notice: he didn't register as a threat.

And it was working so far for Snook: his plan was to just amble along for a few miles then ease out, into the savanna and head for the road. It was gonna be a hike of little comfort or fun but he'd make it. And the skuda? One posture of aggression and it was toast.

Snook was rather pleased with himself; frankly. Brains over brawn....he wasn't going to get the creature, not this time. But he'd survive, get clear and be back....

Yodels went up; rolled back thru the double-column of savelk. What was going on? Behind him, he thought. He glanced back.

The skuda. Right there.

It was at a fast walk, too. Walking, step by stepping across the savannian night. In among the savelk.....just like Snook. And right on his heels.

Oh s__t, he thought.

How could a stupid brute.... no, he stopped himself. Do naw be so dumb yourself! Skuda were master predators; maybe they weren't rocket scientists but they were attuned to their environment or they wouldn't be around. Was this a common ploy of skuda? Or had this one individual come to this action on it's own? He didn't know and didn't think he'd been much comforted if he did know. He had to get out of here and his plan needed major revision.

He aimed his eyes back. The creature was closer now. Slowly, in a practiced gauging of strides, slipping up to Snook. This so sucks, thought Snook. The skuda made a barely hearable rumble. Snook had never heard like from it before. But there was no comfort at all in the hearing.

It sounded distressingly like a empty stomach noise.

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:17 am
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Part 14.

As if answering a call, light, a wan light, landed upon the setting. The dark took a few begrudging steps back from the scene and Snookeroo turned his face up into it.

They'd cleared the bulk of the prairie-loft; he saw and there was a path of speckled fires popping out, one by one, in the sky. There; to their far left, no longer hid by the loft, Zyra. Zyra was Zeta's parent planet. About Bellus went Zyra but about Zyra went Zeta. Zyra was referred to as a 'sub-jovian' planet: as much hydrogen and helium as rock and water. No man could ever live there. But it hung in the Zetan sky like a frosted glass globe, lit from inside. The colors were muted and stretched into thin bands across it's face. Zyra had rings, though not as spectacular as Sol's Saturn. From Zeta; they were a thin gray line; splitting Zyra into halves. As big as a fist at arm's length and going on full, too, was Zyra.

Some of the other moons of Zyra were visiting this stage of the heavens: adding their drama each in measure.

Perry's moon, usually the largest, now a orangish pebble way to the left edge of the gray-ring. Farlano's moon, even smaller and silvery, was passing near center of Zyra: you had to look sharp to spot it moving in front of Zyra's face. There to the right, just about to skim out from behind the gray-ring on the other side, Staffords moon; close to half as wide as earth's moon in the sky. They would have been worth hours of observing to Snook; if he wasn't so involved with staying alive.

The savelk continued with their lives as those among them each tried to better their part in the pretense.

Snook stumbled; righted himself as quietly as he could. He spied back again to the creature; It was a good three yards closer now. They locked eyes and each studied the other resolutely.

The creature shown Snook it's teeth-plates; Snook had half a mind to take his other shoe and force it to purchase dentures. It lowered it's head; supple muscles moving under it's hide like ripples out from a tossed stone in a pond. That face; without nostrils and those dark.... pit-like eyes.....pits....deep. It was spooky, when you looked longer then a few seconds into those pits. Down, down and down you could look into those eyes. He'd thought them lifeless once but now....alive. Very alive. But all the more unsettling because of it.

Think of something, he told himself, forcing his eyes away forward. You don't have much time.
But nothing clever would come. I'm trapped in my own trap, he came to. I canna run and I canna stay put....

The creature cut another yard off the span between them the next five minutes. Then another yard the next five. Snook began to glance back all the more now: nothing was improving and he just kept glancing; checking on the skuda. He hoped just once he'd look and it'd disappeared; tired of the tension and fear and just left him be. But no; he didn't want that at all! If he looked and it wasn't there then he wouldn't know where it'd gone and he'd be just as upset and scared and wanting so some way out of the unpalatable parade...

Snook glanced once more back; the creature was so close now: only a man's arm span separated them. It was opening, closing it's jaws so slightly, silently. It was fighting to remember not to jump too soon...it waited. Food so close and yet it couldn't....Snook realized then: this game of tag among a savelk minefield would have to come crashing down. You gotta go now; start heading to the other line of Savelk. Do it now....

He ran into something: so hard he fell on his backside most unceremoniously in a patch of dragon's maw; it's bristles bit like flies full of venom. Snook quickly made acquaintance with what he'd run into. It was across his previous track; sideways and it was savelk, alright; a well-grown female, he thought. Back around came it's head; to check out what had blundered into it.

He had enough time to take in a vaguely camel-like head: as if someone had started with a camel's head and gone to doodling. A long, tooth-tipped tongue; dark red cyclopsian-eye; no ears. It looked about to smell/taste him with that tongue, ever so inquiring, then something hove close....another animal, the other side of him.

They were eye to eye suddenly; the skuda looked all set to bit his face off....

But there was a space of time then and each held the other. They shoved breath out into the other's face like curses and both held the other in place with just their eyes. Down into those pits Snook started to sink. He was falling; it was a-hold of him; somehow; no bites, no claws and yet he couldn't pull free. It'd caught him, he was snared by a stare and he had to kill it; he'd drive his fingers into it's eyes and he'd be free; he could run and be free...

The skuda hissed; tensing for it's meal.....

A yodel; so high-pitched it was almost a squeal. Snook had heard it once before. Oh, jeez....

Snook tried to press himself as far down in the maw as he could; it resisted the action and punished him with thorn but he had to get low; below ground if he could...there was no running now...

Big feet kicked shredded dogear; moved big bodies closer; from multiple directions. A yodel....no, a scream ripped loose. The skuda detected the peril from the savelk and without a pit for cover; spun and tried to leap away. Another scream-yodel; savelk closing....

Something as thick as a old telephone pole whissed thru the air. If standing, Snook would have been proably sent into orbit. He caught glimpse of a savelk leg-spur: the black, curved bone-growth at the back of it's rear legs. Sharp as whet ax and powered by a leg longer then he was tall. The skuda wheezed; in pain. More yodels, more dogear kicked up; savelk, savelk everywhere; crowding one another, big bodies now in each's way; each trying to strike, to kill...

Something collided with the back of Snook's head and all went dark.

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:17 am
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Part 15.

Snookeroo knew he was alive before he felt anything.

He knew he was thinking; he was forming ideas somewhere; presumably in his head; whereever that had gotten to. He'd been clipped by a savelk. This was a detached, gauzy notion to come to. Would he ever awake? Was he in a coma? Who would take care of Laddy?

Then he felt something. He tried to move; realized he could, slightly. But everything was in cement and without nerves, save his brain which had someone whittling indiscriminately with a butterknife upon it. He could hear apparently, too, since he got out a groan. There came other sounds: muffled thumps from somewhere. Feeling arrived in finger and toes and he wiggled them: all were accounted for and functional. Wake up; I'm waking up now, he told himself and opened his eyes.

He got a flood of light and pain battered his head. He closed his eyes; waited for the hammering to slow then tried again. He cussed once or twice aloud at the pain then looked around. There was a ceiling: he was indoors. Okay, he approved. He tried to nod and was surprised his head didn't fall off and roll away. He was barefoot; it was a bit chilly. He was bare-chested and there was a blanket....maybe more a hide, up to his stomach.

His stomach had a few things to mention to his brain.
A) he was very hungry
B) if he ate anything, he'd puke it halfway across the surface of the planet.

Funny ceiling. Couldn't recall anything like it. Dark brown. But not stone and not quite wood. Rushes: that was the word. Reeds or rushes, piled up. Satisfied for the moment, he closed his eyes again. Was he dreaming?

He replayed the last couple days in his head. It was a bit disconcerting: He found things, events, hodge-podged. The insides of his brain were tattered: everything like a book with a few random pages tore out. He could remember a lot: remember most, he was sure....but.... Rigel and his caboodle were on vacation...Oz....but where on Oz? A lake....aye.... which one? How long? One cycle? No, three....no, no! Two! Surely it was two.... That guy, the vampire; what was his name? Chester was in it somewhere. Worchestershire?

Snook set his head erupting in sparks and bell-peals by giggling. If ya gotta dream; at least have something to laugh about. That 'tis me. Something to laugh about...


A voice. He was encouraged. A dream with a soundtrack! This was wonderful. He opened his eyes; looked about and found a pretty girl with almond eyes across the room.

"This dream rox."

The pretty girl had a grin pull at the corners of her mouth. "Snookarow? Snookarow Starsharkee?" He knew then it wasn't a dream. In his dreams; everyone could pronouce his name correctly.

"Snookeroo. Snook. I like Snook." He blinked, trying to recall how one spoke to a real flesh and blood girl. He dug thru the dresser-drawers of his mind like someone knowing he had nothing clean to wear but insisting on looking for some anyway.

"How do you feel, Mr. Snook?"

I just had a savelk punt my skull; how do you think I feel? Was she a doctor? She wasn't dressed like a doctor. He turned his head to get a fuller look at her. She was mostly covered: arms, sliver of midriff and most of her legs were unobstructed. The material was tawny, hide-like...grazelope hide popped into his head unbidden. That's a good number of 'lopes, though. Thin hide, he knew, and she emphasized the fact. Lips of natural shade; brows dark not not painted. No makeup at all, he came to. No earrings and the hair was dark and down her back: he couldn't see it more clearly.

