This page conserves the character fiction forum of the Agora forums. The posts have been left unformatted to make it easier for users to copy them here and paste them into the new forums.
|Oren Itano||oren||12/10/08 18:25||View|
|The backstory of Vulpes.||Vulpes||12/11/08 01:46||View|
|Erica Kessel||Erica Kessel||12/11/08 07:52||View|
|Missy's Story.. a Do-over and another Chapter||Missy||12/11/08 22:38||View|
|Kwekwe's Backstory||Kwekwe Karu||12/12/08 01:02||View|
|Eternal Sunset||Missy||12/13/08 12:19||View|
|Kit Ristow||12/14/08 00:01||View|
|Missy's Story Continued..Part 3||Missy||12/16/08 08:43||View|
|Missy's Story Part 4: Innocence Shattered||Missy||12/16/08 18:34||View|
|Missy's Story Part 5: Innocence Annihilated||Missy||12/18/08 17:16||View|
|Small Dangers||Vox||12/18/08 21:36||View|
|Saint of The Abyss: Part 1||Luciferiel||12/19/08 05:21||View|
|Zero....-1||Justa Zero||12/19/08 17:38||View|
|Zero....1||Justa Zero||12/19/08 18:26||View|
|Óðr’s Daughter. Chapter I: A Guiding Dream||Asil Karu||12/20/08 02:39||View|
|Omega To Alpha||erinnic||12/23/08 16:49||View|
|Her Bloody Tears [-Past Event-]||Methias||12/23/08 18:09||View|
|Lost Kitsune - A Shattered Mind||Kiera||12/25/08 18:51||View|
|Usr's story Part IV||UsrBinPerl||12/27/08 20:34||View|
|The Essex||Heir Maelstrom||12/29/08 04:23||View|
|Kwekwe's shame||Kwekwe Karu||12/30/08 18:11||View|
|Joint Round Robin Fic Anyone...?||erinnic||12/30/08 19:07||View|
|God Was On Her Lips As She Died||erinnic||01/02/09 23:31||View|
|Love and Betrayal - A New Beginning||kessjuliesse||01/03/09 13:46||View|
|The Diary of Cody Woodhen||codywoodhen||01/05/09 21:35||View|
|Missy's Story Part 6: Innocence Abducted||Missy||01/07/09 06:23||View|
|Cursed Blade||Yannis_Martynov||01/08/09 21:27||View|
|Story Thread: Community Round Robin Fic||erinnic||01/09/09 23:25||View|
|The demon within||Canly Fargis||01/11/09 16:14||View|
|Ziau- CoLA's Very Own Casanova||Ziau||01/13/09 02:09||View|
|Twisted Attentions||erinnic||01/21/09 20:34||View|
|Inspiration- music and roleplay||Ziau||01/26/09 08:01||View|
|Compilation! Where were you when it all happened?||Ziau||01/28/09 09:12||View|
|The Clock Struck Midnight||Malice Ashdene||01/28/09 22:31||View|
|With Precision- a poem by Kelly Welch A.k.A Ziau Jua.||Ziau||01/29/09 04:36||View|
|Alisa's dicovery of a new world (character sheet + story)||Alisa Draconia||01/30/09 19:17||View|
|The Shadow Stepper- Ziau the Enshadowed.||Ziau||02/01/09 07:26||View|
|Krista Lemon arrives to the streets of Lost Angels||Krista||02/03/09 00:09||View|
|Back Story Upto the Excile of Rune.||RuneCrimson||02/03/09 21:59||View|
|War with the Brood, war with the Coven, and the Pack.||Ziau||02/07/09 04:11||View|
|-- Halcyon's Backstory --||Halcyon Nacht||02/08/09 00:22||View|
|Planer/Exonar family (aka, Erinyse, Khalan, Viridian, Cummere, Selena)||Cummere Mayo||02/08/09 03:53||View|
|Kit's Backstory||Kit Ristow||02/10/09 18:40||View|
|Eyes in the Dark||Keyla||02/11/09 09:47||View|
|Surfacing Part I||Llyr||02/13/09 22:21||View|
|Surfacing Part II||Llyr||02/13/09 22:35||View|
|Tama-Chan: A Cat's Story (Tamara's background)||Tamara||02/17/09 07:35||View|
|Project: A map of Post Apocalypse North America||Tamara||02/17/09 19:21||View|
|Dreamtime Revelations||Winter||02/19/09 18:08||View|
|Reaver-the echo of the Blackwind||AntiZero||02/23/09 00:43||View|
|On the Origin of Species||Tamara||02/25/09 22:38||View|
|Confession||Kit Ristow||02/26/09 01:39||View|
|Personnel File: Pointe, Zsuzsanna C. (Inactive, Deceased)||Su Pointe||02/26/09 03:32||View|
|Malice, in a Different Kind of Wonderland||Malice Ashdene||02/27/09 18:07||View|
|The Dark of Inspiration||Kit Ristow||03/01/09 21:42||View|
|Jheric: Crucified||Kayle Ashdene||03/03/09 10:53||View|
|It's my life||arsene_Braveheart||03/05/09 18:18||View|
|The Tradgedy of the Hybrid||Digital Enigma||03/29/09 07:09||View|
|The Sin of Wrath||molly switchblade||04/02/09 21:28||View|
|Golden Boy||Ephran Ehrler||04/15/09 06:12||View|
|Story About A Girl||Aesendria||04/24/09 15:34||View|
|Climaxe by Smith and Wesson||Sloan||04/28/09 06:19||View|
|My new project ATTENTION Russian Characters!||Ziau||05/01/09 06:42||View|
|**NSFW** A Typical Tuesday Night for Missy||Missy||05/06/09 20:48||View|
|Post your profile links!||Cortero Landar||05/07/09 10:25||View|
|Making Logan Suffer||Aesendria||05/12/09 07:09||View|
|Jeanne Varun||Jeanne Varun||05/14/09 08:24||View|
|The Vanguard's True Purpose||Logan||05/16/09 01:03||View|
|Cortero's Infernal Armor||Cortero Landar||05/16/09 06:52||View|
|Bookstore Surprise||Aesendria||05/16/09 23:16||View|
|Post your profile links if you have in-story info in them!||Cortero Landar||05/18/09 10:33||View|
|Cyber Evolution Bios, Anur Seda, Cyber Reaper, and Commander of CE||Theassassin||06/08/09 11:28||View|
