Sunday, June 21, 2015

Blindness - Metric

Just because I actually had two stored up that I never got around to posting….. Yeah, go back and check the post below this one. Surprise!

Unfortunately, that just means it will probably be a while before the actual action scene.

I know. I'm mean.

The Promised Land: (Part 32)  Blindness

Once they reached the bottom of the staircase, Eden realized they were in some sort of subway system. An old subway car sat on its side, halfway into the station, blocking one end of the tunnel. The car on the other side looked as though it had been torn apart in the middle and each side was used to block both ends of the tunnel. As a defensive position, in looked pretty sturdy. Whatever “monster” they were trying to keep out, they made sure it had a hard time getting in.

Caden went to the middle of the platform, where a large map stood, and took a pamphlet from the side. Sitting on the concrete ground, he opened the pamphlet and traced his fingers over a map of the underground tunnel system. “This is where we need to go,” he said while pointing to a blue circle close to the left edge.

“Where are we?” Eden asked. Her voice echoed louder than she expected.
Asher pointed to a red circle close to the middle. Eden followed the red line until it connected with the blue line then followed that until it reached the circle Caden pointed out. There were a lot of other lines crossing the path they needed to take.
“We’ve got a long way to go. Hopefully we don’t get lost.”

Caden nodded to Shiloh’s light, “Once that dies out, don’t use another one. We’ll be in monster territory then. They’re extremely light sensitive. We don’t need to give them a reason to hate us.” He looked over and Asher and muttered, “Try to restrain yourself.”
“Monster?” Eden echoed.
“They’re more like werewolves,” Caden replied in annoyance. “We just don’t have another word for them. We should get going.”
Eden grabbed a couple extra pamphlets in case they got separated while Caden tucked away his map. The twins hopped down onto the track with Eden and Asher right behind.

“So these monsters…” Eden whispered hesitantly, “…werewolves?”
“Not exactly,” Asher replied. “They’re more of a wolf and coyote hybrid, but much bigger. Long, sharp teeth, creepy eyes, fur and skin in patches so they look like the dead brought back to life. They stink too.”
“And how many have you killed?”
“Just a couple dozen.”
“Liar,” Caden interjected.
“Ok, I’ve never killed any. They’re too dangerous to handle by myself. They hunt in packs and they almost always stay underground, unless they need food.”
Eden shivered. “So where’s the good news?”
Asher thought for a moment. “They burn well. So what’s your gift?”
“My… oh, I … uh…”
“She doesn’t have one,” Caden tilted his head back to Asher. “She’s a pure.”

“Ah, makes sense why you don’t have a tag. Do you have a sword or gun on you… or something?”
“Not really,” Eden muttered to her future relative.
Looking confused, Asher turned to Caden. “Shouldn’t she have a shotgun or something? She can’t be wandering these tunnels without a way to defend herself.”
Caden shrugged. “She’s done fine so far. She can’t even shoot.”
“Really? She’ll have to learn quick if we get mauled to death.”
“I don’t trust her aim. Might get one of us killed. Besides, how do you know she won’t get eaten first?”
Eden narrowed her eyes at Caden. “Your words of comfort are exhilarating.” Even though she expressed annoyance, she couldn’t help but be all the more terrified of their situation.

“Here,” Asher reached into his rucksack and pulled out two black sticks. He gave one to Eden and held the other in his hand. The top of the rod was made of metal, though had a rubber handle.
“Watch this.” He swung the baton down to the side of his leg to extend the rod. He pulled up the extended baton and waited for Eden to do the same. She swung the baton until hers extended. Lifting it up to inspect it, Eden noticed that the extended portion had ridges all the way to the tip.
“I wouldn’t touch those,” Asher commented. He pointed to a button on the rod. As he pressed it, the baton instantly came to life with electrical energy. The rod sparked and crackled with a blue glow. “It’s got a safety trigger you hold down,” Asher explained as he let go of the button and handed the rod to Eden.

“You’re just going to give these to me?” she asked in disbelief.
“Just until we teach you to aim,” Asher winked.
“That is super cool. Thank you!” Eden turned on both rods and swung them around a little.

“Ok, you have your glow sticks, can you keep it down?” Caden whispered. His look of annoyance quickly turned to high alert when they heard something skitter across the tracks. “We’re producing too much light.”