"This 'tis naw a hospital, 'tis it?" "No." a answer buttressed by poise. "You are at my abode. I hope you are not afraid of heights: I live in a tree-house." "oh, jeez. I just got down out of a tree.." Snook poked into his brain; felt it kneading up in pain. He rubbed his forehead with a hand. He dug in his memories. Tree, yeah. There had been a tree. Prairie-loft. Sure; I climbed in it. When?

"You have been asleep for nearly 9 hours, mr. Snook."

He realized he'd in fact asked, aloud, without being sure he'd heard himself doing so. What was wrong with him? He didn't like this at all. He tried to sit up and the ceiling and girl began galloping about in a most alarming fashion. His digestive tract began it's own impromptu cover of AC/DC's 'It's a long way to the top', with his liver passing for bagpipes. What channel was that dream on again? Can we go back...

"You should lie still and rest, mr. Snook. It appears you took quite a blow to the head." "Ya think? And It 'tis Snook." "I beg your pardon?" "You can call me Snook." "Very well. I am Emira."

Emira. Snook tried it on for size: he liked it. Emira. Emira...

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 5:55 pm 
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Part 17.

"I take it nada 'twas broken?" "Nada?" She frowned; he thought she felt he was trying to kid her. He managed a so-so smile at the idea. "I 'twas wondering how badly hurt I am. I do naw feel like anything was broken." "You had a few small wounds on your legs and back.... they will heal, I think. It is your head we must be cautious with.You were unconscious when I found you." "well; I owe you for finding me, way out there. Are you, by chance, a..." He paused to lick his lips. He was dry-mouthed, he found. "Doctor?" "No."

Bonny. Just bonny...

"I found you in a dragon's maw; mr. Snook. However did you happen to end up there?"

She sounded genuinely baffled. She was standing by that doorway(He couldn't recall noticing it before, though) Not having moved from it. Surely; she 'tis naw scared of me? Of ME? "Oh....I ran into a savelk and fell into that maw's pit. Saved me; I think..." "Ran into a savelk?" Her eyes luminated: amused. "I realize it might have been dark; Mr. Snook..." "Snook." "Snook... but I did not find any eye-glasses." Snook blinked. "Glasses?" "How could you not seen a savelk in your path?" "Oh." He smiled: humor was a meritorious thing to have. "I 'twas trying to be clever, actually." "Clever?" "But it did naw work. I 'twas after a skuda. It kinda turned the tables on me. It will naw next time, though."

Something passed across her face; it ended in her eyes then was gone. "Skuda? I find that impossible to believe! I have never see anything remotely like skuda anywhere about here." "oh, they're around, alright. Trust me. I seen 'em with my own eyes..." A thought forced it's way into his head so forcefully; he had to sit up. He pulled it off this time; though his brain felt like Hendrix was practicing feedback from about 2 inches away. "The skuda....did you find a skuda?!!"

She looked something near to doubtful. "No... I told you. There are no skuda." "But there 'twas..." he sat back; waited for his head to clear. It seemed reluctant to do so. He closed his eyes and tried to make coherent language. "It must have gottn away...o.k. So much the better." "You need to rest, Snook. Please do not exert yourself. It might take time to get well." He shook his head at the idea....then almost lost it sitting up again. It felt like his neck was elastic and his head was still flying up toward the ceiling. He squeezed his eyes shut against the pain and griped the side of....whereever, whatever he was laying on...

"Laddy!" "Who?" "My dog! Laddy. Oh, my god. What 'tis wrong with me?! I canna stay here. I gotta leave..."

He tried to stand: but his legs were still seeking a consensus whether to be part of the rest of him, so he mostly tumbled out to the floor. His brain set to blaming him in no uncertain terms for the disgraceful affair...and when his eyes cleared he discovered it had not just gotten chilly but why, too. "Oh, cuss and cuss. Where 'tis my clothes?" "Back in bed, Snook." "I can do that myself, thank you."

He did so; though he got no style points for grace nor won any race for speed. He tried to arrange the now tangled 'lope-hide cover into some degree of coverage: Emira hovered dangerously close. It was a good thing embarrassment wasn't fatal, or Snook would very much have been six feet under. "You are going to have to rest, Snook. Here..." "I'm fine now, thank you. Where are my clothes?" "They were quite dirty and I have washed them and they will soon be dry." A smile fought it's way onto her features. "You only had one shoe when I found you..." "oh....yeah. That 'tis right....look; you gotta understand. I canna stay here. My dog, Laddy? 'Tis confined in my friend's house. He could be starving by now...""Will not your friend feed him?" "No, no." Something stabbed into Snook's brain; just in back of his eyes. He slammed his eyes shut; trying to scare the pain away with cruel suggestions. "My friend's naw there. Laddy 'tis all alone. I gotta feed him!" "You cannot."

She made thumping sounds and when Snook pried his eyelids apart; she was in the process of disappearing from the room. He said nothing; she said nothing but the thumping, her footfalls, Snook perceived, took her away. He couldn't see much else past the doorway and it nagged him. He was naked, confined thus to this....cot or whatever; because of it and it nagged, too. His head hurt and his stomach was trying to act like a washing machine and that nagged till he wanted to yell. Thumps; Emira's feet on...wood(?) and when he looked up; she was approaching, something in a hand. A blue plastic glass, full of liquid and she was handing it to him.

"Here, Snook. See if you can get this down." "What 'tis it?" "Water. Totally potable, rest assured." She did have a pleasant voice, Snook found. She made her words seem part of a song, somehow....just on the edge of verse and harmonics. "It might be a bit warm..." He tried it; gulped a bit: it was warm but it stayed put where it went. He finished; handed back the glass; tried to speak. Maybe this close now; he could make her realize how important....
"I thank you for finding me, Emira and all.....but I cannot leave laddy..." "He will live, Snook. Animals have great resiliency. They can stand adversity that would crumble most people."

She stood; severing any connection he'd aspired upon without dash or delicacy. "Rest now. We will wait a bit and if you are feeling better; we will try some broth. But you must rest. Lie back!"

She was leaving now: he saw a long black ponytail; down a thin torso like a waterfall. But for a tiny bind, it was unfettered and plentiful.

Snook settled back; waiting for his head and stomach to behave themselves.

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 7:46 pm 
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part 18.

Snookeroo had dreams that rest. Dreams of hissing and wheezing and of a pit in his gut; dull dread swelling and enveloping...

He came thru the dark; into near dark. He was in a dim-lit setting: he recognized where he was quickly enough and lord be praised; his head didn't hurt. He looked about; as if conscious he was being given the chance to redo his previous awakening. But with care and skill this time.

He was alone and the only light; shifty, red-orange, came in from around a hide-blanket nailed as a door across the room's doorway. That hadn't been there before and he must have been major sleepy to not heard it being installed. What he had heard; in his sleep, seemed to hover long enough in the background, tainting the mood that he stood, hide-blanket upon him dropping to the floor. There he saw his clothes. He sighed; pleased and got dressed quickly and silently.

The clothes were indeed clean and fresh:comforting to wear. He had no shoes but the rush-floor made no harm to his feet and there was even his watch, making him feel especially whole as he snapped it onto a wrist. He checked it and though he could only come up with a crude estimate of when he'd been tap-danced on by the savelk; he'd lost 16 hours, at the very least. Well....maybe not lost, exactly. But Laddy needed to be attended to and he'd made up his mind on that point: he couldn't stay here any longer. Laddy's well-being had priority. Nodding to himself at his resolution, he went to the hide-door, pushed it aside.

It was a bit like a tunnel, he thought. It was dug from wood: black, thru and thru, wood. He had to stoop slightly so as to not abrade the top of his head. The tunnel ran straight from his room and was open down there and the light flickered and slid back and along the tunnel as if making a request to all who entered. Snook's stomach had the audacity to make it's own request at this point. He was hungry. Hungry and curious. He walked the short tunnel and left it into....

A porch? A veranda? He decided on the latter: this was a unexpected place; he turned left and right and looked straight ahead...sizing things for purpose and rationale.

It had rush flooring....but also rush ceiling...overhang, more exactly. It clearly ran about the bole of a very thick tree, curving...but narrow, too and each end was capped by a sort of tent-wall of yet more grazelope hide. The hides appeared to be woven, knitted....no, no, he rebuked himself, that's silly. Stitched....aye, stitched was the word. Stitched together. On a niche in the black tree side sat a metal bowl; from which rose a red, glowing flame-vapor...curling up to the overhanging rushes then flowing out to the edge and up; out into the night. And it was night: the veranda had a railing; waist-high, of grazelope hides and beyond it were stars, stars and breeze and fresh, fecund air.

"You are awake."

It was Emira. Words climbed from inside him.

"I'm leaving."

He turned, wishing now he could remember how one conducted themselves in front of young women...pretty young women, most anxiously.

She hadn't stopped being pretty; he was certain but she'd changed all the same. She was in white; a sort of tunic, he thought. Pants; but baggy and worn; any colors rubbed off into a mild dun. There was a sort of....sash, he reckoned: a twist of cloth that ran from a shoulder to the opposite hip. Orange and bright it was; contrasting off the plainer items as if thrown on in either unthinking haste or blind faith.The hair had been attuned: braided. And those eyes so brown and quiesent.

"You must be hungry. I shall prepare the broth."

He blinked. She hadn't heard him? "Broth...Emira?" "Mudilion. It works wonders for healing." She walked around him; traveling down the length of the veranda; passed thru one of the hide-doors from sight. "Um..." Snook felt like his brain was running on fumes and tried to find a filling station. He had no idea what he should be saying and yet knew all the more fully; he had all so much to say.

