Category: thevoid

Chapter 3 – Hallucinating

Basha only vaguely remembered the explosion. He didn’t know he’d been thrown out, and knocked unconscious when the ship had fallen out of the sky. Nor was he aware Hyde had managed to drag him down an abandoned basement, tied him to a ratty bed frame, and was attempting to force its way into his torso.

No. As far as he was concerned, it was the tinkling of music that lured him back from the edge of the void. Warped, and backwards, it played so softly, it wasn’t long before it was drowned out by whispering. The indecipherable words slithered between the quiet notes, and crawled inside his ears, causing his bruised, and battered body to jerk, and convulse uncontrollably. Acrid white smoke wafted up from cracks in the floor; powerless to stop it, it found its way into his mouth and nose, down his windpipe, and settled at the bottom of his lungs like scorching hot lead. When, still thoroughly unaware of what was happening to him, Basha doubled over in a coughing fit, the subtle, burning itch that had been growing in his lower extremities erupted. It raced up his limbs, and upper body, the pain of which nearly convinced him he’d burst into a ball of literal hell fire.

“And would you imagine; you haven’t opened your eyes yet.”

The sudden sound of that… HIS goddamned voice… Sent his mind reeling as the force of gravity threatened to make him collapse under his weight. He pulled his hands up to cover his ears, to no avail.

“Don’t you remember, little brother, all the misery we’ve wrought together?”

The voice kept talking to him. Basha shook his head. He had but barely gotten a hold of his thoughts, and already they were spinning out of his control as the cacophony kept on raging both inside his head, and all around him.

He didn’t know where he was or why. He didn’t even know he’d been knocked unconscious. So, where the actual hell was he waking back up?

“Who ever said you were waking up, Basha?”

His deep and deadly ominous voice was growing, coming closer. Basha slowly, partially, wrenched one eye open to have a peek…. But it was all he could do to stop himself from screaming as he watched his shadow grow three times in length. Wings appeared on his back, while horns sprouted out of his head. His mouth, despite being covered by the palms of his hands, split into a shit devouring rictus. He shuddered, closed his eye again, and prayed it would all go back where it had come from and leave him the hell alone.

“That’s not what you want, and we both know it little brother.” The booming laughter that followed bounced off the floors, walls, and ceilings of the shapeless, cavernous space they were sharing.

There was no fucking way this was happening. This couldn’t be real.

“Of course it is, Basha.”

But of fucking course it was. Fucked up as he was, Basha didn’t need to look up over his head to know what was now looming directly over him. The tense chills of impending dread dripped down his back. The sudden, accompanying silence was brutal, agonizing, and felt like it was lasting an eternity.

“So, tell me, how are you truly feeling, little brother?” The voice returned a soft, barely audible whisper. Basha felt lips behind his ear, and the light brush of razor sharp canines over the skin covering the veins, and arteries in his neck. The hopelessness that had been slowly growing in the pit of his stomach…

The desperate scream that threatened to escape his vocal cord… Was muffled, and then entirely cut off as the Mad Maestro fell upon him like a blanket of ashen snow. Using one hand to grip both of his wrists together, he pinned them behind Basha’s back. The Maestro then stepped in front of the boy, and made a show of slowly licking the blood, dripping down the serrated claws of his other hand, as he dug them into Basha’s narrow cheekbones. Basha, stubbornly refusing fully to open his eyes, struggled to break free, but standing a full head over him, the Mad Maestro had no problem keeping him in his inhumanly strong grasp.

“You left us, my prince. And being away is making you frail.” The Maestro smirked as he moved his mouth down his jaw. He then turned Basha’s head in his direction, drawing more blood between his fingers as he took a closer look at his pale features, “But you’re back here, with me now, and that’s all that matters.”

The Maestro kissed Basha’s forehead, running his forked tongue down the bridge of his nose before biting into his upper lip hard enough to make him wince, “I have a present for you.” His voice sounded as jagged as his teeth as he let go of Basha’s face, “Something for all your pain.”

