Far From Home: Chapter 9 – The Erase

The meadow was burning.

The flames were licking up my body, my fur curling back and burning off.

A beautiful girl with wings of fire stood amid the conflagration and looked at me with cobalt stars where her eyes should have been.

My skin was bubbling and melting away like wax.

Her hand extended through the flames, reaching for me in the fire.

My bones exposed to the flames began to crack and split.

The girl was mouthing something to me, her face full of fear and concern, “Chosen Unit Antfarm! You must wake up! It is coming!”

Around me, the meadow was burning. The beautiful girl’s hand found mine, slender fingers webbed with fire curling around my dissolving bones. She pulled me forward through the flames and into her embrace. Her wings closed around me and she said {Chosen Unit Antfarm! You must wake up! It is coming! The Erase event is here!}

My eyes snapped open. Shade hovered and bobbed above me framed by a light brighter than anything I’d ever seen. I closed my eyes against it and was looking up into the girl’s face again {Hold on to me, Chosen Unit Antfarm. We must flee!} I wrapped my crumbling arms around her and held tight. Her wings unfurled and beat down into the flames of a world alight. We rose above the fire into the air and beneath us the meadow fell away into smoke and chaos. I closed my eyes.

The city fell away beneath us, Shade flew high and fast and I steeled myself for a glance behind us. A cry of horror stuck in my throat as my body froze. From horizon to horizon and standing over three hundred feet tall a wall of crackling energy roared towards us, its surface streaked with blots of plasma the colour of my nightmares it devoured and deleted everything in its path. It was if the universe itself had torn open and all the light in Heaven was flooding out, pouring itself on the earth and scouring it all away. It had reached the tower blocks on the far side of the city and I watched in awe as they simply dissolved and crumbled to nothing, erased as if they had never existed. The wall of energy roared unstoppably towards us with a sound like an entire ocean being poured over a cliff higher than eternity.

{You must wake up, Chosen Unit Antfarm!} Shade was shouting over the scream of his world being deleted.

“Wake up? But I am awake!” I shouted back.

{Not here! You must wake up in Not Shade!} He flew fast but my weight was too much for him and I could see the Erase catching us, screaming towards us as the city between us fell into its bottomless maw.

“It’s… it’s eating everything!” I gasped, my mind all but overcome with the terrible beauty of what was happening in front of my very eyes. How many people had it killed? How many lives had it snuffed out, deleted, erased from history? How many of those people must have stood, unable to flee, and gazed in both fear and wonder at the wall of screaming light as it washed over them?

{You must wake up! Shade is lost, but other worlds can be saved. This is why you were Chosen. You must wake up!}

“But how? How can I wake up?” I bellowed, “Tell me how and I will! Tell me!”

The light shot from the robot again, it drilled through my skull and the world around me was overlaid with another. My eyes saw two lives simultaneously, the light of never pouring from the Erase and the crowd of people in my hospital room. My ears heard both lives together, the roar of eternal obilvion closing in on me and the voice of the doctor in my hospital room “If he makes it through tonight it’ll be a miracle. After that, who knows my dear, who knows.”

{Youuuu must makkkkkkkke iiiiiiiiiiiit. I caaaan takkkke youuuu no fuuurther. Choooosen…}

The light snapped off, the worlds split and we fell from the sky. Shade’s light’s blinked briefly and went out forever. We crashed through trees, branches cracking like bones beneath us until we hit the ground hard. Shade bounced away out of sight with an empty metal crash. A moan eased from between my lips and I felt the edges of sleep curling around my skin…

NO! I would not sleep! I would not sleep!

I forced my eyes open. The light of the Erase powered towards me, the city now gone and the short stretch of countryside that led to where I lay would soon follow. I pushed up on my elbows, pain exploding inside me until I was facing the beast. “YOU WILL NOT TAKE ME! DO YOU HEAR ME YOU BASTARD! DO YOU HEAR ME!” I was but a speck of dust before the hurricane, but I felt far from powerless. I had squashed my rage down for long enough. Fear had paralysed my anger and kept me meek, but no more. My fury boiled over, rose to the surface and focused my mind like a falling angel. The Erase was not going to take me. I was going to take the Erase and no power in any universe could stop me. With the trumpet call of a capricious and cruel God seconds away from me, I closed my eyes.

I was above the meadow and it was burning. I opened my eyes and looked at the beautiful girl holding me above the flames. Thank you, I mouthed, but let me fall. Her cobalt eyes widened in horror, NO! she mouthed back. Please, I said silently, you must. I smiled at her and with tears of diamonds she let me go. As I fell back into the fire I closed my eyes…

****{}****

To be continued…
All the “Far From Home” posts can be read here.

*****{*}*****

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) The Great Erase is a tale told by Salazar Jack and you can read more here and here.

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6 comments

  1. oh nicely intense.

    You did a great job of conveying a feeling of urgency and desperation there.

    And it’s a very authentic sort of desperation and urgency. Does it come from something in your own life? If not, you do well at imagining it.

  2. Thanks Dio – kind words indeed 🙂

    Nope, I’ve never been in a situation that would illicit such a feeling of deperation or urgency, but after a shaky start with this tale, I’m ‘in the zone’ as your fellow countrymen might say 😀

    This was going to be called “The Point of Intersection” as it’s where the two (three?) worlds HBA is inhabiting collide, or maybe collapse would be better as the whole story is my take on the observer effect within a multiverse of quantum theroy. Only at the point where HBA realises he has the power to shift focus, in this case through the pure been of anger produced within him, does he become able to shift back to one place and put all his energies into staying alive – much better to fight on one front than many.

    After this I may give poor HBA a break – it’s all death & running from death & screaming at death for him. He needs a holiday. Maybe somewhere in the countryside, say a mountain & forest wilderness retreat…

  3. “In the zone” isn’t a worldwide expression? Who knew? 🙂

    I can’t wait for the next (last?) installment!

    1. Well it is, but it’s known as an Americanism and only athletes or weird business/sales types use it seriously 🙂

      The next will indeed be the last – it should dovetail nicely into my new life in St Helens and than I’m moving focus back to Dr Beck I think.

  4. AAHH! What a place to end it! I can’t wait to see what comes next– this is the most tense and exciting episode yet!

    Good lord, is this what happened to all those people in The Great Erase? *shudder* Your description of the energy wall makes an already terrible story seem even more so. Well done!

    1. Thank you Ilia! I really wanted to expand on Sal’s wonderful creation and make it even more terrifying. I don’t think I’ll return to the Erase for a while, but I will return… oh yes, I will return… (dun dun duuuun!)

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