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Back to Haunt (13+ for possible language and death) - Contest Entry

S

SF3P0X1

Guest
My breath quickened and my stride grew longer. I knew I was being hunted, knew that this could be my last visit to the light, but it was worth it. I had completed my mission, and the elders had received the information. Whether or not I made it back home alive was up to me.

I looked behind me. Nothing was there, but I knew better. The Medjai were silent hunters, but their stare gave them away. You know that prickle you get on the back of your neck when someone is intently staring at you? Forget that, a cat is viciously scratching you. I pushed my self to run faster.
My breathing was ragged now. My whole left side was one great cramp. My body yelled stop, but my mind screamed go. The landscape was one grand blur, the buildings of stone and steel merging into one great vine-covered blob as I streaked by, and still I ran.

I chanced another glance behind me. There! I spotted a flash of pale green, heard the whoosh of wings. The Medjai were closing quickly. I had to find my cave and get inside to my saferoom. I began to turn my head forward, still running, and slammed head first into a building a split-second later. I felt, among the waves of fear and pain, a brick dislodge and disintegrate. The old building quickly followed suit.
A fog of dust covered me, trapping me in a cloud of white, brown, and gray. I stumbled blindly forward, half paralyzed by the immense throbbing of my head. The collision threw off my balance, and I was having trouble recovering it.

Eventually the dust cleared and I found myself standing on the entrance to my cave. It was buried beneath the ruins of the once proud building my head had brought down. In regret, fear, and frustration I cried out, giving up and revealing my position to anyone and anything nearby. I heard a sudden rustle to my immediate right and sighted a large shrubbery. Another rustle was followed by the appearance of a man’s head. It was his eyes that caught my attention; great bright green eyes that seemed to understand anything they saw.

A body quickly followed the head, and the man beckoned me toward him. I hurried forward and into the bush, my fear of the Medjai quickly returning. I could see no entrance of exit, so I dove over the top. I nearly fell into the large cave behind the bush. The man quickly pushed me inside, and then covered the hole with brush and other items to hide it from outside view. Unless you were looking for it, you would never have seen it.

The man then took off his dirty clothes and donned an English accent. “Quite a head you have there, sir,†he remarked, laughing at his little joke. “Does it suit you well?â€Â

“It suits me just fine,†I answered, taking in the man’s appearance. He had close-cropped blond hair and his head had an odd square shape to it. His nose looked squashed, as if it had been broken several times during his life. His ears were pointed, resembling and elf or a leprechaun. I wondered if the man was Irish.

His limbs and torso were built well, giving me the impression he was a body builder. He had large gristled hands that constantly smoothed out a pirate-like mustache. He looked rather impressive dressed in his bearskin robe.

“Come. You may take a shower and have something to eat. I am Judas, at your service,†he said. He then turned and started walking toward the back of the cave. I began to follow, and then I noticed the bulge in his back between his shoulder blades.

Fear over took me, and I stopped. He turned to make sure I was following him and noticed the terrified look in my eyes. Instead of responding with curiosity, he grinned, an evil glimmer entering his eyes.
“It would be pointless to resist. You are powerless against them. There is no escape,†his sinister voice echoed.

I hesitated then finally spoke. “Are you kidding? You defeat a Medjai in battle and when its soul possesses and converts you, you side with them?†I screamed, inching my way backwards. “You Judas Iscariot, trying to betray me. It won’t work,†I added as a bluff, hoping he’d fall for it.

“Sure it will,†he laughed. “It already has.†He said this without blinking, and I knew I was dead.
I heard a small thump behind me, so I slowly turned around. There it was- a Medjai. The reptilian creature stood about six feet tall, and its scaly skin was a pale green. It had no hair. Its snakelike eyes stared out at me from within their slits, and the beast smiled at me, showing off its vampire-like fangs. It had no ears and no nose, but I guess it listened and smelled using its three-pronged tongue, which it constantly sent out to test the air.

Four muscular arms protruded from a brick torso. The Medjai’s hands were nothing but bases for three-inch long claws that faded from pale green to black in color, starting at the knuckle. It stretched its wings out; massive bat wings, twelve feet across from tip to tip, and both a dark smoky green color. I shuddered at this sight and looked down, spotting the brawny legs on which it stood. It wore clothing made of wolf’s hide, and it bore no weapons.

