The Not Yet Dead Battlefront

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short piece I'm working on to help with my descriptive voice and dialogue. Please leave comments! I have truly tough skin so please dont be afraid to critique!

Submitted: September 05, 2016

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Submitted: September 05, 2016

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The Not Yet Dead Battlefront

By: Marcus Ryker

 

Chapter 1: Company of Scoundrels

 

A light twinkled, hanging in the sky far above Cassius’s vacant eyes. It lit a dreary hamlet of thatch rooved homes with dark windows and doors left ajar. The light shivered and shook, blinking in and out of existence like a physical manifestation of a fickle soul. Cassius lay prone in a narrow alley, framed by slick, mossy stone walls. Cassius waved his hand futilely in an effort to shield his eyes from the blinding pearl of light.

“Hiya”

A voice startled Cassius from his half slumber. He rose into a sitting position with wild abandon, ruffling his shock of straw colored hair into his eyes.

“I’m awake!”

“I can see that.”

Cassius brushed his hair from his eyes. A young brunette woman with a gentle smile that didn’t quite reach her strikingly harsh cobalt eyes sat uncomfortably close. She wore camouflage army fatigues and dog tags around her neck.

The unfamiliar pair sat studying each other.

“Any questions?” she asked in a half playful and half mocking tone.

“About what?”

“The afterlife.” She proclaimed matter-of-factly.

Cassius’s chuckle fell flat in his throat at the brunette’s icy stare.

“The afterlife?”

“The afterlife.” She repeated, adding no particular emphasis to this thrilling remark.

“I’m sorry. I’m not sure who you are or what you are talking about, but I can’t seem to remember how I got here. I must have fallen and hit – “

“You’re in the afterlife, “she responded.

The two continued their stare down.

Rising from his position on the ground and taking a step back, Cassius brushed off his army fatigues…

“What the … “ he was wearing the same uniform as the strange girl trying to convince him he was dead.

“If this is some kind of joke-“

“It’s not.”

She took an uncomfortable step closer to the dazed and confused Cassius who was apparently a soldier. He didn’t feel like much of a soldier, with his lanky build and uninspiring posture.

“You’re in the afterlife and you’re hereby invited to join the Not Yet Dead Battlefront. You will begin as a private with the opportunity to advance through feats of bravery and skill. If you don’t fight you will be immediately obliterated. Any questions?” She ended her speech with a nod and a grunt while putting her hands on her hips.

“I’ll be obliterated!” Cassius shrieked, “By who!”

“God, I imagine,” the brunette shrugged. “All I know is, every noncombatant I ever met disappeared without a trace.”

Still dazed, Cassius wobbled on his feet and put a hand on one of the slimy stone walls. He coughed to clear his throat for a more masculine response.

“Why the Not Yet Dead Battlefront?”

The brunette rolled her eyes and looked up into the sky at the flickering light as she said, “We have had many names: Afterlife Battlefront, Undead Battlefront, Army of the Dead, Dead Company and a few others. But those all sound like we’ve given up, yah know?”

“I guess so.” Cassius mumbled.

“Anyway, we’re up for naming suggestions so you should think of one but the main point is that we all work together to fight that.” She said stepping to the side and flourishing her finger at another girl standing fifty feet away at the end of the alley. She stood stock still and silent, with her head cocked to the side. She had long tumbling locks of golden hair, bright green eyes and a stolid, serene expression on her face. She stared directly at the other two without wavering.  

“Who is she?” Cassius asked, baffled by the idea of fighting this beautiful girl.

“An Angel”

“An Angel?” Cassius itched the top of his head.

“Let’s not do this again, please.”

 

 

 

“Well you’re being ridiculous,” Cassius shouted, becoming instantly agitated with the brunette woman, “That is clearly a normal girl!” Cassius flailed his arms in the direction of the angel who was entirely immobile.

“Oh go die, she is an angel.” The mysterious girl took her hands from her hips and crossed them.

“Go die?”

“Just a little dead humor.” The strange girl winked.

Cassius stared at her blankly and then brushed by her walking quickly in the direction of the beautiful blonde.

“She’ll kill you, yah know, but suit yourself.”

Cassius walked directly up to the stock still woman whose face now wore a curious smirk. Her bright eyes followed his movement although the rest of her remained eerily fixed.

“Hi.” Cassius said, cautiously and expecting a reproach.

“Hi” the woman responded. Her smile remained serene.

“That woman over there said you were an angel” Cassius said, pointing at the distressed brunette.

“I’m not an angel,” The blonde replied, “I’m the chief administrator of High Point Castle.”

“Thank god.” Cassius was exasperated. Clearly the brunette was some sort of nut job escaped from a local insane asylum or at the very least a cruel prankster. “I’m going to find myself a hospital or something.”

“There are no hospitals here.”

This stopped Cassius in his tracks.

“Amnesia is rare here but your memories will return. There is no need for a hospital.” The blonde smiled and cocked her in the other direction. “You cannot die if you are already dead.”

Cassius backed a step away from the angel.

“But I’m not dead.” His voice trembled.

“You are” the girl responded. Her tone was serene and pitying.