|Was any of it real?||Youko_Giha||06/12/09 15:28||View|
|A shift in priorities||Logan||06/17/09 04:21||View|
|Going home||Ludvig||06/17/09 19:10||View|
|'Ren in Japan||oren||06/18/09 23:11||View|
|Thelma across the board||ThelemaJuliesse||06/26/09 15:09||View|
|Pre-fiction: How Kayteear got here.||Kayteear||07/15/09 16:43||View|
|Story Time||Charissa||07/17/09 19:03||View|
|Pack Airship RP.||Tai||07/27/09 02:49||View|
|My Character||Lilith13||08/05/09 22:34||View|
|The Haunter in the Dark||Shadow||08/14/09 21:50||View|
|The Flying Heads||Kwekwe Karu||08/16/09 16:52||View|
|Why selling coffins is impossible in CoLA||Ziau||08/23/09 04:14||View|
|Paint it red!||Ziau||08/23/09 07:51||View|
|Young Cowards.||Ziau||08/23/09 08:28||View|
|Great video for RPers and people passionate about writing.||Ziau||09/05/09 08:55||View|
|Dux - 264 BC||Dux||09/10/09 18:41||View|
|The Thing at South Gate Sanitarium||Shadow||09/15/09 22:09||View|
|♪♫ Do you wanna RP my avatar ♪♫||Kayteear||09/17/09 14:45||View|
|Jessica's Mother||Jessica Susser||09/21/09 04:19||View|
|Ziau Challenged me to. NSFW||ChasityDawes||09/21/09 07:17||View|
|The Divine Machine.................||Theassassin||09/21/09 22:29||View|
|I Bleed my Blood for Myself.||Ziau||09/22/09 22:28||View|
|Cronicle of a death||Kayteear||09/24/09 01:34||View|
|"Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself"||DavidJoshua Artful||09/26/09 17:07||View|
|Old Versus New||Digital Enigma||09/27/09 20:28||View|
|The Shadowed Order, The Eternal Order, Ordo Machina||Theassassin||10/06/09 06:55||View|
|Elamyrath's History||Elamyrath||10/10/09 00:52||View|
|The here, the now, the dead. The Minus.||TheMinus Ziskey||10/10/09 12:41||View|
|Before bed ritual.||Amy Guisse||10/17/09 04:13||View|
|IS this High School again?||Theassassin||10/24/09 12:49||View|
|Sidhe vs Drow||Orlok Lectar||10/29/09 04:08||View|
|Daddy blues||arsene_Braveheart||11/17/09 19:01||View|
|Chronicles of SIE||agentlyseria||11/22/09 12:27||View|
|The Lady In Black(A Drokan Exile Twisted Love Story)||AntiZero||11/29/09 06:36||View|
|The growing Darkness.||Leirain Koray||12/01/09 11:04||View|
|The lycan||Kayteear||12/01/09 16:00||View|
|City of Lost Jackman: The Untold Hollywood Blockbuster||AntiZero||12/02/09 07:11||View|
|Coming home for christmas ..||Kes||12/10/09 22:17||View|
|Bunneh Vs. Lich, DBZ style||Karsha Yutani||12/14/09 11:59||View|
|A Farewell||Roland||12/16/09 20:50||View|
|Of Death and Rebirth||Digital Enigma||12/21/09 20:14||View|
|The Story of Reoco||Reoko Farspire||02/06/10 20:47||View|
|Homecoming......... The Story of Orpheus Darkfold||OrpheusDarkfold||03/11/10 02:27||View|
|The Story of Orpheus Part 2||OrpheusDarkfold||03/13/10 23:15||View|
|Who owns who?||Kayteear||03/22/10 22:03||View|
|Missing the Ocean||ricercar||03/23/10 22:27||View|
|Letter to the editor: Manners in LA||Tink||03/25/10 16:58||View|
|Chasity Backstory||ChasityDawes||06/14/10 19:43||View|
|Something Black and Violent...||DavidJoshua Artful||06/19/10 22:23||View|
|Doctor Visit||erinnic||07/12/10 04:26||View|
|Gabby Perdide||vacantghost||07/19/10 04:42||View|
|Kayteear||Well, well, well... |
Having noticed the high quality people show writing here I don't feel myself able to directly write in English, so I decided to write it in Spanish and then translate it into Shakespeare's language. I have to admit I used Google translator to translate it, but I put almost two hours checking it to make sure the translation was worthy enough. Nonetheless, I beg your pardon if you find some odd expressions or grammar errors. Please feel free to report any error you find within the text.
Nonetheless, if you feel yourself able to deal with Spanish, I encourage you to read the [url=http://ccs-gametech.com/index.php/colaccs-forums?task=viewtopic&pid=63058&Itemid=70#p63058]Spanish version of this story.[/url]
Here is the first chapter of a longer story. I hope you'll like it.
[size=14][b]Chronicle of a Death
Le Monde, El Pais, The Times, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Jornal de Noticias ... "The death, pictured", "La mort au travail", "O rostro da morte". The main European newspapers of that September 24, 2039 had a similar headline on its frontpage and the same blurry unfocused photography in which it could barely be distinguished how a being whose aspect was difficult to describe was attacking another one --apparently a humanoid female, but not human-- with an elongated object, perhaps a piece of pipe or a sword. In the rather dark photo, it could be seen the trail the metal object described as it cut the air towards its victim, who had a blurry look in her face, a mixture of shock, disbelief and resignation about what was undoubtedly about to happen.
