Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.
They came in like a flash flood, tearing apart the wall and earth as they fought to get inside. Rocks from above fell into the crowd of fleeing masses as they scaled the rooftops searching for an unoccupied spot where they could each could eat a few meals by themselves. As I ran, I saw my friends and family get crushed. Some by the boulders from the roof, some by large talon claws from bloodthirsty dragons who had gotten ahead of the pack. Their body torn to shreds from their filed fangs, their piercing cries of anguish rung in my ears through the multitude of noise all around me.
I screamed, calling out for help as I ran with others. Doing my best not to trip over the masses of bodies littering the floor. Tossed in the the earth and blood that stained the metal walkways. Ever so slowly the lights began to go out as wave upon wave of the fire breathing reptilian murders worked their way through the stragglers. Tearing them apart as they fought over the bloody meats that clung to their bones. I ran faster as they people around me started to dwindle. I looked up and saw the bursts of fire from the muzzles of the rifles of the Dragonslayers. They were directing the survivors into the tunnels that were guarded by four turrets that blasted bullets that looked like rocket shells into the maw of the onslaught.
I ran just I saw one of the turrets malfunction, and then in horror I watched as it was overwhelmed immediately. They moved on to the next one with caution, but it was soon destroyed just as the first, and with just as much ferocity. They had to close the gates and I saw people clawing their way to get into the tunnel before the Dragonslayers could do so. But there was so little time, maybe only a handful made their way in before the thick slabs of metallic doors slammed shut. Taking the limbs of a few unlucky souls with it, but their pain did not last long.
I cried and broke left, heading into a building and hiding in the corner. A concession store, and in the reflection of the cracked glass I saw myself. Big little girl brown eyes that were framed by mud and gore plastered brown hair. I couldn't have been more the six or seven, actually I knew I was only six, turning seven. I looked at the small figure with her torn yellow sun dress and sneakers. I reached out a shaky hand to touch the glass, to say goodbye to myself and everyone else. But as my fingers came within inches of it, the glass shattered. The wall holding it smashed open to reveal a young green dragon looking for a meal it probably smelled. The bigger ones didn't go after the children, to them we weren't even worth the effort to eat. But for young dragons such as this one, we we're perfect.
Obsidian black eyes pierced through me like knives. Holding me where I was. I wanted to scream, I wanted to run away and get someone to help me, but I was frozen in fear. Fear was the only thing I knew at that exact moment as it approached me ever so slowly. Savoring the meal to come, and I knew it would come. It opened it's mouth, I knew it was coming and I was closed my eyes and screamed.
A hand grabbed my wrist as a long kitchen knife was jammed crudely into the left eye of the beast. I tore myself away from it and looked to see who had pulled me away. It was a young boy, he ran like a gazzelle to a corner where a small service tunnel lied. It was only big enough to fit one person at a time. Maybe two children at a time, but as we neared it a thump so big it swept us both from our feet slammed into the earth behind us. I turned and watched as a dragon, white with age towered above us. Had he stretched his neck to the full extent he would have smashed through the roof of the city. There was no gunfire, and no more screaming. Only the sound of dragons in the background yelping and roaring as they fought for the remainders of their precious meals.
Larger dragons surrounded us, the few lights that weren't destroyed shining beams of golden rays into the sea of death and destruction. The service tunnels little light flickered and sent a shadow racing up to the edge of an encirclement. The large dragons stood in wait, glaring at me with the big black eyes that were at least the size of me if not more on the older ones. With filed teeth that would snap my body in two as easily if I were a stick. They didn't attack, and I couldn't understand why. Why wouldn't they just end it, stop this fear that coursed through my veins like running fire.
Then I saw it, between the legs of the adults came the young dragon, still shaking his head as he bled from one eye. And it seemed that in his right eye, all the hatred and bloody rage that fueled them both had been doubled. And it had it's single glaring eye locked with mine. It charged, and I closed my eyes again so I didnt have to watch my own death. But it never came, something... someone yelled directly in front of me and I opened my eyes to look.
It was the boy, the little boy who couldn't have been more than ten years old standing there holding a butchers knife in his small hands. The dragon, having been so preoccupied with the intent of killing me stopped in it's tracks as he realized that there were two meals to have. I looked around, more dragons had convened in the the circle. Watching as if it were a show, maybe it was a ritual, a right of passage for the young dragons. I didn't know, but they didn't move, only let their eyes flick from one subject to the next. Snapping their jaws and clawing the earth in anticipation.
The dragon in front of us eyed the boy from top to bottom, and so did I. Jet black hair, the body of a child who liked to play outside. I had seen him before, he was always running around doing some other type of business with the Dragonslayers. Going off and fighting his own, make believe wars against fake dragons. None of the other kids liked him much, we all thought he was weird for trying to fight when nothing was around to fight. And only adults had any reason to fight. But there he stood, and as he turned around to look at me I saw his eyes. Deep blue eyes that were both gentle and fierce all in one. His mouth moved and I didn't hear it at first, but the sound hit me hard just as the young dragon got done sizing the boy up and charged.
I screamed and took off towards the safety of the service tunnel. A few of the other young dragons crawled through the feet of the adults and bolted to block my path. I closed my eyes and ran as fast as I could towards the opening. Waiting for the coming pain. But all I heard was a few shots from a high caliber rifle as something from inside the tunnel brought down the scampering dragons. A man waved his hand from inside the tunnel, waving me to safety. I ran to him and he pulled me in close, passing me off to the next man down. They wore the white and gold colored uniforms of Halidom's Dragonslayers. They were reinforcements. I turned my head to say something, the boy was still out there, and as my eyes tried to find there way past the man at the door way I saw him.