“You all are crazy!” Cassius raised his voice in frustration and prepared to storm off to find someone sane.

“Let me show you.” The girls smirk broadened into a sickening smile as a sword appeared in her hands out of thin air. Before Cassius could react, she plunged the sword with deft swiftness into his chest. Pain shot through him in a blinding flash. Blood poured down his body into his waiting hands. The last thing he saw before his sight faded into blackness was his glorious attacker enshrined in light. The light flickered and faded one last time.

***

Cassius came to his senses in a pure white infirmary, waving his arms across his body like a man possessed. His hands immediately felt for the enormous gash in his chest but found nothing. He searched and massaged his sore body for signs of injury but was unsuccessful. His hair was slick and his sheets had fared no better, soaked in sweat but not blood.

He sat forward and peered around the snow white curtain that veiled the rest of the room. The infirmary was filled with white cots, white curtains, no windows and one door.

He breathed deeply into his healthy and unmarred lungs to cool his rapid thoughts. It had all been a dream. He was not in the afterlife but some horrible nightmare filled with confusing and altogether odd women. He still, however, could not remember anything about himself other than his name. He pondered his predicament and swung his legs out off of the white cot he had been sleeping in, intending to search for a doctor.

Before he could think any further about his situation, a muscular man burst into the room brandishing a colossal weapon of war. Cassius focused on the weapon first, a massive axe head attached to a five foot staff that nearly brushed the infirmary ceiling. The man wasn’t much smaller and was scarred in many places across his face and uncovered chest. He wore standard issue camouflage pants and boy did he look angry.

“Boy, do you look angry.”

“Oh, yea?” Was the huge man’s clever retort.

The two stared at each other for a minute.

“Yea.” Said Cassius, shrugging.

“Well anyone who insults Eileen earns my fury.” Shouted the man moving a step forward with his weapon positioned threateningly.

“I insulted who?”

“Eileen!”

“Not this again.”

“Go die”

Cassius stared for a moment and then chuckled remembering the brunette and her awkward joke. The man’s furious glare, however, refused to subside.

“Think that’s funny, huh? Why don’t you die one thousand times?”

The man burst forward, swinging his axe with enormous might. His lunge carried him past Cassius, frozen with fear and sheared through his shin with an excruciating swish. Cassius’s body jolted in pain and flopped onto the floor as the man raised his axe above his head for another swing. The man aimed his swing at his neck and with a sickening pop, Cassius’s world again went dark.

***

Cassius awoke in a pool of blood despite his head’s firm adherence to his shoulders. He sat up to inspect his ankle which was also mysteriously connected to his leg. He observed that his army fatigues were severed and bloody and did not seem to repair themselves. He thought it was weird that someone must have dressed him before.

“Hiya” a voice sounded from the bed behind him. Cassius groaned and turned to see the brunette from before who he assumed to be Eileen.
“Not this again.” Cassius stood up from the pool of his own blood and tried to wipe himself off unsuccessfully. He floundered for words but found none.

The two stared at each other for another minute before Eileen broke the awkward silence.

“You know you’re fly is down?”

Mortified and blushing, Cassius reached for his crouch and found his pants zipped.

The girl rolled on the cot with laughter. Oh that is a classic.” Eileen sat up giggling, and wiped slobber from her mouth. “But in all seriousness, do you have any questions now?”

“Who the hell was that guy?”

The man from before poked his head out from behind the door and responded before Eileen. “Hey, I’m Darian.”

Cassius leaped in horror, crashing through the bedside curtain causing Eileen to roll with delight.

“Calm down,” Eileen giggled, “He isn’t going to hurt you again, he’s just a little protective of me but he’ll listen to whatever I say and I told him to stand there and face the wall.” As Darian turned again to the dunce position, Eileen cupped her hands to her lips and mouthed “He has a crush on me.”

Cassius was aghast but he tried to calm himself so that he could finally ask a few questions.

“Well if that’s all, we really should be getting back before Wraithfall.” Eileen interrupted his thoughts.

Cassius sighed audibly, “Wraithfall?” he asked.

“Eileen had already released Major Dare with a tap on the shoulder and was making for the door when she said over her shoulder, “Oh now he has questions.” Dare grunted.

“Wraithfall is the time of day when the wraith’s come out to play. They shouldn’t bother us since we’re all new souls but I think we should get back to the castle all the same.” Eileen was already out the door with Darian slinking behind. Cassius tapped his foot and waited.

“Well are you coming?” Eileen poked her head around the doorframe with a scowl.

“I’m not going anywhere with him! He killed me!” Cassius exclaimed.

Major Dare flew around the corner, clearly prepared to scream, stomp and shake his fists but Eileen placed a hand on his shoulder.

“It’s his decision Darian. When you’re ready…, “Eileen rolled her hands in a circle indicating a response.

“Cassius”

“Cass, when you’re ready the headquarters are located in the smaller of the two castles. There are some booby traps along the way but I’m sure you can handle them.” Eileen smirked and walked away. After a pensive minute, Cassius followed the two soldiers, wailing for them to wait.


© Copyright 2017 Marcus B. Ryker. All rights reserved.

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