At the bottom of the photo you could read the name of the news agency, that of the author and the place where it had been taken: Agencia EFE - Thais Amanpour - City of Lost Angels. It was the last photo renowned fleelancer photographer had sent to the agency. From the position of the camera (slightly bent at right) and the wrong focus it could inferred that it had been taken very close, dangerously close.
Thais (1), 35, French-Iranian in her origin, looked mostly human. However, some of her features made evident that she had some feline ancestors. Perhaps the most obvious features were the fluency and elegance of her movements, quite different from those clumsy ones that humans or werewolves performed, and the hairy tail that she always kept wrapped around her waist. Moreover, looking at her more closely, you could tell that her hair had brown skin tabby stripes and slightly pointed ears poked through the dark hair on her head. Thais had started its journey in the world of journalism ten years before working for a modest daily in southern France, but soon began to find her work was boring, always chasing minor news on the relatively quiet old Europe while the world was put upside down. So she decided to jump into the world of war journalism as a freelance reporter. It was not difficult: the supply of conflicts was large in a volatile world in which hostilities occurred everywhere, especially after the cataclysm of summer, 2032 when the comet known as Wormwood hit Earth.
(1) Thais, pronounced /Tah/ees/
Thus, Thais had covered the most diverse conflicts, always sending sensational photographs accompanied by chilling chronicals, that kind of photos that were able to travel around the world in 80 seconds. She had covered, for example, the Re-reconquest Jihad when the Muslim world was able to recover virtually all of southern Spain creating the New Islamic Republic of Al-Andalus, a combination of guerrilla war and terrorism that succeeded in some cases displacing the population and in others, simply anihilating it. She had also covered a part of the 5th Balkan War during which she took one of her most striking photographs: a burst of tracer bullets broke into frame just in time when a tank was hit by a missile a few hundred meters from there. However, later that day she had the misfortune of being the target of a sniper (one of those famous "snaiperisti") and the explosive bullet blew her right forearm up from her elbow. Since then, she moved around having a cybernetic prosthetic hand attached to her right arm. Nontheless, this did not save her from having to learn how to use her left hand for some fine work.
The last conflict that she had been covering before submitting this creepy photo from the ancient city of Los Angeles was the War of the Caribbean, from Cuba. The Caribbean islands were still places where humans were a majority. The existence of vampires and supernatural beings in the area was practically a myth, and other species such as felinoids or werewolves represented just less than five percent of the population. That led many humans coming from other areas to choose the Caribbean islands as a place to settle themselves, the most of them coming from the Atlantica area of the ancient United States, with Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic being their favorite destinations. In recent times, both islands were beginning to suffer the effects of overpopulation to the point that both Governments have agreed to occupy neighboring areas. Cuba, the largest of the Caribbean islands, remained poor despite having embraced a Communist-Capitalist model like China. However, its size and the large amount of space available for production agricultural made her very attractive, so that was the main objective to be occupied. However, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic did not know about the defensive capabilities of Cuba, which had the logistical and military support of China. Thais was there the day that half of the Dominican fleet was wiped out by a "Beijing" class Chinese intercontinental missile with nuclear warhead. From Guantanamo and looking east Thais could see how a mushroom cloud brighter than the sun itself rose in the horizon, about 200 kilometers away, the light from the sun being eclipsed by the bright cloud of toxic gas. Her first thought was that from 0 to 10, that action reached 5 on the scale of madness. The second one was that she would better get herself a geiger meter to check her own radiation level from time to time. That picture, dated September 15, 2039, also became famous in a few minutes, being transmitted via satellite from her Minolta just a few seconds after the explosion.
We could say the war was almost finished that day, and from that moment a relative calm came to the island, with political statements here and there talking about the country, the victory and other nonsense like that. Without action worthwhile and no arguments that would allow her to write a chronicle as it ought to be, Thais considered her options: to return to Toulouse, relax and be utterly bored while eating "mice foie", or to visit a place where myth and reality lived in the midst of absolute chaos.
Within a few days, on September 20, Thais embarked on an old wrinkled ATR42, formerly owned by Cubana de Aviacion and now owned by Atlantic Eagle (successor company to American Eagle after the disintegration of the United States in three major territories), bound for Fort Lauderdale. The state of the aircraft, which was about 40 years old, made the jump a bit disturbing (even though it was a short flight), but that was nothing compared to what was awaiting for her. On arrival at Fort Lauderdale she started looking at the panels trying to find her next flight:
Flight: SHK813. Destination: Mojave. Departure: 06:05 pm. Gate: C14. Boarding
Just half an hour available before departure, so she hurried to the gate. Luckily, all she needed was in the backpack she was carrying on her back so there was no need to worry about the precarious handling services.
The boarding at gate C14 was delayed for about four hours, allowing Thais to realize that the rest of passengers around her were most varied. There were some humans, yes, but most looked like lycanthropes. There were some felinoids and also many who wore dark sunglasses despite being in a dimly lit building. However, the pilots, who passed by her as they walked their way towards the aircraft, did actually seem human. Apparently, the management of technology was still in human hands, at least as far as old technologies were concerned. As a matter of fact, the plane that was to carry her to the Mojave Desert was nothing but an old repurchased B707 from an Iranian company, probably about 70 or 80 years old. In fact, the new owner had not even bothered to repaint and rename the company. Formerly owned by the carrier Saha Air, the name had been crudely repainted and renamed as Saha Link. However, it was not until the time that Thais had to board that she reviewed the aircraft in detail from the windows of the finger. She then regretted not having done it before. The appearance was utterly decrepit: the tires had long exceeded the reasonable limit of life, but it was even more disturbing to notice that there only was one engine under the right wing --just one old noisy turbojet out of the two that there should have been. At best, that meant that the plane would fly at just three-quarters of its power. The interior was not much better. Her seat was not able to keep upright itself, and the belt just did not exist. She didn't bother to check the presence of lifejackets.
Finally, about 11 pm, the plane took off after a long run and headed west. Fortunately, the darkness of night over the territories of the Badlands prevented Thais from guessing the real flying height, but she could guess they barely exceeded the 3000 feet level. Probably the old fuselage of that B707 could not stand the pressure of a high-altitude flight.
