Hey, y’all – I have a bit of a different thing for your short story tonight. I’m working on a short story that takes place in my Black Ops universe. This is an introduction to the universe and the first glimpse of several key characters. Here’s a sneak peek at the opening to that short story. Stay tuned and I’ll be sharing where you can get it in its entirety for free as soon as it’s done.
Eli ducked into the alley; his heart thudding hard. He fought his breath, trying to keep it quite lest his pursuers hear and find him. Dilapidated buildings rose up on either side of him, paragons of a golden time long since passed on Old Earth. Even the sky looked dingy, more yellow than blue. That, Eli knew, was a result of the atmospheric generators holding onto the remnants of ozone, trying to keep that layer stable enough to keep Old Earth from frying through solar radiation completely. Those generators were the only thing standing between the people who still lived on Old Earth and certain death.
Footsteps and muffled words caught Eli’s attention. The Mi’Kazi gang members. He checked the ration packets tucked in his shirt. Eli had to protect them. They were all he and his mother had to eat for the next week. Their rough language filled his ears. Eli didn’t speak the street languages in this area well, but he recognized the word for food.
“Na pari I eychi,” Eli whispered to himself. He’d held a vain hope they hadn’t realized he carried the packets when they started following him a block from the commissary. No such luck, though. Eli wasn’t big enough to take them on in a fight. Sure, he’d filled out some at sixteen, but he was no where near his full adult size. At least his mother kept telling him that.
“Your father stood but a little shy of two meters, you know. You look like you will have his height,” she’d say when he asked about his father and what the man looked like. “You’ve got his coloring as well.”
“But your eyes,” Eli always finished with a smile.
Now the thought of failing her, of not returning with the rations, or not returning at all, threatened to overwhelm him. He scanned the alley, looking for a chance, a place to hide, anything to keep him out of Mi’Kazi hands. Their voices grew louder as they neared the mouth of the alley. Eli’s heart thundered even harder and his body trembled.
Then he saw it. A door just a little askew. He dashed over to it with every bit of stealth he could muster. It didn’t open far, but the thing slid just enough to allow him to squeeze through.
Eli risked a quick glance back through the crack. Three huge shadows, well over two meters tall, filled the entrance of the alley. Two carried the distinct shapes of stun batons. He couldn’t make out what the third gang member carried. It wasn’t a shape he recognized, but certainly didn’t want to learn about the hard way either. Eli stepped back, holding his breath, as they neared the door. A silent prayer for protection ran through his head over and over.
Ho! Great Thunderer,
Please keep me in your gaze today;
Scare my enemies away, with the fury of your storms
Strike down any danger, as it approaches in all forms
See me safe to bed again, with nary trouble nor plight
And illuminate evil with death, as I slumber through the night.