Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lucidity chapter 33

Chapter 33 (Not fast enough)

            Kkaj glared at the clouds of dust in the distance. Even dumping water energy into the horses, we are no closer to catching them. Just how strong is this Ikiffar?
            Beside him, Jekor huffed with each stride. If they weren’t careful, they would be hungover or kill the horses before the reached that murdering kidnapper.
            “Careful.” Kkaj sucked in air through his nose and tried to slow his racing heart. “We can’t burn ourselves or our horses out before we catch up.”
            Jekor peered at Kkaj through the corner of his eye. “At this rate, we’re going to lose them.”
            I know. “Just focus. She has to be as tired as we are.”
            “No. We fought against the crocobear. She didn’t.”
            “Moonshine. You’re right.” Kkaj leaned forward as if it would help.
            Roar! Thundering footsteps called out from behind. Closing in. Closer. Closer.
            “How is that beast so fast?” Kkaj glanced over his shoulder.
            “I’m not sure.” Jekor swallowed. “I’ve never heard of one so big.” Jekor, who was apparently a man despite his name, voice and attitude, shivered, and the magic coursing through his horse waned. He slowed a fraction.
            “I am trying,” Jekor said in a melodious voice.
            “Fight the possession! You’re stronger than this!” I hope.
            Jekor gritted his teeth. “You’re right!” He whipped the makeshift reins of his horse. “We can’t fail! I won’t let Ikiffar’s revenge destroy her.”
            “Her revenge, huh?”
            The crocobear’s pounding footsteps grew closer.
            Jekor bit into his lower-lip. “I’m sorry about Saffer.”
            Pain stabbed into Kkaj’s heart, and everything blurred. Her death … is may fault. I asked for my love life to sort itself out, I killed Ikiffar’s family. All. All my fault. Just like … . He swooned.
            Something grabbed onto his shoulder and kept him in the saddle.
            “I. I. I’ll take responsibility.” He wiped the tears from his eyes and nodded. “I’ll trade my life for Roffor’s, and hopefully, that’ll give you a chance to save that bastard of a king.”
            “Can I?”
            “You have to.”
            “But —”
            Both horses screamed then jerked to the left.
            The world lurched, and Kkaj crashed into the ground. The breath escaped his lungs. Heat burned through his chest, but he sat up.
             His horse squirmed on its side, front legs broken. To the right, Jekor stood up and patted his horse’s side. Luckily, his horse wasn’t injured. Between them, a cloud of dust settled. The massive crocobear growled. The reverberating sound rattled Kkaj’s bones.
            Kkaj ground his teeth. I hope I can beat it with just four liquors. He reached into his vest. “Jekor!”
            “What?” Kkaj glanced away from the massive crocobear.
            Two smaller crocobears, still bigger than war-horses, sprinted towards them.
            His heart leaped into his throat, and his blood turned into ice. Shovers crawled across his skin. “Moonshine.”
            “What are we going to do?” Jekor’s voice cracked. “We can’t outrun them, and —” He pointed to a rock formation behind him. “— I don’t think we’re fast enough to get to that cave.”
            “A cave, huh?” Kkaj took a shot of rum and forced the energy into his muscles. Agony pierced his joints, and he clenched his jaw shut. A long moment later, his power-enhanced muscles deadened to the pain. “You get to safety and make sure to save both women!” He lifted his flask of tequila.