I glanced to the opening of the cave, now uncovered, but blocked by the Medjai. Judas noticed my glance.

“You can’t run from him. Well, you could, but you wouldn’t get very far,†he remarked, while at the same time removing his robe. A great pair of bat wings stretched from his back, both flesh colored and gross. “He would have help from me, not that he’d need it, and you are about to die anyway.†Judas strolled up to me and placed his hands on my shoulders, planting me in place in front of the beast.

I looked back at the Medjai. He glanced at me and opened his mouth, emitting a high-pitched scream that reminded me of a rusty door opening. I felt Judas’ hands loosen and I rolled away, allowing the beast to fire his curse at the traitor. Judas’ smile faded from his face as the curse took hold, and his entire body became engulfed in a dark red light. I could see the fear behind his eyes for a split second before it disappeared, replaced by an emptiness nothing could fill. His body began to levitate. His eyes widened and he emitted a guttural groan. I saw his wings begin to crumble as is soulless body began to disintegrate. I knew I had less than a minute before the creature had its soul and it came after me.

I ran back through the cave and exited by way of a ladder. Dusk had fallen on the land, so I knew I had a chance. (Medjai have terrible night vision.) I glanced around in the dimming light and saw a clump of bushes, the very same bushes my traitor hid in. I dove into the bushes, scratching my skin and tearing my clothing in the process. I listened and heard the rush of wings overhead, then saw the brute fly by. I breathed a sigh of relief, having narrowly escaped having my soul absorbed by a Medjai. Few ever live to tell that tale.

I waited in my perch until it was pitch black. I rose from my hiding spot and allowed my eyes to adjust to the lack of light. I glanced around. Buildings still standing from years ago were nothing but silhouettes against the cloudy night sky. I spotted the pile of rubble above my cave and swore once more. I had to
find another place to live and to hide.

I decided to head towards the river and to the Grand Caves, the Elders’ place of residence, knowing that the elders would welcome me. I realized then that I did not know which direction to go. I looked around and saw nothing but black. I had not fire, no flashlight, nothing to create light so that I could get my bearings. I decided to make a wild guess, and headed off towards a distant ridge, with my back to the rubble covering my former home.

The moon was half full that night, shining brightly whenever it chanced upon a break in the clouds. I constantly checked my position using that moon, having seen I was going in the right direction the first time it poked out. I reached the ridge three hours into my trek, sweaty and footsore. I rested for a moment behind the ridge, then climbed it and popped my head over. I froze.

Thousands of Medjai lay stretched out before me, as a camp, with fires every few hundred feet. They were camped in tents, atop old buildings, and some even under their own wings. I was terrified. I had never seen more than one or two Medjai at a time, even during my observation mission earlier that day, but here were a whole slew of them at my feet. They lay between me and the river, as I noticed when the moon poked out again. When the light of the moon met the light of the fires, every Medjai I could see inherited an eerie orange aura. Facing evil personified, I decided to back away.

I took a step backward and slipped on some loose rocks, falling on my face and twisting my ankle. I gave a yelp of pain and stood, quickly facing over the ridge and hoping I wasn’t heard. Seeing the Medjai were still sleeping peacefully, I took another ginger step forward and this time tripped over my own feet. I tumbled down the other side of the ridge, rolling over and over and loudly announcing my arrival to the Medjai camp. Finally coming to rest on my back, I sat up and clutched at my ankle. I looked through eyes of fear and pain at the thousands of menacing Medjai faces in the air above me, then closed my eyes and gave myself up for dead.

A gentle tap on my shoulder nearly caused me to have a heart attack. I clutched at my chest and slowly spun on my butt to face the owner of the tap. The souls of the elders stared back at me through the eyes of the oldest Medjai I’d ever seen. This creature had the same basic body structure as the other Medjai (as in very muscular with four arms and a massive wingspan), but it also had a huge curved white spike growing out of the back of its head, a feature reminiscent of the Medjai elders.