"Um.... maybe we should skip the broth?" "Skip?" She was doing something in there. Snook counted his toes and finger-combed hair away from his eyes. "Um....I gotta be going." "It is the middle of night, Snook. You cannot walk in the dark. It would be so dangerous."

Wouldn't it just, he thought.

"Tis there a flashlight or lantern I can borrow? I've walked at night before. Give me a direction to head, a flashlight..." and firearm, he kept to himself...

"I do have a flashlight." The unseen paused; as if considering. "But it is recharging. You would have a long walk all the same, Snook. I seriously advise against it." "Where are we?" "My abode." I know THAT, he thought. "Where 'tis your abode?"

No answer: but busy sounds did come from yonder. He scowled.

What was so hard about answering that question?

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 4:45 pm 
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Part 19.

"maybe there 'tis no way to say this without sounding unappreciative." Snookeroo rubbed at his jaw. "But the bottom line remains: I have to get back to my life eslewhere." He halted: he'd said it aloud. My life eslewhere.

He had a life eslewhere; undeniably so. He had a job and he was housesitting and he had Laddy to look after....It was a good life....

"I do not have much by way of seasoning: I am between gartherings, I am afraid. I apologize for my modest fare." "No need." Yeah; that was me saying that, noted Snook.

What had come over him? The good life....? He glanced out, past the railing: off the veranda into the night.....the good life...?

Something crackled mildly beyond the hide-door. Emira spoke again.

"You seem well-enough, Snook. You must have taken a terrible kick, though. Savelk as so huge!" "I know it hurt. Amazing I 'twas naw killed, frankly." "Yes." "I'm guessing the skuda got away. Have to check to be certain, of course. That 'tis the first thing after Laddy."

There were no comments on the last. Something warm and bracing drifted in and Snook's stomach hailed the arrival most avidly. Snook turned from the railing, the stars and paced a nervous, fitful circle. The floor-rushes were like walking on firm rubber, he found. Funny: he couldn't remember her footwear. Did she have any....

Dang it anyhow: this had to stop! Now! He was angry at himself; his foolish, pointless giving into distraction. He had so much to do and here he was...."Another minute and it will be ready." "Emira....where are we.....please?"

The last sounded all too close to pleading for his ease....but there: it was out....

"We are out on the savanna of KoKo VoKo, Snook." "I figured that." "I can not give you marklines, Snook. I never had any reason to care for such: I did not come to this place so I could make a list of how to be found. I know we are roughly 18 miles to East Roanark road; roughly 8 miles to the east of the river Guider." "Roanoak." "Excuse me?" "It 'tis Roanoak, naw Roanark."" I see." Disappointment, he thought. Perhaps in her voice: dissatisifaction. And me. I know where we are. And after all my fussing and worrying there on....it was a empty fact. Something had been cleared up. But so much was still left unsaid.

In she came with no preamble: all business. She had two plates; wood. Shallow pans, really and mists underwriting acumen and taste flitted about. He found himself without words and she gestured with the plates to sit; sit on the floor. He did; folding up legs, she did a couple feet away and he got the a plate and a carven wooden spork and they began to eat; neither looking at the other.

It was good: it was a bit more watery then the last bout with mudilion he'd had but the unique taste was there. Someone had once described it as what beer would taste like if it were brewed from a onion. It wasn't for everyone but Snook found it wonderfully Zetan.

A thought needed attending to, he found.

"You live out here alone, do you naw, Emira?"

She scraped at her plate. Answered in a voice flat and stark.

"Yes. Why?" "I've been told I'm insufferably curious." Why did I tell her that? He frowned briefly; caught a glance from her; up over the edge of her plate/pan. Each recoiled from seeing the other seeing them. There was more scraping on the plates. Snook managed a almost genuine throat-clearing. "I guess; when all 'tis said and done; where you live and how and why and all that....that 'tis none of my business. If you do naw wiish to speak further, just say so. I'm a guest here and I owe you..." "Anyone would have done the same."

It was a blatant lie but surely, thought Snook; she meant no harm from it? She was a curious person herself, he was thinking. She lived alone, and way out here in the middle of the wild.
It was her business...but he wondered about it even as he reminded himself. And she'd found him in the dark....

He frowned. It'd been starting to fit together, up to that point....

"Ah,,,,this 'tis good." "Thank you." "Really hits the spot." "Thank you, Snook." "I thank you again for finding me; I'll owe you very much...but...I canna help but wonder...what were you doing out in the middle of the night? Ok, naw the MIDDLE. But...."

She held out a beckoning hand a couple seconds and he realized they'd both finished the broth. He handed over what he had; she took it and what she'd used, rose and back behind the hide-door she breezed. Snook stood, put hands in pants pockets and paced a circle.

I am so subtle with this, he groused. Then figured, maybe, he shouldn't be. There was nothing wrong with the question. He raised his voice.

"Emira: I honestly do naw desire to make you uncomfortable..." "Of course not." She sounded not the least assenting. "But sometimes, you have to ask what 'tis on one's mind. You know?"

Something clattered woodenly in whatever lay beyond the hide-door. Emira tried to speak over the top of it. "You must forgive me, Snook." "Forgive?" "I am so used to my privacy. Over time; I fear I have gotten so that I protect it with more vigor then wisdom. When my comings and goings are questioned, I feel uncomfortable."

Snook sighed. Message delivered. He paced some more; not knowing what to say or do. Jeez....I'm a guest. Who am I to poke my nose about...but.....it 'tis naw like I asked such ugly questions....hey: she's not on trial. She does naw have to answer a single query. Deal with it.

He wished so badly he could just be out, out there, beyond the railing, beyond this fussing and clumsyness ... I know how to be, out there. I do naw know how to be, in here.

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 3:37 pm 
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Part 20.

Snookeroo had a different tack come to him. "Emira...have you ever had a dog for a pet?" Silence followed....and followed. Snook was about to give up when her voice came.

"No, not really. My parents did not approve of pets." "Well; that 'tis too bad. Dogs... they're something. Lotta something. They become like family. Laddy...he 'tis my dog, you know....he 'tis my best friend. Always there for me; always..." NEARLY always, Snook off-sided to himself but trudged on. "That kinda loyalty; yo: I do naw think it 'tis something to ignore. Laddy deserves as much from me and he's given..."

She was back; shallow plate/pans once more with mudilion. Back to the floor and their eatting they went and Snook brooded between sporkfuls at how inept he was at this whole business.

"Something has been perplexing me, Snook." "Oh?" "How is it you came to having only one shoe?"

He grinned. "Well; I assure you; it 'twas naw a choice I enjoyed making! I threw it away." She stared at him blankly. "What was wrong with it?" "Oh, nada, nada! You see; I 'twas using it as a distraction: threw it to get that skuda looking one way, while I went another. Tricky business, you know. I'm learning more about skudas then I ever thought I'd need to...oh. I do naw think you believe me, regarding the skuda?" And that's exactly how she was looking, too. She shook her head at the idea; apparently and he went back to words.

"Oh; he 'tis real: real as can be." "Snook; I tell you true: I have never seen any sign of skuda anywhere in this area. I simply cannot believe it." "Tell you what. Get me some footwear and I'll get you a skuda."

She looked at the food, sporked about in it. Well; skuda didn't seem to be a favorite subject. Ok, there were others...

"This 'tis quite the place. Never seen a tree like this before. The amount of work..." "Actually; you almost certainly have." "Have I?" "Loft." "Say what?" "Loft. This is a prairie-loft tree." "Oh, git outta town! This? It 'tis certainly thick...do naw know how tall it goes but..." "I have reached the conclusion this is a dying loft. The dreadlocks..." "Dreadlocks?" She pointed to the overhang, then bopped a finger a few times onto the floor-rushes. Snook nodded.

"Dreadlocks...that 'tis clever, Emira." "Thank you. Do you not think these...branches, vines look like dreadlocks?" "They're close enough to it, I can see why they're so named. What makes you think this 'tis a deceased loft?" "Deceasing....I mean, rather," she blushed with a grin of her own, "Dying. I believe it has been cut off from it's aquifer: thus it struggles on. Just using rain water." "Rain water;" noted Snook. "That reminds me..." "Yes?" "Mudilion? Where do you get it? I thought it only grew around fresh water. Rivers and all." Snook slurped a bit of the subject matter with near musical quality. The lass splint her lips. "The river is not that far." "8 miles...naw a bad hike, though. No car?" "No." She put her eyes onto her food. "I gather some every few cycles. It is a wonder plant, you know. A broth of mudilion can cure everything from fervent fever to insidious sunburn." "I've only tasted it a time or two before." admitted Snook. "It 'tis a regular food item, then?" "Yes. Well..." Emira coughed out a hesitant laugh: dry and humorless. "Actually....no. But every once in a while..."

Snook examined the other; thoughtful. "You seem really up on the native plants and herbs. Living in town; sometimes eatting gets too bland. Lotta people still want earth-food..." "That is understandable." "But why? We're on Zeta now: this place has all the food earth ever did." "Traditions are sometimes hard to break. And we were all raised on such foods." "Aye...aye. I guess you're right. Say: ever found any warg's bane? I love...""war-bane?" she looked doubtful. Snook smiled some more. "Warg's bane. Some call it Zetan garlic." "That grows in the mountains. Too far for me, I am afraid." "Shame. I really like that stuff. Wood's-wart?" "Out of season." "Crescent-root?" "Too dry." "Wiffle-gourd? There 'tis no way you could naw eat wiffle-gourd." "Of course! If you cannot find whiffle-gourd; you should not be out on the savanna!" "Hear! Hear!"

