Source: Shadow Over Avalon
It wasn’t talking to me yesterday, but it is now.
These naked people in here with her, condemned as was she, had a connection with each other? She chanced a look over at the nearest one.
No, do not acknowledge any communication or they will become suspicious. What you must do is let your mind wander into the place of pre-sleep, where all is calm and nothing matters. They can’t detect us there, in downtime.
She did as told, desperately wanting more and knowing it wasn’t going to happen unless she complied. Finding the place of quiet inside her took a while as it had been so long since she had a feeling other than terror. Finally, she floated high in the sky in her pre-dreams.
Good. The bankers can’t find us here. Now we must have a naming. We all have angel names that suit who we are now. They gave you the killer number so you must be the new assassin. Your name is now Azrael, the angel of death.
A hot thought of rebellion flooded her mind for a second before the newly named Azrael found downtime again. Why can’t I die? They must give me weapons to kill others, so why can’t I turn them on myself? I don’t want to be a killer.
When they made us, they fitted out bodies with internal armor and our minds with a hot wire to the pain center. Try to self-destruct and the feedback from the bankers is immediate. You will writhe with a pain only nightmares could conjure. What is worse, because we are all linked, every one of us will suffer the echo of agony and must hide it.
No suicide, then, for someone must have tried and failed for the collective to be so convinced it was impossible. There were other ways, though. What if I stand in the line of fire? They can’t stop that.
They tag us for body retrieval, having a team standing by in case of accidents. You will wake up in a fresh body if you manage to destroy the one you wear. They have clones of all of us waiting to be animated. There is no escape. All we have in downtime. One day there will be enough of us to rise up against them. We can wait, for time is on our side.
Waiting through eternity for a chance of rebellion? This sentence plumbed the depths of cruelty. Azrael would never have killed if her son hadn’t been murdered and … there was something else, but she couldn’t remember. What else had they taken away from her? Killing went against her nature; she knew this. What other factor forced her hand? Someone took revenge for her actions personally, or she would have been executed. She wondered if they were going to derive pleasure from watching her at her new function?
At least the guards were looking through her instead of at her. Perhaps she was now a thing of aberration? Number 666 hoped this was so as her nakedness shamed her as much now as when she’d worn an older body. The stepped aside from a now opened door, gesturing her to go inside, which she did. The door snapped shut behind her, with the click of a locking mechanism very audible.
This place was dimly lit and bare but a lot bigger than her previous cell. It also housed five other naked people, three men and two women, with numbers engraved on the skin of their shoulders. They sat on the floor with their backs against a wall and their heads down. All lost souls like her. The room contained a reclamation station at one end as well as a sand shower. She guessed they angels, being possessions, represented a large investment, but what did it mean? Was she to sit in isolated silence until she had an assignment. That thought terrified her as it meant she had to kill someone, but what if she turned the weapon on herself? They had to give her some form of weapon, didn’t they? She had a way out of this horror.
No, you don’t. Self-destruction is not permitted.
The voice echoed inside her head. No one had spoken and yet she heard the voice clearly. Was this how the Bankers controlled her?
Sit down against the wall, lower your head and keep quiet, like the others here.
Number 666 did so. Whatever happened, or did not, was in the hands of a cruel fate. Strange the voice didn’t seem to belong to one, but to many.
Do not move or look at the others. Stay very still with your head down. Good. We are your companions, not the Bankers. They must never know how we communicate with each other.
Woo Hoo! Does happy dance. Oh and yes, there will be a post with another new story snippet later. I need to write it. LOL.
5.0 out of 5 starsChalice of Shadows
ByQwertyon February 26, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Chalice of Shadows is book three in C.N. Lesley’s Arthurian-Science Fantasy series. The book can be read as a stand-alone, but for maximum enjoyment I suggest that you read all three. In Chalice of Shadows the writing and storytelling are excellent, and the author draws you easily into her world. And what a rich and varied world it is. Based on the traditional tales of Morgan and Mordred, two of the most fascinating characters in Arthurian legend, the author adds her own, unique spin to create a wonderful, original story.
Chalice of Shadows should appeal to lovers of Arthurian literature and lovers of fantasy in general. Within the book the author displays a vivid imagination and a sympathetic understanding of human relationships. These qualities lift this series well above others in the genre.
I urge you to read Chalice of Shadows for I’m sure that C.N. Lesley’s ‘Shadows’ series will soon be regarded as a landmark series in Arthurian literature.
The snippet may well be as it is as I was using a large sander this morning. Power tools have all sorts of unintended consequences. Anyhow, part 2. I am wondering about a name for this. Suggestions are welcome.
Rumors swirled about the angels. Some said they were all machine with the consciousness of the culprit trapped inside the circuits. Othes said they had enhanced human bodies; that they were cyborgs. No one believed they were people any longer, for they had no free will. A black cloud of fear swirled around her, eating at her mind, for one thing all people agreed upon was that angels lived forever. How much of her personality would be left? Memories of family wouldn’t exist, but what of the rest? She hoped all would be gone for then she wouldn’t know any different.