Basha finally managed to open his mouth to protest, but was far too slow with his words, as the Maestro put a finger over his lips to quiet him. Never letting go of Basha’s wrists, he let go of his face, and turned him the other way, placing his newly freed claws between the boy’s shoulder blades. Basha felt his heart slamming inside his ribcage once, twice. It skipped a beat, and then stopped completely as the bones in his back and chest splintered, and snapped. His knees gave out, his spine buckled, and blood gushed down his torso, drenching the clothes he wore with blood. Nearly blacking out, it was only the Maestro unmercifully holding on to him that kept him upright. Still, Basha failed to open his eyes, see or register what had happened to him.

“He ripped your heart out again, Basha. Look at how beautiful it is.” Said another, yet distinctly female voice. In the state he was in, Basha only recognized Eremis because her tinkling tone nearly matched the timber of her box, the music of which kept playing almost inaudibly in the background. Prying his eyes open, he blinked several times before his blurred vision began to return… And there it was, plain as day, jutting out of the front of his chest, and resting precariously between the Maestro’s fingertips as it kept pumping blood out with a steady rhythm.

His heart. Once more. No longer his.

“Impressive how it keeps beating.” Eremis said.

“… No… Not you too…” He barely muffled a scream as the Maestro pulled his arm back through his chest cavity. He let Basha go, evaporating into the inky black backdrop of their shared delusion, bringing his heart along with him. Basha gasped, teetered, almost fell over, but somehow kept standing.

“Is this upsetting you little brother? It’s not like you’ve ever used it.” It was a stupid question with a dishonest answer, and Basha chose not to dignify it with a response.

“Don’t be rude, Basha. Open your eyes, and look.” With his heart now a toy nestled into the Maestro’s hands, Basha could only do as he was ordered. He dried his eyes, opened them wide, and found himself facing Eremis’ entirely naked figure. Her matted, waist-long, chestnut hair did nothing to conceal what little curves she had, as her glowing, fuchsia eyes seared another hole in his forehead.

“Come closer, Basha…” She beckoned him as the snickering, giggles, and whispers returned. Basha struggled not to slip over his feet as he stumbled forward, taking a step, then another, and a third. It took him a long moment, but the full extent of the horror that had been standing bare alongside him slowly began to register. Utterly speechless, his jaw inches from the ground, Basha wondered if she’d fallen off the deep end, and inflicted her ghastly wounds upon herself as she’d done countless times before… Or if someone else had come around, and again used her for “practice.”

Eremis’ neck had been torn… No… That wasn’t right. It had been completely ripped to shreds, exposing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments still pulsing underneath. Her torso and stomach were also covered in deep bites, long scratches, and multiple stab wounds. Her arms and legs had been slashed down to her bones, plainly visible under her flailed and battered flesh. Worse was the way she’d been… Sown back together… Thick strands of coarse, black threads crisscrossed in and out of her mangled and mutilated flesh in a weak attempt at stitching her back together like a rag doll. Of course, Basha knew Eremis had already lost much of her humanity. The suicidal female had been converted into a mechanical pet against her will before they had met. But here, right at the moment, she was more human than machine, and the result was nothing short of fucking nightmarish.

“Promise, it looks worse than it feels.” She smiled as she came closer, burying her nose in his blood-soaked shirt, and digging her nails into his forearms with strength she shouldn’t have had in the condition she was in. She moved her free arm around his neck, her loose stitches getting tangled into his shaggy, nearly glowing, bright white hair along with her tiny fingers. Basha smelled nothing but vanilla as he unwittingly pulled her close to him, and held her there.

“Don’t forget; Big Brother’s watching.” Eremis whispered as, unbeknownst to him, the Mad Maestro had materialized some distance behind him, Basha’s pounding heart still nestled between his claws as he flicked his forked tongue from between his venomous fangs.

“Don’t forget; Big Brother can fuck right off.” Basha muttered as Eremis removed her hands from his hair, and ran her fingers over the fresh cuts in his face. She pulled his lips towards hers, their mouths melting into each other as her finger traced a path down his chest, avoiding the gaping, bleeding hole there to reach for his leather belt instead.

“… Always happy to oblige, brother…” The Maestro replied, too quietly for Basha to pretend to hear. Eremis had stolen his attention, undoing his buckle, and pulling down his zipper. The boy held on to her small, surprisingly steady frame as she wrapped her frozen fingertips around his rapidly growing inches, making him gasp from both the cold, and the delightfully delectable friction.