And I saw him running, completely drenched in blood as he sprinted away from the body of the young dragon. It's body writhing in agony as it tried in vain to dislodge a butchers knife that had been jammed into the hollow at its neck. And then the man at the door moved in front of me again and I lost sight of him.
It wasn't a second later that the entrance to the service tunnel was empty, the man snatched away in jaws that snapped him up quicker than I could blink. His screams were only an echo of a noise and as the little boy came barreling into the entrance, slamming the button to close the doors with his fist, I saw the most terrifying thing in my life, and it was this moment I understood I would die. Maybe not now, but eventually I would have submit to this creature. The towering white dragon, as it lowered its head to the ground so low that I could see the entire face. Eyes so black that no night could ever replicate them, and with as much hatred as every single dragon alive, and then more so. It lifted a clawed paw so large it could have destroy one of the sentry towers in a single swipe towards us. And the last thing I saw before we were plunged into darkness, was the giant clawed hand as it came crashing down.
And I woke up, fist balling up in the end of the soft blanket as I struggled to maintain my body from its shaking. I was drenched in sweat, and my head was throbbing as if I had been smacked by a boulder. The throbbing trickling down in small waves through my back until it subsided. Slowly, I let my hands relax and let out a deep sigh that I made to cover up the want to scream. They happened every now and then, the same memory of that nightmare flashing through my dreams when it pleased. Never letting me forget, not that I really thought I'd ever forget. At this point I had submitted to the understanding that I would have this nightmare until the day I died. Much like every other Transit had.
That's what we're called, Transit's. People who lost their homes in the war against the dragons and we're able to survive, before they are moved to a new home in another city. Mainly, only children survived. It was rare when an adult makes it out, and the children only survive because they take no interest in us. Or we manage to hide ourselves well enough to not be eaten before the search team goes through and finds us. The latter doesn't happen as often as people would like, but then again, some people would have wished us to have just stayed in our city and die. More food and resources for them I suppose, and who could blame them. People get by, but not by much.
I got out of bed and stepped into the darkness onto the metal floor of my room. Running a hand through my now jumbled lock of brown hair, I tried to shake away the drowsiness of the morning. I flexed my toes, letting the last bits of my bodies shaking dissipate into the floor before I stood yawning. The room was entirely metal, steel woven mesh fibers made into thick plates made up the walls.Across from me was a small closet where I hung up my clothes, and a desk with a touch screen monitor on it. In the other corner at the foot of my bed stood another desk, this one held a small little green plant specked with yellow dots. A journal rested next to it, ruby red and locked with a little heart lock. My adoptive father gave it to me as a home warming present many many years ago. I flipped the switch next to my bed, sending the bed frame rotating into the wall. I sighed and slapped the back of neck, I forgot to grab the blankets again, which would mean tonight I would have to tug them out of the jam they would ultimately get into once I tried to rotate the bed back out. When the wall closed with an air sealed noise, a table slowly lowered itself to the ground.
I walked to the window that was framed by black bars and held blades of thin metal plate that could be slid into compartments in the wall. As I slid them open, light fell gently into the room from the lights outside. I squinted my eyes so I could see the hanging firefly, which is what we called the hanging lamps of energy that produced our light. As my eyes adjusted I searched past it to watch the crowd of people making its way into the morning towards work. Everyone had a job to do within the city, unless you were chosen to do a special task like be on the city counsel or be a developer. If you weren't something like that, then you were either filled into positions that the city needed, or served as a Dragonslayer. Dragonslayers served as the cities protection force in readiness. Back in the days before the dragon wars, long before my time was even thought of, history books told us there used to be four, even five military branches. And they didn't protect cities like ours did, they protected nations and whole countries. But as of right now, this city is our nation, and humanity is our country.
I rubbed a hand down my arm as I watched my adoptive father walk to work. If he was leaving it meant that it was about seven in the morning. Which meant that I had waken up 20 minutes earlier than I usually do. I half yawned, half sighed out of petty anger towards my lack of sleep as I made my way to the bathroom, sliding into my pink fuzzy slippers as I did so. My bedroom door opening up automatically as I came towards it, jamming at the halfway point for a second as usual. I stepped into the hallway and made my way towards the third door down to the bathroom me and my adoptive family shared.
My parents room door was closed, my adoptive mother probably still sleeping before she got up too. She worked later than we all did since she worked with kids, so she got to sleep in and I considered her lucky beyond compare as I stepped past the door that never opened and walked into the bathroom. Not that she ever did, she would be up in a moment to make me breakfast just like every morning. Inside the two sinks lined the wall on the left hand side, and on the opposing wall hung four towels. Two were white, and the other two were gold. A mirror hung up above the sinks spanning the full length of the wall to the shower and toilet at its end. I leaned up agains the cold metal counter and eyed myself in the reflection.
My brown eyes had dark circles under them, not to dark to make me look like I had a skull for a face, but close enough. Sarcastic humor poured over me as I thought about having a skull for a face to match my skinny body. I shook my head and grabbed a brush, tilting to the right and grabbing a wad of my hair I proceeded to forcibly untangle the knots sleep had conjured. After a moment I thought if any other girl in the world had as many knots in their hair as I did. Hellen, my adoptive mother, never had knots. At least none that I had ever seen, and mock jealousy streaked through me as the brush got caught on one and pulled a pinch of hair from my scalp for the umpteenth time in my life.
After my battle with my hair was won, I turned to the sink to finish getting ready for the morning. I tried to position my hair in a way that made it look not so flat as it hung down a little past my shoulders. Falling in small little waves of brown around my face, but that was all it was able to do. Hellen always tried to fix my hair up, but it never worked and I didn't like how the pins pulled at the hems of my hairline to hold it all up.
