Tag Archives: series

Laurum Hills, Part 4: The Unwalking Old Man


(previous chapter can be found here: http://thejohnrillos.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/laurum-hills-part-3-the-eggenning/)

“Hello most decrepit and foreboding gentleman of small stature and startling, crippled appearance,” little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr. cried with glee upon gazing at the wheelchair-ridden stranger behind the heavy oaken door, “Please do wheel yourself in, we would be most grateful to make acquaintance with someone so advanced in age and misfortune as you. You look ill sir, and perhaps a tag angry, would you like me to fetch you some water, or perhaps a bottle of peppermint schnapps? We aren’t quite sure what it is, seeing as we are nothing more than a ragtag conglomerate of less than well-fed, bathed, civil, or even remotely endearing orphans. But we do have an excess of this schnapps stuff if you happened to…”

And at that very moment, the wheelchair-ed mister scooted his way into the orphanage. Silence fell upon the impoverished entourage, as the highly vocative Giuseppe Jr. fell to the floor in a fit of deranged sputterings and spasms in a manner most similar to his older namesake. The unwalking old man, or Unwalking Old Man as he will soon be called, or the Old Man for short, or The Old Man if you are fond of capitalization, slowly crept forward, eyeing the blue onions. The multitude of orphans made not a peep.

After the lengthy persistence of an agonizing silence, apart from the raspy whisp of a breath that barely extended past the lips of the Old Man, and the muffled sobs of a now-seizing Giuseppe, The Old Man spoke.

“Your dwelling place is most quaint, most quaint indeed. However. You must leave. At once. You must come with me, it is time.” 

The words seemed to float from the Unwalking Old Man’s mouth, they were soft, but empty like a less-than-perfectly inflated air mattress. The words seemed to drift throughout the interior of the orphanage, grazing the walls in slow motion. The air gently hummed as the words touched it, or rather, it shuddered. His voice was one of great authority, but more like the authority of a possessing spirit. The way he spoke demanded cooperation, it demanded action, but it crept along your insides like the slender arms of a wraith, chilling and consuming. His voice was that of the cold, and the orphans reacted as such.

“Bring what you can carry, and we will depart at once…” The Old Man remained frozen in place, waiting for the children to respond. There was a slight shift of the crowd, yet the children did not know quite how to respond. They looked to one another, as their minds were slowly enfeebled by the grasping tendrils of a very scary adult’s command. And just as they had almost made up their minds to go gather their less than humble belongings, a tenor ranged male voice piped up, and a boy stepped forward.

“Gee sir,” John Rillos said, “Not that we disrespect your sudden authority in our lives or anything, but isn’t it a bit strange that we should bend to your rule uncompromisingly? I mean, we have done quite well without adult influence in our lives.” He gestured to the rotting walls with blue onions nailed about, the collapsing ceiling, the shallow pools of tears collected in the corners, and little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr. exquisitely convulsing next to his wheelchair. “We have really done well for ourselves. You can’t just expect us to follow your bizarre and unexpected leadership on a whim? How can we trust you, most gracious and aging mister of less than stellar physicality?”

“Perhaps I should show you a magic trick.” The Old Gentleman said, and at the tip of a hat, he tipped his hat, which was previously unmentioned.

A vortex pounced from the darkened underside of his top hat, and consumed little mister Rillos in a flurry of furry white, twisting doom. The child’s scream was only audible for a moment, as it was instantly drowned out by the high-pitched squealing of the twisting doom tornado. John, the child of moderate height and width, was lifted into the air, and crushed as easily as a grape, and the vortex swallowed him up into the depths of the Old Man’s now mentioned magical hat. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, the vortex receded. He jovially popped the cap back on his head, gave it a good spin, lifted it back off. With a cartoonish and endearing pop, a tiny head that mildly resembled John, but not quite, popped out and rolled across the floor, followed by the distinct scent of bacon grease and some currently undubbed hot beverage. All of the children applauded, with the exception of John Rillos, who was now quite dead.

“Now pack your things at once children, and we will be off.” The Old Man hoarsely whispered in italics.

The children all obeyed without hesitance, even little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr., who had just slipped the little head of the person who was not quite John into his little pocket. Soon, they would be off.


