The Only City Left: Part 30

Welcome to my serial science-fiction/fantasy adventure, The Only City Left. This is the story of Allin Arcady and his adventures through a dying, planet-sized city called Earth.

If you are new to The Only City Left and want a quick catch-up, you can read a synopsis of Parts 1-27 and then start at Part 28. You can reach an individual part of the story by browsing the Table of Contents.

At the end of Part 29, Allin was yelling at Tyena for lying to him, when she turned the tables and suggested he had been lying to her as well. So there.

The Only City Left: Part 30

I opened and closed my mouth several times to say something, but Tyena’s riposte had robbed me of words. I had avoided telling her certain truths about my relationship to the werewolves, but she had actually known them all along. How stupid I must have looked to her!

She nodded emphatically at me and said, “There, you see. Don’t tell me I’ve been lying when you neglected to mention it’s your own uncle who kidnapped my mother, who ordered me to watch as they killed my brother! Don’t yell at me about secrets when it turns out you’re one of them!”

It felt like a physical slap, having my newly-discovered heritage thrown in my face like that.

“Does it matter that I’m related to some madman I’ve never met? That I might be a werewolf even though I’ve never become one?”

“It matters that you didn’t tell me!” Tyena shouted.

“I was afraid if I told you, you’d hate me!” I shouted in return.

We stood there without speaking, both of us breathing heavily. Tyena’s cheeks were flushed red and her hair had fallen over half of her face.

She kneeled down and picked up the camera, inspected it, and said softly, “It’s broken.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.”

She looked up at me and said, “Let’s start over. We know everything there is to know now. It’s not too late to change your mind, to go along with Banshee’s plan. I’ll send word to Doyle that you’re coming in peaceably. You said it yourself, they want you alive. You’ll be safe. My mom’ll be safe. It’s the best solution.”

She set the camera down, grabbed onto my hand and pulled herself up.

Without letting go of me, she leaned in and said, “Please do this for me, Allin. I love you. Don’t you love me?”

I shook my head. Maybe she meant it, maybe she did love me, or maybe it was another lie. Either way, I wasn’t going to risk being made a fool of again.

“If I loved you, I could forgive you, right?” I asked as I shook free of her grasp. “Then I guess I don’t. Bye, Tyena, and good luck.”

I turned and walked away without looking back, while behind me Tyena screamed, “No! What about my mom? Allin, what about my mom?”

I don’t know who I was crying for as I left her behind: Tyena, me, her mom? It didn’t matter. The world had become a dark, awful place, but it wasn’t my job to fix everyone’s problems.

I wiped my eyes as I was leaving through the window, and I nearly bumped into Tumble, who stood on the platform outside holding my cocoon bag. He looked at me with an inscrutable expression and held out my bag without a word.

I shouldered it in a huff and traced a path down and toward the outskirts of Pudlington, to the only exit from the city that I knew of.

When I arrived at the inner gate, the two guards on duty were leaning against the wall lazily, but they snapped to attention when they saw me. I marched up to them and said, “I’m leaving.”

“I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t open this door without official orders,” said the cat on my left. He shifted his gun ever so slightly in his hands, bringing it closer to level.

I couldn’t believe it. “Am I a prisoner here after all?” I sputtered.

“No, but guests usually say goodbye and thank you before departing,” came a low voice from behind me that raised the hairs on my neck.

I turned around and looked down at the dour face of Emperor Banshee. Tumble, head downcast, stood behind and to one side of him.

“Allin, it’s not too late to change your mind,” Banshee continued. “You can help make a difference. We can end the tyranny of the wolves.”

“Everybody wants me to go to the wolves!” I shot back, and began ticking off points on my fingers. “You want me to risk my life on the off chance I can kill my uncle. Tyena wants to trade me for her mom. Doyle wants me there for who knows what reason, but I’m guessing it’s not to have tea and cake!”

I clenched my fist shut and shook it at Banshee.

“Well I’m not having any of that. You’ll all have to find another hero to enter the werewolves’ den. I just want to live long enough to see the sun with my own eyes. Is that so wrong?”

“Your decision is final, then?” Banshee asked, ignoring my question.

“Yes.”

“Fine. Go,” he ordered and then added, “How very human of you,” before he whipped around and stalked away. I told myself he had no right to judge, but my cheeks nevertheless burned at his scorn.

