The Lark Council

The Culling (The Lark Council)

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Huddled together as one clan, as we had been on the outside, only now so many fewer.

I scratched absently at the stubble growing in on my head. My one vanity, my thick and shiny auburn hair, had been shaved off and thrown in the trash.

Along with Vera’s unborn baby; she had been deemed unfit to carry.  A dreamy odd thought had drifted through my mind as I watched them drop handful after handful of my locks into the can, that the baby girl lying in there would at least be surrounded by something warm and soft. She deserved at least that little courtesy, in a world so cruel some might think she was better off. Vera was inconsolable. I saw them take her, dragging her from the room.

The Lark Council had begun the culling within a few days of stomping down their gangway towards us, all wide eyed benevolence; they came bearing relief, they said, from the drought and the hunger that plagued our remote town. Our Elders had been so relieved at the thought of rescue that they hadn’t looked past the friendly words to see into the hard eyes that never changed. We saw through them, we saw and we whispered amongst ourselves. It happened so quickly though, we thought that we would have more time to speak our piece, to keep our own peace. Not so.

In their crisp and clean uniforms, the Council first culled out all of those who had been touched by the Roiling, and those who had nursed them. These unfortunates, with their scars that looked like melted wax dripped over and into their flesh, their sad and crazy eyes that spoke of untold pain, were corralled into our church. The doors were barred, guards were posted, and that was that. Those who resisted were shot without warning; those who protested were given one.

Next came the pregnant women, Vera shuffling in the middle of the herd, hands covering her swollen belly as she was jostled forward. I never heard what the Lark’s criteria were for choosing who was allowed to carry a child; there didn’t seem to be a connecting thread to the women who came back to us with gratitude and fear fighting for control of their face. They were named Inviolate. There would be no other procreation without permission. Any infractions would be cause for the execution of both parents and any existing children, immediately.

The worst part of all of this, the most insidiously terrifying thing, was that we had no idea why. We didn’t know what the Lark Council’s purpose was, we didn’t know what they wanted. Sometimes a seemingly random soldier would step forward with a proclamation, some rule or other we were expected to follow without hesitation upon penalty of death. They wouldn’t answer questions, they wouldn’t address anyone directly, and I saw Jaim take a loaded thruster stock to the temple for attempting to step in front of a grizzled man that was trying to leave the building.

As they locked us into the gymnasium night after night, a slow burn fired in my belly. It was obvious that there was no rescue or relief for us, but our town was falling into disrepair as well. The soldiers on the ground didn’t bother digging jacks and the smell was quickly becoming overpowering. They let their garbage fall where it would, bonfires that had been kept burning without fail for months were pissed on and kicked over.

If they weren’t taking care of the town it was because they weren’t planning on staying. They wouldn’t bother turning us into a matched and malleable set of players if they were going to leave us here to rot. This meant that they plan on leaving. They plan on taking us with them. Somehow I don’t think that we will have pride of place within this regime.

I fear that they mean to enslave.

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the chosen winner of last weeks Master Class entries was the cringe inducing creepy tale Weightless (http://www.angelaamman.com/2013/01/the-master-class-3-weightless.html).  Angela chose Margret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ for this weeks prompt:  We slept in what had once been the gymnasium

i introduced the Lark Council in the very first Master Class, and visited it once after that, and now this one makes three.  it’s not a cohesive continuation yet, just snippets that pop into my head.  one day i’ll figure out how to link and tab and all that fun stuff so i can make it easy for anyone who wanted to maybe go back and read other stuff…one day…. 🙂Storch-Badge-Master

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Categories: Fiction, The Lark Council | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

It screamed and screamed…

The doctor woke up afraid and was aggravated by it. The woman, Talia, he thought, was sitting cross legged on the floor a few feet away, cloaked in a smirk and a palpable aura of anger. Self righteous little twit, he thought.

Her eyes lit with a ferocious delight as she saw his fluttering open. “Well well, hi there!” she said, brittle and bright. She unwound her long limbs and stretched upwards to shake out some of the stiffness. The stark room didn’t boast amenities like chairs, or anything even remotely resembling comfort. This was a room for bad business and nothing more.