About seven hours later, without warning, the plane made a sharp decline and in less than a minute it abruptly landed on the Mojave runway. That ancient aerodrome, an aircraft scrapyard, was the nearest operating airport to her final destination. The plane stopped and its strange passengers began to rush out of him. There were no checks of any kind, and the closest to look like a building were some prefabricated barracks. The ground staff, as strange as the passengers themselves, started to take luggage out from the hold, pilling it up over the concrete floor while passengers milled around trying to retrieve their luggage. Thais rejoiced even more for not having checked any luggage.
The first rays of sun made it possible to distinguish the landscape. All around everywhere there were traces of planes of all sorts, most of them having been passenger aircrafts. There were the remains of several B747 and A330 aircraft, all of them being more modern than the one that had carried her, and even some useless A380 that had ended their days in there, all devoid of any piece that might be usable for other aircraft still functioning, as that B707, that flying coffin she had just alighted.
Thais went to the exit of the enclosure, protected only by an electrified wire fence. She put her backpack to her back and walked through the gate, a gate guarded by only two thugs not wearing a uniform (one of them was unmistakably a female werewolf, while the other one had some great wings protruding from his back) who were heavily armed with assault rifles, guns and even grenades. There also was a sign with red letters stating a clear explicit message: "Proceed at your own risk". That was exactly what she did.
Over time, businesses of all types had been emerging outside the airport's enclosure: bars, gun shops, second market car dealers... The rental concept simply did not exist there. There were taxi drivers, but none of them was willing to take her to where she intended to go. The response was always the same: "not for all the gold in the world I'll to go to a place I cannot be sure to come back from". This answer lead her to two conclusions: she would have to buy a vehicle with the hope of reselling it later; and it seemed reasonable to seize a weapon. Fortunately she always carried with her a large sum of cash, keeping it in a safe place. Regarding the first conclussion, Thais approached one of the armories that were around. After discussing a while with the seller, she shose a small Beretta Px4 Storm. She didn't have too much experience with weapons, so she thought something small would be easier to handle. She also bought a couple boxes of ammunition.
As for getting a car, after giving a couple of laps around the area, she finally found what she was looking for. Although the body was pretty spoiled, that 2030 Honda VFR was calling for her again and again: "buy me, buy me". After a little haggling, Thais paid and rode away. She only stopped once at a few miles away to get the tank full of fuel. The price per gallon was exhorbitant, but there was no choice. She would eventually pull her hair as best she could in a ponytail since she was not wearing a helmet, leaving her pointy ears clearly visible. She put on sunglasses to protect her eyes and, after driving endless shantytowns that had appeared around the Mojave City, she took the old and poorly maintained US14 towards her final destination. A green panel to the edge of the highway that had been awkwardly corrected with spray painting indicated the approximate distance:
[color=green]Los[/color][b]T[/b] [color=green]Angel[/color][b]●[/b][color=green]s 94 miles[/color]
To be continued.
|Nasreen||omg, I'm loving the writing going up here. Kay - fabulous work. Can't wait for next installment... ^^||09/24/09 15:27|
|Kayteear||Oh, thank you so much, Nas :)|
I have just reviewed the text and found lots of misstakes. I've tried to correct those that I was able to spot.
Today i had no time to write anything, but the idea is well formed at 90% in my mind, so don't worry: this story will draw to an end.
|Kayteear||Ok, here is the 2nd chapter. I transgoogled it as usual. I reviewed it and corrected most of the misstakes. The translation is still a bit crappy though. If you find any misstake or have any suggestion about grammar please report it.|
The Spanish version of the chapter can be read [url=http://ccs-gametech.com/index.php/colaccs-forums?task=viewtopic&pid=63451&Itemid=70#p63451]here[/url].
Thx and enjoy.
[size=10]Briefly: Thais's travel from Mojave to North Holy Bay bridge.[/size]
[size=14][b]II. "Jerseys" on the road.[/b][/size]
94 miles. The fourth gear was not working properly. Its gears might be damaged. A first quick calculation made her suppose that she could reach the city in half an hour or so, but as the miles passed she started to realize that it wouldnot be so easy as she had thought. Untill Lancaster and Palmsdale the road was fairly clear. Occasionally remnants of previous accidents appeared here and there. Nobody had bothered to put them away, some of them being recent and still smoking, groups of beings of all sorts milling around them probably trying to recover all recoverable. From Palmsdale, however, the landscape changed... for the worse. Just after Palmdale, while entering Antelope Valley a panel similar to the one at the airport advertised from danger. "Restricted Area - C ring. You are entering a high risk area. Proceed at your own risk." The less she could say is that it was chilling.
Indeed, she almost could smell the disaster in the air as she descended through the valley. The highway looked even worse and it was sometimes necessary to deviate because of fallen bridges or craters in the asphalt from the effects of the bombing. The remains of accidents multiplied and progress along the road became more difficult. Minute after minute, mile after mile, Thais's feeling of insecurity was increasing. She had experience in reporting wars, yes, but usually war reporters always have a certain status of neutrality, an official press card and a plane ticket that allow them to escape and leave everything behind when their spirit fall apart and begin to feel how their souls gets rottenl, but this time it was different. Although she had the backing of "Agencia EFE" to make this foray into the ancient city of Los Angeles, Thais knew she was all alone, dependent only on herself. Her press card was just a piece of wet paper with which the thugs she could find henceforth would not hesitate to wipe their own ass.