“Let me out of here,” I told the guards between gritted teeth, and this time they opened the gate without a fuss and escorted me into the hallway beyond. I looked back one last time and saw that Tumble had left, too. I regretted not getting to say a real goodbye to him.

I exited Pudlington as I had entered it, crouching and sick, though this time with shame and anger rather than a virus. I eyed the murder-holes in the walls and ceiling and wondered how upset Banshee was with me, but when I reached the outer gate, the guard keyed it open and I stepped out and stood up unmolested.

I turned around, watched the doors slide shut, and whispered, “Goodbye, and thank you.”

I meant it for Pudlington as a whole and for Banshee, too. Whatever his motives, he had taken me in and patched me up, and now I was healthier and better-equipped than before. I wasn’t fool enough to not appreciate all that, despite our differences.

One of the outer guards must have thought I was speaking to him, for he nodded at me and said, “Good luck on your journey, sir. Be careful out there. The world is a dangerous place.”

“That it is,” I agreed and waved at both of the guards before leaving Pudlington behind me.

* * *

Continue to Part 31 (or read my Author’s Notes below first).

9/9/12 News: Thus ends the first one-third of The Only City Left, roughly 30,000 words of an adventure not just for Allin, but for me as well. It takes a certain kind of naïveté (and it was naïveté in the beginning, not moxie) to state: I’m going to write a novel and post the first draft of it online each week, warts and all, for anyone to take a gander at. The results have already pushed me to become a better writer. Sure, for me it is a first draft, hopefully to be improved upon once the entire story is completed, but for most people stopping by here this is the only sample of my writing they might ever see. So I’m trying to make it a polished first draft. I read and re-read each post many times, trying to ensure it fits with where the story has been and where I see it going, trying to trim the scenes that last longer than they are welcome, trying to give a little insight into characters to make them more than cardboard place-holders for later edits.

All of which amounts to this. Thank you for coming along with Allin and me on our adventures. Please stick around for the next 60,000 words or so. I think you’ll enjoy it. (And now that I’m thinking of it, you might also enjoy my short story, False Negative, published this month in Electric Spec! Yes, a shameless plug. I really am acting like a writer now.)

The Only City Left is now listed on the Web Fiction Guide, a wonderful place to find all sorts of online fiction. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate any ratings/reviews/recommends on that site to help get TOCL noticed. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this post, please click the image below to give The Only City Left a vote on Top Web Fiction. (One vote allowed per week.)

Click here to vote for The Only City Left on Top Web Fiction!

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Logo Credit:The TOCL logo is courtesy of Jande Rowe of the webcomic Aedre’s Firefly. If you haven’t already read AF, I encourage you to go check it out. Not only does Jande produce the comic, she reviews other long-form webcomics, gives tips and instructions on creating a comic, and is endlessly supportive of other creators. For a great review that will bring you up to speed on Aedre’s Firefly, check out this page at Webcomic Alliance.

The Only City Left: Part 29

Welcome to my serial science-fiction/fantasy adventure, The Only City Left. This is the story of Allin Arcady and his adventures through a dying, planet-sized city called Earth.

If you are new to The Only City Left and want a quick catch-up, you can read a synopsis of Parts 1-27 and then start at Part 28. You can reach an individual part of the story by browsing the Table of Contents.

At the end of Part 28, Tumble dropped a bomb on Allin’s psyche by revealing that Tyena’s motives were suspect: she has been spying for Doyle and the werewolves since she first arrived in Pudlington!

The Only City Left: Part 29

“What are you talking about?” I demanded, my voice raised. The kittens at play in the room stopped as one to stare at me. “That’s a lie.”

Tumble looked to his charges and nodded at them to keep playing, then guided me up and away from them.

“I’m afraid not, Allin. It is Tyena who has lied to you and us both, although we’ve never really held that against her. You see, we did find her wandering the city, half-starved, but we were not the first to do so. It was the werewolves who first found her.”

I gave him a hard look and asked, “How do you know that?”

“When Tyena first arrived here, she was distraught and aimless. We allowed her to sit in our planning councils, to give her something to do and because she had first-hand experience with the ’wolves from the recent attack on Glin’s Rising. Soon after that, we suffered a series of losses amongst our outside patrols. We traced the leak to her.”

“This is Tyena we’re talking about,” I said, shaking my head. “She’s not a super-spy. How would she even get information outside of Pudlington?”