I shook my head of any idea of trying to look pretty for the day and stepped out. Hellen stepped out of her room at the same time and I smiled gently at her. She gave me a bright smile and walked over to meet me halfway for a morning hug. "Morning sunshine." she said happily, still in the purple floral nightgown that Danny had bought it her for her birthday last year.She looked at the circles under my eyes but didn't say anything, long since stopped asking about the nightmares that came regularly now. She looked pretty, with golden brown hair already up in some thrown together jumble that still made her look good even when she was about to hit her forties. I wish I had her golden brown hair color instead of my muddy brown, but I never said it. I returned the hug and smiled in a mockingly appreciative way as she ran a hand through my hair and down my shoulders. "Well, don't you look just beautiful today?" she asked moving past me.
"Yeah, I guess." I said with a soft smile at her turning around and taking small backwards steps towards my room. Consciously making each step so I didn't trip over myself, which could happen anyways.
Hellen paused just inside the door to the bathroom, the door jamming just inches from the wall behind her, and she gave me a gentle smile. "Well my fact is better than your guess, now go get dressed, May." she said, a happy smile that still feigned at sleep flashed across her face as she said my name. Her eyes flickered to the door that no longer opens before the walked inside, letting the bathroom door close. I waited till I heard the locking mechanism of the door click and turned to go to my room.
Inside I quickly went into my closet to change. It wasn't made to be a walk in closet, but I didn't have many clothes. So after I picked out a shirt from the right side, and bottoms from the left side I split the two to leave a space in the middle. Shoving the bunches against the wall. I dropped my sleeping pajamas on the floor at my feet where they would stay until I picked them up for bed that night. I always tried to make a habit of cleaning up as I went along, I did it with everything else except my clothes. In the back my mind I knew I was hoping I wasn't the only girl with that same problem. I slid into the blue jeans and the brown and gold t-shirt, undoing the top three buttons of the collar. Hitting a button on the wall with my hip as I did, nothing happened. I hit it again, twice with a little force and two small drawers slid out from the wall. One with my gear laying thrown inside, the other with the rest of my undergarments lying bundled up in a once organized fashion. I grabbed my belt, a brown leather band of buckles that were meant to hold different things on it. I only had one thing, which was a small pouch on my right side. It only held a coupe of things, things I kept on me at all times. My Star Card, which I only had about 47 points saved up on it, my rings, my white and gold compact communication and imaging device. CCID for short, but we just called them 'Sid's'. I grabbed my goggle out of my pouch and slipped them over my head, making sure the leather on the eye portions didn't pull on my hair. My eyes flicked to the pistol that rested in the drawers, I was supposed to carry it wherever I go, but I never did. Back in the day I used to get chided for not wearing it, but now no one cares to mention it and just leave me be.
Closing the doors of my closet behind me I walked out of my room, eyes flickering to the table where the small plant and the journal rested for a moment. As my bedroom door closed I made myself down the hallway towards the main room where Hellen would be cooking breakfast. The room was bright as I walked in, the couch near the front door in its white leather shined a bit against the light of the firefly that hung in the center of the room. Directly above the the center that divided the kitchen and living room.
On the left, on the opposite side of the front door, was built three small steel counters topped with white and gold brass for the counter tops. Much like the bathroom, two of the counters lined the walls where the third jutted down the border of the rooms and ended halfway so it would be in line with the other half of itself. Metal cabinets ran parallel to the counter tops on the roof. Fitted neatly, well almost neatly, into the counter rows up against the wall was an electric range and a cold box where we kept the water supply. The range had a pan running on it, and bacon sizzling in the grease. Hellen stood over it, humming a tune that sounded like one of the many she sang to her students at school.
Hellen was a music teacher, which meant she was of a few people authorized to have a musical instrument in her home. It stood on its own in the corner of the living room against the kitchen counter that divided the two. It was white, and was one of the very few items that got manufactured in wood and paint. It cost Danny a fortune to get the piano for her, but there is never a day that goes by that she is not playing it. I flopped on the couch, still tired from the lack of sleep and tried to concentrate on the sweet scent of cooked bacon.
"How did you sleep, hunny?" Hellen called from the kitchen as I put my feet up the table in front of the couch and waved my foot over the panel on it that would open up the tv screen drilled into the wall. Another flick of my foot and the TV turned on to the news, which was always the same and I only watched it pass the time until me and Hellen would say goodbye for the day and I would go off to work.
"It was alright." I said with a stifled yawn as the man on the screen, a tall man with a trimmed beard and white suit and tie spoke about another possible theory about the dragons. "How was yours?" I asked in the routine morning ritual.
"Good," she said, putting the bacon and some eggs onto a thin square plate of metal. "Your Father is going to be working late again today, so they let him come in a little later today."
"But he left the same time he does everyday." I said skeptically.
She smiled as she handed me the plate of food, sitting down next to me with her own. "Well, you know your father." Her eyes turned from me to the screen to watch for the few minutes with me in silence as the minutes passed before I would have to go to work. Danny didn't like it when me and Hellen ate on the couch, but when he wasn't home me and Hellen would anyways. When I was a kid she told me it would be our little secret, and when I made messes she would always clean it before Danny got home from work. As she finished her breakfast speedily, she got up and grabbed my Dash Boots. Boots that came with hidden wheels tucked into the sole of the leather and small motorized engine to make them turn on their accord. I had saved up for two years to get them and they were the only thing I really had that she thought made her stand out. I sighed sarcastically, "You don't have to get them every time."
"I don't get them every time." Hellen said with a small grin, her blue eyes sparkling a bit in the firefly's light. Even though she knew she did and I would never tell her to stop because inside it was another secret that I held onto. I slipped them on, lacing them up and strapping down the buckles so that they stayed snug to my calves. I went to the front door and pushed the button to open it. Hellen came by after putting the dishes in the sink to wash later and hugged me. It was a gentle, warm kind of hug, but still awkward even if not as much as it was back when I was a child.