"What is it you do," the lass had a hint of a smile on her lips; but more then a hint of one in her eyes. "That allows you to purchase so many rare Zetan treats?" "I work at a gun-shop. The Gun-Cafe?" He got no return look of comprehension from Emira. He hurried on. "It 'tis in Gimli." "The mining site." "Aye. It 'tis kinda a.....different place." Snook figured he was walking a lenient middle-ground regarding Gimli's well-earned reputation of being a 'right-of-Attila-the-hun' political hotspot. "But yo: 'tis home. Aye?" "I suppose. You are a long way from home." "I 'twas housesitting."

She frowned: plainly wondering if a joke was afoot. Snook shook a slight negative.

"My friends...the Williamsons? They went on vacation. Camping, those lucky scuts. Anyway; I'm looking after their place for them. It 'tis right on East Roanoak road..." "Then however is it you are found out here: in the wilds? At night?"

Seems we all want to know that, thought Snook. She spotted him looking at her. As if having found what she'd been looking for; she abruptly stood: turning away from him. "When you are finished, you should probably lay down again, Snook. You have only just got to your feet." "I'm fine."

He stood, too, but she was gone: back thru the hide-door. He was left with his dirty pan and the mildest of irks....no, he decided: mildest of case of disavowal. I can naw ask her, but she can of me, eh? It was not unlike pouring out a box of diamonds to find a single, profound chunk of coal mixed in. Did naw belong with all else in the box. Not sure to do with either plate or her question; he spun about to the veranda railing.

It was a panorama he got served to him: in heaping proportions overflowing anything meant to contain it. There was towering night-sky and dark, dim savanna. Out there; all about and down, down below him. They were off the ground, maybe 15, 20 feet? He couldn't be positive: the light from the flame-bowl seemed unable to get all the way to the ground. As if shining thru thick, shoddily crafted glass or murky water...

Suddenly; the lass was there...not close, but there. She was up to the railing: to his left. But as far from him as she could manage. She spoke.

"What is it you are looking for?"

Me, he thought but didn't say. He peered at her: as if trying to find a way to rework what he was seeing into a strange and awkward language: a language of sounds uncouth and ideas unrefined and distant. His heart seemed to labor: would he never be able to explain what the savanna meant? Would he always feel it and never explain it...

"Night." He just said it. He could only say words; throw them from him and hope them potent seed. "Stars. Air. Night creatures." More then all I am, he appraised; when it wouldn't leave his tongue. More then what I need...

"Emira...." "Yes." "What 'tis dawn like here?"

"You are facing west." She brushed at a stray lock of hair; cuffing it back behind a ear. "So Bellus falls upon the dogear. Making it appear silver..." "Silver rivers. Rivers of silver." "Yes." She looked at him; as if assaying to place him somewhere: she didn't...hadn't expected him where he was. She looked troubled: a confused trouble.

"There is loft, Snook. Far off; there and...there. They are black wood, under green leaf, under yellow hoods. Layered....like a creme....settling; each to it's own level." "Sometimes....the dawn reaches you....like a scent..." "Yes. It is like that here. You smell the dawn: the promise. A whole new cycle. Bellus is full of promises, I have found." "promises are easy to make, I have found." He breathed in deep; deep enough to be heard. He exhaled; as if proving a point. "Dawn always starts, appears still....like....a painting." She seemed to consider the last word a few moments before going onl as if her using the word had provided a answer to a question unspoken but known by each as having been asked. "Then it grows and you see all the intricacies and nuances and suddenly the one thing it is not is still." "It 'tis alive." "Yes."

They looked at each other: realizing they were, in fact, seeing the same thing.

Each looked away.


And alone.

Snook handed his plate to Emira like it were ice and she were fire. He wordlessly went back to his rush bed. And tried to go back to sleep. He heard Emira thumping about; feet on dreadlocks.

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:05 pm 
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Part 21.

Snookeroo woke later. He got up and used his knife to cut a couple lengths of grazelope hide loose from the walls. He had to work some to make footwear from them. In the end; it looked more like he were wearing enchiladas then shoes; but he had to make do. Quietly as he could, he walked out to the now dark veranda and jumped over the railing. He landed a touch heavily; straightened. There were neither sound or light above and off into the dark he went.

He didn't even debate with himself over leaving: he had to go now. He was sure he could find the loft where he'd tangled with the skuda and from there; the road.

Well. PRETTY sure.

Emira telling him which way was west had given him enough info to risk a nighttime, lightless hike. Sure: it was scary....dark and here and there you could hear something scuttling away thru the grasses and weeds and shrubs. It alarmed and harassed one's nerves but: it had to be done. Besides: skuda were dayfeeders. There were a few other critters that might be less then comforting to happen upon but....he could make it. You just had to stay alert.


She began to drift into his thoughts. He couldn't make out just what she was about. Way out here....all by herself? Why? Maybe..... she wasn't by herself? Maybe.... she was out here for some really good reason? Or hiding from something? Or doing something she shouldn't? What was her story? It made his head ache to try to make sense of it.

When the light blazed out: right from in front: right in his face, he barely avoided tripping over his feet in stopping and did succeed in tripping as he tried to backtrack. He fell on his butt and the light blinded him and he had no idea what was going on. He was all set to run, till he saw a face behind the light and eyes from the face and a name for face, eyes and all of who was pointing a big, black flashlight at him.


"Oh. Hi." His grin felt like plaster: papier-mache feeling on display. "Nice night, aye?"

She lowered the flash; took it from his face to the ground between them. The sash was gone: replaced by a somewhat rough-hewn grazelope-hide tunic/jacket. It made her seem like a pint-sized football lineman: sporting shoulderpads designed to make a lady look professional and yet feminine.

"Why did you leave the loft?"

Snook hadn't recovered from the flash yet; so he blinked eyes and made words. "I canna stay." "You only just got out of bed. What if you were to become ill out here? By yourself?" "I suspect I'd have to do what you'd do." He got his feet under him; stood. He needlessly dusted his pants off. Theye were each jittery: out-of-ease in the setting. As if both had liked being here....till the other had been discovered.

"The best I can." "What?" "I'd do the best I can. I'm doing that now. What were you doing out here?" He kept to himself the words 'since you couldn't have caught me by following...

"I went for a walk."

He sought to find her eyes in the shadows stemming from her flashlight. As if detecting his ploy; she shut the flash off: they just stood in the dark. Snook sighed. "I'm going on to where I ambushed the skuda." "Ambushed." "Ok....it ambushed me, I guess. Then I'm heading back to the Williamson's. To Laddy." "You are convinced you can find them." "Aye." "Very well. I shall come with you."

Why, thought Snook. But he didn't ask. He told himself; when all was said and done: he didn't care why she was out here. She could go where she wanted. He was going where he wanted. What else was there to discuss?

They walked in the dark; Emira seemed to perfer the flashlight as confidence-booster rather then a tool to chase the night with. Snook didn't much mind; it was a pleasant night. A bit chilly, getting cold actually....there were lots of stars and grasses underfoot and though a few thinnish clumps of clouds cruised about above; in and out of them shone a just past half-full Zyra. It was all very fresh and sharp and Snook very much felt a intruder who should hurry along and not clutter the beauty with his raw, blatant presence.

He stumbled, then again and grumbling, stopped and stooped. Emira peered on, curious. "What are you doing, Snook?" "Oh: my moccasins are coming undone. Hold on a sec..." The flash was activated and Snook rewrapped his feet. Something ran a few yards off; past and getting further. Snook examined Emira: she certainly didn't seem much scared.

"Ready to go." "You have a most novel preoccupation for shoes, Snook." "Oh...aye." He couldn't help but smile; if only to himself. She did have a sense of humor and the realization prompted a desire for conversation; just a mite; from him.

"Seriously now, Emira. What were you doing out here in the dark?" She turned off the flash and they went back to walking. She finally spoke. "Just walking. I do that sometimes." "For exercise?" "Or entertainment. I like the savanna, you know." "Oh, aye. I hear ya. But....I have a knife but that 'tis it. Please tell me you have some firearm?" "No." A part of her form, moving back and forth upon her shoulders, backed her statement. And Snook couldn't believe it.

"You're kidding! You've got no firearms? No weapons?" "No." "None?" "None." "I donaw see how that 'tis possible!" "Oh, you are being foolish!" She sounded amused by his nonplussed manner. She kept up with him; with steady, quiet steps. "What makes you think guns are so necassary here?" "Well; skuda for starters. Ok, Ok: they're dayfeeders... but.... there 'tis grayfurs too, you know!" "Oh! I have never seen a single grayfur; in three seasons, Snook!" "But...." he sought words, "It 'tis the savanna! You do naw wander out here unarmed!" "I do." "You are the first person I ever met here on Kovokothat did naw carry a firearm...or at least have it where it could be quick-reached. Unreal, Emira." "You are so silly!" she definately found amusement in the matter. She pulled up beside him; shoulders nearly touching.

"Americans and their guns!" "I'm Zetan now, Emira." "Yes, yes, I understand that. But guns, guns and guns! Always the guns. I do not understand it...." "It 'tis cultural." "That is even harder to understand. Guns as culture." "You have to be raised in it, I reckon. Then it seems very normal. Wow..." "What?" "I'm still tryin' to get my brain around living out here, alone, without a weapon. You are one brave, chick." "Thank you. You must be brave, too." "Really? How so?" "You decided to walk into the dark with only your knife. This Laddy must be a very special dog. "He 'tis. To me."

