Once again, it has been three thousand years. But here’s another chapter of the second draft of Lamenting City, and maybe the last one I post, unless I decide to… IDK, go up to Chapter 10 or just post the entire second draft and delete everything later when it comes to self-publish. Depends on how fast I am at writing the thing.
Incidentally, this entire chapter was originally an opening to another chapter in the first draft, but I chose to expand it into its own chapter. It’s definitely rough around the edges, but I think this change was for the better.
I’m also considering posting the music I’ve listened to while writing each chapter. Would anyone be interested in that?
She had arms made of metal, with terrible talons and razor sharp blades resembling feathers. A tail lashed the air behind her, and she opened her mouth to release a robotic and animalistic shriek. She stood on two powerful legs made of steel, digging her claws into the stone as she roared over the barren landscape below.
Another mechanical roar answered hers, and she jumped off the cliff to meet its owner, a velociraptor mech. She stared into the yellow lights that served as its eyes, growling a warning which it returned with a snarl. They circled each other, waiting for one to make the first move.
Deep inside, something told her that this was her natural state, that she had spent her entire life doing this. She found no reason to argue, letting adrenaline take her hand and lead her.
Every step she and her opponent took sent tremors through the ground, and their roars echoed throughout the emptiness. Their talons tore up the dry soil beneath them, leaving ugly marks behind.
The velociraptor raised its hands, pointing the guns on its wrists at her. It snarled, jumping back and firing at her, the shots of white hot plasma aimed at her neck. She leapt to the side and charged forward, driving her claws into its shoulder. The velociraptor shrieked and slashed her across the face with its other hand to get her off of it. She growled and backed off.
For a few precious seconds, she looked down at the parts of her body she could see, unable to tell if she had any weapons besides her teeth and claws. She decided teeth and claws would be all she needed. She lowered her body, growling at the velociraptor and waiting for it to make another move. To its credit, the velociraptor kept both its eyes and guns on her as it took slow, calculated steps to the side, unwilling to turn its back to her.
Her patience vanished in an instant and she rushed towards the velociraptor, opening her mouth and baring her glistening, sharp teeth. The velociraptor screamed and rapid-fired its guns. A searing pain shot through her side as one shot connected, and she roared in barely contained agony as she sank her teeth into its arm.
The metal twisted and broke under the strength of her jaw. She turned her head, hearing the joints snap and the velociraptor roar as it desperately clawed at her face. She pulled away from it, taking its arm with her and dropping it to the ground. She stared into the velociraptor’s eyes for a moment, oil dripping out of her mouth like blood.
She tackled the velociraptor to the ground before it could fire its remaining gun, digging her claws into its body and removing chunks of metal until she reached the glowing red power core. Pushing down on the velociraptor’s shredded chest with her right foot, she leaned closer and gripped the power core with both hands, yanking it out of the velociraptor’s chest and watching the wires snap.
The velociraptor’s thrashing ceased once the last wire snapped, and its eyes grew dim. Its body went limp and its head hit the ground, mouth hanging open. She tossed the power core to the side and stepped off of it, clutching her wounded side. She looked into the gray fog, seeing yellow lights approaching from every direction.
More velociraptors emerged from the fog, some with guns on their wrists and some without. She sank her claws into the soil to steady herself and roared a challenge to them, waiting for them to roar back. The moment they did, she rushed towards them, dodging their shots and tackling one of them and ripping its faceplate off with her jaws.
One of the velociraptors grabbed her from behind, pulling her off its ally and throwing her to the ground. She jumped back to her feet and lunged for it, stopped only by another one clamping its jaws down on her tail and holding her back. She whirled around and slashed it across the face, only for yet another to sink its claws into her side. The one holding her tail refused to let go.
A third velociraptor approached her from her right side, grabbing her neck as she thrashed and struggled to break free. She screamed and flailed, unable to escape their grasp. Oil leaked from the wounds in her neck and side, splashing onto the dry, cracked ground. A tortured growl escaped her throat, and her body went limp.
The velociraptors surrounded her until she couldn’t see anything but them, and she snarled at them, the only act of defiance she could manage. The one still clinging to her side sank its claws deeper and pulled, while another gripped her left side and pulled. The one holding her tail pulled, digging its heels into the soil.
They pulled and pulled and pulled, and the metal making up her body shrieked as it was torn away, wires snapped and sparked, and oil poured out of the openings like blood from a wound. The metal plates and her entire tail fell to the ground, exposing her steel skeleton and her vital systems.
She didn’t even get a second to process what had happened before the velociraptors were on her again, hooking their claws into her and pulling. She shrieked and lurched forward, accomplishing nothing but loosening her joints. She screamed as they pulled at her weakened limbs, and she tried to tug them back, only to have them ripped right out of their sockets.
Without her arms and legs, her body hung limply in their grasp, feeling the rest of her separating inch by inch with each passing second. Pain seized her, an agony like fire. She found she couldn’t scream, the wires of her neck snapping and coolant draining out. Pieces of metal fell to the ground, and she slipped from their cruel hold, landing with a mighty thud, more pieces flying off of her from the impact. Her mind froze and she stared at the soaked soil. A dreadful ringing filled her ears, followed by static, and then silence overtook her.
She didn’t see the velociraptors anymore. She couldn’t see anything at all, and she wondered if her eyes had fallen out of her metal skull. Pain made up her entire being, and she faded, faded, faded until there was nothing left. The void greeted her, and she lacked the will to fight against it. She let it take her to a world without pain, and without monsters.
Only it was still a world with pain and monsters.