I gasped and backed away as quickly as my hurt ankle would allow. I bumped against the legs of some other Medjai, obviously guards. They picked my up and held me facing their elder, who merely smiled.
“Welcome to our camp, human,†it sneered. “I suppose it was you who was responsible for the recent death of a Hu-jai? You know exactly of whom I speak. I can see it in your eyes.†The creature was very articulate, and sounded very different from the one who attacked me earlier. He had more of an earthy voice, and sounded gentle. His voice made me want to trust him.

“What do you want from me?†I asked in a near panic.

“Retribution. For what you caused. Judas was our most resourceful Hu-jai. He even delivered your elders,†the Medjai spat the word, as if it were bitter tasting, “into our hands! If I did not already have future plans for you, your soul would be mine by now!â€Â

Future plans. If I had not already been terrified, hurt, or trapped I would have run as fast as my legs could carry me. As it was, I could go nowhere, so I stood petrified with fright.

“Take him to the barracks and put him into the holding cell with the revert and the traitor. I will call for him in a couple hours,†the elder Medjai ordered. One of the Medjai guard answered with a sound between a giddy squeal and a guttural moan, then picked me up and took off.

I suddenly found myself in the arms of a Medjai and in the air, so I did what anyone in that situation would have done. I passed out.

A sudden landing jolted me back to reality, and I found myself being led inside an old bank. I looked around and saw that the immediate area was deserted. I glanced at the side of the building a spotted a brick that claimed the building was built in 2004. That was over two thousand years ago!

Inside, I looked around the bank and saw old counters covered in the dust of time. We took a right and I spotted an old vault. The creature emitted a couple giddy moan sounds and the vault door slowly swung open, revealing a pitch-black room. The beast set me inside and walked out, uttering sounds again and closing the door.

I could see nothing inside the room. There was no light to let my eyes adjust, so I sat down and heaved a sigh of frustration. A voice spoke from behind me and I uselessly turned to see who it was.

“Another companion? Who is it this time?†The voice had a grainy sound to it, as if the person was suffering from severe lack of water.

“It really doesn’t matter, Chekova. He won’t be here long,†another voice answered. This one was deeper, darker, and more controlling, as if it belonged to a military general.

“What do you mean,†I asked, panicking.

“I mean, they only put prisoners in here who are going to face a Medjai. The only reason I’m still here is because I won my battle and refused to side with them,†the military voice answered. “Chekova’s here because he went insane before the first fight, and everyone knows Medjai don’t like insane souls.†He laughed.

“And you are?†I asked.

“Elonai. And you?†he answered.

“I thought you said it didn’t matter,†I said.

“Well, I think it does matter. I’d like to know who you are,†Chekova’s voice drifted out.

“I’m Cheris. How long have you been here?†I asked.

“Well, Chekova’s been here about four days, and I’ve been here, oh, about 600 years,†Elonai’s voice bragged.

“Six hundred years? Are you sure?†I asked, looking for the joke.

“Positive. I had to battle the Medjai once too, you know. I won. I found out that the last thing a Medjai sees, its soul possesses, and the creature is given one of the Medjai’s powers at random. I received the long life of a Medjai. The average Medjai lives for about 700 years, so I’ll be dead soon.†Elonai laughed again.

“I don’t suppose you know how the Medjai came around, do you?†I asked. I wasn’t expecting an answer. It was just one of those random questions that came out when you were really puzzled.

“I don’t know exactly, but I do know from stories and rumors passed down from generation to generation in the Medjai,†he answered.

“Well, can you tell me?†I asked. “I want to know before I die what it is that kills me.â€Â

“Well, okay. Now remember: what I am about to tell you is a summary of what we know combined with the knowledge of stories and rumors passed by the Medjai,†he replied. “We do know that in the late 2200’s the world split into three main provinces. These provinces were the United American Territories, consisting of the North, South, and Central Americas, Greenland, and the Caribbean Islands, the United European Territories, which engulfed all of Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and Africa, and the United Russo-Asian Territories, which included all countries not taken by the other two territorial provinces. We also know that in the late 2100’s the world was plunged into World War Three, which ended when Russia bombed the South African rebels into submission. Africa was decimated by the use of nuclear warfare, and the world’s leaders lived in harmony with each other, afraid of what another war would bring if it involved anything heavier than napalm.

