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Contemptable Wrest - (Ch. 10) Part 1: Laid to Rest

by Wriskypump

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

“What!!! That’s too fast!” Malibu wailed in disbelief. His eyes danced out of his skull before they returned to his pile of leftovers. “Ah, fuck me! I forgot the flamethrower!” And that was coming from a guy who didn’t cuss much.

“Hurry!” I pushed, trying to will a generous window of time into existence, trying to push past the fact that that was impossible. Time: one of a surprisingly vast amount of variables beyond our control--truly an untold amount of variables.

The remaining portal pulsated to an unwavering beat, a slow throb of about every other second. A mechanical impulse told me to drop the weapons and streak to the exit. I could feel my legs twitch, rabid dogs bucking in attempt to wrest free from their cages in the pound. “Wait a second! Do we absolutely have to have the Flamer?" I shook the sack. “We already have plenty!”

“That was what we discussed: how we might need some literal fire!” He made sounds under duress, trying to hammer out a course of action. “Think.” he moaned, clutching his head between his palms. Then a light burst forth inside his face, and in an a-ha moment he cried, “Remember?” He continued staring at me with a vigorous expression. “Plans? Think!”

Of course. The last defense. How could I forget what he had said when I first talked with him today? Don’t indulge the status quo by letting it tiptoe past the citadel, spirit away the ability to reason, and subject you to take ill-advised action. Don’t become weary with seasons of inactivity. Train your eyes not to cease spotting incoming thieves until the watch time is up.

Okay, so I put my own metaphorical twist on his words.

“Well, where is it then?” I ordered, scanning the clutter but not alighting on any spouter of flame.

He screamed back, “In some unopened box!” Then he started to stumble through the pile of guns strewn before him, filing away for the alphabetized letter F. He checked the lowest shelf first, Fittingly. “A’s B’s C’s…” he trailed off looking quite a ways down the row. Okay, they were semi-alphabetized: they had groups of close letters together. The bad thing was every bunch of three or four letters, successive in the alphabet, could still be distanced completely on the other side of the building from each other.

I flicked a nervous glance back at the final Spinal. “Is this method the best time-saver?”

Gutterson sped across the aisle and sounded off, “Emm-enn-O!” in a furor. Without even looking in my direction he snarled, “Get busy from the top!”

His neck was already tilted up at the middle deck, veins bulging at the skin. I had been standing there, unaware in my state of panic, as useless as an inflatable dart-board. I joined the party, however tardy, and zoomed in on the upper deck. My head panned from right to left. Drifting in front of my eyes was I, and next they hit H, then they lurched to the far end--an end that seemed a bridge to the horizon. But when my vision finally crossed that bridge, I became glued onto the G region. The cogs came together and an imaginary clock rose to a pronounced tick-tock (in my mind). Long ago I had learned to recite the alphabet backwards. I knew I was in F’s neck of the woods without further searching.

I felt a pop near my upper nose. Weird. My eyes started watering. It was as if my airways had opened--wider than they had ever known. Have I been gathering restricted breaths all my life? Time was suddenly a bit drowsy in comparison to my newfound color. It may have been due to an increase in the quantity of incoming oxygen to the brain. It sure felt like the pistons had been introduced to some state-of-the-art oil. They were pumping with unpolluted agility. Where I was blank just sheer breaths prior, I know had a gimmick up my sleeve.

“Hold your ground, Gut!” I authorized. “You’re in a convenient spot.” And I bowled the sack towards him along the ground. Then I split.

I ran like the finish line was less than a hundred metres away and second place was breathing down my neck. Those stairs didn’t look inviting and they were definitely not the finish line.

“What have you got in mind?” I heard over the artificial wind that my sprint produced.

I was approaching the solitary doorway home. I noticed that the crescent was waning, like a true moon. There was a slurping sound and it wobbled back and forth, a sheet of glass in a strong earthquake. It was falling apart. The lunar cycle that normally played out over two weeks, was drawing to a close in two minutes. Our chances were eclipsing with each stride I took. But I was hedging my bets that M stood for miracle. I huffed, “The M’s are right in front of you. Scrounge up anything magnet-related!”

My feet made powder of the jumbo stairway. There was something like two-hundred large steps. I was running bleachers for much more than conditioning. From below I heard boxes being ripped from their place of rest, overturned to the floor. My colleague was spilling their guts and sifting through their innards, and brooding while he tore away, “I still don’t understand. Where are you going wi-”

“It’ll work. As long as you find the right piece of junk.” I promised. “Trust me.”

It would have to work. If we didn’t try, it was over anyway, and we’d be trapped here, delivering our posse a death sentence. The idea was that a magnetic wave or field might attract some sort of reception and extend the portal’s life, if not reverse its will to die. I would be content if we could just slow the ebb, stay its execution, salvage any scrap of time. A heavy-duty piece of charged metal might be just the right prescription--or my hunch might fall short despite my adamant leap of faith, if you could call it faith.

Gutterson wasn’t having any luck. “MZP’s, The Mintegrader...This is a needle in a haystack!”

“Needle in a haystack does NOT begin with M! Keep at it!” I encouraged. “There’s bound to be something helpful.”

I was almost to the first turn along the concrete ridge that went around the room’s perimeter. There were a couple of catwalks running parallel to the racks. If F was where I believed it to be, then I’d need to board the nearest one after taking the corner.

“Hey, this could be what we’re looking for! It has Mag in the name at least.” reported Malibu. “This box only has one name on the label. Have you ever heard of something called a...” he struggled to sound out the name, “Magneliohasetrop?”