Chapter Ten- Boot Camp


I was sore.

Despite my recently acquired wounds, my malnourished bodily state, the searing pain from the stitches in my shoulder, and my general discomfort with the situation at hand, Colonel Wilde had immediately passed me on to training.

Training was grueling. I had spent the entire afternoon at a station learning the function of assorted weapons and gadgets, and how to perfectly prime, construct, care for, and occasionally defuse each. But this was not even the worst of it. During the monotony of training on several occasions, I was subjected to spontaneous masquerades of emergency situations, along with my fellow trainees. The most recent drill was the most terrible for certain, I had somehow ended up underneath the feet of several other initiates. I was abandoned, left dazed and bruised, but I was not alone for long. As the training area filled with a stinging poison gas, a  hulking gas-masked “attacker” appeared without warning, ripped me up to my feet, and a struggle ensued. If it hadn’t been for the initiate that had scrambled directly into our conflict and bewildered the monster of a man assaulting me, I may not have slipped away.

My knowledge of the weapons seemed to please the drill sergeant enough to allow me to pass on to the next station: target practice. I was excited by the possibility of something I might enjoy, and had just reached the armoury when it happened. Nearby, an explosion rang out, nearly tearing me from my feet. The concussive force of the blast rattled me to the very core, sending vibrations echoing down my limbs.

This was no drill.

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Chapter Nine- A Private of the Rebel Army


“Hm.”

Wilde seemed bewildered by my tale, but she remained stoic in manner all the same. I could see her eyes measuring my words, testing me like one might test an untrodden bridge. Jackson entered the room with a look of grim expectancy on his face.

“Well, welcome aboard Will.” Jackson’s jaw dropped like a sack of bricks. Even Quincy’s beady eyes seemed wide behind his round spectacles.

I stammered. “But…”

Wilde cut the words from my mouth. “But what? Do you intend to deny my hospitality? You crawled into my home, my fortress, like a rat through a crack in the wall! You’re on my turf! Your wretched presence eked out of my tunnel! You do not get a choice, and you shouldn’t need one anyways.” Continue reading


Chapter Eight- A Second Opinion


The skirmish outside was brief. There was distant yelling. A heavy pounding began above my head. It rattled the supplies on the desk and shook clouds of dust from the walls. Other shots crackled, farther away and scattered, but they receded to nothing. It appeared the rebels had won another small victory.

Perhaps my observations of the rebels were wrong. They seemed to be taking out more Guards than I had ever remembered. And winning fights. Perhaps I hadn’t even seen this “Rebellion” before. Was it in other districts too? It had most certainly spread to E3. So did Major Neil instruct me to go to F2 because it’s some sort of base?
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Chapter Seven- A Warm Welcome


There was a light. It triumphantly shimmered, blinking through whatever gap it had crawled through. My heart broke free from panick’s strangle hold, and I ran to the light’s sweet embrace. There was some sort of hatch directly over my head, white rays burst through the cracks, shimmering softly. I pushed the hatch. It wouldn’t budge. I pushed harder, with no result. I was becoming exasperated. 3 hours spent crawling through the dark, feeling my way through a claustrophobic, humid, wretched nightmare, and this was my reward? A closed door? My face grew hot. My wounds shot pain in circles across my body. I was sure the humidity had infected them, it was stifling. I thought I would collapse, it felt as if a massive hand was wrapped around me, crushing me in its grasp. I began pounding on the hatch, calling for a rescuer… Continue reading


Chapter Six- The Embers of Hope


There are things that set a professional aside from an amateur. A professional knows exactly what he or she is doing, and reacts as such. A professional attends to his or her business with unflinching accuracy and skill, flawlessly carrying out the duty that said he or she labored over learning. The gunfight before me was professionalism in its purest form. 
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Chapter Five- the Monster in the Mirror


Leaving a district was not a task to be taken lightly. It was a very rare situation a person even left their block. No one knew much about the other districts, except members of the Meeting, who weren’t exactly accessable. The towering walls shielded all of our view of the neighboring districts, save the peaks of the titanic buidlings of D4, the very center of Eden. As far as the assorted functions of the Districts, the Institution taught nothing of them. We did not communicate, function with, or encounter eachother. Ever.
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