“Tell me you miss me?” Eremis asked Basha sweetly as they all watched her fingers play his swollen member like a true organ, sucking on his neck for their Maestro’s pleasure before biting her way down his abdomen. She kneeled in front of him, yanking on his pants until they’d fallen to his knees.

“… No…” Every other word he’d managed to conjure up in his head completely evaporated as Eremis ignored his feeble plea, and placed her full, tender lips on the tip of his throbbing erection.

“Say it, little brother,” The Maestro kept taunting him in her stead as Basha half-heartedly attempted to move his hips away from her mouth. She was drowning him in sensations he’d forgotten he could feel, making him rock to the rolls of her tongue, “Tell us how much you miss us.”

“… I said no…” But Basha was far too gone, and distracted, to care if he’d even spoken the words out loud or not. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since he’d been this aroused, much less able to recall the last time he’d so desperately wished he wasn’t. This wasn’t the place for fucking around, he thought… But the Maestro and Eremis clearly had other ideas.

“You’re so fucking close…” The Mad Master moved away from Basha’s ear as the boy knotted his fingers in Eremis’ hair in turn, gave in, and thrust his engorged cock down her throat. He grunted, his eyes rolling back just in time to catch the Maestro’s face, mere millimetres away from his own, as it spread into another wide, fanatically sadistic grin. He pushed Basha’s heart under his nose, the tender organ beating in time to his throbbing member, very much on the verge of exploding where it rested at the bottom of Eremis’ mouth.

“I know you’re frustrated, little brother. Come now. Let it all out.” The Mad Maestro ordered obscenely when all Basha had left to do was obey. The Maestro’s booming laughter reverberated across the room once again as Eremis swallowed Basha’s grand finale. To add a final insult to his already gaping injuries, the Maestro then crushed his poor, bleeding heart between his claws, ripping the already defective muscle into barely recognizable pieces, and letting them fall through the cracks below, never to be seen again.

Eremis stood up, and wiped her mouth, as the Maestro wiped his hands clean of the bloody mess he’d made. He sneered as Basha’s now limp, and lifeless body crumpled in on itself, and fell to floor in a heap. Then just as quickly as they had appeared, the Maestro and Eremis vanished in a puff of smoke, taking their music, their sarcasm, and their laughter along with them when they went;

“Bye-Bye, Brother.”

Chapter 2 – The Explosion

In human calendar time, what Ameidjin would eventually come to believe was the beginning of the end of Cirxci had happened just a few short months earlier. As she had correctly posited, it had, as with many other such tales, all begun with a catastrophic, “Big Bang.”

“You do realize how fucking disgusting that is, don’t you?” Rieze, perched on a boulder a dozen feet over Mercy’s head, stared down her nose at him as she picked at her teeth with her bloodied claws.

Mercy, ignoring the hypocrisy, along with the bloody gashes around her freshest victim’s neck and abdomen, had turned the hapless human over, and taken off its shirt. He’d then pulled his skinning knife from his boot, and cut a clear line from the back of its head, straight down to its tailbone.

“Don’t watch then.” He was growing excited at all the uncoagulated blood pouring out of its wound, licking his jagged canines at the sight of its spine jutting upwards. Rieze’s eyes narrowed to slits when, in one swift and brutal movement, Mercy reached in, snapped the corpse’s spinal cord from the base of its skull and ripped out its entire vertebrae. The sickening sucking sound it made was enough to make her shudder.

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to play with your food?” Mercy didn’t bother with muscles, tendons or ligaments, he simply plucked out the bones he wanted and dropped what remained by his feet. One at a time, he put the pieces in his mouth, using his teeth to crush them up further, and suck at the soft marrow tissue inside. Once he’d licked them clean, he spat the whole thing back out, “Why do you even do that?” She asked him pointedly.

“Why not?” Happily oblivious, Mercy wasn’t about to explain his old habits to his not-so-old hunting partner when they both knew better, “I told you not to watch.”

Rieze grimaced, but Mercy was facing the other way. She turned her head, her contempt replaced by pure, unadulterated glee as something else entirely caught her attention, “Well, well, well.. Looks like karma finally decided she’s being a fucking cunt today.” She announced with a mad grin on her face.

Mercy spat out another mouthful of broken bones before he shot her, and her twisted smile a glance, “What is it?”

