Excerpt for Nova Episodes: Transience by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



NOVA EPISODES

TRANSIENCE

by

Shaawen E. Thunderbird



Randall stood before the shadowy barn. Its enlightened darkness beckoned him to come, gesturing with a tingle of fear that filleted within his gut. Wickedness was the dark and the eye of trickery was unperceived. Yet still those barn doors rustled to the wind. Creaking. Whining. Chirring disharmoniously into the symphony of the night.

Randall wanted to go, but he knew what was in there. It was placed in there. It was waiting for him. Waiting for him to come. And the grey wooden barn sat unhallowedly still, desecrated by the nightly gloom. Shadowy paintings twisted and contorted along the morbid surface of the wood. Spawning momentary figures of fiends and secular shapes.

And thus he stepped towards the barn doors. Each stride was a grin to the malicious, as diabolical as the step before it. And each tread was a vestige of unsanctified decree, yearning for a frenetic doom.

He grabbed the impious lever, slowly opening the door. Its screeching was like chatter, rasping and rattling an incantation to the vile. Darkness plagued the once-chaste barn, infecting every corner, indention, and hay bale that defied it. Only the star's delusory light pierced through the opening gate and spread its deceit within the barn. Until Randall turned on his lantern.

The burnish glow detoxified the poisonous murk, receding it to the very corners of the building. As Randal walked deeper into the profane bowels of the barn, the shadows contorted around him. Smearing his back with the eclipse of decrepit twilight.

Squinting was his eyes and venerable as they were, Randal scanned the illusive edges for his infernal tenant. He had only just left him here earlier in the day. He closed in the first indention where the leery cattle homes used to be stored. His light hit a pocket of complete darkness as though a void of space was next to a hay pile.

Randall frowned, inched closer to it. It shuffled back. That void of darkness moved. Randall jolted. But that silhouette looked human. He glanced closer. Trying to image it out. Red eyes turned from oblivion and glanced at him. Randall locked gaze with it. The thing emitted a low heavy growl as it sucked in breath.

"Now, easy does it there," Randall calmed. "I ain't here to hurt you."

Red spots pulsed a bit brighter along the rims of the black figure. Darkness receded slightly on it and light reflected off its skin. The skin's texture was scaly and rough. It pulsed an even blacker liquid underneath the first layer of skin, barely noticeable to eyes. It showed no signs of hair, but he did notice very mutated claws for hands.

"Where did you come from?" Randall asked.

The black figure merely grunted in response.

"What happened to you?" Randall added.

The black figure said nothing. It seemed to be merely waiting. Randall gave it one last scan before backing away. There was nothing more than could be done. So, he rechained the barn doors and left for the night.

Randall had a visit from Percy the morning earlier. Percy had rushed to his place with something important to show him. In the back of his truck was that dark monstrosity, waiting to be set free. Randall didn't know what to do with him so he stowed him in his barn. Now that it was the next morning, Randall was waiting for Percy to arrive.

Randall owned a BioFarm in the middle of the endless dunes within the Shattered Earth. It was a huge dome, shielded by a field of plasmatic light. Four large arches crisscrossed at the center with five supporting beams reinforcing the dome's structure; one in the middle, four on the rims. It was surrounded by a forest of wind turbines that powered it. That provided the dome's framework.

The BioFarm was commissioned by nearby settlement engineers and other craftsmen. They exchanged their services for food grown in the dome, employing Randall's expertise to do it. He agreed but also wanted to be left alone. The only visitor he had was Percy, whom constantly checked in on him and labored himself to doing any repairs needed.

Percy drove to the BioFarm that same morning. He curved into the road's entrance, kicking a mist of powdery dust in the dry air. Its axel tremored to every pothole it hit and threatened to dislodge. Randall watched him come, shaking his head at that raggedy contraption.

As Percy pulled in, Randall got off his wicker-woven lounge chair and took the cigar out of his mouth. Percy got out of the truck with a toolbox and some rope.

"Is that for your truck?" Randall asked. "That old thing ain't safe no more, you know that right?"

"No!" said Percy. "That's for the thing in the barn."

"Can't catch what's already caught," said Randall.

"I know, but in case it tries anything," said Percy.

"Why, in tarnation, did you think on bringing it to me for?" said Randall.

"I didn't know where else to bring it?" said Percy. "The thing just showed up in my truck right when I was leaving for your place. Did you call for a doc like you said?"

"He'll be here in eleven days," said Randall.

"Eleven days," said Percy, adding a disappointed huff to it. "So, what're you gonna do with it until then?"

Randall squinted his eyes, losing himself in thought.

"That thing was a person, right?" said Percy. "We need to help him somehow."

Randall wasn't so sure about that.

Percy stayed for lunch after fixing Randall's generator. Randall lived alone after his wife had died two years ago and has been one-manning the BioFarm since. Most of the machines took the load of labor off of him so he was never concerned about needing support. After their needed chores were said and done, they both approached the barn. Each with a plate of food in their hands.

"Are you sure this thing eats?" Percy asked.