Her heart sank. In fact, she thought for a moment about stopping and turn around. Far away on the road there was a roadblock erected with "jerseys". Close to it, a group of people waved at her raising their arms in order to make her stop. Since it seemed impossible to get around the barricade and the reaction of these people could be most unpredictable, she thought she would better stop and listen to what they had to say. Finally she stopped as smooth as she could, trying to show she had no hostile intentions. However, she did not let her guard down. Once there, she saw that it was possible to circumvent the roadblock of "jerseys", although the maneuver had to be performed to slow. She could not have pass the barricade as without almost stopping. When she finally stopped she leaned the bike to her right and supported its weight putting her right foot to the ground, while she kept the left one to the gear shift, keeping the first gear inserted. She thought that would allow to leave as a rocket if things got rough, but nonetheless she had the disadvantage that she would have to keep the clutch pressed with hes left hand all the while. Actually, it wouldn't have been so easy because people guarding the barricade surrounded her rather quickly, pointing their guns menacingly at her: two at the front, two at the rear and a fifth who approached her on the right, three men and two women. Thais could feel her pulse quicken wildly. It was useless trying to hide it: she was afraid and very few excuses prepared to justify her trip to these people. The only positive aspect might be that they all seemed human, and she, despite her features, considered herself as one of them.
The one that approached her from the right was a woman and apparently commanded the group. The fact that she was the only one not pointing at her with a gun suggested Thais this posoibility. They wore no uniform or any distinctive of any kind, but clearly acted as a group. Their boss was high, with short reddish hair, wearing a military-looking beret on the top of her head. She wore a black coat and appeared to have no trouble in moving around on high-heeled boots. Finally, the woman spoke. Her voice sounded tired, crushed due to an overabuse of cigarettes and alcohol and used a coarse language.
'What hav'ya lost here, rider doll?'
Thais swallowed hard and tried to put her best accent to answer.
'I'm going to Lost Angels'.
'You won't do it for free', the boss said as she pointed with a gesture of her hand to a manually painted sign which read "Toll of Santa Clarita. Donations to the Syndicate. Minimum fee $ 300". Thais was used to having to drop tips and bribes when moving through hostile territory and crossing through checkpoints, but she had never found anything as explicit as a "toll". She could not avoid showing her surprise, her eyebrows arching. The boss chuckled at her reaction as she spoke to his group.
'Hey, guys! It seems this kitten does not know where she's getting into', she said slyly. The other also showed mischievous smiles and one of them even tapped on the top of the bike several times with the barrel of his gun. 'Baby, you'd better release your bucks now. We don't like playing with kittens', she insolently said while stroking Thais's pointed ear, making her shudder as a shiver went down her spine. "Shit" she thought, "I did not expect this". She finally dared to speak, stammering, trying to appease that bunch of thugs.
'A... a mo... moment, stay calm', she said as she slowly swung her hand to reach the inner pocket of ther jacket, but suddenly one of the guys grabbed her by her wrist.
'Eh, eh, eh!' the boss shouted as she shook her head. 'Stand still, dear. Paul, take the money' she ordered to the other guy standing next to the one that held her wrist, who lasciviously ran his thumb over the skin of Thais's hand. She found that disgusting. That so-called Paul reached into the interior of the Thais jacket and pulled out a nylon wallet. He opened it and pulled out a wad of money, counted $ 400 and returned it to Thais's pocket.
Thais did not dare open her mouth, but her question could be clearly read on her face. "Wasn't it 300?". That boss was a smart chick. She managed to understand the gesture on Thais's face at the first sight.
'Hey, Paul, take 100 more as a tip!'
Thais clenched teeth, "Bitch!" but remained silent. After taking $ 100 more, Paul left the wallet again where he had found it. Suddenly everyone became more friendly, much to her surpirse and relief. The guy who was holding her wrist let her go, and the expressions on their faces relaxed.
'Well, kitten, have a nice trip. You're about at 40 miles to Lost Angels. Follow signs and take exit Damnation; it's esay. That's as far as you can get on your bike. So go ahead and give my regards to those bastards in the Pack when you find them'.
That said, the five turned away and Thais hurried to get away from there, feeling the air wiping the sweat from her forehead as she wondered what was that pack the boss talked about. She interpreted this as the possibility of meeting some more "tolls" on the road.
([url=http://maps.google.es/maps/ms?hl=es&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=117711923896312509528.00047478a2d426173419d&ll=34.432965,-118.386784&spn=0.049059,0.081282&t=h&z=14]Santa Clarita's Toll[/url])
Within minutes buildings outside the city of Santa Clarita began to appear on her right. The highway followed down the valley towards the ancient Los Angeles. She should exercise extreme caution. Although there was virtually no traffic, the road was in very poor condition and many marker boards were blurred, crossed or broken. Past Santa Clarita US14 joined the I5 and the density of buildings increased. On either side of the Interstate there were factories and buildings of all kinds, mostly abandoned or demolished. Thais did not linger long watching the scenery, but the landscape she could see was devastating. It was a landscape of war, sad and gray, where the smell of the air was stale and always seemed about to dusk, and a poster on the side of the highway helped to make everything more gloomy: "Restricted Area - B ring. You are entering a very high risk area. Proceed at your own risk. "
As the guards at the "toll" told her she only had to follow the signs. Surprisingly, someone had taken the trouble to correct the name of Los Angeles by the more gloomy one of Lost Angels each time it appeared on a marker board. It was awesome. Thais felt as the tension within her kept growing. Common sense told her that it would have been wiser to turn back, but something inside her urged her to continue. An unstoppable curiosity, a need to know what happened in this mysterious city. That and the possibility of a sensational exclusive that would make her jump again to the front pages of newspapers around the world. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained", she thought trying to convince herself that she should move forward as she opened gas to the engine. But she had to hit the brake soon again. In the distance there was another roadblock, this time there were many more people blocking the road. She swore loudly as she approached, fearing that passing this roadblock would be more difficult than the previous one. When she finally stopped she looked around trying to spot a poster telling who were the ones controlling the barrier. She then managed to understand the words of the Santa Clarita's toll boss. "Toll of North Hills. The Pack". There was no price set, but given her last experience, it mattered little. Soon she was surrounded by a group of werewolves, some looking quite canine while others were humanoid. They didn't look as organized as Santa Clarita's humans, but they looked threatening as they were swirled, sniffed and grumbled around her.
