This is a rough draft (read: really really rough draft) that has yet to be edited so it can be read by people who are not me. I figured since I had to put it up here anyways, I might as well let folks see what an unedited lunch writing spree really looks right.
I did mention it’s probably undecipherable to anyone expect me, right? ^_~;;
Thankfully the universe had seen fit to only allow for the wolfhound sized demons, so while all shadows were still instictively suspect, you really only had to worry about the ones large enough for heads (and teeth) to fit through. otherwise they wouldn’t have stood a chance. There were just too many drwabacks to having to keep completely in the light (for instance, what about the shadow cast by the person themself? At least some part of them was guarenteed to always be in shadow, unless they encassed themselves in a globe of LEDs and that jsut wasn’t practicfal. Appealing some times, yes, but not practical.
There was some benefit when it came to reducing ones life to ‘do your best not to get eaten’. Things like shiny cars andhigh tech toys suddenly seemed a lot lessattreactive than they had before. Getting the lastest song downloaded onto your ipod too a hurried back seat to finding someplace well lit enough to sleep.
Not htta anyone was getting alot of sleep, even if you took away the highesnted sesne of impending doom, you still have the problem of falling alseep with bright lights on. It didn’t bother everyone, but there were always a few who couldn’t sleep until they were literaly collapsing from lack of sleep. Sleep masks were all well and good under normal circomstances, but now no one was willing to risk anything blocking their line of sight.
There are rules to fairy tale demons, but they are no rules to the shadows. They don’t attack only the Good or the Evil, they don’t prety only on women and children, they don’t give one whit who or what you are as long as you are within reach and made of meat.
There are suprizing number of animals who make it through the veil, but it seems the demons are simply not interested in the smaller prey— although they’d been known to kill randomly for the heck of it. So there are birds and rabbits and mice and even foxes and bobcats. Which bodes well for the pet population, although they loose a good number of dogs to the shadows, as the more territorial canines attempt to defind their homes from the dark.
There are some places where the demons wont livce, or wont go, but they are areas that are that hospitable to anything else. Thankfully they seem reluctant to head into deserts, which leaves the Good Guys a wide open area with lots of sunlight— at least until teh veil has fallen.
So they are heading into the jmidwest, arizona new mexico areas. They are already working on building a giant plastic dome to live in, more a see-through wallmart than a biodome, but something easy to light with as few shadows as possible. The only thing that you can’t see are tha bathrooms and shower areas and those are still only opaque and not solid.
So Alec and Kat are sent out to keep a rival group from taking over the area they are working on. More of an assaination than blackmail, but Alec has his minor fifedoms to lean on and they aren’t short for leverage. The folks they are sent to deal with are one of the more organixzed groups, but one Zoe didn’t want to include. They are very mcuh set on the idea that only ‘worthy’ people should be saved and Zoe is much more of a ‘anyone we can fit into the habitats’
So there is a good risk the good guys will get raided later on, and they need ot take out the major players that they can. Brian is apparently financing infighting between the groupsd, which helps to distract and thin the herds, but they still need to be dealt with.
Who ever had taken Alec had done a very bad job at covering their tracks. It was almost as if they hadn;t bothered, which was what Kat was beginning to think as she followed the trail down the dunes. There had been some indication that Alec had been jumped, and it looked like whoever had done the jumping was dcarrying him off. Not that her tracking skills were that good, she was more of an urban hunter. Plus sand and wind made for back tracks and the ground was pretty sandy even wher there was actual dirt.
She followed the tracks closer until she could hear talking, which was about as non hiding as one could get, so she stopped and made sure her cover was very veyr good as she moved forwards. if they were this confident in their ability to avoid detection, they may have alrady killed Alec, or they may have addumed he was working alone. Either of which was stupid on their part, so she wasn’t going to assume her prey had suffered any recent head injuries.
“She’s going to find us eventually.” She could just make out Alec, propped up against a rock, nursing what appeared to be a very sore head.
“Most likely,” the other person had her back to her, but Kat was pretty sure she’d recognized the voice. And that made no sense at all, so she decided to wait things out until she had a better diea of what was going on. “I was pretty thorough with my modeling, and there’s a better than even chance that she’ll catch up either tonight or tomorrow morning. Hopefully tonight, since we can’t afford to wait much l;onger.’
“Well I’m certainly not helping you do this alone,” Alec snorted, “I can’t shoot worth a damn against a moving target, and I somehow doubt they are going to stand still for me.”
“If we’re lucky, they still think you’re walking into their trap and they won’t be expecting us. Still I’d much rather have Kat in charge of shooting things, I’m a passable shot, but I’m much better a the planning than I am at the executiuon.”
“So we’ve got two desk jockeys verses what amounts to a militia cult and we’re hoping one kid with a gun is going to save us. Great.”
“Kid, I like that,” Brian laughed, “She’s, what, four years yonger than you?”
“And twelve younger than you.” Alec pointed out, still nursing his soup.
