I apologize for being a week behind schedule on this, and I'd like to thank those of you that have stuck with me in this exercise. Writing a piece of serialized fiction week by week is more difficult than it sounds. Trust me. But anyway, no more whining. Here is Chapter 10, with Chapter 11 following closely behind. I've already started writing it, and plan to publish it in the next couple of days to make up for the week lost.
Thanks again for sticking with me on this, and if you need a refresher, or are just arriving to this and find yourself really confused; then just cruise on over here and catch up on the story so far.
I hope you enjoy it.
Playing: Part X
Christian tucked his chin into the deep collars of his jacket. The wind shrieked and murmured through the steel and glass mountains and moaned and sighed again as it echoed off of the asphalt canyons below. Bits of sand rasped against the vinyl shell of his jacket and fell to the ground, gathering itself in drifts against curbs, sidewalks, and storefronts as though it might assemble into some monolithic beast that would stalk and prey upon the luckless shoppers and pedestrians caught out in the open.
Christian shook off the thought and ducked quickly into his building. His head swam a little from the noise of the storm and the lingering effects of the whiskey. He punched up his floor and rode the lift up, steadying himself against the walls as vertigo and alcohol threatened to reacquaint him with his dinner. The doors had barely parted and Christian was stumbling out onto his floor, digging for his keys and cursing softly to himself.
The house was dark as he entered, tripped over the curled lip of the ancient Oriental rug his mom and dad had bought in some antique auction long ago. He cursed again and kicked at the flipped edge of the rug and wondered aloud why anyone would want to bring such a thing into their home. His nose prickled at the thought of the dirt and microscopic allergens that undoubtedly hid within the colorful fibers of the antique.
The seal on his door hissed when he touched the release for the catch, and it swung open slowly and thudded softly against the hardware stacked in the room beyond.
"Lights, 25 percent." he said softly.
Christian was in Neverland. He'd turned down a street that he had never been on before. He stopped, looked around for a sign, but there was none. A pale, shallow sodium light flickered in its death throes on a pole near the end of the street. He hadn't realized that he'd started walking again, but suddenly he was aware of being closer to the light pole and the end of the street than he'd been a few moments before.
Christian willed his feet to a halt and he stood, peering into the darkness, trying to pick something out of the shapeless gloom that seemed to beckon him. And then he was in the blackness, though his feet had never moved. The Cimmerian night had engulfed him like the swirling winds of a fast moving tornado, and Christian thought he could just make out the whites of several pairs of eyes staring back at him from the murk.
A low moan slowly built out there, in the gloom. The air stirred behind Christian and the fine hairs on his neck stood up. Something brushed his right thigh, and he turned in reaction to it. A sound like claws on a tile floor echoed in the darkness. Something small and feline hunted Christian from the shadows.
Suddenly a searing pain ripped across his left forearm, as though muscle and tendon had been rent. Christian reflexively put up his hands and ducked into a defensive crouch. Lithe shapes hopped and danced at the edge of sight, and somehow Christian knew these creatures, whatever they were now, had once been men.
All at once, a vast, benevolent presence filled the air above and around the dead end street, hovering silently like a protective bubble. And then a bump, a clatter as though something had fallen to the ground, and a shriek tore the silence from the night as the manlings fled their fear.
*Image by Razer (still trying to find more info on this guy)