In truth: it turned out to be a couple more miles away then Snook had been so sure it was. But he recognized the outline of the loft against the stars and wordlessly head dead on toward it. He could neither see or hear any savelk or much of anything else, for that matter. The vicinity of that loft had gone graveyard quiet. Emira apparently recognized the area, too. A few score yards out the flash was lit and thru the sudden light, Snook made out the hide, still as left. He silently poked about in it but there really wasn't anything left to save. He did find a couple magazines of .270 and happened upon his french foreign legion hat and smacked it against a leg: persuading dust to move along. He felt like someone who'd returned after years to a chessboard he'd left in place: wondering what he'd been thinking then. A bit of kicking about and he unearthed the remi. He made sure it's chamber was free of ammo; the safety in place and slung it over a shoulder. He looked up: the big loft standing over them like a palace long abandoned but never forgotten. Emira startled him back to the now.

"Are you going to look for tracks?" Snook shook his head. "Naw point. Too dark and too long since the tussle. We'll have to catch back up to that animal come daylight. Give me time for more research, anyway. I got a lot to learn about skuda: more then I first thought." "We could go looking for your other shoe." They both laughed and then stopped and stood about: both shy and trying to not seem so. Snook thought it a very good thing, Emira joking: maybe even having fun.

Then sound came: like very big taunt drums being tapped very gently. The rumble padded in low in decibels but deep in bass. Both looked up to the stars. "C-130." "Yes. I forgot we were so close to the spaceport." The rumbling rose, then fell, heading over the top of the loft to somewhere else. They looked at each other. Emira turned off the flashlight.

"I think we say goodbye here, Snook." "You're going to leave me to face the savanna all by myself?" "You have your gun." "Rifle. I reckon you'd be easier to talk to." "Maybe we can meet over coffee sometime. Talk." "Aye. Talk." Go now, he told himself. Linger and it gets weird and goofy and you got too much on your plate for that.

"You be careful, Emira. It'd be a comfort to walk you back home. But I gotta...go." "Yes." He got truned in the right direction...but couldn't get to walking. Apparently; neither could she.

"You know..." "Aye?" "Your friends?" "Laddy?" "No, no. The place you are sitting on the house?" "Oh, the Williamsons! Housesitting. I'm housesitting." "Yes. Do....is there...warg's bane?" "Oh...aye! Sure! Rigel loves warg's bane! Keeps load of it." "And...maybe...wood's-wart?" "I have got to think so. Kathy can cook; let me tell ya! Gotta have wood's wart...." "Cresent-root?" "Pantry's probably half stuffed with it."

Snook was lying and Emira had to have known it but there was something on the pretense that satisfied both.

"Then....perhaps...I can...." "Borrow some?" "Um....yes. Just a little. Just for me." "Oh, Kathy will naw mind. Neighbors and all, you know?" "Oh, wonderful. So....I'll just ..." "Come along to the Williamson's." "Yes. It will be a long walk." "Then we better get started."

They did; shoulder to shoulder and quiet but happy. The flash stayed off and they walked; got around to the other side of the prairie-loft and the sky lit up.

Snook nearly unslung the remi; he was so jolted. They looked about and finally there it was: on the horizen. It was dull red; a squat, lumpy orb. Nothing could be seen thru it and it rose; like something from a immense lava-lamp...up, up, turning white, then yellow, billowing now....Something like peals of thunder rolled over them. the billowing thing; surely miles away, kept climbing but began to fade; but something dark still blocked out the stars behind it.

"Oh, my..." "The spaceport..."

They took off running. A wave of something hot: air, tumbling and flattening grass and shaking loft and staggering hikers flowed over and past.

They slowed but kept up a stiff walk. They couldn't get to the Wiliamson's quick enough.

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:15 pm 
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Part 22.

Hours later, Snookeroo and Emira came onto east Roanoak road; nearly dead across from the Williamson place. Laddy could be heard barking his heart out inside before they'd even crossed the yard. They came to the front door and Snook began pawing thru his pockets. Emira shifted feet nervously.

"What is the matter, Snook? Do you need the light?" "In a second, maybe. Please tell me you put all my keys back after washing my pants." "But of course." "Thank...." Snook found what he wanted and pulled it clear: keys clinking and clattering like some obscure night-call, "...you. Hey! Yo! Laddy! You chill in there! I'm home! O......k. Here we go."

The lock undid and door swung out. Emira activated her flash, shined it inside to the closet-sized recess with pegs on the walls: most of the pegs having things like cold-weather coats and scarfs and under the pegs, as if proud to be part of the same team; kids-sized rubber boots. Snook let his eyes adjust a second, went to the inner door; worked on it's lock and door knob and the door swung in....allowing a large, loud and very excited dog to gallop out.

Laddy yipped and yowled and jumped about. Quickly Snook found himself on the floor; at the mercy of the dog's tongue. He was as happy as his dog: a real weight lifted from his conscience and dang, even after days alone, the dog seemed perfectly limber and hale. Then the dog espied Emira; silhouetted in the outer doorway. His demeanor changed in a twinkling and teeth were bared and growls dripping with dire hints arose. Emira fidgeted; Laddy crouched.

"Laddy! Stop that! Do naw move, Emira." "He does not seem to like me." "He does naw know you. Laddy! Lad! Friend! Friend, Laddy!"

The dog looked to his master, to Emira and actually seemed to shake his doggy head in disappointment. He snaked up to Emira with stiff-legged steps: as if all set to lunge somewhere, anywhere when he had the chance and target. Emira didn't look and certainly didn't sound amused. "He is going to bite me, Snook." "No, no. Just stay calm. Let me get the lights..." Snook slapped about on a inside wall; found the livingroom light-switch and gave it a flick. Nothing. No light. Snook tried it again and again. He cussed.

"Power 'tis off." "The spaceport..." "Aye, I think so. Rigel grid the place, out from Roanoak. But he also installed a battery-bank; for back-up. It 'tis in the bottom floor.....can I have the flash, Emira? Will naw be a minute..." "I'm afraid of your dog." "Do naw be. He just takes a while getting used to strangers. Stay in the cloakroom; so he will naw think you're trespassing. I'm heading to get the power up."

Snook got the flash and swung it into the room beyond: a abode cave with dark brown wood coffee table, lime-green couch and a large-size HD T'V; sticking out like a cowboy boots on a ballet dancer, stood about. Laddy was still venting his feelings but Snook dashed thru the livingroom, thru the kitchen, down the stairs, down into cool air and followed a hall all the way to the back. There was a wooden door and he had to use a key, got it open and after wasting time unthinkingly trying another lightswitch; turned left and there stacked on metal shelving off the cobblestone floor was a couple rows of plastic and ceramic boxes. Wires ran into and out of them and then to pale gray metal panels on the walls. He went to the wall panels and fiddled a bit but saw he'd accomplish nothing. He hadn't set the inverter to recharge: the battery-banks didn't have enough juice to tickle a lightening bug. He cussed a bit more and went back upstairs.

He found Emira standing up on the waist-high adobe partition between the livingroom and litchen. This feature was meant to provide a route for kitchen-make to be passed to those waiting in the livingroom. Emira was using it to stay away from laddy. "Laddy! Shame on you!"
Snook grabbed the dog's collar; giving a good 'I'm-the-boss' tug, to drive home his intent. "This 'tis Emira, Laddy! Friend! Friend!"

The dog considered the request warily: Snook was genuinely embarrassed. He'd had folk criticize that he let his canine compadre have too much slack: let him run wild and wooly too much and too long....but.... this was outrageous!

"Laddy, dang gone it, do naw make me....oh, wait. Maybe he 'tis hungry..." Snook took to the idea as soon as he had it. He pulled (Barely) his dog away from Emira and maneuvered till where he was certainthe fooddish should be. "Din-din, Lad? Laddy want din-din?" Laddy seemed to buy it; nose going to his dish and sniffing it, as if to emphasize it's very vacant status. Snook tossed the flash to Emira, who lit the kitchen with it as Snook took to a lower cabinet for a huge bag of dog food. He emptied it into the din-din bowl; till the dish vanished under a pile of 'Woof-Ezz'- dry kibble: Laddy's favorite. The dog forgot about all but eatting: a great crunchy-crackling-snorting affair done with likely days of impoverished backing.

"A light."

Snook glanced to Emira. From behind the flash's glow; she seemed tall but indistinct; dim. Snook frowned. "Light?" "I saw a light...outside..." She pointed behind her, across the livingroom, out a smallish window to the left of the entryway.

There was light. A light moving. A car, Snook thought. There was a car out on the road. They said nothing, when the grumble of a large and likely poorly cared for engine rolled up. It slowed; idled. Then lights swung over the front of the Williamson's: poking in the windows and open door like hard, long-nailed fingers; searching.

The engine got loud, then off. The engine made clicking, over-heated noises so loud they could hear it thru the sandbag walls.

Someone had parked out in the garage.

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:09 pm 
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Part 23.

"Knock-bleeping-knock! Where is everybody, damn it?"

Snookeroo felt a smile swarm onto his face. Emira recoiled, as if to draw back to hiding but Snook took a arm as to reassure. "It 'tis ok, Emira! I know this lady! Man; what a piece of luck!" "Then your friend's have returned home?" "No, no, naw quite...." "Hey! Yo! Anybody bleeping home?!"

The door to the garage got rattled; kicked maybe, then got quiet. Snook darted over, worked the lock, threw open the door. Out in the garage it was dark but the shape of a truck could be made out. A big truck; outrageously so. The tires had tread like valleys and it was dirty and rust frosted a metal edge or two. Snook walked out; calling. "Yo! Boss! We're in here!" "Why are all the lights out, you slug?"

Around the edge of the garage came a pole-thin, short figure with a stride of conifidence. It came closer to reveal Caitlin in denim overalls; army boot-knock-offs and a equally knock-off johnnie reb cap: a bit of a recent fad among colonists. Her face split in a grin at seeing Snook.

"Hiya, boss. No power, do naw ya know." "Really? Get off me, you mangy mutt." Laddy had come out to greet a old friend and being as he literally was better then twice Caitlin's weight, he was doing a right proper job of harassing her. Snook tried to motion his pet to propriety while addressing his employer. "Yeah: power 'tis out. Rigel grid the place and... yo, boss..." "Yo, Snook!" "What are you doing here?" "I was....oh!"

Emira has stepped up to Snook's side. Even in the dark, Caitlin's eyes could be seen narrowing in inclusive concentration, then sparking in shrewd amusement.

"Oh! No wonder the lights were off. Didn't think you were so frisky, Snook." "Oh, shush." Snook turned away to hide his blush. He got a good bystanders look of the pair of women; sizing each other up and knew what was in order; and the sooner the better.

"Emira; this 'tis Miss Caitlin Zmbisko: business-woman, gunnut and all around trouble-maker." "Smile when you say that, Snooky." "And this 'tis Miss Emira....um...Emira..."

Snook suddenly realized: he'd never heard Emira's last name. He felt the feeling of ineptitude reach reach for new lows but Emira was as smooth as she was courteous. "Joshi. Emira Joshi. It is a pleasure to meet you." "Like-wise and stuff." Caitlin was still besieging her employee's dignity with a leer. "Dang. Moved up to chicks whom you don't know the last name of? You're growing up fast, kid." "Shush, I say! Laddy: leave Emira alone! Kate....how'd you happen by?" "Heard about Roanoak, I take it?"

Snook's head shook a flat negative. "Saw something happen...a flash..." "We actually felt a blast-wave pass over us." added Emira. "And now the power is off..." "I guess you ain't heard, then." Caitlin's face went grim as her voice: which made her words all the more unpalatable seeming.

"Couple hours back, a landing C-130....oh, hell. I'm no good at this. Follow me, you two."

Zmbisko went out into the garage, around the front of her truck and climbed inside. She could be heard fiddling with keys. Snook and Emira followed: taking up a viewport on the rolled down passengerside window. Caitlin got the truck to turn over: a gasping, fish-out-of-water panting that finally settled into a cacophony of rattling and clanking. The truck shook like it were freezing. Caitlin got the interior lights on and then a voice; from a radio shambled out.

"....Kovokan citizens are hereby requested"

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:20 pm 
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Part 24.

"First; do not approach the spaceport proper. Emergency crews need to work without distraction or interference. This can best be accomplished by nonessential personnel staying clear of the area."

Snookeroo and Emira made no words but hung on all those coming from the radio. Snook had opened the passengerside door and they leaned their heads in; trying to listen hard; envision what was happening with their ears.

"Two: due to the unknown nature of the explosions cause, a emergency red is declared for kokokan district 7. Please follow all appropriate alert procedures. Stay off the roads; do not use satelite phones, as emergency efforts may require use of the satelites."

"District 7?" wondered Emira, sounding very small. Snook gave a affirmative grunt. "We're in district 7."

"Further information will be pending."

The radio paused; no music or commercials slid in as comfort or feign. Caitlin peered over at the others: face a valley of displeasure, under a sharp sun of worry. "It'll repeat in a few minutes." She stared at the radio in the dash, a yellow-green glow of dails and numbers and monotonous static. "I'd like to meet the fella they pay to make these announcements. He sounds like a computer..." "Probably 'tis a computer," noted Snook quietly. He was trying to fit the words to what he'd seen, what he guessed and what very little he knew. He glanced to Kate; his look catching her eye and they stared, one on the other a few seconds. She spoke at last.

"I just got out Gimli before they shut the gates. It looked like a priznr' of war camp. Searchlights whippin' around and folk moving to the towers. Guns, everywhere. Don't think I saw anyone without a gun.""People are scared." "Maybe they should be." "Aye. You scared, boss?" "Much as you." "Then you will need to change your drawers, very soon. That 'tis why you're here?" "Yep. Figured I couldn't leave a dimbulb like you out here by your lonesome. I called but..." "You would naw have got anything...."

The radip talkinghead returned; as bland as before.

"This is a official alert: This is a official colony alert."

"At approximately 99 hours of summer cycle 51; the hydrox facilities at Roanoak spaceport, Koko Voko province was destroyed in a explosion. The spaceport is severely damaged: loss of life is feared to be considerable. All flights; shuttle and aircraft,,are cancelled to further notice."

"Fire control and debris clearance are underway and a full investigationm into events will proceed with all due speed. To accomplish both in the most effective and thorough manner; Koko vokan citizens are hereby requested: First; do not approuch..."

All realized the news was repeating: everyone present had stopped listening even before the truck's owner turned the radio off.

"Hydrox Facilities..." Emira looked to the others; apparently for confirmation on something. "The airplane..." "Bet it 'twas the C-130." Snook declared. Kate was nodding. "Yeah, that's what the scuttlebutt is." "Stubblebumps?""Scuttlebutt, Emira. Rumors everywhere, all the time; about everything and everyone." "Naw all of them true. Many naw even close." "Yeah, that's so. Well: pack up you two. We're all going back to Gimli. I'll give you 10 minutes." "I canna do that, boss." "Sure ya can. Where you live, anyway, Emira?" "I'm housesitting, boss. I canna leave this place unwatched." "You already have, haven't you?"

Dang, she could be good at this, groused Snook. Always working angles; Kate seemed. Naybe running a business did it or tempered it: like steel folded and hammered, again and again,; making it all the stronger.

"Boss: I got a responsibility here. Rigel Williamson 'tis expecting to have a home to come back to..." "It'll be safer in Gimli, Snooky. Safety is good." "What exactly is it we're keeping safe from?" Kate blinked across the truck cab at the larger. She tapped the steeringwheel with a hand. Annoyed, perhaps. "You think Roanoak just went boom by itself."

Snook set his jaw as if to steady his nerves.

"Accidents do happen. Horrible, tragic, but they happen. C-130's have crashed once or twice thru the years I believe." "You haven't heard the rumors I have, Snooky. "Snook. And from who?" "People. All sorts..." "Did you hear that?"

Kate and Snook turned all their attention to Emira. She was looking out the open garage doors; not presenting a picture of ease. "Hear what?" "Something..." Emira pointed out the structure, toward the road. Kate deactivated the turck; Snook closed the passengerdoor and they all traveled out to the driveway. Zyra was bright, a bit less then half phase but the flash in Emira's hand did most of the local lighting. Laddy growled just as they got a good view of the road; east to west; a boder between this dot of man's handiwork and the imposing savanna of sky/hill/stone/greenery/critter. To the right, running to the west, the road was a dark, ruler-straight trail, running from sight. To the left, running east, the same black top dashed off, in search of Hadian's range...

Laddy growled again.

It was to the east that their eyes were drawn. Something was down that way; maybe 50 yards...

Something...somethings gray and big were partly hid in a clump of shrubs. They sat upon larger creatures: shrouded by night but there were 3-toed legs and wing-like limbs and arrow-shaped heads... The gray-furred riders had things in their hands.


They saw they were observed and drew back into the shrubs; leaving swaying branches in their wake; like sharks disappearing below the waves.

"Everybody get in the house." Snook got out. His voice was hoarse. "Now."

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Part 25.

They all proceeded to do what each thought this meant; which added up to a quick flush of utter anarchy. Emira disappeared into the house with the flash, leaving everyone else in the dark. Laddy belted out a couple challenge barks in the direction of the gray-furs; then sped off in same as if to prove his point. Snook tackled him; got dragged a couple yards on his face, snagged the collar and began manhandling the dog back thru the garage. Caitlin was behind the wheel of her truck; trying to get it to turn over.

"Git your girlfriend and git in here, Snook! Let's git while the gittens good!" "No go!" countered Snook. Laddy decided to make another dash for the savanna and he and his owner went to the hard garage floor. Snook winced in pain, fustration....and fear.

"Dang it anyhow! Laddy! Stop! Kate; leave the truck! No, wait! Emira! Where..."

Emira; evidently not realizing she'd run in the house alone now resurfaced, dashing out.....and over Snook, sprawling to the ground. She yipped in surprise and the flashlight skit away, under the truck. It was dark, noisy and everyopne had something to say and all at the same time. "Oh, for christ's sake....Emira: in the truck!" "What? Why?" She looked over at him; he hauled himself to his feet; using his dog as a improvised crutch; then with the other arm pulled up Emira. "Come on, you dummies!" implored Kate; the truck's starter giving a fair impression of a washing machine half-full of broken glass. "We still got time to get clear."

"Emira; in the truck!" Snook actually shoved her in it's direction; she sent him a dark-eyed lightning bolt to express her response on the stunt. Snook kept firing out words; trying to pull the world together around him. "Boss: you and Emira hit the road! Me and Laddy will hold the fort here!" Zmbisko stopped working the ignition. Fired off a look and words Snook's way hardly less inclement then Emira's just before.