“And you don’t see me calling her kid, do you” Brian pointed his fire poking stick at Alec in admonishmnet. “She’s probably killed more people than you’ve employed over the years, that really should carry a bit more weight with your strange little pysche that it seemes to.”
“Killing people is easy,” Alec snorted, “Try convincing them that you really do mean the best for them, even if it means they have to change how they are doing things. Now -that- is hard.” He swirled the soup. “I don’t think she’s ever tried talking anyone into anything, just shoot first and ask questions of the corpse.”
“In all fairness, it’s how she was raised.” Brian poked the fire moreseles. “The Society and the Matriarch aren’t exactally a normal environment for the fostering of differing ideas. There’s one way, only one way, and if you don’t like it you either die or learn to keep your mouth shut.”
“They’re sort of like the mob,” Alec finished off his soup and held the cup out to Brian to refill. “No one gets out alive.” He intoned dramatically, or at least he tried to, but he wasn’t that good an actor.
“My point exactally.” Brian handed the filled cup back. “And now she’s got the chance she never had— a clean break with no follow-up repurcussions. Although I don’t think she’s really realized it yet.”
“What, don’t you think they’ll follow her here? I figured she’s a double agent or a sleeper cell or soemthing.” Alec sipped his soup. “I can’t seem them just letting her go, she was one of their best.”
“From what I can tell that’s the deal that Zoe brokered with them. The God Guys share what they know and what they learn, no restrictions, and Zoe gets Kat for the long term. No leashes, no hidden clauses, just an exchange of power. Zoe needs anyone and everyone who knows wetwork and there are few places she can turn to. ” Brian poked the fire and it spat out pine needle sparks.
Kat sat in the not quite shadows and pondered. In truth she hadn’t even considered not going back once this was finished. The Good Guys were building a survival zone, true, and nothing they had said had inidicated that she wasn’t welcome to stay on in the long term, but she’d always assuemd the Society would call her back at the end of the assignemtn. They’d always done so before.
But she thought over the last few interactions she’d had and in retrospect now it seemed that people might have been saying goodbye as opposed to see you later. But it could also be that Brian was lying through his teeth, he was the Bad Guy after all and he was more or less single handedly responsible for sending the world into a thousand years of darkness (or dusk, depending on how you looked at it) so he wasn’t real high on her ‘trust’ lists.
And he could know she was listening, but the body language of the two men didn’t seem to indicate htat either one of them was aware they were being overheard. An dshe was pretty sue Alec wouldn’t have called her a kid if he’d known she was in earshot, he must know she’d have to at least smack him upside the head for the insult. Or put salt in his soup. Or something.
The veil finished it’s fall at 3:15 on a Tuesday, a completely random day and time— at least to the general populace. It apparently had something to do with astrological movements and celestial bodsies. but to be honest no one really cared anymore.
It had been overcast for weeks, gardually dumming down until the lsat step from into the thousand years of darkenss. Kat stared at the sky for a long while, evem though she couldn’t see any difference after the deadline than she had before. It was still gray and shadowed and it looked like it should be a lot colder than it felt. The idea that they next blue sky was a thousand years away was still too much to accept, so she decided that they weather would get better next week and it was enoughj of a comfort that she felt a little better.
The compound wasn’t complete yet, and it wouldn’t be for at least another few years, but there was plenty of room for everyone to stay in the light. There was little enough in household goods, mostly because those looking for shelter had left it behind them, realising they would rather have the lighter loads than the stuff they’d clung to for so long.
Which mean there were a lot of folks out of clothes and towels and whatnot. But they ahad planned for that and there were plenty of shuttles and looms and a rather impressive pile of yarm and cloth stocks. The clothes would be very basic for a while, at least until they learned how to coax flax and hemp to grow in the new climate, but they’d be covered.
The climate, while overcast, wasn’t as bad as folks had been expecting. More clouds didn’t always mean more rain, although the atmospheric declaration of ‘dark and story nights’ were much more common than before. And the desert was a bit of a floodplain in some palces. While the Good Guys had planned this ou sheard of time, not all of the groups were so lucky. there were a few smaller communities that apparoaced them after the first set of really heavy storms and asked if they could move into the area Zoe had designated as Burrow One.
There was a lot of discussion amount folks and it was decided at last not to let them in, as some of the slinter groups were mentalities that Zoe couldn’t tolerater, but that they coudl movei nto the area that had been designated as Burrow Three, on the agrement than they would owe allegience to Burrow One in certain matters. A few of the groups accepted the terms, but others moved on, looking for higher ground on their own.
The outlook was bleak, because everyone’s outlook was bleak, but it wasn’t hopelees. They had that at least. Plus they had Atlantis, and the Neutral Canyons, so even if Evil had the castle in the air and the sky squid, they would be on equal footing when the time came around again.
The earth and sea globes were in safe places, carefully watched over and guarded by a select group of pepole. THey would turn into cults in time, or religons, depnding on how to world went in the next thousand years, but at least we would be prepared the next time.
Now they just had to survive.
Someday it would be sunny again.
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