Student Horror – Presenting Noah Fields

Posted: April 18, 2015 in Uncategorized
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NoahDark Silo Press recently visited Polaris Expeditionary Learning School for Zombie Week – five days of integrated learning presented with a zombie theme. Students received copies of Eric S. Brown’s “The Taint,” and had a question-and-answer session with Brian Kaufman (author of “The Wretched Walls”).

This year, we were particularly impressed with the work of Noah Fields. In the past, we’ve occasionally done a little minor editing for presentation of student work. This piece is presented to you untouched. 

Kudos to Ryan Grindel, the teacher who arranges this week of creativity. Kudos to the kids as well. We always leave Polaris confident in the future of the genre we love!

And now, Fallen – Day One

“Ugh. I hate these damn tights!”

“Why are you wearing them, then?”

“So that people like you don’t look up my skirt while I’m fighting.” Lily threw a glance back at Cedric, a smirk plastered across her face. “Perv.”

“How exactly would the two of us end up in a position where I could look up your skirt?” Cedric wondered aloud.

A quick look of confusion crossed her face, before it returned to her trademark smug appearance. “Oh, you’ve never seen me fight, have you Ced? It’s quite mobile. One glance in my direction when we get there and you’ll see exactly what I mean.”

Just one? Ced thought to himself. I’ll probably give you a few more than that. Lily certainly was eye-catching in her resplendent emerald-green dress, custom-built with both style and combat in mind by incorporating a combination of leather, steel, and magically enhanced fabric that could never get bloodstained. The skirt of the dress ended several inches above the knee (“so I can run,” she said), and the dark jade tights and brown boots she wore under it revealed her well-sculpted legs. Lily’s outfit complemented her long, dark brown hair and eyes nicely, and even managed to match with the crossed pistols she had slung across her back. She is quite pretty. It’s too bad she’s also completely insane.

Cedric would say he hadn’t bothered to get such magnificent attire for fighting ghouls, wights, and other undead beasts, but in truth the idea had never occurred to him. Instead, he donned a simple leather jerkin and matching armored trousers, with a black shirt underneath. Ced’s hair and eyes were both a much lighter shade of brown, cropped much closer to his head.

“Stop. We’re here.”

At the sound of Lily’s voice, Ced stopped walking. Stealing a quick glance around, he saw a dark cave etched into the side of a small hill. Given the size of the hill, the cave could not possibly have been very large. “You sure this is the place?” Cedric looked it over, and then glanced at the ground. Hard-packed earth, just as the townsfolk had said it would be. “Sure, it’s a cave, and the area around it seems right, but there’s no way a zombie horde could be originating from this little place.”

“Best check anyway. Could be a summoner, or a portal.”

“True,” Ced admitted. “We’ll need a plan, though.”

“We both go in with our weapons and kill everything. That’s the plan. I take SteelShock, you take whate-”

“Steel Shock?”

“Steel.” Turning around so that Cedric could see both guns, she gestured to one pistol on her back. “Shock.” She tapped the other. “SteelShock. One word. They’re a pair.”

Cedric could almost feel her smile as she discussed her weapons. She loves those things.She can tell them apart, even though they look exactly the same. Does she care about nothing in her life beyond weapons and fighting?

“What’s yours?”

“Sorry, what?”

“My weapon is SteelShock. What’s yours?”

Cedric unslung the rifle on his back and presented it to Lily. “It’s a Carbine.”

“And?” Lily turned around, irritation readily apparent in her face and her stance. “What’s its name?”

“Umm… it… doesn’t have one?”

“Then. Give. It. One.” Each word was enunciated with slow precision, Lily barely managing to hold back what was clearly intense fury. “Good. Weapons. Have. Names. Exca-” Her voice tripped over the long word in her rage. “Excalibur. Sting. Crescent Rose.”

You… you dumb bitch! Why did we both have to end up taking the same damned job?  “We don’t have time right now. We have to go… Tell you what, by the end of this mission I’ll have come up with something.”

“You’d better.” Lily turned around in a huff and strode into the cave, leaving Cedric behind.