Eden turned off and collapsed her batons. Shiloh threw his light source back the way they came. They walked along in silence. Eden’s eyes eventually adjusted to the dark, but she would still bump into someone occasionally. At one point, they climbed on to the platform of a station, went up a set of stairs, and crossed a bridge. It felt like they had been walking for hours when Caden suddenly stopped.
“Wha-” Eden was shushed before she could finish her question. A putrid stench hit her nose.
“Pack,” Blitz barely whispered. “About thirty, at least.”
“Where?” Asher squinted into the darkness, but he couldn’t see any more than he did before.
“Clustered. Center of platform. Dormant. We can go around. Stay quiet.”
He led the way to the edge of the platform and slid off without a sound. Shiloh and Asher followed. Eden held her breath and carefully descended the platform. She couldn’t see the individual monsters, only a large mass on the platform. The smell intensified as they snuck by the pack. They didn’t risk stumbling over the monorail, but continued forward. They were almost in the clear when a sharp CRACK echoed through the tunnel.
Growls, clicks, and soft thumps suddenly arose from the cluster.

Whispers in the Dark - Skillet

So it's not that I forgot. Well, maybe I did a couple times, but it's been in the back of my head for a while. 
Lots more life updates, of course. 
Being married is awesome. Seriously. I married a pretty great guy. 

Anyway, we went through another semester. He had school and work while I just had work. Then summer vacation hit and we both got new jobs. 

So now in my spare time I do chores or play video games. Or help set up ladies' days, gospel meetings, or help out friends. 

The family's back in the states, so that's cool. 

All in all, staying busy. The new job has pretty good hours and weekends off, so hopefully I'll be able to get more posts out. That'd be cool. 

On to The Promised Land. 

The Promised Land: (Part 31) Whispers in the Dark

Backup generators kicked into gear and a string of blue lights lit up along the walls. Most of the civilians were crouching or lying on the ground with their heads covered. Not that such tactics would have done all that much good if the ceiling collapsed. Shiloh sat up with a wince. His side was throbbing, but he stood up anyway. He helped Eden to her feet.
“What was that?”

Instead of answering her question, he led her to the nearest wall and opened a box filled with emergency equipment. Shy took out a six-inch light stick, cracked it in half and shook a couple times to get the white light going. Taking Eden’s hand, he twisted his way through the area littered with terrified people. Whether she minded or not, he didn’t know. Part of him hoped she would overlook the gesture. The other part just really hoped she wasn’t offended by it. Why should she be? This was only the third time he held her hand. Not that he was counting… He played it cool nonetheless.

They went down one of the hallways and into a room. It had bunk beds on both sides, but the back wall was lined with lockers. People were hiding in here as well, in the beds, under the beds, and on the floor. While the blue lights did a good job of lighting up the smaller rooms, the light stick made it easier not to trip over some of the curled bodies. Shiloh made his way to a bed and pulled out two bags from underneath. One was a backpack and the other was his violin case. He took the backpack and went to one of the lockers along the back wall. Opening it, Shy stuffed all the contents into his bag before returning to the bed. He pulled on a grey hoodie, put on the backpack, put the violin case on over his bag, took the light with one hand, Eden’s hand with the other and left the room.

It was time to go. The attack felt like a typical air raid, but it was far too close. The Atari were closing in fast on the secret location of the base. Maybe it wasn’t so secret any more. It was hard to tell how much information they had now and how many of their spies were still active. Shiloh headed back to where he last saw his brother.

“Caden will likely want to finish the mission as soon as possible, but what do we do after that?” Shy thought. “Maybe he’ll finally stop trying to be the hero. If he doesn’t, he might get us both killed. I like helping people as much as the next guy. I would even go out of my way to help my friends, but the resistance has their own men for this. They can take over from here. I want to go back to living a normal life.” Sure… a normal life. Life wouldn’t ever really be normal again, but at least he would have the option of daily risking his life. Shiloh had thought about what he would do if they ever got out of the resistance.
Maybe stay with Hope and help her out with the orphanage. Seems simple enough. Probably too boring for Caden, though he would enjoy the company.
Maybe Shy could find his own place up in the mountains or someplace where plants still tried to grow naturally. He had thought about setting up his own greenhouse. Trade in bullets for seeds. Maybe start his own restaurant. That would be pretty cool. Maybe Eden could-
He stopped walking and looked at Eden. She pointed to something behind him. Realizing he was still holding her hand, Shy let it go and turned to see Asher coming to meet them.

“Glad to see you two are still holding up. I just saw Blitz at the office. He’s been looking for you.”
A number of people were up and about again, checking to make sure no one was injured and leading some back to the barracks. Even so, they were much quieter than before.