“She doesn’t have to. Doyle has spies inside our city, probably more than we know about.”

“The guardsman,” I realized. The one she had been arguing with earlier.

“Him we are aware of,” Tumble agreed. “He regularly passes along intel to Doyle’s people while on outside patrol.”

“Then why don’t you stop him?” I asked, incredulous.

“Better to use him. And her,” Tumble said. “We give them just enough real but unhelpful information to keep them useful to Doyle, and much that is apocryphal. This way when we need Doyle to believe something, we have a sure path to deliver the information.”

I sat down against one wall of the dojo and put my forehead in my hands.

“So this is real, this is a real thing,” I babbled. “Tyena’s been lying to me this whole time. That cold—“

“Emperor Banshee is sympathetic to Tyena’s plight. Our best intel out of the Garden—for we have our spies, too—is that Tyena’s family is alive and being held hostage to her continued reports. She has no choice but to do Doyle’s bidding, which is another reason we have not closed her down.”

“Well, that’s just great,” I barked. “That’s so nice of you! How funny was it to watch me as I believed all her lies? And thanks for not telling me any of this earlier. I might not have been able to make such a fool of myself if you had!”

Tumble held out his hands, palms out. “I tried, Allin, I did. Remember my warning about the gerrybrook flower?”

I closed my eyes. “That was nice of you and all, Tumble. But instead of riddles, maybe you could have just told me?”

“I was under orders not to. Plus, I hoped it wouldn’t be necessary. You deserved some happiness, Allin, even if only for a brief time, and if you had accepted Banshee’s mission, you need never have known of Miss Branch’s duplicity.”

I opened my eyes and stared at Tumble.

“Well thanks a lot, buddy,” I said, standing up. “But I guess it didn’t work out for any of us, did it? I’m leaving. Alone. You can still send my stuff to Tyena’s, though. I’m going over there to tell her goodbye.”

I took his silence for assent and walked away.

My trip back to Tyena’s was filled with dark thoughts as I realized what a sucker I had been. I really thought something good had happened to me, reuniting with Tyena, clicking with her again despite the horrors of our past. But the past was inescapable, it seemed, and no matter how the cats felt, Tyena’s behavior was inexcusable. She’d get no sympathy from me.

When I tracked her down, she was walking through another floor of her museum, holding a device up to each of her paintings in turn.

“Look, Allin, a friend gave me a camera so I can record my paintings!” she beamed at me.

“Is this the same friend who passes along all your secrets to Doyle?”

The smile slowly melted from her face.

“What? No, what do you mean?”

“Stop lying to me,” I yelled. “I know you’re spying for the wolves. The cats know you’re spying. You’re not fooling anybody!”

She winced and held up her hands as if to block my words. “It’s not that simple,” she protested.

“What could be simpler than telling me the truth?”

“You want the truth, Allin? My mother is alive. She’s alive and she’s safe,” Tyena said. “And I’m doing what I have to do to keep it that way.”

“Including delivering me up to Doyle?”

“He promised to set her free if I could get you to go to the Garden.”

“What about your brother?”

“Killed three years ago. Before my eyes. To show me the cost of failure,” Tyena moaned. The light in her eyes had gone out. She looked more like the broken girl I had dragged out of Glin’s Rising than the joyful, vibrant one of the past few days.

I would have felt sorry for her but I was so full of bitterness and hurt there was room for nothing else inside of me.

“So you lied to me, you used me, so you could trade me for your mother.”

“It wasn’t a lie, Allin!” Tyena cried. “We’re not a lie. If you had only accepted Banshee’s offer, there was a good chance that you could have killed Doyle and then my mom would be free and we could be together and—”

“And angels would sing and manna would fall from heaven and everyone would live in perfect harmony!” I scoffed. “But when I changed the plans and said, ‘Let’s leave together,’ you went along with that pretty quickly. What was your Plan B?”

Tyena answered in a whisper, “I was supposed to lead you into an ambush once we were outside of Pudlington.”

“So much for my good chances then, huh?”

Tyena grabbed my hand in hers and said, “Allin, what else could I have done?”

I whipped her hand off of mine, accidentally knocking the camera out of her other hand in the process. It fell to the floor with a crack.

“You could have told me the truth!” I shouted.

“You’re one to talk about truth,” she shot back.