([url=http://maps.google.es/maps/ms?hl=es&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=117711923896312509528.00047478ab474d4e79822&ll=34.251115,-118.454332&spn=0.049165,0.081282&t=h&z=14]North Hills Toll[/url])
'This smells like cat...' one of them growled.
'Great. We could play a little', another said.
Thais watched in complete disbelief, but she dared to be the first to ask.
'How much for crossing?', but she got no reply.
'Oh, she is not from around here!' said a female sarcastically while another lycan sniffed at her backpack with great interest.
'This smells of food'.
'Wow! Cat and board. Two birds with one stone'.
Despite keeping her composure, Thais began to feel really nervous. At that moment there was a long, piercing scream and werewolves all around move away from Thais to let another one approach her. There was no doubt: he was the captain of the group.
'Well, well, well ... Guys, move away!' he snapped, turning then to Thais. 'Look at this! Another contribution to our cause'.
'How much for corssing?' she insisted.
'I like you: clear and direct. 1000 and any food you have in that backpack.
This time she wanted to make sure no one got startled before looking for her wallet.
'I have the dough in here' she pointing inside her jacket. 'Nobody get nervous, ok?'
The group leader just nodded his head while drawing his gun, ready to shoot if necessary. Thais reached her wallet and handed those $ 1000 to the chief, who gave them to another in order to count them. When he finished, the boss holstered his gun again.
'Now let's see what you have in there'.
Thais took off his backpack and began rummaging resignation to take two packages of cookies (one of sweet and one of savory), a package of cooked ham in vacuum and a frankfurter type sausages.
'Is that all?'
'What more do you want?' she snapped.
'Ha!' the boss chuckled. 'The kitty shows her claws!'.
'I'm not a cat!'
'Nooo! Certainly not' the man replied sarcastically pointing at Thais's ears and tail. 'Come on, guys! Let her go. My nose begins to itch.
The group followed the orders of his boss and dispersed, losing all interest in it and letting her free passage.
'Have fun in the city, you little panther'.
Thais grunted in disgust while putting back the first gear and pulled away from there at full throttle.
Damnation was a Los Angeles suburb formerly known as Van Nuys, north of Beverly Hills (2). That meant she would had to walk a long way to the reach city centrer. Furthermore, after the Apocalypse, the areas both north and south of Beverly Hills had sunk, the area being swallowed by the sea. At the Santa Clarita's toll she was told she would have to leave the highway at Damnation. It actually was the only option, since the road was blocked and it was impossible to keep following the highway. After leaving the highway she ran through some streets looking for a place safe enough to leave the bike. She finally found an alley overgrown with vegetation in which it was easy to hide the bike. Hopefully it will still be there to make the return trip. she cut the engine, removed the key putting it in her pocket and tried to cover the bike with plants around as best she could. She walked away warily, looking back several times, fearing that the bike was no longer there after a few days.
([url=http://maps.google.es/maps/ms?hl=es&ie=UTF8&msa=0&ll=34.191642,-118.454418&spn=0.0984,0.162563&t=h&z=13&msid=117711923896312509528.00047478c0da304f5e2d6]Van Nuys / Damnation[/url])
(2) From now on geography is completely fictional.
She toured the neighborhood, looking for ways to continue the journey toward the center of Lost Angels. After a few turns without finding the right path, she found a small mixed group of about five people who were talking animatedly in Spanish. There were two feliniodes, a werewolf, what seemed to be a human and a winged glowing being with two small bumps on the head. They did not notice the presence of Thais until the moment she asked them, trying to remember the few Spanish she knew.
'Buenos días' (Good morning).
The group then turned to her, being a girl, one of the cats, the first answer, showing a friendly smile.
'Hola' (Hello) she said again. 'Estoy buscando el camino hacia el centro de Lost Angels' (I'm seeking a path to the center of Lost Angels).
'¡Oh! ¿De verdad?' (Really?) the other said in surprise. Another member of the group was quick to give the required directions.
'Sigue recto tres manzanas. Luego gira a la izquierda y enseguida a la derecha. Allí verás el puente que cruza sobre la bahía' (Keep going straight for 3 blocks. Then turn left and immediately right. There you will see a bridge to go across the bay).
'Si te gustan la emociones fuertes, también puedes pasar la bahía siguiendo el túnel del metro' (If you like the excitement, you can also spend the Bay following the subway tunnel', another one said, the winged one.
'Creo que prefiero ir por el puente' (I think I prefer going over the bridge), Thais concluded, where upon the last to speak shrugged.
'Eso es cosa tuya' (It's up to you)
The first to speak was also the last, showing the same sympathy as before.
'Ve con cuidado, y cuidado con South Gate'. (Take care, and be carefull in South Gate).
'¿Qué hay en South Gate?' (What's in South Gate?). Thais interest was aroused.
Thais walked away without saying anything more, with those words echoing in her head while following the given directions. After about 10 minutes she actually reached the bridge, an old structure that seemed to stand miraculously. A small barricade blocked it preventing the passage of vehicles, but did not prevent passing on foot. Beside the barricade, another of those signs: "Restricted area - A ring. Danger! Proceed at your own risk". After a few steps walking on the bridge she stopped and looked back for a few seconds. Then she looked forward again, to the south, the sea breeze caressing her face.
To be continued.
|Shadow||[quote]'Ve con cuidado, y cuidado con South Gate'. (Take care, and be carefull in South Gate).|
'¿Qué hay en South Gate?' (What's in South Gate?). Thais interest was aroused.