Asher spoke as he led them back down one of the halls. “We figure they knocked out our power source. The overheads should have lit up by now, but we’re still on generators. Cyrus sent a team out to fix it. Everyone’s spooked. The boys outside say it was just a drone, but they’re getting closer. Our guys are in position in case there’s a second assault.” Asher turned to Shiloh. “Blitz said you’re heading west. Seeing as I’m between jobs at the moment, I thought I’d join you. I don’t want to be stuck here if another wave shows.” 

“How often does this happen?” Eden asked.
“Too often.” Caden pushed his way past a few people and stood before them. “We have permission to leave. Immediately.” He looked to his brother. The two shared an unspoken conversation with only a glance and nod.

“What will happen to the people here?” Eden asked quietly as they headed back to the exit they came through the day before. None of her companions answered for a long time. In fact, not another word was spoken or signed until after they were in front of the woman with the clipboard and goggles.
“What do we have that’s fast?” Caden asked.
“Except for the usual cars and cycles, not much,” she replied.
“What about the monorail?”
“That’s been out for months. Several of the tunnels collapsed.”
“What about the ones to Westgate?”
“That one should still be intact, unless it was hit in the last hour.” Caden was about to leave when she spoke up, “I wouldn’t advise going down there unless you absolutely have to. Monsters roam those tunnels now.”
“No choice.” He kept walking.
“Stay on your guard.”

The crew headed to a section of the corridor Eden hadn’t noticed before. Through a set of doors in the wall, they went down two levels of stairs. Shiloh cracked another light stick as they entered to keep them from utter darkness.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Last Goodbye - Billy Boyd

Here it is, at long last; the end of the year post.

I feel like this song couldn’t be more appropriate for this post.

This last semester has been particularly busy, but it has ended well. This whole year has been long and busy, but the ending is so much more than the beginning.
In September, I started my first official (not part of school) job.

On the 12th of December, I graduated college with a B.A. in Bible, a minor in Computer Science, and a minor in Business Management. I also got to see the last of the Hobbit trilogy, marking the end of a long journey through Middle Earth.

I’ve heard that every ending is a new beginning.

Just as the ending of the Hobbit trilogy leads into the beginning of the Lord of the Rings, the phases of my life lead one into the next.

The 13th of December, I set out on a lifelong adventure with my best friend. I don’t know what struggles we will face in our new life, but we will face them together and we will overcome them together.

Bilbo and Frodo certainly couldn’t know the perils they would see or the hardships they would face, but they grew to be better people because of the journey.

Many places I have been
Many sorrows I have seen
But I don't regret
Nor will I forget
All who took that road with me

As this year ends, a new one begins; a year filled with its own beauties, toils, lights, shadows, hills, and valleys. The important thing to remember on any journey is to stay the course, to not forget the purpose. Without a destination, there is no journey. It’s important to keep your focus on God. Remember Him in the good times and bad. Remember Him when the path is clear and when all seems lost.

The best part about living a godly life is that there is no final farewell for Christians. Many of the friends I have parted with in airports in other countries and at graduation, I will see again. Either in this life or the next.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Україна - Ірина Федишин

Finally, another post. It's been far too long.
Lots of things have happened.

Finished another semester.
Spent the summer back at home working with the congregation.
Got engaged.
Visited another city for 11 days to hold a Bible camp.
Had a birthday.
Planned birthday stuff.

(С Днем Рождения, Дорогая)

Anyway, without further delay...

The Promised Land: (Part 30) Echo 

Eden clapped when they were done. “That was amazing!”
Asher smiled as he rested the guitar on the ground. “Glad you liked it. Did you recognize it at all?”
Eden shook her head. “Never heard it before. Is it new?”
“No, it’s actually pretty old.” He shrugged. “It’s all right. Most people haven’t heard it. I was just wondering. Any requests?”

“Yeah,” Caden cut in holding up the bags. “Let’s eat.”
“Nice to see you too, Blitz.” Asher stood up and clapped an arm around Caden’s shoulders. The blonde towered a good foot above his friend. “Thanks for the food,” Asher said as he made a grab for one of the bags.  Caden ducked out from under the giant and handed a bag to his brother. “Nice try.”
Reaching into the other bag, he pulled out a box and gave the bag to Eden.

Peeking into the bag, Eden saw a white box similar to the one Caden had. Taking it out, she opened the cardboard container to find rice, beans, and green vegetables that looked as though they had been canned or dried at some point. “Lovely,” she thought. She took a fork and started eating. “I wonder how long they’ve been eating like this. When was the last time they had any real food?”