* * *

Continue to Part 30.

9/2/12 News: The Only City Left is now listed on the Web Fiction Guide, a wonderful place to find all sorts of online fiction. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate any ratings/reviews/recommends on that site to help get TOCL noticed. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this post, please click the image below to give The Only City Left a vote on Top Web Fiction. (One vote allowed per week.)

Click here to vote for The Only City Left on Top Web Fiction!

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Logo Credit:The TOCL logo is courtesy of Jande Rowe of the webcomic Aedre’s Firefly. If you haven’t already read AF, I encourage you to go check it out. Not only does Jande produce the comic, she reviews other long-form webcomics, gives tips and instructions on creating a comic, and is endlessly supportive of other creators. For a great review that will bring you up to speed on Aedre’s Firefly, check out this page at Webcomic Alliance.

The Only City Left: Part 24

Welcome to my serial science-fiction/fantasy adventure, The Only City Left. This is the story of Allin Arcady and his adventures through a dying, planet-sized city called Earth.

If you are new to The Only City Left and want a quick catch-up, you can read a synopsis of Parts 1-21 and then start from Part 22. You can reach an individual part of the story by browsing the Table of Contents.

At the end of Part 23, Tumble was telling Allin something about how gerrybrook juice is produced from a poisonous flower, but Allin didn’t really pay attention once Tyena showed up. Together, they headed off to breakfast with Emperor Banshee.

The Only City Left: Part 24

As with dinner, breakfast began when Banshee arrived and took his seat. Tyena and I sat on his left-hand side, Tumble on his right. Unlike dinner, no other cats were in attendance besides the ones serving us. It seemed that I was no longer a star attraction, which was fine with me.

Breakfast was such a feast that I quickly forgot my headache and queasy stomach and just tucked in. There were tiny hard-boiled eggs, breads with strange fruits baked in them, smoked fish laid out on a bed of leafy greens, flat cakes topped with jams and creams, and chunks of fresh fruit in all the colors of the rainbow. How the cats managed to produce such a meal, I had no idea, but it was another reason for me to re-think my intention to leave Pudlington. I could get used to this kind of living.

Which of course was exactly Banshee’s point, I was sure.

He wasted no time in pushing his advantage, either.

“I see you have been reacquainted with the beautiful Miss Branch,” he remarked.

“Yes,” I replied. “Curious that you didn’t mention she was here when I shared my story last night.”

“I did not want her presence to sway your decision,” he said.

I didn’t believe that for a second, but I didn’t want to call him on it.

Tyena set down her glass of something called orange juice (non-alcoholic, Tumble had assured me), and looked between Banshee and me.

“What decision would I have swayed?” she asked, her expression at once amused and sharp.

“It seems that despite our hospitality, young master Arcady does not wish to remain in Pudlington,” Banshee allowed.

If that isn’t putting his own spin on it! I thought. He’s making me sound like an idiot, wanting to leave all this.

Banshee seemed to want Tyena to be in the dark about why I was really leaving. I wasn’t having that.

“What he’s not telling you is that he wants to send me into the werewolves’ den.”

Tyena dropped her fork onto her plate with a loud tink of metal on china.

“Why would you risk sending Allin there?” she demanded of Banshee, leaning over me to get right in Banshee’s face.

“He seems to think that they want me alive,” I told her, putting my hand on hers.

She turned to face me, still half in my lap.

“But why would you give yourself up?”

“Allin,” cautioned Banshee.

“He wants me to kill their leader,” I told her, still unwilling to share all the details about my uncle. “The man who had my parents murdered and your family taken.”

Tyena sat back on the floor and returned her attention to Banshee.

“That sounds dangerous,” she said. “Why send Allin to do something you’re not willing to?”

“Fighting our way into the Garden would be a waste of catpower,” Banshee scoffed. “It’s as well defended as is Pudlington. But they want Allin there. They would let him in past all their defenses. What an opportunity! Alas, Allin has declined and chosen of his own will to leave.”

The anger Tyena had displayed toward Banshee was now redirected to me.

“You’re leaving?!”

“Yes. No. I mean, I was going to, but that was before I knew you were here,” I said, flustered. It suddenly felt ten degrees hotter and I wondered if the environmental systems in this sector were failing.

To save myself, I turned to Banshee and said, “If it’s all right with you, I would like to stay in Pudlington a little longer. I was… angry last night. I could use some more time to make up my mind.”