Oh an love the pictures used to illustrate that first chapter!
|Kayteear||[quote=Shadow]Oh an love the pictures used to illustrate that first chapter![/quote]|
If you like aircraft (and specially 707's) take a look at this:
[url=http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/trip_reports/read.main/98977/]Flying on a Saha Air 707 (Dec'06)[/url]
and here is a video from the same author, taken while taking off. The sound of those turbojets is music from the heaven:
For about the 3rd chap, writing progress 20%
Oh, btw, Saha's 707s are not so old. In chapter one I said the plane was about 80 years old. That was Thais's perception. Those 707 actually are about 33 years old nowadays, which means they'd be about 63 in year 2039.
|Kayteear||((Sorry for being so late. Anyway the forum update issues didn't help too much, but finally here you are the 3rd. chapter of the story. I hope you like it)).|
[b][size=14]III. Comanche Territory [/size][/b]
The breeze carried a strange odor. Wars have a strange smell, a smell of dust, smoke, blood and shit that gets stuck to the nose and follows you wherever you go, even several days after you have left. However, this breeze brought something else, something that Thais could not identify at first, despite having lived so many conflicts. It was really a mood that was in the air, a difficult combination of death and life, sorrow and delight. That forgotten area struggled to survive amid the chaos. Races of all sorts had made Lost Angels his home, and tried to stay afloat like a ship that keeps sailing with a leak.
Thais moved along the bridge with safe paces and was determined to go forward without looking back. Some lone seagull was flying upon the bridge over the submerged neighborhoods. Here and there derelicts of all kind could be distinguished protruding out of the water, above the roofs and rooftops of the tallest buildings. There also were the remains of a wreck, a medium sized freighter had been abandoned heeled to port, probably driven by a storm. Its hull was amongst the remains of the submerged buildings. Thais felt that the image was good enough to take a picture. It was really pathetic to see that steel mastodon lying half-submerged as if it was a dead monster in a puddle, rotting with the beating of the waves. She took the camera from her backpack and slung it around her neck to take the picture. She didn't put it back to the backpack after doing so. From now on it was better to have it at hand, you never know when you are going to find scene worthy of photography.
She walked across the bridge toward the city. It was still noon, but the sunlight was fading and it was increasingly fadded as she was gettin closer to the center of Lost Angels, where the sky had a leaden tone similar to storm clouds even though there really were no clouds. That gray, fadded sky exerted a powerful attraction in Thais, who despite knowing she was getting into the lion's den, she felt a uncontrollable desire to come closer and closer, feeling her pulse under the effect of adrenaline.
Finally, after overcoming a hill, the old city appeared before her eyes. Its buildings stood in the distance looking like crumbling, decrepit giants. She paused a few seconds contemplating the scene before her. There was no word to describe that. Thais felt her heart sinking. The city seemed to sink into the darkness as if about to sunset. In the distance, shots from small and large caliber and heart-rending cries of horror could be heard. Yes, Thais had experienced many conflicts, she had seen people die before his camera, she had heard people screaming in pain and panic. Even if she knew what was the pain of seeing how her own arm was blown up... But this surpassed anything known, and yet one thought filled the head of Thais: "Why didn't I come here sooner?". Sad and gray, the city seemed a corpse who -for some uncomprehensible reason- remained still standing. At that moment, a chilling gust of wind passed over her amplifying the sounds of the city, bringing some muffled words that hung in the air: "Come to me." She could never say for sure if those words had come with the wind or if they were figments of her imagination, but she kept holding the camera in her hand, the wind rocking her ponytail, and then Thais kept walking forward as she instinctively took a picture.
That Minolta was also capable of recording images with audio, which was very useful to help her write her articles. She used to record her chronicles with the camera and later sent them from the camera to Agencia EFE via satellite alongside the photographs. Thais put the camera in video mode and made sure that the sound channels had no filters enabled, so the sound would be more real. She started recording as she walked. Only her comments on the images were broken by her own strong, deep breaths:
'The City of Lost Angeles is all that remains of what once was a vibrant city in the early years of the twenty-first century. The only possible access to the old downtown is this bridge that I am traveling, which, as you can see', said Thais while directing the camera at one of the many holes on the board of the bridge still standing in a unexplained, pending a fix that never comes or waiting for the next earthquake to finally torn it down.
After the bridge was another of those signs with red letters, this one in pretty bad shape featuring some grafittis and bullet holes. "North Gate. Ground Zero". It gave no further details. The simple caption of "Ground Zero" was enough to warn about the enormous danger level. Thais finished crossing the bridge and then she could see more closely the true appearance of buildings. Most were still standing, but their conditions were ruinous and most of the windows were actually carpeting the street, utterly shattered to pieces. The wilderness aspect of North Gate, the sounds of gunfire, the smell of gunpowder... Instinctively she got close to a wall, avoiding walk through the street to keep herself off becoming an easy, appetizing target for any sniper having too much free time and a riffle in their hands. That inevitably brought to her mind a quote from a book about war reporters that was written in the late twentieth century:
"For a reporter in a war, Comanche territory is where your instinct tells you to stop the car and turn around, where it always seems about to dusk and you walk close to the walls, towards the shots that sound in the distance, while you hear the sound of your footsteps on broken glass. The ground of a war is always covered with broken glass. Comanche territory is where you hear them crunching under your boots, and even if you do not see anyone you know you are being watched" (3).
(3) From "Comanche Territory" by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
It was Comanche territory, except that in addition to the shots there also was a sinister hardcore style music resonating in the air.
'Ok! Let's start shopping!' she muttered as she adjusted the camera settings for optimal image under the poor light of that city.
She walked towards the center of the city, trying to move close to the walls and not showing herself up corners or through windows. That took a couple of blocks, photographing everything that seemed interesting and occasionally recording a short video explaining it, until suddenly, coming out from behind a corner, Thais's camera capture the image of someone running at full speed to her. She did not move, she just stood back from the path. However, she kept recording that blurry figure that was coming towards her while holding a sword in its hand. She kept calm. "It's not coming for me, I'm just recording here", she thought. Professional defect. She and her colleagues often talked about the fact that carrying a camera in their hands and a press pass in their pocket gave them the feeling of being safe. It was just a false safety feeling, because -well thought- bullets and bombs make no distinctions. Bang, thud, the dead to the hole and the alive to the roll. When it got closer, the figure showe up an unmistakably masculine, human appearance. His left arm was bloodied and his eyes drawn on terror occasionally looked back, like making sure no one was following him. Thais followed him with the objective of her camera trying to make as many photos as possible. Ultimately, it is likely that some of them worthwhile. When that guy finally had departed, Thais looked toward the place he had come. She was caught on in utter surprise. Another being ran over to where she was, aparently chasing the one that had just passed by. This one was larger and higher (should measure about two meters), had dark, bright skin and was holding large caliber pistol in its left hand. But this time, that false safety feeling did not come to Thais. Its appearance was frightening and unnatural, as unnatural as the tentacles emerging from its back could be, and this time was not easy to predict if it would pass or if it intended to attack her. Before she could realize, a large, black hand held her left wrist while a snake-like touch tentacle coiled around his right muñeda, pushing her against the wall and lifting her some inches from the ground. The pressure was so hard that her right hand had to drop the camera, which kept hanging from the neck of Thais. A second tentacle was squeezing her neck while a third, fourth and God knows how many more were wound in her legs and waist. Thais felt overwhelmed. While wearing the sunglasses on, it probably could be seen in her face the same look of terror she saw in that other man that left a few seconds ago.