"Have a great day at work, May." she said warmly, kissing my softly on the cheek as she let go.
I smiled like I always do, all for show but nothing behind it. It isn't that I didn't feel for Hellen, she took me in. Even after what happened to them, Danny and Hellen both found in their hearts to take me in when it seemed no one else would and I would be left in the caretakers home. Unlike so many other orphans, I had been adopted only days after I arrived in Halidom. I would never be able to tell them how much gratitude I had for them doing that, but somewhere inside I could not let go of the parents that were taken from me. Something inside of me kept me from letting these people be my parents. Even though they did everything they could, and if they were disappointed or angry with me, they never showed it. I know they must feel it, everyone else feels disappointment towards me, especially being a Transit.
"You too, Hellen." I said as warmly as I could and waited for her eyes to register that once again I had failed to call her Mom. But she learned to quickly hide that reaction, and it became so quick that sometimes I couldn't even see it happen. She smiled as a final goodbye and turned to the piano that she would play for the next hour or so before she had to go to work. I stepped out, listening as the door closed shut behind me and the light sound of music as it flew gently through the window. But it was mixed with the sounds of grinding gears and mechanical clangs of the city as it slowly came to life.
Halidom was separated into five divisions. The division where we all lived was in the upper left echelon of the city, it was called the Quarters Division. It was separated into four districts. First District, was afforded to family and singles who lived in small one bedroom housing. There were ten towers in total and each tower had one hundred room stacked one on top of the other.
The Second District was home to most families and was by far the biggest. It contained twenty five towers, and each tower held one hundred, three bedroom homes that were decent enough size to house a family of four to five. Most people only had two to three children anyways. Anymore than that and you risked bringing more stress on the already stressed resources of the city.
The Third District housed them, those families who held more than four or five members. There was only five towers built to accompany them, and these towers only had up to ten floors each. Housing containing four to five bedrooms depending on the family. These were not filled very easily, for those that did decide to have more had to pay more out of pocket to raise such a family. And points on a Star Card were hard to come by already.
The fourth district is the District End. Here is where Halidom keeps all of the war's orphans, as well as a hospital, schooling library and a few other trade shops. I remembered going there for the first time and seeing the huge metallic building that housed the hundreds of children that no one could take care of. Ms. Lynda, the caretaker who ran the orphanage was the kindest lady in the world. She really did care for every child that came through her doors, and was even there to pick me up the moment I entered Halidom. For as long as I could remember, she is waiting at the trade tunnels awaiting the return of Dragonslayers for the chance that they may have found someone that needed to be looked after. I felt a feeling of regret that I had not gone to visit her since Hellen and Danny adopted me, but I put it aside.
The Trade Division, which is where Danny works is located south of the Quarters Division. It housed all of the working industries that kept Halidom afloat. Danny worked as an engineer that maintained the electrical and energy systems that ran through the entire city. Most people worked there, and was definitely the biggest Division of them all. It was never not working, the red glow from the lights and steam that powered everything could never go out. That's how we made everything was through steam, harnessed from the core of the earth. Drillers and miners from the trade division harvest steam and process it through engineering technology to make equipment, weapons, household goods, and anything else we needed.
But all of that was in the in the First District of the Division. The second district housed the foods operations, where thousands upon thousands of animals were maintained and harvested to support the city. I never went over there, it isn't that it smelled at all, and the animals were not dirty. I just, understood where all the food I eat came from and I couldn't stand to watch it happen.
To the right of the bottom of the Trade Division stood the gate. Massive, five hundred foot tall double doors of solid steel a hundred feet thick lay slammed in the middle of the Trade Division and the Slayers Division. Where the Dragonslayers were housed, trained, and supported. The gate was backed by another steel wall a hundred yards out the enclosed the gateway in a semi circle four hundred feet up in the air. Mounted turrets lined the walls every twenty five feet and guards were always posted at all hours. Their white and gold uniforms bright against the light of the the firefly's. At the bottom of the encirclement was dug a huge spike pit with enough thirty foot spikes to impale a quarter of Halidom. I only saw them once when I took a tour of the wall with other students from school.
Beyond the Slayer's Division and the gate, in the northern right hemisphere of Halidom, lay the Sanction Division. It was a division made for two reasons, to act as a last resort fortress against an enemy dragon attack so that Halidom could evacuate quickly and safely. While also acting as the cities Governing Division. The government was made up of three districts, North and South were the most common districts people understood. The North represented the needs of the city which would be determined by them on a by-monthly basis. The South represented the needs of the people, which would be expressed by the community as a whole. Each side convened their opinions and desires to the convening Counsel District.
The counsel would hear the sides of both districts on a decision that was currently on the table, and then make a decision based on what they heard from each. The counsel was made up of seven members. Each one of them was well into their later years except for one of them. A man named Jack Rave, who at the age of twenty five was the youngest person in the history of Halidom to hold a position on the counsel, or any government district. And it was him, that I had to go to. I didn't like the job very much, sitting a desk answering phone calls wasn't what I had in mind when the South District appointed me the job saying, "You lucked out, it's a fun job."
I stepped onto the large rotating platform as it slowly came level with my balcony. The huge grinding gears that laced the side of each tower turned ever slowly in a dull rythmitic groove. Steam pumping through the long brass pipes that kept it constantly moving. And as I stared at it, I caught myself thinking back to the only thing that did make my job worth it. Jack Rave was a handsome man, not at all uncaring or selfish. When he spoke it came out like he was reading straight out of a biography about a poet. I enjoyed listening to him ramble on about how he would someday find a way to end the war so he could raise a family up on the Earth's surface. He would come out of his office for hours at a time, sitting on the edge of my desk with a coffee in one hand and my full attention in the other everyday. I ran a couple fingers through my hair as I thought about it, my weight shifting automatically to adjust going over the big gear at the top of the tower before heading back down to ground level.