"Nope," Randall said. "Gonna try anyways. I checked on it last night. It didn't attack me or nothing."

"You were in there with it?" Percy said, alarmingly.

"Yeah," Randall said. "Don't think it wants to harm anyone."

They got inside the barn. Light invaded through the cracks of the wood, showering the barn with rays. The grey wood was still holding up after all its life. Space was compartmentalized with wooden walls by intended usage; hay bales, cattle houses, grooming areas, and section that hung tools.

Percy put both plates in the middle of the barn and Randall grabbed a pitch fork from the wall. Then, they stood by the door waiting for it to come out. A blotch of darkness peaked between wooden slabs within an indention, then protruded around the wall. No light seemed to reflect off it. It was like a complete void of darkness that vacuumed photons.

"There," said Randall, pointing it out. "Its like it's skin absorbs light."

Percy took a good glance at it. He thought was looking into a void of darkness, but noticed that void moved.

"Jeeze..." Percy squeezed out in a whisper.

"I think it was human," said Randall. "Maybe it has a name."

Randall took a few steps forward and knelt down before the food to its eye level. He tapped the ground just before the plate a couple of times. The blotch of darkness didn't move. The oval shape, presumably a head, just kept Randall in its sights.

"It's gotta eat some time," said Randall.

He got up and backed away. They both waited for a few minutes before walking out of the barn again. At dinner, they kept talking about the thing in his barn. The possibilities of what it could be and why it existed like that. It didn't seem dangerous, but didn't seem friendly either. It was a mystery that kept Randall and Percy engaged in all day.

Night was coming so Percy drove home, leaving a frazzled Randall behind with the barn. Randall again approached it. The nefarious barn for holding an atrocity. The depraved wind exceeded again, clattering the barn's heinous shutters into applause. Perverse shades silhouetted dance onto the building's skin from eternal umbra.

The radical Randall stepped forward again onto the darkened path of sin. Sinning for acquainting the fiend of the night, whom solely praised obscurity. He grabbed onto the naughty barn lever that held it so abound. Turning it as though seducing the insidious snickers that the possessed door rattled. Again, the odious dark beckoned him in, enticing his very melancholic curiosity into the brooding pit of the abyss.

He entered the chasm with his shameful lantern, scandalizing its promiscuous light into the dreaded barn halls. Shadows threaten to creep and contort as the lantern’s rays would bend. Radiating in the emptiness of light that darken the voided vibrancy of depended sight. Darkness conceded to every curve of the lantern. Extinguishing luminescence that flushed over and around the defiant Randall.

He crept again in the depleted blaze for the orb of eternal darkness. And he found it, again near the haybale behind the first indention. Randal crept a bit closer then knelt down. Squinting his eyes trying to make out the image of this mystifying being. The dark void was agitated by his advance. But still Randall pressed on, inching a bit closer to it.

"Do you have a name?" Randall asked. "A family?"

No response came. Randall waited a moment before letting out a sigh. He may be for a long while before it would try to answer. Then, it seemed like as though sound itself gathered with the wind and expelled itself towards him.

"No..." said the raspy wind near the dark void.

It talked! Randall couldn't believe it. He made communication.

"What happened to you?" Randall asked.

Then, wind gathered again before seeping away as sound.

"They made us like this," said the dark void.

"Who did? What did?" said Randall.

This time, it didn't respond. The wind in the barn was calm.

"Are you in trouble?" Randall asked. "Do you need help?"

A deathly sigh escaped the dark orb as though a pleasure was birthing inside it. Randall's hairs stood up along his arms and goose bumps formed.

"They want us back," said the dark void.

"Who does?" said Randall. "What does?"

"He crashed here," said the dark void. "They took him in. Hid him from the others. Dissected him. They thought he was dead, but he was still alive."

Randall was incredibly spooked. Not understanding its meaning.

"Now, he mutates," said the dark void. "Evolves... and began to spread himself onto others."

"Who does?" Randall said.

"The one who determines all," said the dark void.

Randall paused in thought, wondering what he was getting himself into. Suddenly, the void of darkness moved. Randall stood up.

*****

Percy walked to the barn's doors the next morning. The barn doors were wide open. The hay bales were fluttering to the wind. Percy took a gander inside.

"Randall?" Percy said. "Are you in here?"

Percy looked through the barn. Nothing. No signs of struggle. No void of darkness. Just an empty barn. Percy looked inside the BioFarm itself. No movement at all. Percy looked everywhere for Randall, but he was nowhere to be found. He searched all day for him before finally giving up. He considered the old man a lost cause and probably eaten by the creature.

What Percy didn't know was that the void had consumed Randall whole. It infested him with a dark liquid which consumed and transformed his body. Randall screamed the whole time as he felt his body warp and contort in ways not possible. His insides turned to slush and a distant whisper echoed in his brain. After a minute. He wasn't himself anymore. He was one of them now. The one who stalked the night. Infected by a deadly disease that turned people into creatures. And those creatures were numerous in number.

It literally was darkness. But he didn't know it was chimeric in nature.



THE END


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