Echoes of Erebus
Sarah’s got daddy issues.
He lives in her head,
built her out of fish,
and killed millions of people.
But he’s really sorry.
A father that lives in your head wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t the killer of millions.
At least it’s comforting to know that he didn’t murder the fishes used to create your body.
Or the seagull.
Sarah hides her illegal nanite origins in an effort to build an ordinary life,
but the legacy of dad’s horrors makes it difficult.
Especially when new but familiar zombie-like abominations begin to appear in the city.
The final tale of nanite difficulties in the nation of Aguola. While it draws on aspects from Lifehack and Watching Yute, it is enjoyable as an independent story.
Where Lifehack was high in action, Watching Yute was heavy in drama, I aimed to fuse both with Echoes of Erebus, to please fans for both of my previous books equally.
Excerpt 1- To the back room
Sarah rolled her eyes. “That’s dis-”
“:::I am not discussing that kind of imagery with my daughter,” Jon dryly interrupted, “I didn’t see it, you didn’t see it, moving on.” Such ‘art’ seemed like a mild offence after the whole zombie-genocide simulation, but Sarah let it slide.
The fourth door stood at the end of the hall. Most of the hall was made from the same wood that most of the bar seemed to be made of, but the wall at the end was solid concrete. The door was steel.
“:::I’m guessing that’s probably not the grill’s meat freezer.”
Jon scoffed. “:::I’m guessing they store their meat in the sun.”
Sarah reached out for the handle, and pulled it open. It was a door from a freezer, but inside it was lit even dimmer than the rest of the bar. A diffused warmth and mild scent of tobacco and other burnable things seemed to press out towards her. New sounds also found her. Yelling and cheering mostly. Past the door the hallway continued as concrete, and slowly lead downwards.
“:::Pop the strength to max, Sarah.”
Excerpt 2 – Amanda’s third dream
Sarah found herself again dreaming that she was this ‘Amanda’. She was with a group of a dozen or so people, wandering down a deserted street. A nearby discarded newspaper reminded her that she was in the city of Meston. Some of the people in the group were wounded. Two were kids. A few could be seen carrying weapons. A couple rifles, a bat, a shovel. Everyone walked on cautiously, looking around now and then. No one spoke, everyone listened. An unidentified sound caused the group to stop and listen. “What is it?” asked the younger child, a boy. He was shushed quickly by the girl standing next to him. Everyone kept listening. Sarah looked down and saw blood on her hands. Was she injured, or was it someone else’s blood? She felt pain. Her hands were scraped. She had fallen at some point. The sound happened again. A dull but sharp sound. “It’s one of those cannon things again.” said a man at the front of the group. “Maybe it means they’re trying to send in more evacuation craft. Keep one eye on the sky, folks. If we spot a chopper, or one of those airlimbs coming in, we might be able to hustle over to get a ride.” “Sure,” Sarah said, “If they don’t get shot down by those things first. They’d be nuts to try that again.” Sarah didn’t mean to say that, Amanda was in control of this dream. Sarah was just a passenger. Sarah didn’t have much of an idea what she was talking about, but it didn’t sound that optimistic. “Let’s just keep going for now, alright?” A few people in the group murmured in the affirmative, and they got underway.
After a block or so, they came to a blood spill that reached across the entire street. They stopped at the edge of it, each silently considering having to walk across it. It looked to go on for about half a block.
“What the hell happened here?” someone asked quietly.
A woman in the group spoke up with a bit more of a tactical mindset. “Is it even safe to cross? I mean, if the zombies are nanite-driven like the Autar ones were, who’s to say that this blood isn’t infectious? Or even some kind of trap? It might infect us as soon as we step on it!”
The older of the two kids, a girl roughly twelve years old wandered away from the ‘pond’, muttering “This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening. I’m going to wake up now, alright? Someone wake me up now, please!”
That got the attention of the group. Many also looked to the younger child. A boy about eight years old. He was standing, shaking, staring out across the blood pond with wide eyes.
Amanda picked up the boy. “Oh to heck with this. We’re not hauling these kids across this. It’s too much.”
One of the men with a rifle nodded. “It’s not like we were headed for anywhere specific. If we took a left back there, it’s still roughly the same distance out of the city.” Amanda hadn’t been waiting for his approval, nor the opinions of any of the others. She had already begun carrying the boy in the direction he suggested. The girl was the first to follow and the others were not far behind.
The boy clung to Amanda tightly as they walked, but he was still trembling. “What’s your name, kiddo?” Amanda asked softly. He wasn’t answering. “Hey little man, can you tell me your name?”
The girl walking beside them answered. “His name is Mitch.”
Mitch was getting heavy, but he still trembled enough that Amanda didn’t feel like asking him to walk. “Hi, Mitch. Is this your sister here? She was kind enough to tell me your name, can you introduce me to her?”
“Cathy.” Mitch said quietly. Amanda wanted to draw more conversation out of Mitch, but every topic she could think of probably led to the horrible things going on. Gee Mitch, where are your parents, Mitch? Eaten, you say? Intriguing. You even got to see it happen, and hear the screams of your mother as her own blood bubbled up her throat? See? There’s a unique experience you can talk about to your school chums. They what? They were eaten too? Oh, some of them were doing the eating. What a diverse group!
Amanda kept her mouth shut and just gave Mitch an extra squeeze. She wanted to give Cathy a squeeze too, but her arms were full with Mitch. Instead, she looked over to Cathy with a sympathetic forced smile. Cathy returned a similar look. It was heartbreaking.
“What the fuck was that?” a man in the group asked. He was pointing down the street, but nothing was there. “It ran across, it looked kinda big!” Amanda and everyone else kept an eye on that street. Something indeed sauntered out from an adjoining street, several blocks ahead.
A horse. With a rider. Maybe. It was too far off to see details, but it walked like a horse, and it was coming their way. It sauntered casually. Another two horses with riders stumbled into view behind him. They were wrestling as if they were dogs playing. The riders didn’t fall off somehow, despite the horses falling on their side several times in their playing, often nearly upside down.
The first horseman continued striding forward slowly as the two playful ones were joined by a fourth. The first was close enough to see that the rider’s head was little more than a skull. He raised his arms high in proclamation. He lacked hands; the forearms ended in narrow points. A voice came from him, booming so loud as to rattle windows.
“Hail, good travellers!” Despite a deep tone and immense volume, the voice sounded friendly enough. “This apocalypse is brought to you by our new and righteous lord and god, Erebus! Yes, Erebus! For when death isn’t enough for you, Erebus will put extra spring in your step and extra human flesh in your mouth! If you get mutilated by only one necromantic god this year, make it Erebus!”
As the lead horseman lowered his arms, the other three ceased their play and began to charge. It was now easier to see that none of them had normal heads. One’s head was replaced with a rifle sticking up, one had a roast turkey sitting up as a head, and the last one had half a dozen impaled rats planted in its neck stump.
All four charged with pointed arms held out to their sides, pointing downward at an angle. With that same volume, a scream came out that sounded a lot like that ‘demon of Densfarn’ that Sarah had seen.
Mitch grabbed onto Amanda even tighter as the group braced for the inevitable.