“You won’t believe me.” Rieze had the back of her one hand covering her mouth in a half-ass attempt at not stifling her laughter, while she beckoned him with a finger from her other one, “Come take a look.”

His curiosity effectively piqued, Mercy stuffed the corpse’s innards in its back in no particular order, wrapped its shirt around its neck, and kicked it off the edge of the cliff they’d found it sleeping on. It bounced off some stones below, disappearing into a large crevice too far down for daylight to reach or Mercy’s night vision to see. Satisfied with his work, he turned and climbed the boulder to stand next to Rieze.

“In what possible universe is this even remotely fucking amusing, Rieze?” Mercy couldn’t have missed it if he’d tried.

“What do you care?” It was her turn to shrug him off, her assessment of him too accurate for his liking; he was having a damn well near impossible time believing what was happening. ‘CARING’ was an altogether different matter, “Unless, deep down, you think he lied to you, and your precious pet is still hidden on board?”

“He didn’t lie. He killed her, and her bones are still hidden on board.” Mercy shrugged, keeping his eyes off of Rieze’s dumbstruck expression, and on the scene unfolding overhead; the former human colony ship they had collectively boarded, overrun, and assimilated to their cause not that long ago. The black, nigh impenetrable, floating fortress they had used as a weapon of mass destruction against its entire fleet. Their newly adopted alien mothership, lovingly re-christened “The Ezramatheia”…

… Had appeared out of virtually nowhere, and was now hovering a dangerously short-distance away, belching out thick plumes of smoke from the gargantuan cracks quickly spreading across her otherwise solid metal shell as she leaned precariously over to one side. The surreal spectacle took Mercy back, drowning him in nearly forgotten memories stemming from the time he’d decided to leave and live on the surface, much to the Maestro’s protests. Rieze, on the other hand, didn’t care to admit or explain why she’d come and found him. She had turned up on his doorstep one day, and now stubbornly refused to leave him.

“Narcissistic fucking bastard had it coming.” Mercy, not entirely processing Rieze’s spite, kept his face blank as she talked, “Hey, do you think it’s going to…”

Mercy never got the chance to dignify her comments with answers. As though they had been waiting for her cue, colossal chunks of hull broke away from the ship. Riding the shockwaves of a series of ear-shattering blasts, they came hurtling towards Rieze and Mercy at breakneck speeds. Diving out of the fiery projectiles way, neither of them had much time to notice her exposed engines were engulfed in flames. One after the other, they exploded, punching more holes along the side of the ship. Unidentifiable pieces of stone, metal, and machinery were sent flying, setting most of the forest that surrounded them ablaze where they landed.

“Hey, do you think she’s going to make it?” Mercy shot Rieze a glance. The murderous look on her face made it abundantly clear that was not what she’d been about to ask. Quite the opposite, in fact… But while the explosions subsided, the Ezramatheia herself was completely overcome by smoke. Mercy sucked in some fresh air, convinced he could hear those on board screaming in panic, pain, and death. He found himself praying that it wasn’t nearly as fucked up as it had sounded and, for the extended moment she stayed afloat, it did look as though she had pulled through… Except all hope evaporated faster than the staling air in his lungs as the smoke began to clear, revealing the full, horrifying extent of the damage she had taken.

Hanging onto her top section by the metaphorical skin of their literal, metal-plated teeth, her engine blocks were already dragging her downwards as her thrusters sputtered out and died. Her lines and pipes sparked and gushed as they ripped apart, while the few bolts holding her together twisted out of their sockets and fell, bisecting their beloved mothership in one final, languishing shriek of despair. Unceremoniously, her broken, smouldering husks crashed into the mountains, burying themselves beneath the rocky avalanches they caused upon impact.

It was Rieze, muttering profanities under her breath, that snapped Mercy out of his daze. Neither of them had any more use for words as they scrambled to their feet, and jumped over the edge of the cliff, flying down its steep face in a bid to see who would hit the ground first. Once they’d reached the thin forest below, however, Mercy stopped in his tracks, watching an unwitting Rieze as she kept racing towards the ship. Maybe deep down she hoped her consort had survived, but Mercy had other, more pressing urges to attend to first.