That thing, whatever it was, put its dark face close to Thais and sniffed at her. Its features, despite of being terrifying apparently were those of a female, and its topless luscious round breasts left no doubts. The creature finally spoke with a heartbreaking melodious voice while that hurt Thais's eardrums.
'Where did he go?', but Thais was unable to answer. That thing insisted, the tone of its voice raising: 'Where?'
Nothing... Terror had blocked her, but the being did not matter. Instead, it tightened its grip upon Thais while the umpteenth tentacle slapped her, making her head turn from one side to another. And suddenly everything stopped, and it stopped was with a howl coming out form the mouth of that kind of demon as a blade skewered it though its guts, from the back to the belly, stopping a few millimeters away from Thais's womb.
The creature finally let her go, Thais dropping heavily to the ground. Now it looked more interested in that piece of metal protruding from its belly. It stood and turned her head almost one hundred and eighty degrees to see its attacker, whom Thais could hardly see. Between the legs of the devil, she could see the legs of another humanoid figure, or at least a definitely less scary Anthropomorphic one. A female voice spoke with a mixture of grunts and meows that Thais could barely understand. It was something like:
'Nghaorw mrhtuluk, rewor nghaorw ganz hsssulut!'
For a few moments the sword glowed with a bluish glow, and as per the art of the magic (pun intended) the wound in the body of the devil began to expand, consuming the meat around the edge. The devil jumped away, geting rid of the metal, and the spell was stopped immediately, leaving a so painful wound that any other inferior being would have gone mad before before diying in utter suffering. That thing put one of its hands and several tentacles over the wound. Its eyes went back and forth from its injury to its attacker. It seemed to feel weaker and felt forced to kneel on one knee, her breathing becoming heavier by the minute. It finally turned around and walked away dragging itself on its tentacles like an octopus on the sand of the beach, yelling and leaving behind a trail of black blood.
Thais, still sitting on the floor, was too slow in her reactions and didn't take any single snapshot of the facts, which was not spared for a while. From her position she observed whomever was the person who had helped her and then she understood the reason for those mewling cat-like sounds. She was still showing his fangs, sword in hand, watching the demon move away. She looked quite anthropomorphic, but the features in her face, her pointed ears on the top of her head and her fur left no doubt: a descendant of the Siamese breed, apparently young, short (even shorter than Thais) and with short black hair. The young woman finally sheathed her sword again after shaking it in order to remove some of the devil's blood and offered her hand to Thais to help her rise up. She accepted the offer and stood up brushing the dust and passing her hand across her face which glowed red due to the blows.
'Thank you...' she said in a tone denoing her relief.
'No problem ... but be careful when you walk through the streets. You're not from around here, huh?' It was obvious she was not, her accent and lack of precaution making it evidente. It was more a question of courtesy'.
'No, I'm not. Just arrived... And what a welcoming!'
'You better get used to it, and get you a gun soon'.
Thais raised her eyebrows for a moment. Of course she had a gun! Although it was also true that she had almost never used one. Thais moved a hand tothe backof her waist and pulled out her Beretta.
'I have this, but I didn't expect to have to use it, especially when I'm here for work.
The young woman looked at Thais from head to toe noticing the presence of a camera around the neck of Thais, deducting what was her work.
'You haven't come to do a tourist guide of Los Angeles, right? For unless the horror and war are tourist attractions, you'll find nothing here.
A fleeting thought crossed Thais's mind. "Tourism of Terror" or "Terrotourism"... Maybe it wasn't a so farfetched idea in the absurd and delirant world of the 21st. century.
'No, not exactly. It's just a report. My name's Thais.
'Taji' settled the other as she folded her arms.
'Nice to meet you'.
'You can say it!' Taji laughed, mockingly. 'Well, you know... From now on, always hold in one hand that toy gun you have, use the other for what you like: another gun, a grenade, a dildo ... or even a camera' se said looking ready to leave.
Taji, who had already started walking, stopped and turned her head to look at Thais.
Thais looked doubtfull for some seconds until she finally spoke:
'I know nothing about this city ... Would you be my guide?'
'200' Taji answered without thinking twice. 'a day' she clarified. Thais was also fast in her answer.
'No dice! 180'.
'oh, come on! 120'.
'130 or I'll find someone else to guide me'.
'Hah!' she slyly laughed . 'I'd be pleased to see it. Don't forget I helped you for good! 170'.
Thais breathed while rising her eyes to the dark sky of the city as a sign of acceptance.
'In advance' tried to force Taji.
'No way! A half at the beginning of the day and a half at the end.
'Hey! What are you looking for? A guide or a bodyguard?'
This time it was Thais who showed half a smile with a touch of evil.
'Okay', agreed Taji, snorting. '90 now, and the rest tonight', she said showing the palm of her hand, waiting for Thais to give her the money, as she did after counting $ 90 in cash.
'I hope the shelter is included with this'.
'Meh...' Taji merely responded. 'I'll see what can I do...' And after saying this she put the money into her cleavage and started walking toward the center of the city being followed by Thais.
To be continued...