Maybe... I could be with that family he raises when we get to the top. But my mind wouldn't have it, it didn't surprise me. He was born here, and he was loved by everyone he met. He was sweet, kind, and gentle with everyone. And he was smart, and knew exactly what to say and when to say it. And I was just a...
"Morning, Transy." a gruff voice spoke as the platform shifted a bit to support the weight of a hefty man who stepped on at the top of the tower. He never failed to show up.
"Mr. Illsworth." I said with a guarded expression as I turned away from him. Mr. Illsworth was a big man with a gut that rested just passed hit belt line. A bald head wrought with so many wrinkles from frowning that I sometimes wondered if there could be little things hiding in the folds. He was one of the many who disliked Transits, but only one of the few who voiced his opinions publicly and wasn't afraid to make sure he was well known for them.
I folded my arms, feeling the hair on the back of my neck rise as he leaned over towards me. "Going to work the government into giving you more than you deserve again, Transy?" he said slyly. I hated that he got to me, he did it every time even though I told myself that I wouldn't let him. I turned my head away with a snap and shrugged him away.
"My name's May," I started, I hated when he called my Transy like it was some sort of nickname he was hoping would stick someday, "And no, I'm just goig to work. That's it. Now leave me alone."
"Oh, I know you are. Getting mighty close with that young man Mr. Rave now are you? Looking to cozy in with him one night and take him for what he's worth? I bet your sleezing around with more than just hi--" his words stung me so deeply that I couldn't help but turn and slap him hard in the face before I jumped th last five feet onto the landing pad.
"JERK!" I cried out to him, marching my way into the crowd so he couldn't see me. But that didn't help at all as I heard the echoes of his voice ringing throughout the crowd.
"That's right ya little Transy! Run off and whore around in the governments beds! See where it gets you!" People's eyes looked down at me as I walked past them. Some were sympathetic, some were neither here nor there about it. My mind cried a little inside as my chest pinched itself together at the insults. I just wanted to go to work, and do something worth doing. Like Hellen and Danny do, like Ms. Lynda does. But as long as I am a Transit, I know that will never happen. As I get out of the main body of people heading to and from the landing pad, I flip on my dash's and hit the metal walkways. Gliding easily past all the watching eyes and onlookers around me. I made my way out of Quarters Division and into the center of the city where artificial turf grass mixed with non toxic chemical sprays made somewhat of a green valley of sweet scents. No one came here in the morning really, a few old couples but that was about it. In the afternoon, the playgrounds and surrounding areas would be filled with those escaping for lunch or breaks. And at night, star crossed lovers would find themselves sitting on the benches looking up at the hundreds of dimmed Firefly's that flitted across the rooftop. I sighed a bit thinking about it, but then skated down a little faster, pressing my goggles over my eyes as I headed down a hill to pick up speed. From the center of the city, the Governing Division was all downhill, and since everyone who didn't work in the division would be at work, the metal walkways were all but empty as she flew down them. Brown hair flying in a wild flurry of wind as the blur sped past.
This was the best feeling in the world, the feeling of flying. I could go as fast as I wanted, and no one, not even the world itself could keep up. Everything seemed unimportant compared to this sensation. I knew that at some point soon I would have to stop, that I would have to slow down and get back to reality. But for now, I let this be my reality, my own little world that no one could find me in. And in the solitude I knew was there I thought once again of Jack. Then back to the journal that was locked up on the desk.
I started slowing down then, as I saw the big building leading to the counsel's metal hall. And as I did so, my heart skipped a little beat. Maybe today instead of leaving a flower on my balcony, Jack would give it to me in person. It was always the same on Fridays. She would walk out in the morning to see a freshly cut red rose on the ground. The only place in Halidom flowers grew was behind the Government Division near the northern most edge of the city outskirts. They were maintained by gardeners throughout the day, but Jack took me there sometimes if he had a long day at work. I mean, who else would have the time to pick flowers for every Friday, and have the points to spend on them? It had to be Jack, and as I reached the front doors of the building I clicked my wheels back into the soles of my boots and put on what I hoped would be a perfect smile and walked through the metallic doors.
Inside, the walls were bare and uniform, counters with receptionist sitting behind them rested with white and gold brass tops, and fans made from copper piping to keep the air cool blew all but silently in the corners. The receptionists all wore the same exact uniform, white suit with a gold tie and black leather sneakers. Jack had instructed me personally to wear what I had wanted, because I hated white and much preferred the brown and yellow of my original city. So I was always looked at by a little hint of jealousy when I walked by them to the conveyor belt lift that would take me to the second floor where Jack's office was.
When I reach the second floor, which was in the exact same layout as the first only it had hallways constructed of panels of steel to create individual rooms, I went immediately right. Down the hall and into a room where a counter like the others and a black leather chair stood. On the counter was a little metal name card the read: May Aziel, Receptionist. And beside that was a touch screen monitor with dates and times and other data stored on it. An older version of CCID rested on the table, it had a handheld device that allowed me to speak through to others who connected themselves to it.
Jack was already there, his uniform sleek as it hugged his body revealing a good sized chest with evenly spaced shoulders. He was lithe and strong, but not in that bulky kind of way that other men were. He wore his hair jet black hair in a torrent of messy small spikes that seemed to have no direction, but looked like they all flowed together. His jaw line was strong, but his chin was soft, and he had the same kind of gentle eyes that Hellen held. But where hers were a deep blue, his were a dark green that even though they were gentle held a fierceness that I sometimes wondered of why it resided there. His forearms were bare as he pushed up his sleeves past his elbows, and his white skin was taught over his muscle.