“… Please … Help me…” It always made it so much easier when they found him. Without looking at who was calling out, Mercy stepped on its neck with his heavy boot, breaking it, and putting the dying human out of its misery. He then dragged the body behind some nearby rocks, and returned to scout the area more thoroughly. Already he counted; five, six, seven… Humans dead from falling, from being impaled, from being burned alive. Much to his frustrations, a number of them had been crushed under fallen trees, catapulted boulders, and flying debris, making their retrieval all but impossible. Fortunately, where most were ripe for his taking, it wasn’t long before he’d amassed a veritable smorgasbord of corpses, neatly piled up, and awaiting consumption. So caught up was he in his grisly scavenger hunt, what sounded like his newest capture suddenly talking to him nearly gave the veteran hunter a heart attack.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing with Basha, dummkopf?” The static-charged, inhuman voice had barely registered when Rieze’s screams of anger filled the air, “Nice to hear that fucking banshee still can’t find her way back home.” Mercy turned around, realized who was talking, and nodded; “Long time no see, little sister.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake Mercy, spare the formalities.” Hyde, in all its bionic glory, wore unlaced combat boots and a dusty, sleeveless white shirt under ripped green overalls that did a phenomenal job camouflaging it in the tall grass it sat in. With its slightly misshapen gas mask perched on its knee, it glared at Mercy as though daring him to say something about the sad state its face was in… But the tense anticipation was ruined when Rieze let out another series of murderous shrieks.

“… Would strongly suggest you drop Basha before I pop your eyeballs with my tweezers, steal your knife, and go hack out her vocal cords.” Hyde had to shout to be heard through the racket.


It was enough to make Mercy drop Basha’s leg, although he waited until Rieze’s voice had trailed off before he spoke, “Be my guest. You know exactly what will happen to you if you do.”

“In this fucking mess? I’ll take my chances. I doubt anyone’ll care.” Hyde shrugged, banging out the dents in its gas mask with a fist-sized stone.

“Care to explain what happened?” Mercy was keeping an ear out, expecting either another outburst, the sound of people dying or, in Rieze’s case, more than likely both.

“With what? Rieze or the ship?” Mercy couldn’t help but stare as Hyde locked its gas mask into its gullet, pulled it up to what should have been the bridge of its nose, and firmly reattached it to the back of its head. It had the effect of clearing up the static in it its voice, but dropping it lower in pitch, “Jesus, haven’t you been paying attention? The piece of fucking shit blew up, killed a bunch of people, and left the rest of us stranded down here.”

Mercy blinked a few times and tried again, “So what actually happened?”

Hyde let out a long sigh, “Spoiled brat here was complaining about his life sucking, and wanting to leave. Big Brother obviously couldn’t have that, so he got Faustus to build Basha a new heart reactor. Figures it’s the day we’re supposed to replace it, and ‘KABOOM!!’ there goes the motherfu-…”

“Mothership.” Mercy finished in its stead.

“Shut up. I’m not playing cult, I don’t care what those stupid troglodytes on board say.” Mercy didn’t bother arguing. He’d left the ship to get away from his older brother, and almost everyone, including Hyde, knew it, “I was running out to meet Faustus to do the thing, all of a sudden, there’s smoke everywhere. Next thing I know, I have tinnitus that still hasn’t worn off, and Faustus is dragging me out of the dirt, saying Basha’s unconscious but alive. He brings me here, and tells me to keep him out of trouble. I’ve been watching over the dumb brat ever since.” The top half of Hyde’s face was flushing red from its own, barely suppressed rage.

“You haven’t seen anyone else?” Mercy risked asking regardless.

“No. I haven’t seen anyone else. I don’t even know if any of my family members are alive, never mind where any of them might have ended up. I fucking told you. I’m stuck babysitting the Maestro’s fucking brat until Faustus comes back with his dumb upgrade.” Hyde jabbed a finger at Basha, “How the hell he can even still fucking breathe with a busted reactor is beyond me.”

“Well, I don’t know anything about any of that.” Mercy bent down, and pulled his skinning knife from his boot again. Hyde’s eyes lit up like the sun when he handed it to them, “But I’ll let you keep this if you tell me which way the doctor went.”

Hyde took the knife from him, carefully examining the serrated, razor-sharp blade before using the tip to tighten the loose screws around its neck. “I don’t know. Something about tasks, and second tasks, and went back to the ship. I should be dragging Basha to another settlement somewhere back there.” It gestured behind its left shoulder. Mercy could see plenty of hills, and desert beyond that, but nothing that looked remotely close to a settlement, or a camp, “He said it’s best to keep him hidden until the Maestro is found.”

