Thursday, August 18, 2016

Serrated pincers clacked in the dry air

Serrated pincers clacked in the dry air. The creature’s leathery throat vibrated, emitting a hiss into the night. It opened its mandibles and the atmosphere pulsed around its saliva-laced maw. Its audience did not hear its will as words; rather, they felt its thoughts burrow under their skin and bore into their minds.

“Kh-it is time to advance our plans with these goat-herders.”

The one with a bull’s head snorted, “It has been a long time since these hairless apes pushed herds over the dunes. They worshipped us then.”

“And they will worship us again,” followed the third, its words sliding like a well-greased wheel into the other’s retort. It stole away the Θevrumineś’ tirade, parrying the seemingly inevitable argument. “The seasons shift into our favor, Vorace. The Curtain weakens.”

Vorace cocked its sloped skull to the side and then buzzed in reply. “Kh-I can taste its fraying. I have long savored the Weaver’s impotence and rage.”

“Kh-still...The time to hunt in the open is not yet. We need these servants to rebuild the gate.”

“Theros will handle motivating their cooperation,” the oily whisper on the wind replied. This elicited an amused grunt from the beefy second.

“Kh-and what will you do? You Who-Stalks-Kings-and-Plays-Puppets,” menaced Vorace as it scraped its scythe-like forelimbs against each other.

The third creature arose from the recess in the sand dune and blotted the pale moon from the night sky. The others shivered. “I will ensure those goat-herders who have more sense than most don’t remove you from this phase of the world.”

Its words burned deeper than any venom Vorace possessed. Vorace bowed its oval head to the darkness and hissed softly, “Kh-But they are weak and blind. They do not even understand where this portal leads--the rip in the Curtain their own hands have made!”

As if Vorace's rebuttal had been the ancient password, golden streaks burned in a counterclockwise manner in the midnight sky within the decrepit archway. Like condensed daylight each strand stabbed out of the darkness, though each stopped short of making a complete circle. Band within band they burned around a golden sphere which pulsed and rotated. Then the core exploded, generating a feeling to their senses like that of glass breaking from the punch of a bullet. Sand erupted outward, scattering with chunks of the archway and choking the brilliance into muted dawn.

An armored figure strode out of the epicenter, carrying a large weapon in its left hand and wearing two swords on its back. Its helmet scanned right to left, quickly taking in the desert night. The barrel of its weapon swung instantly toward the horned member of the triad. “I’ve located the minotaur and awahando. Right where the Core said they'd be. Now where is--”

The darkness pressed into itself and glided like a bolt through the air at the intruder. The warrior reflexively pulled the trigger, golden bursts ripping through the night. The shade shrieked as each round punched through it. Staying its charge, the living darkness separated into a thousand shadows and rushed toward each cardinal direction.

Theros bellowed and charged, “Coward!”

The warrior drew a blade, flicking its body as much as the weapon into the attack. The massive beast crashed into the sword, expecting it to shatter like all mortal weapons on its impervious hide. Bulging eyes stared hard as the fang slipped effortlessly into the night air on the other side. Its lower half sunk to its knees while the remaining mountain of muscle and gore fell the other way.

Vorace, alone, stared from a thousand lenses upon Theros’ corpse, the shade’s departure, and the warrior’s immaculate blade. It bowed again, this time to the soldier. It struggled to speak in what it felt was a meek tone. “Kh-have mercy, man-that-walks-the-Curtain...Let me serve you.”

The barrel leveled with what the person called an awahando and rebuked the creature, "I am no man."

The trigger finger squeezed without hesitation, adding a smoking eye to the many on Vorace’s head. It sank to the earth, its blood burning the soil and Theros’ furred hide.

The lone gunman returned the sword into its scabbard and removed the helmet. She let her chestnut hair billow in the fading sandstorm her jaunt had created. She took a breath once the dust settled and stared at the two slain monstrosities. Looking up at an unblemished moon, she asked aloud as if speaking to another person nearby, “Now that I’ve stopped this age of the world from ending, where can I find the one they call Tenet?”

Art Source: "Bounty Hunter" by OakKs
Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship, Tenet © Brannon Hollingsworth


  1. Another winner! Will these stories ever be expanded upon into something longer?

    1. Thanks so much, J.R.! Yes, many of them are being expanded and several of them are based on the works you can find here: