Posts Tagged ‘SyFy’


Sophia awoke covered in water. The stream has risen over night, slowly turning into a river as the current became stronger. Silver was barking, in an attempt to wake everyone not on the edge of the water, already awoken by the sudden dampness. There was a low rumbling in the distance, as it drew closer Silver’s barks drew louder and more panicked, Sophia couldn’t make any sense of the sound but trusted Silver’s instincts enough to know that it wasn’t good. Jace had just woken up and looked around, and started to wake the others.

Sophia stood still scanning the river bank, looking for a way up and out. The bank on the far side of the river where they had jumped down was only about 6 or 7 feet tall with a gently sloping hillside after that. But the bank on this side was closer to 15 feet with a cliff over hang. Climbing, on this side, didn’t look to be an option. The water was now up to her knees, the current growing strong all the time. At its deepest it was probably up to 4 feet now, and rising. With the pull of the water and the depth they might be swept away before making it back to the other side. There has to be a way out.

Everyone was awake and some of them where starting to panic, cries and screams were surfacing everywhere, and all the time the rumble was growing stronger. The bend in the river hiding the approach of whatever it was, for now at least.   

“Silver” Sophia called. The dog stopped barking for a moment and looked at her locking eyes. “Lead” Sophia commanded. Silver barked and turned to run, Sophia followed and the others followed her.

Silver ran 100 yards downstream then seemed to disappear from sight. When Sophia came to this spot she discovered a fallen tree, it had sheltered the dirt and rock behind it, somewhat, from the water’s erosion creating a slope in the cliff face behind it. Silver was sitting half way up the slope waiting for Sophia to follow. The water was almost up to her waist, the current trying to dragger along with it. She looked back over her solder to see if the others were following and that’s when she saw it.

A wall of water spiraling down the river bed, it was as though a dame had burst somewhere up stream. Some of those who had trailed behind where starting to get swept up in it, they reached out to grab on to anything they could, often having their hands closes firmly around thin air.

Soph had started running backward before she knew what her feet where doing, unable to take her eyes off of the swirl of rushing water. She slipped and felt Silver’s body under hers the only thing which kept her from falling down. Jace ran the remaining yards between the two of them and pulled her to her feet while Sid and a few others ran past.

She turned around and ran like the others. They made it to the top just as the rushing water hit the base of the slope. It splashed up and over the side threatening to pull the few who has made it up to the top back in. As the wave passed the water settled just below the lip of the cliff and extended to the hill top on the other side. There was no sign of anyone who had not made it out. They were far down stream by now.

As the water settled and the rumble dissipated Soph looked around. Jace had made it up and was standing beside her looking out over the area in disbelief. Sid, and three others were also with them. The rest were nowhere to be seen.

“Flash… flood…” someone mumbled under their breath, not entirely sure if they had come up with the correct term. Whatever it was it was devastating. What could have caused such a thing was beyond them.

“Come on, let’s keep going” Sid stated. They were all tired, hungry, wet and still in shock but none of them could think of a good reason to stay.

“Which way?” Sophia directed her question to Jace who was still standing staring in puzzlement at the river. The water was continuing to calm and lower as the torrent moved further down stream and the water spread out across the river bed. Jace didn’t seem to hear Soph.

“Follow the river?” Sid suggested in Jace’s silence.

“Jace” Soph asked again, “What do you think?” They wouldn’t have made it this far without him and there was something about Jace that she trusted over the others in the group. She for one was not going to move on without his opinion.

Jace continued to stare at the water’s edge but spoke “Yes, follow the river, that ways we have water at least, but move up stream. I want to see if we can find what caused this.” Jace crouched by the river and stuck a finger in, watching the ripples created move away.

“Okay,” replied Soph, looking around the group for any sign of objection. Sid did not look overly happy about it but he did not voice any concerns, “Let’s go” Soph moved towards Jace and extended her hand to him. He took it and stood. Then they started up stream.
***

Within the hour their clothes had dried from the heat of the sun. Soph found herself almost wishing for the heavy discomfort of her soaking jeans again as the sweat started to bead on the back of her neck. The water levels were lowering, though the ground anywhere near the water’s edge had turned to mud, farther out the ground was so dry and brittle it cracked under foot. Soph was thirsty, as were many of the others, but the ground near the water’s edge was so saturated that you sunk almost waist deep into it when you stepped on it. It had taken an hour to pull out the first person who tried it and others had gotten stuck in the process. It wasn’t worth it.

So they walked on. Tired, thirsty, hungry, hot, no shade as far as they eye could see. After a while Soph stopped looking up to see if that had changed. After a while longer she stopped trusting her eyes when she did look up, so when the figures first appeared on the horizon she, Jace and the others all assumed they had imagined them. They didn’t stop to ask if anyone else saw it to. When the thin dark grey line started to stretch across the horizon along the top of the river bank they each dismissed it known how desperately they were hoping for shade, knowing how far their body was pushed and how easily their brain could be playing tricks on them. When long tall blobs started poking up out of the land in front of them, again, they thought they must be seeing things. It wasn’t until Silver started barking at those human shaped blobs on the skyline that they began to believe that what they were seeing might be real.

Jace was the first to stop, “do you see….” He muttered. Unwilling to commit to the words even now.

Soph just nodded. A chill went down her spine. Are those people? She thought as she realized the three blobs seemed to be coming closer even though they had all stopped. The long grey line over the river remained in its place, though now that they were closer she could see some pock marks in the outline, round holes which the light seemed to glisten though.

“Maybe we should turn back” Sid’s voice trembled with a hint of fear. Some of the others shook their heads in agreement. A few took a step or two backwards.

“No!” Jace’s voice was forceful. Soph turned and frowned at him, confused. She was inclined at agree with him, though she understood the fear of the others. They were banned for civilization, and if they had stumbled back upon they had been warned the punishment would be worse then what they were facing now, yet this didn’t look like civilization to her.

“They must be like us”

“That’s crazy” Sid chimed in “We all know we were sent out here to die, this idea we have a chance is just what they tell themselves to let them sleep at night. No way has anyone survived this.” Sid was just saying what they were all thinking but didn’t want to believe.

The blobs on the horizon continued to grow, come closer and take shape as they argued. Occasionally someone would shuffle a couple feet one way or the other as the frustrated rhetoric of Sid and Jace swayed them one way or the other. The two men were too enveloped in their own word to realized that their decision would be made for them before too long.

Soph, took a seat and called Silver over to her side. She stroked Silver’s fur, clumps of it coming off in her hands as the dog shed due to the over whelming heat. Soph wished she had thought to bring a brush with her. Combing Silver’s fur with her finger Soph watched the others come closer.

There were indeed three of them. Two appeared to be taller than the other, though as they came closer Soph realized that one of them was only made taller by the way in which they had their hair mounded into a braided spiral on top of their head, they all appeared to be carrying heavy packs on their back, their clothing was the colour of everything else around them, tan from being matted with dirt and mud. Definitely not civilization, Soph thought.

When the others came within about two hundred meters one of them raised their hand all but grunted “Oi.”

The voice of the stranger silenced Jace and Sid’s squabbling, they turned to look in the direction of the sound, both in a kind of stunned shock.

The other’s jogged the remaining space between them, stopping about fifteen feet away from the rest of the group. The same on who had gotten their attention earlier continued in a casual joking voice “Where did you come from?”

Two women and the man who was talking were in the group, and as Soph has suspected they were all carrying packs on their back – one of the women had a bow strapped across their shoulders as well. The others had what appeared to be hand carved spear heads at their belts. The man addressing them had a hand resting near the base of the spear head, ready to turn off the charm and resort to other means if necessary.  

The woman carrying the bow was the one Soph had taken for taller at first with her hair mounded in the spiral of braids on her head. The other woman had the sides of her head shaved, and the hair that remained was in dreads which fell down the back of her head and well past her waist.

The man speaking to them had opted to completely shave his head, though it wouldn’t have surprised Soph if this had been done with the spear head at his waist. The hair was cut off in uneven clumps, though one might not notice this if they were not looking too closely.

“I could ask the same of you” Sid said, the first to recover from the shock of having the decision forced on him.

Jace soon followed with a “that depends on what you are asking. We came from downstream just now if that’s what you mean.”

“And before that?” The man smirked and directed the question to Jace.

“Same place as you I suspect” Jace replied nonchalantly.

This brought a smile to the man’s lips “Your name?” he inquired.

“If you give me yours” Jace replied.

“Fair enough. You look thirsty, you all do, here.” He reached into his bag and pulled out a canteen, he walked forward, as did Jace. They met in the middle of the no man’s land between the groups. The man signaled for the women to do the same, Soph, walked up to meet one of them, Sid met the other. Once they drank they returned to their group and passed the canteen around. Once everyone else had drank Soph took back a canteen and indicated her dog to the others, when they nodded she poured out some water into a cupped hand and let silver lap it up appreciatively. They then returned the canteens.