“In 2325, the Russo-Asian Territories began an expansion of communism and took over Australia. The European Territories decided to let this broken promise slide, much like the appeasement of the mid 1930’s. However, when the UET received word of a new biochemical bomb being developed in the URAT, they became suspicious and sent a regiment to Australia in 2335 to see what was happening. The regiment never returned. The UET openly declared war on the URAT and began bombing raids on their major cities in June 2338.

“In May 2343 the URAT invaded Greenland and poisoned the United American Territories’ water supplies. The UAT retaliated and sent a secret division into Greenland to rescue the country. This secret group of the United American Air Division had been tested on various drugs being developed by the government, and had gotten some very strange side effects. The drugs were supposed to enhance strength, endurance, and intelligence. The side effects produced by these drugs gave the soldiers wings, doubled strength, doubled endurance, and allowed them to read and absorb minds and souls. Needless to say, the
secret operation succeeded, and the URAT was left to lick their wounds and rethink their offensive.

“In September 2343, the UAT declared war on the URAT. This left the URAT in a very precarious position, because they now had two enemies to contend with. So, they decided to take one of the groups out in one fell swoop, ergo the UAT. A special terrorist bomb was created to mutate a person into a reptile using sophisticated radioactive technology that warped the DNA of a human being. The URAT thought this to be the best plan of action, to take out the United American Territories by dropping these bombs on all major cities. They would have succeeded if the enhancement drugs had not already warped the DNA of the United American Air Division.

“The side effects were unbelievable. The soldiers enhanced by the drugs grew four arms, and their skin turned scaly and pale green in color. The radioactivity removed their ability to read minds and their ability to reproduce, but gave them the outward appearance of reptiles. In one fell swoop, they had guaranteed their own deaths. These new beings, approximately 13,000 in number and calling themselves the Medjai, launched a counteroffensive on the URAT and decimated the country in one month. They then turned on the UET and decimated their countries in three weeks. Those that were not killed or converted into Hu-jai escaped underground.†I heard him sigh and sit back, apparently finished with his account.

“So, the Medjai are actually soldiers mutated by our own technologies?†I asked to reconfirm.

“Yes, or so I’ve gathered. Thus, everything we’ve done comes back to haunt us,†he replied.
I sat back to ponder these thought, and before I knew it I was asleep. I slept for a little while, and did not dream. I was shaken awake by rough hands and that same giddy moan voice from the night before.

“Aaarghhh,†it moaned, which I guessed meant get up. I rose, and finding my ankle well healed, allowed myself to be led outside. The sun was high in the sky and it hurt my eyes, they being weak from the excursion in the dark vault. I stumbled forward in the sun, tripping over rocks and sticks I could not see, and falling flat on my face as I exited the building. A rough kick from behind launched me into the air, and before I hit the ground I blacked out.

When I opened my eyes again I noticed two things immediately. One, I was being carried by a Medjai, and two, I was airsick. The constant beating of the wings caused the both of us to deviate several feet up and down in mid-flight. It was a very jarring experience. My stomach rumbled and I thought I was going to be sick, but I realized I had nothing in my belly to come back up.

I glanced down at the ground and stared at the masses of Medjai following us. I looked ahead of us and saw the mighty Coliseum of the Romans looming like a sandy abyss, waiting to be opened again. The arena was gaining fast and I had barely enough time to think of the fate that awaited me before I was set down inside. Around me the stands filled with screeching Medjai, each screaming as loud as his voice would climb. The sound was deafening.

I glanced around at the floor of the arena. It was flat, smooth compacted dirt, very rigid, and would not feel good to fall on. It was set up like a caged boxing ring with bars on all exits, but every 100 feet or so a pit was dug. I walked over to the nearest one and glanced inside. Spears were planted at the bottom, points standing straight up as soldiers waiting for the battle to begin. The pits were traps; they were set up for any unlucky combatant to forfeit the fight.

The sound of screaming in the arena suddenly got louder. I turned around and spotted the source for all the cheering: the elder had entered the arena. I saw him glide slowly on his wings and alight ten feet in front of me. He smiled menacingly, then turned to the crowd and signaled for them to quiet down, raising his hands in the air and beating his wings slowly in a downward motion. He then began to speak to the crowd.