Truly, I had no intention of going along with Banshee’s plan no matter how long I thought on it, but I was afraid that if I didn’t at least pretend to consider it, I would no longer be welcome. Now that I had a reason to stay longer, I didn’t want to be on Banshee’s bad side.

“Pudlington is yours for as long as you like, Allin,” Banshee declared. “It was never an either/or proposition. Tumble will continue to assist you with all your needs while you remain here.”

“Thank you, sir.”

I felt more than a little bad to be abusing Banshee’s hospitality, but not bad enough to refuse it.

Tyena remained quiet and I noticed that although she pushed food around her plate, she had stopped eating.

“I wouldn’t have left without telling you first,” I told her.

She shook her head as if to clear it and turned to me. “No, Allin, it’s not that. Talk of the Garden. It reminded me of my mother is all.”

“I’m so sorry. Your mother and your brother. Do you think, I mean, might they still be alive?”

Tyena looked stricken and I felt like the world’s biggest fool for being so blunt about the fate of her family.

“It’s hard to have hope after all these years,” Tyena replied and then fell silent.

Banshee and Tumble held their tongues during this exchange, so it was on me to salvage the situation.

The problem was, I couldn’t think of an encouraging word that wouldn’t ring false, so I finished my breakfast in silence and the others followed my cue.

Banshee was called away on business toward the end of the meal and soon after that the servers cleared the plates and trays from the table, leaving the three of us in awkward silence until Tyena spoke up.

“I’m sorry for my dark mood, gentlemen. If you’ll excuse me, I need some time alone.”

Tumble stood and bowed, so I followed suit, feeling even more foolish as I mimicked his courtly behavior. Once Tyena had left, Tumble asked me how I intended to spend my time now that I was staying.

I had thought I would be spending it with Tyena, so now I was at a loss. Then a thought occurred to me.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a workshop I could use, would you?”

* * *

Continue to part 25.

7/29/12 Notes: The Only City Left is now listed on the Web Fiction Guide, a wonderful place to find all sorts of online fiction. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate any ratings/reviews/recommends on that site to help get TOCL noticed. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this post, please click the image below to give The Only City Left a vote on Top Web Fiction. (One vote allowed per week.)

Click here to vote for The Only City Left on Top Web Fiction!

#

Logo Credit:The TOCL logo is courtesy of Jande Rowe of the webcomic Aedre’s Firefly. If you haven’t already read AF, I encourage you to go check it out. Not only does Jande produce the comic, she reviews other long-form webcomics, gives tips and instructions on creating a comic, and is endlessly supportive of other creators. For a great review that will bring you up to speed on Aedre’s Firefly, check out this page at Webcomic Alliance.

The Only City Left: Part 17

Welcome to my serial science-fiction/fantasy adventure, The Only City Left. This is the story of Allin Arcady and his adventures through a dying, planet-sized city called Earth. If you are new to The Only City Left, you might want to start with the Table of Contents.

At the end of Part 16, Allin was trying to bring Tyena to safety when a slavering beast blocked his path and raised her claws to strike him down. 

The Only City Left: Part 17

Stunned by the sight of Mom’s lantern coil in the she-beast’s hand, I couldn’t even move out of the way to save myself as her other hand came down to eviscerate me.

Before her claws could reach me, someone flew out of the darkness on my left and tackled the she-beast to the ground.

“Mom!” I yelled, relieved and horrified at the same time.

She was bleeding from innumerable cuts and her clothing was torn. She didn’t look back at me as she lifted a dagger in either hand and yelled, “Run, Allin!”

As she plunged the daggers down, the she-beast fought to push her off, her clawed hands a frenzy of death. Blood made black in the harsh white light of the beast’s pendant sprayed from Mom’s throat and she collapsed forward. The she-beast, one dagger through her eye, the other through her throat, struggled ineffectually to push Mom off of her as her lifeblood flowed out. She managed to raise herself up on one elbow before she fell backward, unmoving. Mom’s necklace fell from her limp hand.

My world shattered. This could not be happening. In this brackish nightmare of shifting lights and dancing shadows, surely my eyes had tricked me into believing that Mom had been killed. Because it simply could not be.

I realized I was screaming my throat raw and clutching Tyena so tightly to my chest she would have protested if she had been conscious. But scream all I might, it did not bring Mom back. What it did do was make me a target.