“Where are you headed?” he asked Jace.

“I can’t speak for everyone but I was trying to find you, or others like you.”

“How…?” the man look dumbfound. Soph also had to wonder how Jace knew there were be others here. That wasn’t the type of thing you would say in a situation like this if one didn’t mean it. The statement had them back on guard. “Are you…?”

“I’m not connected,” Jace turned to reveal the fresh wound on his neck from having the link removed. “The rest I will tell you on the way if you invite us to shelter with you. If you leave us to the elements that will have to be a secret I take with me as I take my chance out here.”

There was a long pause. The others retreated a few paces and discussed the decision in hushed voices. After a moment they gave a wave for the group to follow, and Jace jogged up to the lead to uphold his half of the arrangement.

After making sure the group was following Soph and jogged up to listen in along with Sid, who looked somehow personally offended by all this. Why was beyond Soph, a chance at life was worth it to her. Even if, as it turned out, Jace was more willing to tell a stranger how he knew what he knew than he had been willing to tell her.

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            Jace was trying to hide his worry from those around him, not that they would notice anyways – they were all still in a great deal of shock. Sophia, who seemed to be the most together of them, still didn’t seem to fully realize that her dog was walking circles around her, trying to get Sophia to run and play with her. Every once in a while the dog would nuzzle its head into Sophia’s hand and she would absent mindedly pet it as she walked but she never looked at the dog, never acknowledge it was there or called its name. She just stared blankly ahead and walked.

Occasionally Sophia turned to Jace and seemed startled that he was still there. She would make brief eye contact with him and force some conversation or ask a question. But it was as though she was not fully sure that he was real, as though part of her might think this was just a bad dream from which she would wake any minute now and fine herself just waking up for the day. Every time it was made clear this was the reality she seems startled by it.

The others in the group where just as poorly off, if not worse. Most of them couldn’t bring themselves to make conversation. Without the link Jace wondered if they could even speak. This seemed a little odd to him, most people still that dependent on the link wouldn’t have been seen as rebellious enough to be sent out of the society. Most people that dependent would have been sent for reprograming. This just made Jace all the more curious as to what their thoughts had betrayed in them. Something radical must have been going on inside their heads to lead to this fate?  What it could be was more terrifying than what it wasn’t. If they still conformed to the social protocols then only extreme criminal desires would have them excommunicated like this. He hoped that the criminal desires weren’t at an extreme end of that spectrum.

Then again, they might simply still be stunned, like Sophia unable to believe that they weren’t just dreaming. Jace wasn’t in this state of denial. He knew what he was walking into. Or thought he had at least, but the drop point was not where he had anticipated it would be. They had moved it about a day’s walk east of where the survivors had been spotted, assuming Jace was remembering the terrain correctly. The ground here was much more hostile than the first drop point. Open land with little shelter. If they failed to find cover before the first acid rainfall they wouldn’t survive long enough to make it out to where the others were.

After walking for what must have been hours the group came to a ridge.  The ground in front of them dropped down a few feet into a small stream which was flowing through the rocky ground on either side. The sun was starting to set in the sky and Jace couldn’t bring himself to take another step. He tried to remember if this stream was classified as drinkable or not. He wracked his brain, trying to remember the maps he had studied, missing the instant knowledge of the link for the first time. Before he could remember the answer, another member of the group approached the ridge, saw the water and jumped down into it before Jace could try and stop them, try to explain that the water might not be safe to drink. Like the rest of them, this young man was only focusing on the thirst he had after walking all day in the sun. After taking a sip he waved the others down to join him. Slowly, one by one, they jumped down from the ridge and followed this man’s lead.

“So, should we join them?” Sophia’s voice was faint, her throat clearly torn up and dry. Jace looked down at those splashing and drinking from the stream below. There was no redness on their skin, no indication that there was still acid in the water at least. No one seemed to have any instant negative effects from the water at least.

“I don’t see why not” he replied hesitantly.

With that Sophia joined the others jumping down from the ridge and the dog followed her. For the first time since they had left the drop point Sophia seemed to become aware of the dog’s presence as it splashed along beside her. “Oh Silver, there you are. Good girl.”

Jace watched for a few more minutes. Still hesitant to go down with the others, the water might be acid free but there were plenty of other slower moving toxins and pathogens which could be present in it. Things which wouldn’t affect you for days or weeks after, things which he doubted they would be able to find the remedies for out in the middle of nowhere. After a few more moments though the thirst he was experiencing got to him. He joined the others below.