I smiled as I walked in and put on my best smile, and he turned and looked at me with all the radiance those dark green eyes could lock me in with. "Good morning, Jack." I said happily, trying to imitate the warm welcomes that Hellen always gave to Danny when he got home from work.
He smiled at me and tapped the side of his head near his temple, "Good morning, Goggles." he said with a mischievous grin playing across his face. I noticed immediately that I didn't take off my goggles from the ride over. Hurriedly I reach to take them off, but in my rush to remove them, the leather got caught up in the length of my hair and I winced as it tugged it from my scalp.
He laughed a bit as my face turned from white to a deeper shade of red than the steam factories and walked over. With gentle hands he put one on my shoulder to keep me steady, and another laced their fingers through my hair until they found the goggles and released it from my tangles. I was glad for the hand on my shoulder, else I would have definitely fallen over with him being this close. He placed the goggles on the desk, slid his hand down my arm a bit and with the other untangled the knots in my hair passively. "There we go..." he said calmly, like this was an everyday thing, which if I remember correctly probably was. "Good as new. Good morning, May." he said warmly stepping away. "Were you able to get the evening reports on the articles concerning the air ventilation systems?"
"Er...I," I paused a bit, shook my head and smiled nodding, "Course I did, Jack. They are on your PAD now, and your appointment with the woman from North is at nine-o-clock." I spoke from memory, and I sighed a bit as the little morning scene came to an end to make way for the day of work.
He paused just before he hit the door, "Splendid, thank you. And you look beautiful this morning." he said happily, walking through the door after giving me a warm smile. And with that I turned to my PAD, the touch screen monitor that stored all of our companies data and went to work. The day drew on just like that, the both of us working to manage the appointments and phone calls while simultaneously writing articles based on the different issues and actions taking place within the city. It was a lot of work, regardless of what it may seem, and we were so busy that we worked right through lunch and before I knew it my shift was over and a tired, but still happy looking Jack sat on the corner of my counter again.
"Did you get lunch?" he asked as he sat down, loosening his tie just a fraction so he could breath.
"Course not, we were reviewing the article on the recent steam leak in the Slayer's Division then." I reminded him with a shake of my head before I reset my cheek in one of my palms as I rested my elbow on the counter. With that he reached into his briefcase and pulled out a something that crinkled the wrapping as he held it. Tied with a piece of leather strip, he held three red roses together in his hand and offered them to me with a warm smile.
"Mind if I take you out for dinner then?" he asked warmly, his dark green eyes lighting up as he looked at my brown ones.
I didn't know how to respond for a second, "I... Er..." I smiled big, and I knew my face was blushing, "S-sure. That would be nice." I finally was able to get out. He chuckled a bit and offered me a hand to walk me out. As we walked down the center of the first floor, I could not help but look at the lingering eyes of the other receptionists as they saw me. Envy and jealousy were in their eyes so I just kept my head down. Catching glances up at Jack who walked with me, one arm looped through mine, like he was the proudest man in the world. That was enough for me to be happy.
We walked out the automatic doors as they slid into the walls silently and paused. He turned to me, a smile bright on his face and spoke, "So where do you --"
A boom louder than a cave collapse erupted through the city, and the warning alarm went off. Ringing in my ears like a piercing siren. "What the hell is go--" Another boom cut us off again, and Jack pulled me along. We reached the gate in about twenty minutes and a crowd had already formed up. Even though we were all supposed to get to the safety of the Government Division, human curiosity would never cease to put people in dangers way to get an idea of what it was. Halidom had all heard the stories from surviving Dragonslayers and Transits, but no one had really seen a dragon up close.
Then I saw it, in the center of the city crouched a good sized dragon. At least a quarter of the size of any of the largest of the towers. I didn't even reach its red scaled kneecap when it stood and snapped its jaws at the oncoming Dragonslayers. They aimed their rifles up at it, but with the crowd of people around them, they couldn't risk shooting at it. They tried to push people back, but there was so many of it. The dragon knew it, I saw it in its obsidian eyes as it pondered why it was not already dead. Then a lot of things happened all at once.
The dragon snapped its long neck forward like a whip and caught a Dragonslayer by the leg, tossing him up into the air, his screams unable to keep up with his body. Then as if something had snagged him, he somehow flew off to the right as a shadow sped up to him. Then someone, no more than one person, shoved past me nd barrelled towards the dragon.
The first two, a male and female somewhere in their late and early thirties respectfully charged in with two huge looking pipes with triggers on them. With one hand they simultaneously shot up at the dragons mouth with small handguns that sent up spikes with wires attached. As soon as the spikes embedded themselves into the dragons jaw, the dragon reeled back its head, taking the man and woman up into the air.
As they did, they aimed their second weapons down and fired, through the wings and into the fron two legs of the dragon. What came out was a huge metal spike, much like the one that was dug into the pit, but not as big as those. It pierced the wings, making large, blood spewing holes in them before crashing down the the dragons front legs. Pinning the clawed paws to the metal ground where they seeped crimson blood across the plates.
A roar that was not the dragons cries of pain came shouting across the way, and above that roar came a yelling so high it sounded happy. Something on two wheels went flying over the heads of a crowd as it leaped up into the sky. A young man, younger than I even was was in the seat of the roaring machine. I knew it was motorized because I could see the engine, but I had never seen anything like it before. The young man hollered and whooped as he pressed a button that shot a net into the air, aimed for the Dragonslayer that had been tossed into the air. It wrapped itself around the man, and as it did so another hook wire shot itself through the netting, allowing the net and man slide down to an opposing wall where he hung safely.