The door whispered open to admit a guard in a black Banker uniform and carrying a force whip, they type used on harja beasts to make them do tricks for people. Freya tried to swallow in a suddenly dry throat. She wasn’t people; she was a beast.
“Designation number 666, remove all apparel and jewelry, put them in the waste bucket in the corner and then follow me.”
Stars have mercy on her, it had started. Not Freya Blackhome anymore. The name didn’t exist and soon she wouldn’t remember, either. She jumped up to comply when he cracked the force whip, aware the next time wouldn’t be a warning. Her smart clothes for her court appearance were now dirty and smelled of a mixture of sweat and fear. She peeled them off, along with the rings from her pierced ears, dying a little more inside, ashamed of her older body with its sagging breasts and stretch marks. Now she wished she’d let her graying hair grow longer to give her some cover, but no, she’d cropped it in a shoulder bob before the trial, if that travesty could be called a trial.
Head down, not meeting the guard’s eyes, she followed him along a corridor, up a stairwell and onto a roof, where she was crated in a cage for an airlift by a drone, a marked difference from her arrival in the detention center ground runner. Freya didn’t need to search for her location on the skyline. The obsidian Banker’s building towered above all the rest. While not politicians, elected for a set number of years, a Banker held his place in society for life. They held most of the real power, but not all. Now she belonged to them. Sure enough, the drone aimed for the landing pad on top of the ominous building.
Guards in black uniform waited, their force whips ready. Freya didn’t resist, for what was the point? The only place she could have run was off the edge of the building, but they would never let her near there. Her fate wasn’t to die. Her fate was to be a possession.
She walked between them, matching directions until they stopped in a room with a large, metallic bed in the center with a hooded arrangement poised over where a person’s head would rest. Trembling started then; she couldn’t stop it, nor could she make her limbs move when they ordered her onto that bed. Hands grabbed at her, throwing her into place, strapping down her arms and legs. A sharp pain seared the back of her neck and then all feeling died from her shoulders down. A scream began to build when she figured they had cut her spinal cord, but another savage pain in the front of her neck stopped the intention from becoming reality when they put a tracheotomy in her windpipe. She wasn’t going to make another sound, not now. The carapace joined together over her head and then the cutting started.
Today I am sanding down my bathroom wall I mudded where the vanity and mirror got ripped out by the muscles, my dh. It will need another coat once I have done as the stuff always shrinks. Once that surface is even, then I can paint that particular wall. I hope to get a lot of the other walls done today as they are ready to go.
Still haven’t chosen what new tiles are going on the floor but I do have my new vanity, which is an Allen and Roth cream one and it has a black granite top with a white sink insert. Both of those are currently in the garage.
I’d also like to do some tole painting on the door of the wall insert. Maybe poppies? I think I will practice on paper before I do anything with the door, which is off the hinges now and ready for a coat of cream to match the new vanity.
As for work, I am thinking a lot about the new story. I may put up another snippet today or tomorrow, depending on how it goes.
Freya sat on the floor of her bare cell under the dim overhead light, where they told her to remain until they were ready to process her. Shocked to the core, she didn’t have the heart to challenge any orders, not anymore. Death was for other people. Freya tried to get her head around what was going to happen.
Guilty as charged. She never denied what she had done. How could she when they found her with the bloody knife in her hand and splatters all over her clothes? Not murder, like they said. No, justifiable homicide. Freya killed the man who murdered her son. She executed the son of a rich man and that is why her sentence was decided.
Flynn had everything going for him; a good position in the science department of Government, a lovely and sweet-natured wife and a baby coming. They were such a happy couple when Flynn and Eva told her she was to be a grandmother. Who could have guessed the rot had already set in? Ava came to her after Flynn died, tearful, guilt-stricken and yet still defiant. The story she told set events in motion, leading to this cell.
A rich man’s son decided he wanted Ava as a concubine, but she wouldn’t go with him; refused to leave Flynn and abort their baby. He dealt with the obstacle by having Flynn eliminated. Freya knew then what she must do and what it would cost her, or rather what she thought it would cost. Accordingly, she gave Ava her property and all her credits before she began her revenge, for once it was done the State would take any asset she had. The child now had an assured future so she took care of the problem.
The criminal code of Altair IV wasn’t difficult to understand. Murder meant the death penalty, simple as that, but Freya tried for mitigating circumstances, wanting to at least have news of what was left of her family from penal servitude.
Under the dim, yellow light, she shut her eyes, trying and failing to shut out the images and sounds from the courtroom. A rich man’s son cost her eternity, for that was her sentence. Let the punishment equal the crime, they said. She would never die and no longer live, at least not as a normal person. She waited in this cell while they got ready the equipment to turn her into an angel. That is what Altarians called the deviant criminals turned into cyborg enforcers.
Freya might be free to roam the planet as she obeyed her new masters, for refusing wasn’t an option. She wouldn’t be shut away, but she would be deprived of the memory of all living family. What happened to her grandchild was something she was never going to know. Was the price of her action worth the consequences? If the child lived and thrived, then she had to hope what was coming justified his existence, for she hoped it was a boy.