The water was cooler than he was expecting, and not overly deep. It barely came up past his ankles in this little stream. He bent down to scoop up a handful of it. It was clear, no discoloration, a good sign. Jace finally brought the water to his lips and let it pour into his mouth, tilting his head back as far as it would go. The water tasted crisp and clean. Jace re-cupped his hands and scooped up another handful of water to take another drink. It might just have been how thirsty he was but this was some of the freshest water he had ever tasted.

After a few more sips Jace joined in with the playful spashing of the others, cleaning the dirt and dust from the walk off his face and arms as they went. It felt good to get cooled down after the long hot day they had.

By the time they were done and ready to move on the sun had dipped even lower in the sky and there was little light left. Down a ways on the banks of the stream there were a few trees and the ridge above swooped over the top in a “C” shape overhang, providing some shelter. Jace saw this place and went to the ridge to start pulling down dead branches and began making a fire. Some of the others, once they had their fill of the water, came and joined in his efforts.

Sophia and Silver were the last to come join them, by this time they had managed to get a fire started which proved to be a necessity as the sun dipped out of sight and the air grew cold. Their soaking clothes deepened the chill and they all gathered around the fire to dry off before they slept.

“Tha…nk you.” A quiet unsure voice came from somewhere to Jace’s right. He looked up to see the face of the first young man to jump down into the stream. So at least one of them could speak, that was comforting. A fellow rebel was always welcome in Jace’s eyes.

“Without you I’m sure I’d still be sitting where the dropped us in shock. And without her,” the man nodded to Sophia and Silver. “Her dog had nudged me until I was willing to follow.” Silver had done this with many of the others too. Jace assumed that like any animal given the chance to come out here Silver would have just run off. The main reason those with pets were allowed to bring them was because they were unwanted in the city and were known to abandon their owners when presented with the chance of freedom at the drop point. For many this was the last heart wrenching blow needed to break them into begging their way back on to the bus. Silver was different.

 When the doors had unlocked Jace was among the first to stumble out. From many of the other compartments dogs and cats had sprung out and wandered off, their owners stumbling out after them, some realizing that their pets had gone, others too stunned by the bright sun and change of surroundings to notice. Silver on the other hand had nudged opened the door and sat inside waiting for Sophia to exit. She had sat with Sophia until Jace had approached jerking Sophia out of her train of thought. Silver had some up and sniffed at Jace as he and Sophia talk. As soon as Silver was convinced Sophia was going to follow Jace Silver had been the first to run over to the nearest person and encourage them to come along, sometimes nudging their backs licking their faces or pulling at the hem of their pants. Silver had stayed with a few of them after Sophia and Jace had given up and this young man was one of those who Silver had wrangled into following along at the last minute.

Even now Silver was at Sophia’s side, licking her drying and enjoying the heat given off by the fire. Sophia in turn was running her fingers through the dog’s long hair, doing her best to comb through it and prevent it from matting or tangling as it dried. They two of them had a strong bond, something the likes of which Jace hadn’t seen before. Sophia looked up at Jace just then and smiled. She looked truly happy and at peace for the first time. Hopefully things would stay that way.

Sophia got up and walked over to where Jace and the young man were sitting, “What are you boys talking about over here Jace?” Her voice had a teasing laugh to it, though she could all but guess the answer. There wasn’t much to be talking about at this time.

“Ummm… this fella and I..” Jace started

“Name’s Sidney, you can call me Sid everyone does, or did I guess.”

“Yeah Sid here and I were just talking about how much of a help your dog was this morning Sophia.”

“Soph, please. Only my mother calls me Sophia.” Soph replied. “Was she really?” by this time Silver had wandered over to join them and Soph patted the ground beside her telling Silver to sit. “I… I hadn’t really noticed.” She admitted, bashfully.

Sid launched into his story about the morning making Sophia smile and laugh. The three of them talked until the ambers started to burn down. Sid got up to tear off a few more branches to get things up enough to provide a little light while Sopha settled down with Silver, using the dog as a pillow. Jace stayed sitting up and watching.

Some of the others had struck up a conversation but a few still had not found their voice. With every new greeting that hit his ears Jace relaxed a little, but the longer the few stayed silent the more he worried about what desires they might have buried in their subconscious that would have been considered dangerous enough to banish them.

Eventually he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer and with the crescent moon high in the sky overhead he let down his guard and let himself drift off. The last thing he remembered seeing as his eyes closed was Sid, looking around and walking over to the water’s edge again, bending down as though to scoop more water up into his mouth, though from where Jace lay with his eyes closing it never actually seemed like Sid took a drink.