“Nice to hear that new mask of yours hasn’t dampened your sarcasm any.” Hyde rolled its eyes at Mercy’s comment, “Try not to kill anyone, and I’ll try to send some extra hands your way if I find any.”

“I promise nothing.” Was the best Hyde had to offer, “Wait, you mean real people and not just… Hands… Right?”

“I promise nothing.” He parroted back as he began making his own way towards the Ezramatheia.

“… Did you hear that, you fucking brat? You and I are going to have some fun…” He thought he overheard Hyde say, but didn’t stop or turn to look at what they were doing. Nor did he remember to look for Rieze’s footprints in the singed, cracked earth they’d both threaded. Not until he’d almost reached the ship’s mangled thrusters. As such, he didn’t immediately think it strange she had never made it closer than a dozen feet away from the Ezramatheia’s melted outer shell. All he bothered to notice was the path she had taken towards the ship’s top half, where most of their surviving human followers were more than likely rallying together, trying to salvage what remained of their pitiful human existences.

Mercy got closer and put a hand on their mothership’s scorching hot surface, burning his skin, and relishing the sensation. After all this time in self-imposed exile, he had forgotten how absolutely overblown their spaceship had become since the Maestro had run her over. She was so large, and so heavy, not only had she crashed into a mountain, she’d utterly obliterated it, and taken its place. It was an almost impressive ending for such an impressive piece of machinery.

He heard… Thought he heard… What did he think he’d heard? Mercy involuntarily moved up a step. Was someone whispering to him through the cracks? The holes that perforated the ship were more than big enough to hide a person. His fingers traced the smaller lines while smoke kept billowing out. He took another step, kneeled down, leaned forward to listen and…

(Who Said it’s “The End”?)

… Promptly disappeared. Bound, captured, pulled through the mothership’s gaping fissures, and swallowed by the darkness that lurked underneath.

Chapter 1 – Death Has A New Beginning

Possibly the only jipsa still alive and thinking, Ameidjin stood alone on her rock, and hopelessly wished for a reset function she knew didn’t exist. The stress-induced adrenaline was causing her blood pressure to spike, and she closed her eyes as jumbled thoughts flashed behind her lids at nauseating speeds. The mess of reels culminated into a burst of colour, followed by nothing but static… Black… White… Grey… Continuously rolling, never ending… Static. She brought her hands to her head, shook it, and opened her eyes again. It didn’t help. Nothing about her surroundings had changed. Ameidjin still stood on her rock overlooking what had become a mass grave. From her vantage point, she had a round, unobstructed view of the Mad Maestro’s extermination of her kind in all of its twisted, rotting beauty. An ironic display of morbid grotesqueries rendered live, and in high definition, under the cruel glare of their planets’ sun. Here, within a jipsa sanctuary… Except a sanctuary it was no longer.

“It was a massacre,” didn’t begin to describe the true horror that had happened here. It was genocide; “Complete and utter annihilation.” It had Ameidjin nearly convinced she was losing her mind. Yet, it was impossible to miss, or misunderstand, how much death there had been here in what appeared to be a ridiculously short time frame; blood still pooled from the piles and piles of putrefied, mummifying carcasses littering the ground. All of her brothers, and sisters. All of them butchered, mangled, mutilated. They had been shot, skewered, crucified to the stone beneath them, stuffed into every crack, crag, and crevice. They had all manner of weapon jutting out of ripped skin and broken bones… All of them… She could even see the warmth of their collective bodies slowly rising into the atmosphere, dissipating into nothingness.

And the smell… The fetid scent of death and decay was threatening to engulf her whole. It had assaulted her senses long before she had made landfall. As she had moved up the shore, her bare feet landing ankle deep in puddles of guts and gore, it had become all the more intolerable. Now, it was nothing short of overwhelming. It made her eyes well up with tears. It made her nose and throat burn. It made her skin itch until her entire body felt wrapped up in dull, tingling sensations. It went along well with the fire searing a hole in her stomach. She could barely find her words, let alone put them in any which order, forced as she was to take it all in. She could feel what her family had felt; the desperation, the fear, the pain. She allowed all of it in, let it crawl under her skin, let it climb its way through her nervous system until all she could register anymore was her unbearable, insurmountable anger. At “THEM”.