“Good-good. Just check it out already.” I snapped, aggravated from my gallop, besides being on edge. “I don’t need a syllable count.”

My feet were clanging against the bottom of the cramped metal passage. The whole contraption felt flimsy. There’s a reason walk is part of the name. You may also want to be catlike: fleet of foot, blessed to always land on them, or even have nine lives. Maybe I was skittish, but the railing felt like it was careening far more than I would consider safe, unable to handle my bulk at such a pace.

I was so high-strung that when Malibu said, “From handling this box, I’d say it’s one solid piece.” at first I thought it was the sound of buckling metal.

I grated my teeth and responded, “That’s great, but keep it to yourself if it isn’t a solid piece of intel.”

Crap. Being a middleman, FL was going to be hard to spot. I checked to see how much longer we had to pack up camp and ditch this hole in the wall. From here I couldn’t tell how much shrinkage it had undergone, but it was still there.

I had to shift down from full blast as I closed in on the area. However, I didn’t let my mind follow suit; he had to keep on truckin’. Suddenly I realized that J,K, and M,N surrounded L. Since hardly anything started Fj, Fk, Fm, or Fn, it should stick out like a sore thumb. Favorably highlighted by two vowels, it should look something like FiFLFo. Ha, nice ring to it, Fiffullfoe.

“Let’s see, Fiercion….Finklepods...Flotus Deconduit…” Whoops, I passed it. What kind of impractical names to give these gizmos. And each one probably had a whole file to itself in some classified drawer at the back of a pitch black room down in the recesses of a basement.

Aha! Flamethrower! I leaned out to welcome its storage box with a hug. And as I rested against it for a few recovery breaths, I peered through a four-inch gap divorcing the catwalk and the rack. I noticed the twenty-some story drop straight down. Gently as one would coddle a baby, I hoisted the box and placed it at my feet. Then clawed its cover away, raking through styrofoam packing to feel around at the bottom. My skin grazed something cold and in such perfect condition that it was almost wet--and I resurrected a single flamethrower from a snowy grave.

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286 Reviews

Points: 16319
Reviews: 286

Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:58 am
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AstralHunter wrote a review...

Greetings, once again.

Well, this piece employs as extensive a vocabulary as your previous chapter. (It ended rather suddenly and unclearly - I forgot to add this in my previous review.) Out with the dictionary, again!

This time, at least, the chapter (or rather part of a chapter) was not as difficult to follow as the previous one. I can also say that verbosity was not all a problem, as the vocabulary you used was logical and appropriate. I also did not spot any obvious clichés, so that is certainly another [insert original and more creative version of "thumbs-up" here].

I do not see why Kevin and Malibu (yes, I finally discovered their names!) are so frantic when it comes to finding a flamethrower, but I suppose that is also because of my neglecting to read the novel from its beginning. The sense of urgency was definitely there though, so you have definitely succeeded in that aspect.

The largest problem I have thus far is with your protagonist. I know only his name, and whereas I am sure the other details involving his history were revealed earlier in the novel, I do not know who he is as a person. It seems you have focussed all of your attention solely on the plot and have disregarded his characterisation. I am aware that you have likely dedicated time to this in earlier chapters, but characterisation is not something you can deal with once in a novel and then never again - the characters must be consistently developed throughout the novel.

So, as I have said, your vocabulary is as astounding as ever, but do not think that that aspect of your writing alone is good enough to make it outstanding - dedicate yourself to writing about realistic characters and ensure the text reads confortably.

This review courtesy of

Wriskypump says...

Hello :) Thanks very much for reviewing! Don't worry about the character background. I have that covered; it is just that right now, there are more important things to worry about than themselves. I did give some stuff in the first five chapters, and well, the circumstances make it so that the book starts to make sense toward the end, and I'll have time for lots of characterization then. From chapters 8-20 I have action and mystery, and the characters are just trying to adapt because they are quite nearly just as much in the dark as the reader is. I will not skimp on character. In short, now is not the time to focus on that. But be assured, for I have files on every character.

AstralHunter says...

Oh, that's good then!

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240 Reviews

Points: 279
Reviews: 240

Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:44 am
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AdmiralKat wrote a review...

Hello! KatyaElefant here for another review! Let's see what we have right here...

"I would be content if we could just slow the ebb, stay its execution, salvage any scrap of time" For organization sake, you need to have the word and before salvage.

I don't think that you have any thing that wrong with this. You could always have a bit more imagery but you did a great job with your imagery. You have great grammar and you have great spelling. Your organization is great, none of the paragraphs are too long or too short. Again, the plot is a bit confusing. I see that this is about the flamethrower and that it's always great to have flamethrowers. There was a great line in this part that I really liked which was, "“Ah, fuck me! I forgot the flamethrower!” And that was coming from a guy who didn’t cuss much. " That line just XD I'm going, who says that? Just when do you hear ANYONE say that? I think that when you have lines like these, it really makes me enjoy what you are writing. It's great to have a little humor in any situation (unless someone died that we care about). Overall, great job, I don't have that many complaints, if any. You did a great job with this. Have a nice Review Week! Keep Calm and keep writing! :D

Wriskypump says...

Hello there! :D Umm, instead of and, could I put 'just' there? Would that work/be appropriate? xD, it seems I'll be going back to add in more imagery throughout the book, but I shall do it. And for now, don't worry too much about the plot. The characters are as much in the dark as the reader is. For now they just want to survive...*evil laugh*

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats—the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill —The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it—and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another.
— JRR Tolkien