I looked up to see the man and woman land hard on the dragons back. One on either side of the row of small spike that ran the length of its spine and pull hard. Forcing the dragons head back a bit to reveal the hollow point in its neck. The young man in the motored machine roared by and a woman ran up the isle the first two had created and grabbed his outstretched hand. Quickly being pulled into a spot directly behind him, a long rifle in her hands as she shot round after round into the hollow at the dragons throat. The dragon with that attack stumbled a bit, hot steaming blood fell from its mouth and neck and wings in huge puddles on the metal floor. And the spikes in its feet made it fall crashing to the ground. Still alive, it raised its head straight in the direction of where me and Jack stood and I saw as it opened its mouth the red glow of fire that was about to come spewing out like molten lava.
But then everyone's eyes caught the shadow in the air once again as the dragon was just about to release a torrent of life destroying flame, a blade sunk its way through the top of the skull and into the dragons brain. It hesitated and shook for a small amount of time, before its maw slowly relaxed and closed halfway. Allowing blood to continue to seep out of its body uninterrupted now. The blood so thick I was sure we would never see the metal floor again.
I looked around for the group again, just like everyone else did. The young man and the woman he had pulled along hopped off the machine. The young man pushing another button it so that it collapsed in on itself to the briefcase size a bit bigger than the briefcase Jack always used. He picked it up and ran a hand through his stark red hair, a big grin flashing across his face as he ran to catch up to the woman.
"Did ya see that one Rae?!" he called out like everything that just happened was a giant game, "I must 'ave gotten like, thirty feet or somethin'!" he said exaggerating the story with a grand hand sign. The woman who I guessed was Rae didn't respond to him, instead she went to her CCID and spoke clearly, with authority. "Nice shot, Fahkri. Head on back."
A voice was barely heard, and had it not been so silent from the general public, no one would have heard it. "Already there."
"Didn't even stick around to see if we killed it?" she asked with a smirk.
"Didn't need to." was the short reply. She nodded and stepped up to meet the man and woman who had just jumped down off the back of the dragon, brushing themselves off. The man was huge, with muscled arms the size of boulders and a chest that I was sure I couldn't have wrapped my arms around.
"Gael! Kacela!" the young man shouted again, "Ya'll see that air man! Dude it was so sick!" he shouted coming up with Rae to them. Gael, who I assumed was the man spoke first.
"Shut it Hotshot, you can always get higher." he said with a mock grin as he lit a cigarette. Nodding to Rae, "We heading back?" he asked. The woman to Gael's right who I understood as Kacela was running her hands through her hair. "Of course we are, in and out hit remember." Gael nodded to her and together they shot the hook wires towards the roof. After a few seconds, they tugged on them and looked at Hotshot. Kacela spoke first, "You coming, Kid?" she said with a sly smile.
The young man stood open mouthed, "Oh come on Kacela! Stop calling me that, my name is Greg--" Gael cut him off, "Cut it Hotshot, lets go." In a split second Greg, or Hotshot I guess, looked put off about being unable to finish speaking, but then almost instantly lit right back up as he turned to Rae.
"Rae! Rae! Can I ride the --"
"No." she said shortly, cutting him off again, her eyes trained on the shadow still crouched over the blade in the dragons skull.
"Come on, Hotshot." Gael spoke again, shaking his pistol a bit to clarify what he meant.
"Man, this is lame..." Hotshot sighed as he drew his own pistol and shot it into the sky forming a triangle with the other two. Then all four eyes turned to the shadow who was still crouched over the blade. Someone in the crowd stirred and a few spoke to each other now that the inital shock of everything had passed.
The four who stood there made killing a dragon look like kids play. I knew that this wasn't a very big dragon compared to the ones that kept me up at night. But as these four stood together, their onyx shaded trench coats brushing the ground, I didn't know whether or not to be thankful or scared that they were alive.
Each coat they wore was jet black and light against the air in the room. On the backside, each one wore something different. Hotshot's was the most eccentric, looking more red than black, he had a crimson and orange symbol of a sword and pickax crossed over each other in the center of his back. And near the tail end, bright red stitching erupted into flames licking the bottom of where his elbows met. The symbol was that of the City of Frawk. A mining outpost that helped with the shipment of different kinds of metal, it had been completely overrun by these beasts only a few short years ago.
Rae and Kacela's were the same, supple but beautiful. Dark and light green vines made a branching circle around a single white shield that nestled itself in the center of their backs. White flowers sown beautifully into the leather, laced across the vines in small little blossoms. It was the symbol of the City of Tarma, it had gone down around the same time my own did.
Gael's was just as simple as either Rae or Kacela's. But that's where similarities ended. Where theirs were beautiful, Gael's was bold and strong. He wore a silver and grey ring of reflecting material. In its center an anvil and a hammer slammed against each other, creating crimson sparks that flew around the entire symbol. It was from the city of Ashworn, I wasn't even alive when it fell. But I had learned from history books that it was a city specifically designed to build and engineer weapons for all the cities. They say that the battle that took place there was one of humanities greatest victories against the dragons even if they had lost the city. In the an interview made by one of the Dragonslayers who was on the rescue mission a week after the battle, he spoke of the floor as a mass of bodies.
'There were as many human bodies as there were dragon bodies. In the center of the city was a crater that was made by the detonation of something big. The towers were all blown apart from it, and all the corpses near the site were burned beyond recognition. Even the dragon corpses had been scorched into nothing.'
I switched my eyes from their designs to the man on top of the dragon who had just stood up.
"Who are they, Mama?" a little girl asked.
"What the hell was that punk kid riding?"
"What are they wearing?"
"I've never seen a dragon taken down so fast." someone else spoke up as the Dragonslayer, the one who had been tossed up in the air, walked over to the woman named Rae. He held out a shaky hand as he approached.
"Thank you... I don't know where I'd be if you hadn--" Rae cut him off abruptly.
"You would be chomped up and sitting in the pit of that things stomach until it's acids melted you to nothing." she said surly. "Why did you not fire upon it when you had the chance!?" she asked fiercely.
