Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hollow World Chapter 21


Graham now sat on the hood of a red Dodge Charger, a block from the law offices of Truman and Truman, sweating from the heat that was coming off of the ring of fire.

After leaving North Dallas and the burning hulk that had once housed Peter and the rest of his rabble of survivors, Graham and the rest of the Ancients had silently went their own ways, to gather their own armies. Most of the other Ancients had gone North or East, where they would encounter their own soldiers with vacant stares, but Graham had moved Northwest, mirroring the path that he knew Peter would follow. With each small town that he had passed, Graham coaxed more followers out, and before too long, his group had grown to number nearly a thousand soldiers. All with vacant stares. A war was coming. This was his army.

It had taken him a while to get the cars moved in to the city, but once he had found his voice again, everything went smoother. It had started as a low guttural growl, and then they had begun humming. Finally he had remembered how to sing, and once the muscles were strong again, he had been able to order his soldiers to move the cars.

He had not heard the voice since regaining the ability to talk. White Sands was his destination, but when he had sensed Jim Buchanon and his group of survivors, he had reveled in the detour. He had then felt presence of Peter and the band headed for Boulder City.

The thought then occurred to him to move a car with a remote starter into the circle, and he had known where to find one. That had been the car Peter had blown up. He had watched from a nearby store while Peter had tested the remote starter, and Graham saw the plan. He would need another car, and he knew where to find that one too. He sent two soldiers, a man and a woman, to get the car, and they returned, pushing the car back, and fitted it into the final slot in the ring.

He had then chosen to wait until dawn. At daybreak, he had sent three soldiers in to move a car. His war was coming, and he needed opponents. Graham had watched one of his men get shot and killed while they were attempting to move the car. He had sent another man in to replace him after the gunman had left the roof of the building. His war was coming, what was one more casualty.
He had then backed off from the law office and waited. He knew Buchanon’s type, he would die in his new home. By lunchtime, one of his soldiers had informed him that a group of eight people and a dog had left and were on their way out of town to the Northwest. Graham gave them a couple of hours notice and, once he knew they were too far away to return and help, he had sealed the ring again, losing another soldier to the Sheriff on top of the law office. No matter.

He lost a few more soldiers to the fire, a few of the more zealous ones. They had run in toward the building as Graham had hit the button that triggered the explosion.

He addressed his soldiers from his perch on the hood of the Charger. He told them to enter the building and not leave anyone alive. He then dismissed them and watched as they advanced on the building. The initial blast had blown out all of the windows. The flames had taken the opportunity to jump inside and had ravaged the building. Now smoke poured out the hollow eyes of the skeletal structure, its death rattles nothing more than the groaning of charred wood.

Half an hour later, Graham watched as the roof collapsed, crushing all inside, including his own soldiers. The war was coming, and these were but casualties. They would be replaced. Later that night, they were as a group of thirty more, they had been called Crazies, but they were the Ancients Army, they were soldiers, they were his, creeped into the town, bearing all manner of weapons, gifts for his army.

He gave his army their marching orders. They were to travel Southwest to White Sands and await him there. He was going to travel at his own pace. He watched as the last of his soldiers disappeared in the distance and then, he too, turned his back on the former Truman and Truman Law Offices and began his Northwestern trek.

If you read something you liked, didn't like, or just have a question about the story in general, I would love to hear from you. even if it is as minor as an misspelled word or a misplaced apostrophe, it made it this far so someone obviously missed it.\

I take feedback seriously, it is the best way for me to improve and the easiest way for you to help me improve.


1 comment:

david said...

Hey Myseri. Antonchigurh here. I'm afraid I may have come on a bit strong with my suggestion about giving notes on your fiction post. If so, please accept my apology. When I read your piece, which I liked by the way, I had all kinds of ideas and, after reading your invitation for comments etc, I took the ball and ran with it. One issue I've encountered with the informal feedback of io9's fiction posters is that it's often very limited in terms of the quantity and quality of responses. I'm more accustomed to the face-to-face exchange of a class or writer's group, where you swap hard copies of your work and attack them with a red pen. Thus my offer to actually provide notes!

Anyway, I hope I didn't frighten you or come off like an internet weirdo. I'm just trying to find a way to work within io9's footprint and share a meaningful exchange instead of the usual "Great work! Keep writing!" -type that generally defines it.

Oh, and great work! Keep writing! and cheers A. Chigurh

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