Next: Chapter 34

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lucidity chapter 32

Chapter 32 (Betrayed)

            Jekor leaped from his saddle and pulled out his flask of tequila.
            His horse danced about, but it didn’t run off. A good boy. Kkaj on the other hand … . He was a fool. He slid across the ground on his back as the crocobear stalked forward. His head bumped into a shadowed log or something, and he took several drinks from his flask. Was he really trying to kill the crocobear with magic?
            “What are you doing?” Jekor drank then crafted a rope from the water.
            Kkaj extended his hands, and a wall of fire appeared between him and the crocobear.
            “We have to get out of here.” Jekor tossed the rope forward and wrapped it around the beast’s neck. He turned the ends into spikes and planted them into the ground. If we leave together, Kkaj will have no choice but to take us with him to the Lucidity distillery. He grinned then looked back at Ikiffar. Why hadn’t she dismounted?
            The crocobear howled. It thrashed about, shredding the water rope then smashed Kkaj’s fire barrier.
            Like one of those sea monsters with claws, Kkaj’s head rested against the log-thing, and he scrambled backwards on hands and feet, moving the log-thing with him. It didn’t roll.
            “Stand up, fool!” Jekor released a hail of water bullets, pelting the crocobear in the face. He turned his hands over and created a spiked disk. Forcing more energy into it, it grew then began to spin faster and faster. “You need to —”
            Kkaj crossed the firelight, and the shadows vanished. It wasn’t a log. It was Saffer, his girlfriend. Where here nose should have been, black blood crusted around a massive hole that stretched from her eyes to her lower lip. Was that a bullet wound?
            Jekor’s breath caught in his chest. No. He turned.
            Ikiffar wrapped Roffor in metal chains and lifted her onto Jekor’s horse, securing into the saddle. Ikiffar gritted her teeth and clenched her fist. The chains tightened around Roffor, and she screamed into the chain gagging her. Ikiffar grabbed the reins to Jekor’s horse.
            “What are you doing?” Jekor’s voice cracked, and his lips quivered. “We’re supposed to help. Not —”
            “I’m sorry.” Tears rolled down Ikiffar’s cheeks. “It has to be like this.”
            “But —”
            Ikiffar whipped her horse into a gallop, pulling Jekor’s horse behind her and heading deeper into the wastes.
            Jekor stepped towards the two horses hooked to Kkaj’s cart.
            Kkaj grunted. Thud.
            Fear and regret clutched Jekor’s heart. He froze in place then spun to face the crocobear.
            Saffer’s corpse sat between Kkaj and the crocobear, laying the blame for her death at Jekor’s feet. The crocobear stepped forward. Kkaj rubbed at his chest but pushed himself to his feet anyway.
            “I’m sorry.” Jekor’s voice wheezed from his mouth like a rasping whisper. “If I had been more watchful over Ikiffar … .” He swallowed. “I’m so sorry.”
            The crocobear roared. It moved forward.
            Kkaj pulled out three flasks. “I guess I have no choice.” He pulled out a forth.
            “Kkaj!” Jekor’s chest heaved. Was he breathing? “We have to —”
            The crocobear stopped over Saffer’s body, and in one swift motion, it scooped her body into its mouth. Crunch! Crunch-crunch-crunch. After chewing, it swallowed her corpse in one serving.
            Kkaj screamed.
            The blood turning sound sent icy hands brushing down Jekor’s spine. Jekor shivered then glanced to the dust cloud Ikiffar’s horse was kicking up. “Kkaj!”
            “No!” Kkaj popped the tops from all four of his flasks. “No! No! No! I’m going to crush you!” He pulled out a fifth flask.
            Jekor rushed forward while the crocobear licked at the blood covered dirt. He gripped Kkaj by the wrist. “We have to go.”
            “No! I have to rip this monster limb from limb!”
            “Even if that’s possible, which I doubt, Ikiffar has betrayed me.”
            “Who?” The anger in Kkaj’s voice wavered.
            “She told you her name was Iiffar.”
            “My second cousin?”
            Jekor shook his head and pulled Kkaj towards his remaining two horses. “No. She’s not related to you, though you did wrong her.”
            Kkaj narrowed his eyes. “How?”
            “She is the sole survivor of the Orakab desolation. She watched her family get ripped to pieces as they saved her. Your Empty Bottle Cult … .”
            “A —” Kkaj’s jaw dropped. His eyes trembled. “— survivor?”
            “Yes.” Jekor forced Kkaj onto the horse bareback and fashioned a set of reins out of the cart’s lead. “She took Roffor and the map.”
            Kkaj gulped. “Roffor … .”
            “Ikiffar plans to use Lucidity to make every member of the Empty Bottle Cult pay for the death of her family.
            “But … as much as I want the man dead, killing the king would start a civil war unless … .”
            “The king!”
            The crocobear roared. Had it finished its snack?
            “Time to go!” Jekor leaped into his saddle and kicked his new horse into a run, following Ikiffar’s trail with Kkaj in tow.