As they ate, Asher and Blitz exchanged various stories of their adventures. Asher said he continued to search for someone with a name that sounded like Churro. Apparently, this person had been missing for a while. Caden talked about a couple missions he and Shiloh had been sent on. Eden was particularly interested to hear what he and Shy were doing in Freedom before they met her, but he didn’t seem to mention anything about that. Every now and then, Shiloh would get asked a question. He would respond in sign language and Caden would verbalize what was communicated.

At first, Eden enjoyed the stories. They were full of adventure and close calls. However, Eden lost interest as they went on. The three guys had such different experiences from hers. Aside from her time in this future, Eden really had nothing with which to compare. Her life up until now had been fairly average. Born to two well-off parents, her life might have been better off than most. She never lacked for anything, much less the necessities. Here, these soldiers talked about scrounging supplies off dead bodies or abandoned houses. Eden lived in a house too big for her family with the full assurance of security, but she listened to stories of hiding in poor living conditions while being hunted. She had nothing close to the tales of injuries and scars. There was that one time she fell off a horse, but that was it. Try as she might to ignore it, the gap between these four lives was ever apparent to her. When Eden stopped to think about it, she found herself growing homesick.

Eventually, the chestnut-haired woman from the meeting earlier came by.
“There you are!” She approached the group and gestured to Eden. “I have a room ready for you. Blitz and Boomer, you’re in wing three. Room eight, as usual.”
“Thanks, Misty,” Caden replied.
“No problem!” she said cheerily. “Oh, Blitz! Before I forget, the professor wants to see you first thing tomorrow.”
“Of course. You headed this way, Ash?”
“Just a few rooms down from yours,” the blond stood and picked up his belongings. “I’ll walk back with you in case you’re still scared of the dark.”
“Laugh it up, Ash,” Caden punched his friend. “You were the one who jumped, remember?”

The two continued talking as they walked away. Eden stood to follow Misty. Turning to Shiloh, she asked, “Are we meeting somewhere tomorrow?”
He shrugged then pointed at the floor with raised eyebrows.
“Meet back here? Sure. I don’t know when I’ll be up.” She was already planning to sleep in as long as she could. “See you tomorrow.”
She followed the patient Misty down one of the halls. Her guide tried to get her to talk about various interests, but Eden had already used the last of her conversational energy. She was anticipating a full night of sleep.


Shiloh walked out of the doctor’s office and took a deep breath of air that didn’t smell full of antiseptic chemicals. He was never particularly happy to see Doctor Ross. He was a decent enough physician, if one had to rate doctors who prodded him with sharp instruments. But the doctor often seemed to look on the twins with contempt and Shy had a pretty good idea why. Ross didn’t approve of the general’s use of children in military operations, no matter how capable they were. Shiloh actually would have sided with him, had his opinion carried any weight. “He probably just doesn’t like that Grace’s healing ability is better than anything he could pull off,” Shy thought, subconsciously rubbing the most recently added scar. “I don’t know why I’m the one who keeps getting hit. I’m practically invisible everywhere else, but I still attract all the bullets. Maybe I’m magnetized.” The last wound wasn’t his first brush with death, but it certainly was the closest one so far. Shy headed toward the hub. Cay would eventually catch up when he was finished with the doctor. “In the meantime…” Shy looked around for a particular girl with long blond hair. He had just caught sight of Eden when a loud siren went off. A thunderous boom broke out and the whole complex shook. The ever-white lights flickered and dust rained from above. Screams instantly filled the halls as well as Shiloh’s ears. He searched the area again, this time with more urgency. People ran by him in all directions, making it impossible to- there! A glimpse of her familiar face and Shiloh took off in that direction. Fighting through the people, he made it to the spot he saw Eden last just as another blast shook the complex again.
“They found us!” someone shouted. “They’re going to bury us!” a woman cried out. Shiloh pushed by a couple guards who were running toward the exit. Protocol demanded that he join them and protect the base, or more specifically the package. But he ignored protocol and continued looking for Eden.
He turned to his left and saw her, just a few yards away. Shy started toward her, but a force from behind knocked him to the ground. Landing hard on his side, pain laced up his body from the healing gunshot wound. Clenching his teeth with a cringe, he rolled onto his other side.
“Shiloh!” Eden was beside him again. “Are you ok?”
The flickering lights died and the base was shrouded in total darkness.