Ced smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand. “My god, you are insane.” Shaking his head in dismay, he followed Lily into the cave.

“Ragh!” A guttural roar emanated from behind him. Immediately turning, he saw a monstrous… thing… in the corner of the cave.

It was wearing tattered and bloodstained clothing. It had legs, powerful and muscled. It had arms, fierce and strong. It had claws, sharp enough to cut through iron. It had teeth, perfect for ripping and tearing flesh. It had eyes, red and almost glowing in the dark.

And it was staring at him.

And running.

“Agh! Shit!” Immediately aiming his Carbine, Cedric fired a shot at the beast. In his panic, he wasn’t able to aim properly, and the creature easily dodged out of the way of the shot and continued to move. Another blast from the gun knocked off one of its arms, spraying blood and bone across the ground and slowing it considerably, but still it charged. I am dead. I am fucking de-

The sound of crackling lightning echoed throughout the cave, and suddenly Lily landed behind the beast, SteelShock in her hands. A flurry of shots rang from both of them, and the creature fell to the ground, dead.

Suddenly, two more of them were running at her from the sides, from some location Cedric couldn’t, or simply hadn’t, seen. Jumping into the air, she flipped and kicked one of them so hard it collided with the roof of the cave, causing drops of blood to drip upon Lily’s hair and face. The other she bashed with Steel (or was it Shock?) as she landed, knocking it to the ground and allowing her to shoot it with Shock (he believed, at least). The electrically charged shot left the beast writhing on the ground as she stomped on its head and destroyed it.

The beasts’ bodies began to glow and then dissipate, sucked back into the ethereal plane they had been summoned from.

“Now you see why I wore these tights,” Lily said pompously, smiling even as she wiped the monsters’ blood off her face with one hand. “You could’ve looked up my skirt easily.”

Ced was in shock. This one insane girl just took on several beasts of the damned and beat them! No, she absolutely DESTROYED them! And now she’s… oh, gods, that is sick… Cedric internally moaned as he saw Lily licking the blood off her hand and her weapons, seeming to savor the taste. What the hell is she?

“And if you don’t manage to kill at least one of them, I’m taking your share of the money, got it?”

“G-got it.” Keep my share, take it all! Just don’t fucking kill me!

“By the way… told you this was the place.” Lily was looking over at a hole in the ground at the seeming end of the cave. “There’s a pit with a ladder here, a few feet deep. It leads to a deeper floor. We’ll find our source of these guys there, I’m sure.” Eschewing the ladder, Lily jumped down the pit.

Ced fearfully trudged after her. I don’t think I’m taking another mission to down anything this deadly for a while. I’ll just stick with hunting problem animals for farmers.

The cave was dark, but Lily moved through it with ease, rapidly clearing bends in the cave’s structure that Cedric could barely see. Sometimes she would turn and fire SteelShock at something he couldn’t see, before a body toppled from the wall, riddled with bulletholes.

Minutes passed. It felt like hours.

At last, a glow shone in the distance. “Found our source.” Lily confidently strode forward, firing at a few seemingly invisible monsters along the way. “Who are you?” she called out.

A voice responded. “I am but a servant of the Dark Lord Azazel. I am his acolyte, and I fill the world with his holy children.”

“Well, tell him to take his holy children and shove them up his ass!” Lily jumped forward, SteelShock in hand. As she did so, she shoved one of her guns (Shock, Ced was sure, as it seemed to be the only one that fired electric bullets) into a chamber of the other one. Pressing some hidden switch on the side of them, a crevice opened on one of the guns, steel plates folding out into a blade. Another switch, and the blade crackled with lightning. “And while you’re at it, how about you let me grant you a quick death?”

The voice laughed, as a man stepped out from behind a pillar. He wore massive plate-mail armor, complete with a chestpiece, leggings, and gloves. His dark red cape flowed behind him, starkly contrasting against the massive greatsword on his back. His shocking white skin and hair caused his blood-red eyes to stand out, and the twin pentagrams floating in the air above his hands denoted but one thing.

“A Lich Lord,” Cedric whispered to himself.