"Rae..." Hotshot murmured, but Rae didn't seem to hear him.
The Dragonslayer burned bright red for a moment but then shook his head and pointed to the crowd of people. "If we had shot, we risked shooting our own people!" he retorted back.
Rae turned on the people, "Then maybe they shouldn't have been watching. It's a dragon... not a show to be wa--" Rae stopped abruptly, as if she had been struck when a gentle hand touched her shoulder and squeezed a bit. She turned, bowed her head a bit and backed away to join the other three as she readied her pistol silently.
The man from the dragon stood in front of the Dragonslayer now holding his hands in front of himself to keep them from shaking. He wore his hood from his cloak up, and it hung low over his face so that all that could be seen was the bottom part of his face where lips held a simple steadiness to them.
"What's your name Dragonslayer?" the man asked calmly, his voice deep enough to suggest age, but not so deep yet that could suggest he couldn't be in his late twenties yet. His hand was still, poised with the a thick steel blade that was still coated in the blood and gore of the dragons brain.
The Dragonslayer paused for a moment before he spoke. "Sergeant Jim Forrel." he said smartly, and he was right to. Sergeant was considered a leader among the ranks of Dragonslayers. The ranks were made up of nine ranks, established from the old days before the dragon war had begun. There was Private, Lancellos, Corporals, Sergeants, and Master Sergeants who over saw the enlisted side that made up the Dragonslayers. Then, also in the command were the officers who directed the actions, they were ranked as Lieutenant, Commander, Captain, and then the Admiral.
The man in the black cloak seemed to consider that for a moment, "So you would be one of the leaders for your command then correct?" he asked with calmness again. Hotshot gulped in the background. The Dragonslayer caught the action and made a hesitant answer. "Y-yes. I am." he finally replied.
The man nodded and shifted his blade to wipe it on a cloth he pulled from his pocket faster than my eye could pick up, the movement causing the Dragonslayer and parts of the crowd to move back a bit. "Good. Then the next time you are faced with a situation like this, aim your weapons for the hollow point," he paused here and then with a flick of his wrist, rested the point of the cleaned, but still bloodstained blade on the hollow base of his neck, "Here. The scales are weakest here and your bullets will pierce through without worry of them recoiling off." he let the moment sink in before he sheathed his blade and turned away.
I saw the Dragonslayer stand there shocked and terrified for a split second before anger spread across his face as he realized he had been told how to command his troops from someone who hadn't been over him. "Hey! Who are you!?" and he grabbed the hood of the cloak and pulled back. In the instance he moved, all five members of the group in black had weapons drawn. The four in the back looked down the barrel with serious eyes, even Hotshot had the coldness of a man much older than he was. The hood on the man with the sword fell.
My mouth opened up a bit as I saw his face when he turned back around. He had short brown hair, spiked up cleanly above a pair of black goggles he wore on his head. Blue eyes that swirled with splotches of dark and light glinted in the firefly's light. His face was strong, but smooth without even the scruff that most young men had such as Hotshot did. And his gaze was the kind of calm that came before a storm.
"My name is Keiran Brazen..." he said smoothly, shrugging off the hand of the Dragonslayer while he waved down his team. Then he spoke up, loudly enough for anyone else to hear if they wanted to. "And we are here to end the Dragon War. For good." he turned to the Dragonslayer. Who I hoped understood what the man named Keiran had just done. Publicly announcing that he was a guardian made him a hero in the eyes of everyone around him, and if the Dragonslayer so much as touched him, they would have an even bigger problem on their hands.
The Dragonslayer smirked and nodded his head. "Thanks for the help, kid." he said and huffed as he turned back to his troops. Issuing commands with as much authority his pride could muster to dispose of the mess. Keiran scanned the crowd for a second, then retreated to his friends. He swung his cloak back to grab his pistol, and as he did so a child, the little girl who had spoke earlier broke away from her mother. Running towards Keiran against her mothers frightened protests. The crowd, even the DRagonslayers watched in careful silence as Keiran turned to her.
She tugged on the hem of his cloak. "Mister Karewin." she said in a softness of a childs voice. The girl couldn't have been more than six or seven, blonde hair full of curls bouncing around a little white dress that was now dusty from the commotion.
Keiran dropped to his knees to be on the same level as her. "Sup, princess?" he said warmly, a smile I didn't at first think possible lit up his face.
"I...er..." she blushed a bit at being called princess in front of her family, "I jus' wanded to say thank you for beating up tat giant lizerd."
Keiran laughed a ran a hand gently though the little girls hair, "Don't you worry, we'll always beat up any giant lizerd." he said grinning, as did the rest of his team, immitating the way she spoke about the dragon. She giggled a bit and ran back to her mother as Keiran waved her away. He unholstered his pistol and aimed it high. "Hotshot... on your mark... get se--"
"GO!!!" Hotshot proclaimed as he flipped the switch on his own pistol before Keiran could even fire his own or finish his sentence. Making him sore into the air past the point where our eyes could make him out in the dimming lights. Wooping and hollering all the way up as he went. Gael and Kacela joined him immediately after, Gael putting his cigarette out on the ground just as he shot up. Rae smiled at Keiran as he finally shot his pistol and took off after them.
Keiran stood there alone for a small second, and then his dark blue eyes found mine. And what could only have been a few seconds at the most, it felt like an eternity. I knew those eyes from somewhere. Then he smiled and turned around, and I knew exactly why I thought that way.
On the back of his cloak, the brown and yellow symbol was stitched with a gentle care into the black leather. I saw the brown band of intertwining rings latching onto one another to form a circle that surrounded a golden sun. It was small, and simple against the black of the cloak. It was the symbol from the city Dawning. My home... and that meant...
My heart skipped a beat as he sped off into the dimming light and I lost sight of him.