[In honor of Friday the 13th, I present to you the second installment of the “Blood Skies” flash fiction series. Check back on Monday, May 23rd for the 3rd official Sneak Peek of the “Blood Skies” debut novel — the biggest sneak peek yet!]
Tales of a Blood Earth is a serial flash fiction series that chronicles tales of the new world. While these pieces are set in the “Blood Skies” universe, they won’t actually have any direct connection to the novels. (Or will they…?)
The airship was at the edge of the dark forest. A machinegun (Rooke didn’t know what type it was, but her brother would have, he was into that sort of thing) was mounted on the deck. Another Revenger stood there at the gun, watching them all. If they stopped digging, they’d be shot.
Rooke’s fingers were raw. They’d been given no tools. She didn’t believe there was any purpose to the dig aside from cruelty. The black fatigues she’d been given to wear were soaked through with dank water and pasted to her skin. The air tasted like sewage.
“Come on,” one of the Revengers shouted, a tall and scarred brute with spiky blonde hair. “The faster you dig, the quicker you can get back to your cells! I know you LOVE your cells!”
One of the giant-sized Doj sneered at the Warden. He was rewarded with a blast of wracking pain that surrounded his body in a red cloud of razor dust. The solid jade eyes of the warlock Revenger, a wiry and rat-faced man with dark skin and red tattoos on his face, looked on the giant without pity or remorse. There was always one warlock who oversaw the work detail, there to keep unruly prisoners like the Doj in line. After the giant pulled himself together, he went back to digging.
The prisoners clawed their way through thick earth with torn hands. Black sludge caked their bodies, their faces and their arms. The air was freezing cold, and Rooke’s body shook. Her fingernails were filled with grit and grime. Her arms were so weary and sore she could barely feel them.
Her hands caught on something buried. It was clammy, and so cold to the touch it made her recoil.
“I found it!” she yelled.
All of the other prisoners stopped digging. The female Revenger walked up behind Rooke, and looked down.
“Clear it,” she shouted. She looked at the nearest prisoners, a red-headed Lith and a stocky Gol male with grey hair and a beard. “Help her. Now.”
They pushed away slime and dank, sticky soil, not quite mud but something more organic, like it came from the inside of a body. Whatever it was, it stuck to their hands and froze their skin.
They pulled and scraped to make whatever was buried visible. The other inmates gathered, their eyes wide.
It was a body. Ice cold, and tall. Its skin was ashen pale beneath the muck. Its massive claws were folded in front of its chest, and its wide lips barely concealed a clenched mouthful of pale, sharp fangs. It was humanoid, but larger, its features unnatural. It looked like Death.
“Oh, God,” Rooke gasped.
“Remind me,” the warlock asked the woman, the leader of those Revengers, “exactly why we were looking for this.”
“Because we had no choice,” she answered.
Rooke looked at the vampire, lying half-buried there in the mud.
It opened its eyes, and looked back at her.
(to be continued…)
Copyright © 2011 Steven Montano