At once, the pentagrams began to glow as the creatures began to tear themselves out of the ground. Lily swung SteelShock and carved through several of the beasts in a single blow. Flipping in the air, she landed behind the Lich Lord and tried to slice his head off. He retaliated by blocking with his greatsword, and the fight began.

Cedric couldn’t keep track of the battle. Flips, dodges, sword swings, bullets and spells colliding in midair. He spent his time just crouching in the corner, gripping his Carbine so hard his hands ached and hoping nothing spotted him while Lily finished the battle.

Clang! SteelShock was knocked out of Lily’s hand, ringing with the sound of metal hitting metal. The Lich Lord raised his arm, preparing a spell to launch at it and destroy the blade.

“No!” Lily yelled. Running, she jumped in front of her weapon as the dark fire slammed into her chest.

“What the hell did you just do?” chuckled the Lich Lord as he stood over her, greatsword in hand.

“Kill me. Torture me. Do whatever you want. Just don’t touch SteelShock.”

“Let it not be said that the Great Lord Azazel is honorless. Your weapon shall remain untouched. You, however…”The Lich Lord raised his greatsword and prepared to stab Lily through the chest.

Shit! Shit shit shit shit shit! Cedric panicked, frantically firing off a shot in the vain hope of hitting something. The sound echoed throughout the room.

The Lich Lord turned to face him. “Oh, you brought a friend? I didn’t notice him there.” Dismissively waving his hand, he muttered “Kill him.”

Three of the beasts began to crawl towards Ced as he brought the rifle to his eye.

Cedric could have sworn time slowed down the instant he began to look down the sights. The monsters slowed to a near-halt as he surveyed the room.

BOOM

A beast’s head flew to bits from a precise shot in his carbine.

BOOM

Another.

BOOM

“Oh, for the love of Great Lord Azazel… The Lich Lord looked mildly irritated at worst. “Everyone, on him!”

Cedric didn’t bother to count how many there were. He just fired.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM click

Cedric grabbed a new magazine from the holster on his back and reloaded, faster than he knew how to.

BOOM BOOM BOOM

The monsters kept coming. There was no way Cedric could hold them off forever. As he fired, he tried in vain to think of a-

“God damn it, Ced, just shoot the Lich!” Lily called out.

Before the Lich Lord had time to react, Cedric had him in his sights.

BOOM

The monsters vanished, their summoner gone.

“Headshot.” Ced looked at Lily and smiled at her. “My Carbine’s named Headshot.

“Damn good shooting, Ced. Damn good name, too.” Lily rose shakily to her feet and almost tripped over herself. “Oh, for the love of-I’ll have to take a few days off to heal.” She looked at Cedric, still smiling, as she bent down and picked up SteelShock, licking the blood off her fingers as she did so.

Ced looked down at his hands. They had but a few drops on them, as few creatures got close to him during the fight. Sticking his tongue out, he gingerly lapped up one of them. “Huh. Tastes pretty good.”

“I know, right?” She was now looting the Lich Lord’s body. “Just don’t have too much at first. It took me a while to get down more than a few drops, but now I could drink a full keg of the stuff without getting sick.” Lily picked up a scrap of paper and squinted at it. “This is a map. It’s got location markers all over it.” She turned to Ced. “This place is marked, too. It probably leads to more of these guys.” Cracking her knuckles, she exclaimed, “You should come with me!”

“No.” Ced turned around and began to walk off. “I nearly died. We both nearly died. I don’t like danger. You can keep my share of the gold.”

Lily smiled as she got up again. “If you do, I’ll show you how to move like me. You’ll be shooting off heads while upside down and airborne.”

Cedric stopped walking. “Right. Just before hitting the ground and getting mauled to death.”

“And I’ll mod Headshot to turn into a warhammer so you can bash whatever’s left to dust.”

Cedric turned around. “So, I’ll survive, but still be scarred for life from all this crazy shit?”

“And,” Lily put a hand on Ced’s shoulder, “I’ll clear one or two of the caves without wearing the tights.”

Cedric smiled, mirroring Lily’s trademark expression. “Deal.”

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