Next: Chapter 33

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lucidity chapter 31

Chapter 31 (Useless)

            Kkaj shook his head. This can’t be real.
            From behind, Roffor screamed. Click. Had she drawn a pistol?
            He forced himself to stand then slapped himself. “Not real.” His hands trembled, and he looked up to meet the monster’s narrowed eyes.
            The crocobear roared.
            “Get back!” Roffor pulled the trigger. Bang! Her bullet hit the crocobear in the snout, turning its head to the left. “Kkaj!”
            He started. Then he stepped backwards and stumbled over Saffer’s corpse, nearly falling.
            Her lifeless body gripped his heart.
            Tears rolled down his cheeks, and he howled. His blood turned into fire, and it crashed into his brain. Thoughts of Saffer vanished into a sea of hatred. Was this creature at fault? His face turned hot, and he gritted his teeth. “This will not do!” He reached into his Drunkzard vest and pulled out his flask of gin. He took a long drag.
            The crocobear’s maw opened, and hot breath hit Kkaj in the face. Rotten meat and shit. The beast stepped forward.
            “Magic isn’t going to work on it.” Roffor’s voice took on a high-pitch. “Their scales make them immune.”
            “I read the report.” I should try to do this from a distance due to that monster’s claws and armor.  Kkaj released weather energy around his hands and crafted a pair of spark clouds. “These monsters aren’t immune. Just resistant.”
            “That’s basically the same thing.” Roffor pointed her gun at the beast. Bang!
            The sound rattled Kkaj’s mind, but the rage filtered the memories from his thoughts. He hoisted the spark clouds into the air and fed more energy into them.
            The crocobear snapped towards Kkaj, but it got a mouthful of lightning instead. The beast howled.
            “See?” A sneer crossed Kkaj’s face, and he unloaded a wave of electricity into the crocobear.
            One bolt found a home in the crocobear’s left eye. Splat. The beast howled.
            He clenched his fists. “You see? You just have to know where to —”
            A massive claw caught him in the side and sent him flying across the ground. The crocobear followed, standing just above Kkaj. Impossibly fast. The forearm sized teeth gleamed in the firelight.
            “Eat shit!” Kkaj released pure weather energy into the crocobear’s mouth ripped out its tongue.
            It snapped its mouth shut and lifted one of its claws.
            Moonshine. Kkaj clenched his eyes shut.
            Heat baked the side of his face.
            His eyes shot open.
            A massive ball of fire pushed against the crocobear’s side, sliding the beast away from Kkaj.
            Roffor is terribly weak with fire. How much did she drink? Kkaj scrambled to his feet and nodded in appreciation.
            Hooves beat against the hard-packed sand. Did Roffor want to run?
            Kkaj turned.
            Jekor held her hands out towards him. To her left, Kkaj’s second cousin rode with an angry scowl on her face. Why were they here?
            After blinking, Kkaj tilted his head to the left. His mouth worked, but no words formed.
            “Watch out, fool!” Jekor’s voice sprinted off into the night.
            Steamy breath pelted the back of Kkaj’s neck.
            Goose bumps crawled along his arms, and adrenaline filled his muscles. He dove forward as something ripped the shirt from his back. He crashed into the ground then rolled to his back with his flask of rum in his hand.

Next: Chapter 32