As she came forward the doctor instinctively shrank backwards even though he had already felt the restraints clamped around his wrists and ankles. Her once fiery beauty now held a touch of madness; her smile had a feral edge, and as the doctor noticed the flecks of silvery-white in her green irises his fear ran to terror that dampened him with sweat from his lips to his toes.

“Noticed something, have you?” A sweet smile, gone sour. “What’s the matter?”

“You…you’ve been touched!” he stammered. “But, how are you…how did you…what in the hell are you?” His words ended on a wail.

“What, this?” she asked, all nonchalance as she rolled up her shirtsleeve. “I was touched by your Roiling, Doctor, that’s all.”

Her forearm was brown and smooth, ropey with somehow feminine muscles. Except for one long jagged strip that ran up the meaty inner flesh. Sunken in a full half inch, like she had been burned, except that the grey and waxy looking skin had a pearlesence to it that glowed. Looking the Doctor in his panic stricken eyes, she pressed a short clean fingernail directly into it. He watched a myriad of emotions play across her face, pain and confusion, elation.

Talia leaned even further over, pressed the tip of her nose directly to Doctor Faisel’s cheek so he could detect a fever smell pumping from her. “Do you know what it did, Doctor, when we caught the little bastard and pulled it out of me? When we yanked it by the tail and threw it on the ground along with my blood, my gore? Do you know what it did?”

The Doctor’s mind dithered, close to shutting down and he muttered something unintelligible.

Talia shoved her ear against his mouth as her voice went up an octave. “What was that Doctor? What was that?”

“It screamed…”

“That’s right!” Talia threw her arms up and down. “Right before we smashed it into a pulpy mess of shit on a dirty floor, your creature screamed and screamed. “The really funny thing about it though, was that it screamed just like a human woman.”

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this weeks Master Class prompt was brought to us by the talented SAM at My Write Side, who chose to use The Witching Hour by Anne Rice: The doctor woke up afraid.
As always I am delighted to be a part of this and I would prolly keep typing more but my computer is acting squirelly as all get out and i would just like to make sure that this gets posted…

Categories: Fiction, The Lark Council | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Master Class, Week 1

So one of my very favorite blogs, Sinistral Scribblings by the talented Eric Storch, has started a new writing prompt game called Master Class.  Since the whole point of starting this blog was to get myself back into the habit of writing fiction, I figure that I will just jump directly into the fire (barefoot and doused in accelerant) and link up my second ever blog post to a seriously skilled writer and hope that I don’t get booted back into the kiddie pool to douse the flames of embarrasment.

The prompt is to take the starting sentence and then write what you think comes next in 300 words or less (which was the hardest part, for me).  From DHALGREN by Samuel R. Delaney – “To wound the autumnal city…”  I decided to use the autumnal definition of “past maturity, or middle life”.  Here goes….

“To wound the autumnal city,” proclaimed a voice so devoid of inflection it had to be purposeful, “would be to deal an unnecessary blow.”

He was peripherally aware of the discomfitted looks of the council surrounding him.  Carefully now, tread carefully.

“I did not know, Commander, that the Lark was in the way of bullying.”

Vaunts face blanched and he half stood.  “What the hell do you mean by that Jemmy?”  His heated words were a direct contrast to Jemmy’s cool tones.

Spreading his hands like a parent calming wayward siblings General Tarkis spoke.  Almost no one noticed the glance he flicked towards the window port, towards where Jemmy stood.  Almost no one, but Commander Vaunt did.  “Left to its own devices, this first among cities is ready to collapse under its own weight.”  Tarkis remained seated as he spoke, and commanded the room merely by waiting until all eyes were upon him before continuing.  “The aqueducts are crumbling, their food sources are deserting the people to go to where the water is.  Those who have not yet succumbed to the Roiling are nursing those who were.”

Vaunts expression reflected a war between incredulity and rage as he searched the faces of the Lark Council for an ally and found none.  “We cannot appear to be doling out mercy at this juncture, we cannot hesitate to strike!”  A few of the more trigger happy among the council looked emboldened by this attack upon their military might.

Forgive me Talia, Jemmy murmured to himself.  “A suggestion, council?  We have already rendered their only viable trail through the mountains impassable.  I propose that we offer safe haven, that we gain a cadre of subjects who do not realize that they are slaves.  Or.  Or can leave their corpses to rot where they lay.”

Categories: Fiction, The Lark Council | Tags: , | 9 Comments

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