"What?!! Are you nuts?! We all go now or we all stay!" "I'm in charge of watching this place, boss! :addy! Settle down! I gotta stay, boss. Canna just let them loot and..." "Then I ain't letting 'em either. I got my rifle!" She clawed behind her seat' came out with a cut-down lever-action of some sort and kept a arm behind the seat; looking for something else. "Maybe....damn...maybe Emira can make a run for it! Emira: you drive, right? Here...take the truck..." "I cannot drive. I have not driven in seasons!" "Oh, bleeping great!" "Will everybody get inside?!!" Snook took his own advice; dragging Laddy into the livingroom. It was dark: no one else seemed to be following. Laddy was fussing and lord, oh lord, what should he be doing?

Laddy took a sec and seemed satisfied then with being inside and stopped fighting. His owner risked releasing the collar; just as the flash relit the room; having been recovered by Emira; who padded in behind it. She hardly looked or sounded any more together then he. "Snook; what should we do?" "The doors." "Lock them , yes?" "Aye! And hurry! Get the one across here: both inner and outer doors now!" Off she went; light with her and a thump of something striking stone; perhaps cobbled-flooring, out from the garage, made him jump. Seconds later, in darted a skinny shape. Snook slipped around her and locked the outer door, took a few steps and locked the inner door.

"Dang it, I wish we had power, boss!" "maybe not." Kate was breathless; she had her lever-action and it sounded as if she were trying to load it. Likely it was already loaded and she hadn't realized yet. Befuddled: like the rest of us, noted Snook. "What 'twas that sound, boss?" "Garage door. It outta slow 'em down a good 30 seconds." "I hear that. You got a phone, aye?" "Yep." "Call somebody, please. Maybe we can find some cavalry." "And you try to find some lights. Flashlights....gotta be flashlights, Snook! Find 'em, quick!"

Snook half-tripped over his dog; got in the kitchen and tried; sightless, a couple drawers, Katherine's hard-tasked neatness and organization went to tatters the next couple minutes. Not finding what he wanted; Snook turned to cabinets; feeling, poking, fingering pots and pans and duct-tape and baggies and rubberbands and kid's vitamins and lord knew what all...but no more flashlights. Snook hustled back into the livingroom to the dark figure with one arm bundling a Marlin rifle and the other a device put to a ear. The figure shook it's head at Snook.

"This sucks, you know that?" "What up?" "I don't know if it's us or if the whole system's down but...no calls. Nothing getting thru. Nothing." "Nada?" "Nothing; zil. Can't bring up a thing." "That ain't good." "Tell me. We're on our own, boys and girls." "Keep a eye on that phone, boss. System might clear later. We gonna need help." "lord helps those who help themselves, my granny used to say." "Amen." The flash was swinging about across the livingroom then; back and forth; up and down; no real goal that Snook could see. He raised his voice, "Emira? What you doing?" :Closing the curtains! We do not want them spying in on us, yes?""Leave 'em!" barked Kate. She was all business.

"Ok; you all....Snook? This Williamson was a enforcer, right?""Oh, aye." "Then he gotta have guns. Go find 'em and bring them here. Make it snappy." "I'll need the light. We're in luck: Rigel gave me the keys to his locker. I know just..." "Here's the flashlight; get going. Fast, Snook." "Fast it is, boss."

Snook dashed down the stairs again; thick sand-bag walls to either side muffling his steps but seemed to amplify his breathing. The locker was in the utility room. Snook got to the locker, a glossy green metal thing and flash in one hand, tried to remember which key was the all important one. The flash bobbled, fell to the floor. He labored, mumbled complaints to himself, then found the key. In the lock. Turn. Door open...

Snook had always found gun lockers and safes enthralling. Treasuretroves, a gem-collection for jewelers; a auto-show of invite-only viewing. It was a portal into the possible: a display case that invited that veiled gun-gremlin that every firearm enthusiast had leaping about inside.

Well....Snook retook the flash and used it to inventory the locker's contents. Rigel must have been planning on hunting that vacation: his Remington bolt-action was missing. Snook didn't mind much: such a firearm didn't qualify as home-defense worthy to him. The Mossberg was gone too and that hurt more. But it was Rigel's 'go-to' firearm, so not unexpected. No Glocks were found: Glock-22's were standard enforcer issue so Rigel might have taken them from habit. There was a stubby, single-shot 20 guage, not exactly imposing, to say the least. But beside it was the M14, a semi-auto version that qualified for home-defense with flying colors. Snook got it; checked chamber and recognized the need for magazines. Where were they.....

He checked a upper shelf of the locker and drew out from a corner a handgun that appeared to once been part of a artillery-piece. It was huge and beautiful and spoke of workmanship and love of shooting and a mean, mean streak leaning to ludicrously powerful handguns. Desert Eagle's so rox, thought Snook.

Upstairs glass broke. Emira screamed. Laddy snarled. The Marlin popped and popped. Snook grabbed the pistol, kept flash and '14 and ran back up the stairs.

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:18 pm 
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Part 26

"And DON'T comeback!" Caitlin Zmbisko shouted out into the livingroom; the left side. Snook darted to her side.

"Anyone hurt?" "Nope." Snookeroo's employer jacked out a cartridge onto a bit of carpet. "Think I hit 'em, too." "They tried..." "To get in." finished Emira. She sounded cowed. Snook handed her the flash and it fluttered about one moment; aimed across the room; then back to the huddle of people.

"Oh, preeeet-tee!" Kate was looking on the assemblage of items in Snook's care with much pleasure. "Your friend got taste in firearms, Snooky. Oh! A desert eagle! Mine! Mine! It's all mine!" "Get back, boss. Finder's-keepers.""I'll fight ya for it. Punches below the belt count, remember." "Naw happening. I'm entitled to it, anyway.""And why's that?" "I'm male." "Huh?" "I'm compensating. With this pistol, I should have all the compensation I ever need."

A sound, a thump of some sort, reached into the house. Glancing up, Snook thought he saw the hint of a figure briefly, ever so briefly, peeking in the wide-window of the livingroom. It was gone in a flash; possibly spotting Snook spotting him. Snook put down the m-14 against the sandbag wall, speaking. "I have to get ammo and magazines for my pieces. I know where to look; this will naw take a sec...." "Get 'em and get back here quick, Snooky!" "Snook, Boss. Snook."

The ammo cache was in the back of one of the Williamson's clothes closets, one of the ones off to the side of the staircase. A drawer that drew no attention other then being locked, a brother key to the locker key did it's thing and Snook flung it open. But it was dark and he filled his hands with every thing he could grab. He could hear, indistinctively, Kate and Emira talking back in the livingroom and his heart was beginning to resound again. He had a couple handfuls of cardboard boxes and metal firearm magazines and he half carried, half threw them in front of him into the livingroom. He cussed; went to the floor to try to pick everything he spilled up and managed to drop the rest. "Snook...Snook!"

He looked up: in the dark he couldn't see Kate's face; only a shadow blocking another shadow behind, but her voice was caution and encouragement mixed well and wise.

"Snook, everybody! Let's get a grip! We got something hard before us..." "What are we to do?" "Fight, Emira. We got a fight brewing." The shadow-shape that went as Kate seemed to point with something in it's arms; to the windows, the doors. "They out there: they gonna be trying to get in here. They know we got guns now; so they gonna sly and sneaky. To live; we gotta feed 'em lead till they go away." " What if... what if they will not go away?" "Then we will, with their help. Don't think that's my idea of fun. I was born guns blazing: I'm going out guns blazing. Snook?" "Aye?" "How many mags you got for that '14?" "Ah...." Snook couldn't find words: none seemed to be right for the job. They seemed to be chasing one another into his brain then back out again. He clenched and unclenched his hands; his fingers were tingling; he tried to breathe and found one breath stumbled over another and he coughed and gasped and felt burlesque and awful.

Kate hove close enough they could see each other's eyes. She was very serious looking.

"Snook, just load up some magazines.....look at what you're doing now.....looks like you brought about every box of ammo your friend had. Sort thru 'em; toss the ones we ain't got guns for down the stairs. We can't afford a mix-up like that right now. Emira?" "Yes?" "Ever fired a gun? PLEASE say yes...."" I cannot." Emira was forlorn. "I have never fired a gun in my..." "Oh, damn. We ain't got time for no lesson, I'm guessing. Go in the kitchen; find a knife or club or something. Leave the flash."

Snook had stopped listening and was trying to sort ammo-boxes. 12 guage shells; one or two .375 Holland and Hollands.....there, 308's! We need those...

The magazines....load them. Pull open the boxes, draw out the plastic-frame holding the shells. Brassy shells; tipped with pointy spires; bullets; 155 grains said the box. No, wait: 180 grains. They were different weights; different brands....both 308's, though. Good: we're ok, they'll work.

Press the cartridges down into the magazines; feel the spring compress under his fingers....no, wait. He didn't like to mix different bullet-weights in the same magazine. No, wait. I haven't done that....have I? Too late anyway. load. Load those magazines. Oh. Different magazines now. For Rigel's remington? No, no: the remington didn't need detachable magazines....the Desert eagle. These were Desert eagle magazines, a few. We'll load them , too. .357 magnum there. Open the box....more shells: short, fat. In the magazine, get them in the magazine....hurry, hurry.

Why are my hands shaking...?


Kate was looking at him again. The flash in her hand brushed over him; blinding shortly; enlightening longer. Her lips were rigid; her voice austere. If not strong then trying to be. Because someone had to be and she intended to be that someone.