Someone struck me a blow to the back of the head and I went sprawling forward, Tyena spilling out of my arms. I couldn’t get my hands in front of me before I landed, and my face planted onto some thin industrial carpet that covered a hard, unyielding floor. I heard something crack and felt the most unbearable pain I had ever experienced as my nose broke.

I turned over and writhed silently on my back, fighting to catch a breath, unable to see anything beyond the pain. I could hear a heated struggle nearby, though, all growls and roars and the sound of flesh colliding with flesh.

My sight returned in time for me to see a massive hairy body falling toward me, lit by the same white-light pendant that all the beasts had around their neck. I scrambled backward on my bottom until I backed into something that felt like a body and my hands slipped in something wet and viscous.

The beast transformed as it fell, snout shortening to a normal nose and mouth, hair receding into skin, limbs shrinking back to human proportions. By the time it hit the ground, head smushed sideways against the carpet, I was clear of it and could see who it was.

Grinty. The bastard had gotten what he deserved.

I looked up and saw my father, the yellow light of his lantern coil illuminating his grim face. His breast heaved with exertion as he reached down to offer me a hand.

“Allin, where’s your mother?”

His head was suddenly limned in a white corona and his shadow fell across me. I saw the beast towering behind him, but before I could warn him it had reached around and, with one hand, tore him open from neck to groin.

He continued toward me, falling into my arms, and his head came to a rest on my shoulder.

He whispered his last words into my ear, “Keep the coil. Stay alive. Always. Stay. Alive.”

With a final effort, he broke the necklace that held his lantern coil, found my left hand, and closed my fist around it.

Beyond tears, I hugged him close to me until he was completely gone. It happened from one heartbeat to the next.

I looked up and saw the lone surviving beast, illuminated by the light on his chest, inspecting the dead bodies strewn about the room. The first one he checked was the one Dad had shot at the beginning of this mess, all of maybe five minutes ago.

The beast snarled and kicked the body, clearly frustrated, before turning back around toward me.

I looked around for something to protect myself with and came face to face with Mom’s still face staring at me. She lay on top of her murderer, who in death had become human once more. I swallowed, reached out with my free hand to close her eyes, and then fought to pull her knife out of the woman’s throat. As I struggled to free it, a great hairy foot stamped down on my arm, pinning it in place. I cried out in pain.

“Nuh uh uh,” the beast growled from above me. I didn’t look up lest I stare right into its blinding pendant. “None of that, kid. Play nice.”

The beast leaned over and picked Mom’s necklace and coil off of the floor. It was only when he retrieved necklaces from Grinty and the woman, too, that I realized that each of them had the same coil as my parents did, for all that theirs had given off white light instead of yellow. I gripped Dad’s coil tighter in my fist.

He pulled back on Dad next, letting his corpse fall backwards onto the floor. When he didn’t immediately see the necklace and coil, he stepped off of my arm and kneeled down for closer inspection.

The second my arm was free, I pushed backwards and grabbed at the knife again with both hands this time, the coil pressed between my palm and the hilt. The knife slid free and I held it before me as the beast turned its head to stare at me.

“Don’t be stupid,” it growled. “If I’d wanted you dead, you’d be dead already.”

I stared back, saw that its fur was matted with blood, that it held the necklaces in its left hand while its right arm hung limp at its side.

“Then come on and finish me, you bastard,” I whispered.

The beast bobbed its nose in the air a few times in what I realized was its version of a chuckle. Then it stood up, holding up the three necklaces it had scavenged like a trophy.

“Fine, keep it. We’ll be back for you anyways, and without Mommy and Daddy to protect you, I don’t think you’ll be so lucky next time.”

The beast turned away from me and walked toward the front of the store, leaving me in near darkness. I continued to hold the knife before me.

“See you in your nightmares, kid,” the beast said, his parting shot.

I heard the scrape of metal on metal twice, the front door opening and closing, and then the darkness surrounded me completely.

* * *

Exit flashback mode and head back to the future in Part 18!

6/10/12 News: Okay, if last week’s post was dark, I guess this one is a black hole in comparison, but it needed to be told.

If you enjoyed this post, please click the image below to give The Only City Left a vote on Top Web Fiction. (One vote allowed per week.)

Click here to vote for The Only City Left on Top Web Fiction!