It was all their fault, she knew. Those life sucking leeches… insufferable, unkillable insects. Rumours had circulated of their arrival, but there had been no warning. No indication whatsoever of what was to happen.

“Here”… On Cirxci… The small blue and yellow marble planet with one sun and two moons, Ameidjin and her people called home. Left to its own devices, alone in a distant corner of the backwards universe, it had developed, matured and flourished. Separated into three major continents, and surrounded by countless islands, cradled by clear, emerald green waters, it had been primordial, exotic, and teeming with life; a gentle nature befitting an equally gentle balance.

But then, that ‘THING’ had appeared.

Even on their distant island, they had heard the whispers floating back from the mainland. ‘ITS’ arrival had coincided with one of their festivals, and their otherwise inexplicable guest had been received as a Greater Deity, finally returned from some far gone pilgrimage… Alien naivety at its finest. Ameidjin pursed her lips.

No one knew exactly what had happened. One day, the jipsa had woken up to thick, black smoke instead of clouds; their ‘Deity,’ had been badly damaged. Its systems had overloaded, and a chunk of its hull had been blown clear off. ‘IT’ hadn’t survived… Jolted, tilted precariously to its side, and with dying engines,

‘IT’ had exploded, ripped apart, and crashed to the ground. A passive people, unaccustomed to confrontation and war, they had let their guard down. They had let their friendly curiosity get the best of them, and they had gotten too close. They hadn’t known how angry their ‘Deity’ truly was. Not until it was far too late, and now this… This… This was the inevitable result of their doing that.

Ameidjin balled her hands into tight fists, her claws drawing blood from her palms. The stories they had told… The rumours that had spread… The tales of how the downed, mountain-sized craft, had suddenly opened ‘ITS’ doors, and unleashed armageddon on doomed, defenceless Cirxci. Stories of mutated insects having suddenly appeared, swarming out by the millions. Stories of how they had spread out like a plague, destroying everything in their path. Thanks to their ,’Deity,’ infected, and mindless drones had run over their villages and cities. They had tortured who they could, and killed who they couldn’t. They had taken everything they were able to get their hands on until there was nothing left for them to take, and had kept on going. They had contaminated their waters, and decimated their ports. Their wildlife had been nearly eradicated while their lush forests had burned down, and been reduced to dry, barren deserts. Their once great cities were left smouldering rubbles of their former selves; spewing out more black smoke so thick, it had joined all the other smoke, and blotted out all the lights in the universe. It had turned even their brightest days into pitch black nights, and rendered their journey here all the more miserable.

Of course, she had found survivors, but the older generations, and those who hadn’t fallen to diseases, had suffered shock and trauma at the overbearing sight of the newly warped landscape. Others had died traversing the rough seas, and most had extinguished from heat and starvation. To add to their paranoia, there hadn’t bee a single bird in the sky, not a single movement on the ground or even a quiet breeze to keep them company for what had seemed like an eternity-long voyage. As their numbers had dropped off, all she’d had left on her increasingly lonely journey here was silence… And more silence was what had greeted her when she had finally gotten here… To what she was painfully discovering was not shelter, but her kind’s final resting place.

Ameidjin sucked in a breath. Every moment gone was a moment closer to her inevitable death. They were done, she believed. Her species had been rendered all but extinct, and she knew, “IT,” would come back to finish what it had started. She knew their, ‘Deity,’ wasn’t far from here. It rested, looming into the background among their sacred mountains, waiting for what remained of them to arrive. She could practically hear ‘ITS’ engines; the menacing, low mechanical sounds of technological torture. The, “Black Machine of Death.”

And she could feel it… All of it. The pain… The suffering… All that misery and anguish. It was positively excruciating. It felt like hell. Or as close to hell as they could get, all the way out on their distant planet.

The insects were coming ever closer. She could hear them chittering nearby. It wouldn’t be much longer now.

With nothing left to look at but the same, morbidly red white and black, never-ending static, and the dry, death-filled landscape frozen in space and time, Ameidjin closed her eyes once more. It couldn’t be over… This couldn’t be the…

She closed her eyes tighter.

Flash. White. Blank.

“The End?”