"Snook: watch what you're doing, guy! Slow a bit and do it right the first time. Might not be a second time....Snook? Your dog?" "Laddy? What?" "I think we need to tie him up." "Tie him up?" Snook scowled up at his boss. "What the heck for? His jaws are like a extra gun." "Maybe. But I love him and don't want him getting riled and jumping in the way of fire." "Oh. Aye. That makes sense." "Try the kitchen....the table maybe." "Aye."

Snook collared his dog, who was as much nerves as his master and led him into the kitchen. The table there was set in the floor and the microwave power cord, with some considerable hauling and fuss, secure Laddy to a table leg. It was a short lead and he didn't like it at all: tugging and woofing in disgust at his state of affairs. For his part; Snook was glad he couldn't
see his dog's eyes in the dark; dreading the look of accusation he was sure would be found hence. He did make a point of being sure the knot in the cord was one easy to loosen with a single, quick tug of the correct loop. Leaving his growling, unhappy dog, Snook went back into the livingroom. The other's were both waiting for him.

"Gun-up." Into his arms, Zmbisko handed the '14: it seemed nearly as long as she was tall. "There's a magazine in place: there's more and some for the 'eagle, down there; on the floor. By the wall...see 'em?" "Aye. I do now..." "Good. You're setting up there....go to a knee, keep low: don't offer anymore target to them then you need to shoot. We can't be blasting away, willy-nilly...we only got so much ammo. So shots gotta count. I'll take this side..." She indicated the left half of the livingroom and the front doorway, further to the left. "You get the other side." She gestured to the right side of the room, other side of the pillar/wall line of sandbags coated with adobe running down the middle of the room: a dividing line easy to detect hulking in the murk. "I mind my side, you mind your's. No taking prisoners, right?" "Aye."

Emira's voice came forth from behind them: not meek or fearful. But thirsting: seeking lucidity.

"Why do we not take prisoners?" Snook opened his mouth to answer but found: there really wasn't one. Not one that could be given in well-couched, thoughtful words. No....only hard, ugly words could be used on such narration and Snook didn't know if he could use such toward Emira.

A tumult of flying glass poured in the room: Laddy pealed outrage and blood-lust.

Hulban, gray-furs began forcing their way in thru the now shattered windows.

The battle was joined.

 Post subject: Interest
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:00 am
Posts: 3
Hello Mr. Iowanic ,

I am not good writer like you but i like your stories . I think you should find a publisher and investor to show your skills to all others.
Its only suggestion don't take wrong. I like your stories all parts are nice. I reas only 16 from 26 quite good.
Keep it up..

 Post subject: Re: New story(?)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:05 am 
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Part 27.

Snookeroo dropped to a knee; stripped a round to the chamber; remembered where the safety was; got stock to shoulder, sight to eye and began working the trigger.

He fired, center-of-mass; into the nearest figure pitching his way. The '14 popped and slid back into his shoulder. It was loud: it's flash flickered out like snake's tongue. Outlining the rodent-like face of the approaching a second, then dark, then alite again at the next shot. The sight was without texture or depth: vague; unfinished charcoal sketchs on light gray paper. He concentrated and fired and fired and fired and the figure went down, partly: Snook fired over it's shoulder, corrected and popped it in it's neck then again and then it was swaying forward, toward the floor and his next shot hit skull and the next a clear miss again; hitting sandbag behind, somewhere.

Kate was shouting cuss words at the top of her lungs nearby and her 30-30's lever was jacking and jacking....

Another figure; another Hulban; following the first. It's form clearly had arms and they clearly held a javelin, ready to be thrown. Snook reaimed and popped it three times in it's chest. It sagged, threw the javelin. Snook went to the floor; looked up upon arriving there to see the other trying to work around the downed Hulban. Snook shot him in the face and he crumbled down like a dynamited building.

Someone was spying in the wide-window: wondering if he should climb in and help. Snook popped off a round at him. The face vanished, though Snook had no idea if he'd truly hit him.

Suddenly, the shooting had stopped. Snook looked around, got to a knee, looked some more. "Boss? Kate? Kate!" "Here!"

She was, too. Just to his left; yawing over to look him up and down and allow him to do the same to her. Her voice was loud and raucous: she was having a ball. "Got one! Mighta got another thru the window!" "Blast, Boss. I shot that one...." "Damn it: stick to your own next time!"

They each tried to draw air and mind their weapons and somehow make sense of what lay about them. The flash had been mostly aimed to Kate's side: she rolled it along the floor so that it more evenly lit both sides of the pillar/wall. Snook found his eyes upon the two unmoving figures, not 10 feet from him. He waited for something to arise inside him; seeing those two dead figures but....nothing. Nothing. He shook his head: not sure and not liking it. I'm naw dealing death because there tis any fun in it... I'm trying to stay alive. I'm killing to stay alive but there tis a void in me....I feel nothing for those I've killed. Should I? They were trying to kill...

Thumps came across the livingroom: the front door was being assaulted from the other side. It held but the noise bid perhaps not for long. Kate raised her Marlin; barrel actually smoking. Snook tsk tsk'ed.

"Do naw waste your shots, boss. Like you said; make our shots count, aye?" "Yeah..." Now thumps came from the door to the garage: just as insistent as from the other portal. Then another sound: not as close, almost muffled: Snook couldn't place it. Suddenly Laddy salvoed with death-threats and Emira yelped out "The Kitchen! They are getting in through the kitchen window!" "Snook...." "On it!"

Snook wheeled around Kate; into the kitchen. Laddy was practically standing on his hind legs in a effort to get to the barely 6 inch wide kitchen window. It was as brocken as the livingroom windows but this one had a arm; a gray-furred Hulban arm thru it; swinging about; trying to somehow find leverage on something. Snook got the '14 to a shoulder and touched off a round. He missed; hitting the wall a hand-width to the left. The arm removed itself from inside forthwith. Snook sent another round out the window as a reminder. The spent cartridge case had barely clattered to the floor when Laddy, excited and loud came to one side: Emira, excited and quiet came to the other. He tried to wiggle clear as Emira sent out words.

"How are we going to survive this, Snook?" "Lots of prayer seems a bonny place to start. We'll get out of this, Emira. Do naw give up!" He felt his lips try to smile down at the other. "How 'bout this kitchen, eh?" "What? Oh!" Emira did a much better job of smiling then Snook. "Yes; very nice. I will wash; if you will dry." Snook had a bark of laughter on it's way to public disclosure when the metal object was tossed in thru the narrow window.

It lit upon the floor: Laddy tried mightily to reach it but couldn't quite get there. The thing bounced; scraped on the floor then sat a second. Flames; glowing red, leapt forth. It was a metal bowl; maybe encompasing a couple hands-ful in volume and the glowing, nearly mist-like fire was unmistakably Zetan tree-sap burning. It'd no sooner sparked up then the curtains caught and Emira screamed out "Aap! Aap!"

Laddy barked, Snook swore and Emira scrambled to the sink; digging under to find the biggest pan she could find. In the other room Kate's Marlin fired off once then Kate's voice followed on it's echo. "What's going on in there?!"

"Fire!" returned Snook but his own formula for fire control was fervid rather then effective: the cabinet to his left were already catching and the cabinets on the other side looked set to do the same. He got a chunk of carpet and slapped at the flames one-handed most pointlessly. The carpet then flared up itself and he flung it to the floor; stomping on it like crazy. Emira darted over, flung a stewpot of water about but it was little better. Snook caught the lasse's shoulder and spoke with urgency into her ear.

"Fire-extinguisher! Downstairs!" "What?!" "There 'tis a fire-extinguisher, downstairs! Hurry!" "What...where downstairs?!" "The utility room! Straight down the stairs; straight down the hall! The door right at the end!" "I will need the flashlight...." "Here!"

It was Kate: leaning into the decimated kitchen with said flash. Emira took it, dashed from sight. Kate and Snook exchanged glances with no words and few defined thoughts. The thumps came from the doors again. Kate turned tail and ran back into the livingroom. Snook followed....but he'd no sooner cleared the kitchen entryway when a big form lurched out of the dark; arms around a javelin. It's 18 inch blade-point headed for his middle.

He had the '14, but it was too long for typical use. He parried the javelin point offcourse with it instead. The Hulban in charge of the javelin barged into him, sending him back, stumbling but he swung up the '14's butt as he did so; misjudging the distance and hardly doing more then brush the gray-fur's bucktoothed lower jaw. The javelin came for him again but they were too close for the long '14 to block again. Snook snagged one of the other's thick wrist: tried to twist it to loose the javelin. They bumped off one another and they grappled: Snook gave up on the wrist; tried to cram fingers into one of the Hulban's solid-black eyes. The Hulban threw up a forearm, Snook stepped in closer and grabbed the arm; trying to curl it back behind the other. It kept him from being stabbed, indeed: the javelin clattered down at their feet. But with a unoccupied limb, the Hulban grabbed the '14. Snook had only a one-handed hold and away went the '14: flung across the room.

Both sought to master the other's movements and neither could gain a advantage a few seconds. The Hulban snorted like a croaking bullfrog and pushed for all he was worth. He was bigger then Snook, stronger and down went Snook and the Hulban crashed atop as gently as a bomb. Snook got in a couple short, sharp clouts to the other's head: the hulban sought to get his big hairy hands around his foe's throat. And then he had: Snook's airway was cut and his eyes blurred. Try as he might; he couldn't shift the hulban off him.

Consciousness lay in balance and then began to tilt....tilt away from him and away from there. Someone was yelling but he couldn't understand them.....

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