“My fellow Medjai, I have here a human being, accused of killing a fellow Hu-jai!†he shouted to the arena. “He has been sentenced to death, by the punishment of your choosing. You have chosen death by battle, in which the being is given a chance of defeating the warrior. I have volunteered to destroy this impudent mortal. Any objections?â€Â

The crowd was silent. The elder waited until he had given the crowd sufficient time to answer his challenge (about five minutes).

“Fine. Now, in the custom of the humans, any last words?†he asked me.

“Yes. Why are you doing this? I am you! Why kill a fellow being?†I asked, panicking.

“Because you are inferior, because the crowd demands it, and because your soul adds another thirty years to my life,†he answered.

“Can you not take a soul from one of you fellow Medjai?†I asked.

“No,†he answered. “All souls of the Medjai are connected. If I take one soul, I take all, and the influx of souls will kill me, thus destroying our way of life.â€Â

“But-“ I began, but the Medjai cut me off.

“No more buts. We end this now.â€Â

The Elder took up a defensive stance, readying his hands for a soul curse. I got a sudden brainstorm. If I could-

Ooof! The Elder caught me with a double right uppercut, using both right hands and putting all his strength behind the punch. I flew about ten feet straight up, and then gravity prevailed and I began to fall.
The Medjai flew up to meet me and brought his knee into my back, though not as strong as he had intended, as he was preoccupied with the dirt I threw into his eyes.

I hit the ground going at least three miles per hour. I felt my body bounce off the hard-packed dirt and hit again, this time not so hard, but hitting my head in the process. I spit a little blood out of my mouth from where I had bit my lip, and then rolled into a crouching position where I hoped to catch my breath.

The Medjai landed not ten feet from me, still trying to get the dirt out of his eyes. I took the chance his position gave me and I charged him, sending him into a pit. A heard a shriek of pain and I ran to the pit’s edge and looked in. This particular pit was empty of spears, but it had a large pile of rocks in the middle of it. From the look of things, the Elder Medjai had broken a wing from his fall.

The Medjai flopped around in the pit, crying in pain, then rose into a seated position and threw a rock at me. It hit me square in the chest and rocketed me backwards, where I hit one of the arena’s walls, thirty feet from my original position. I coughed up blood and looked up where a large shadow was covering the sun.

“You die now,†he said in his earthy voice, and he picked me up by my neck. I thrashed and kicked, and finally I kicked him just below the ribs. I landed in front of him and violently twisted my ankle again, this time breaking it. The Medjai smiled in triumph and I thought I was to die, but I made one last gamble.

The Medjai opened his mouth and began uttering a curse in an unearthly voice, but before he could complete the last syllable I drove a nearby rock into his foot. He produced the last syllable while rearing his head back and aiming the curse at the sky. Nothing was around, so he took no souls.

I hit him again with the rock, this time bashing his head in. I guessed because the Medjai were mutated from lizards, they would have the same weak skin. The Elder’s head caved in from the impact of the rock, and a gaping hole showed the black ooze that was his brain.

The Medjai collapsed to the dirt floor, and, with his last dying breath, locked his eyes on me. He died and his body instantly became a mass of white and gray, the souls of the thousands he has consumed escaping it. I felt a tingling sensation as the souls ran through me, then saw the Elder’s own dull red soul absorb into my body. I felt a hunger I had never felt before: a hunger for souls.

I turned to the Medjai in the stands and raised my arms and hands in triumph, uttering a curse I knew would be my only and my last. I took the soul of the closest Medjai, watched his wings crumble and his body turn to dust, and watched the winds of the arena blow the beast away. A wave of red swept my way as the other Medjai’s souls escaped from their bodies and ran to join mine.

I knew this act was going to kill me, but I had to save the earth. My last thought, as my body drowned in souls, was that I had saved the world from the terrors that had come back to haunt us.
 

SuiGeneris

blue 3
Re: Back to Haunt (13+ for possible language and death)

Too be honest I stopped reading it. You should really break your paragraphs up, and make it so its much easier to read.

*end one paragraph*


*start second*

I started getting a headache; sorry I can't really post any comments or critiques on the work itself. I couldn't finish it :-/
 
S

SF3P0X1

Guest
Re: Back to Haunt (13+ for possible language and death)

Okay, I'll break it up, then.
 
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