Mutations

Steal Head: The Story In Full.

The great thing about multi-participant roleplay is the sheer scope & inventiveness of posts and photos that people post to their blogs. Unfortunately it can mean that it’s hard to follow the ebb and flow of the tale and sometime you can miss whole chunks. To try and address this I maintained a record of everyone’s posts and listed them in a chronological order that made sense to the tale. If you’ve never read “Steal Head” before, or are returning to re-read it, I hope this guide helps you find your way through what proved to be an amazing four months of my life 🙂

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The tale begins…

All across Steelhead, people start having nightmares… ((An OOC call to join in the nightmares!))

Dr Beck writes to the Town Council for the first time…

A vandal paints graffiti around town

A message is revealed and the Sentinel is on the case!

Dr Beck writes to the Town Council for the second time…

Dr Beck writes to the Town Council for the third time & Capt Creighton delivers a photograph…

Steal Head Arrives in Town!

Lunar calls for an expedition to the site of the photograph.

Dr Beck writes to the Town Council for the fourth time & Capt Creighton delivers a photograph from the expedition…

More from around Steelhead on the spate of vicious murders! ((An OOC call to join in the murderous fun!))

Dr Beck falls to the creature and a rescue is undertaken.

The end of Steelhead’s nightmare, yet Ya Yiwama claims one final victim…

In the murky waters of Steelhead’s Shanghai port, the legacy of evil battles on…

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Steal Head: The End.

All “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.

Steal Head: Epilogue – Letting In the Light

The crowd surged forward as the rail car began to slip over the edge of the lagoon into the bay. Four explosive charges popped almost simultaneously to release the airship’s boarding tube from its death grip on the caboose, and with a final inhuman scream of fury and tearing metal the foul lair sank beneath the waves taking the dying Steal Head and his final victim with it.

Through the noise and confusion Softpaw led Beck away. He was dazed, weak, stumbling and she reassured him he was safe now, that Steal Head could never hurt him again, but inside Beck knew the bastard didn’t have to. Since he’d encountered the strange storm sank the boat in which he’d escaped from England, all he’d had left of his family were their memories. The warmth of his wife’s love that surrounded him in the smoke, the trusting faces of his children smiling at him in his dreams, they were his only connection to his other life in his other England and now they had been taken from him. Now he was alone in this alien place, finally and totally alone.

This wasn’t his world, you see. The storm had transported him from his world to one that whilst looking the same on the surface was in fact very, very different indeed. In this world, this new, alien world, England had not fallen to Rasuptin, Queen Victoria still reigned over a mighty Empire and America was not preparing for a final war of survival. Yet despite all the differences for the better (and there were many) for him this world lacked three things; three small, lost things. He’d had to learn to accept their loss, not just their death, but their total loss to him. He’d had to comfort himself with occasional glimpses in his dreams or in the sweet smoke of an opium pipe, and whilst fleeting, these glimpses, these visions, proved one thing to him, one vitally important fact. No matter how bad things were here, no matter how lonely he was, he knew his family were always with him because he’s brought the final piece of them with him in his memories and nothing could alter that. Until now. Until Him.

The terrible fear of being killed by the creature, of having his head torn off and his soul eaten, had terrified him but the feeling of the creature in his mind, the vile probing of his deepest, darkest thoughts, had proved far worse. The naked fear and repulsion of death were as nothing when compared to the numb cold he now felt in his heart at having had his memories defiled in this way. To discover his children’s eyes filled with horror and accusation, or to see to the raw, limitless hatred in his wife’s face was, after all he’d lost, too much to bear.

As they reached the creaking, rotting steps to the hovel he called home, he waved Softpaw’s offers of company away. Yes she could come back later he promised. Yes he was fine, he just needed sleep he assured her. No, he really didn’t need any help from here, he insisted. He just wanted to be alone. Just him and the darkness. The darkness was still with him of course, it had never really left. Softpaw had released him from Steal Head’s mastery over it, but how could she hope to banish the seed of void that lay inside him? She may as well have tried to pluck the eyes from his face without blinding him, or pull the heart from his chest without killing him. The dark nothingness was as much him as his skin and bones and blood. It lived inside him, watching, waiting.

He opened the door, not even noticing it was unlocked, and found Meile waiting for him. She rushed to him, embraced him and looked up into his eyes through tears. Beck asked her to leave, to go back home. She cried and pleaded to stay, but he refused, ordering her to leave him alone, to get out and never come back. Broken hearted she ran out into the night.

Alone at last (was he ever anything other?), just him and his darkness. He sat in his threadbare chair and gazed into the small, flickering fire. Its warmth failed to reach him but he wasn’t interested in being warm. Everyone he loved most in the world was cold, why shouldn’t he be too. Inside the darkness squirmed and rose, slowly reaching out to spread through his veins and bones until in inhabited every part of him. Beck was tired. Tired of being alone, tired of feeling nothing but guilt, tired of always being cold and dirty and scared, tired of running and hiding, tired of trying and failing, tired of waking and sleeping, tired of everything. But most of all he was tired of the darkness. It was time to put an end to it. It was time to let the light in.

The scalpel didn’t hurt, not really, just two slow cuts and and the darkness began to flow out and the light in. Simple really. The black ran from the light, throwing itself on to the floor, pulsing out and dripping away whilst the light flooded in, bright and white and pure without even the smallest of stains. It filled him up and more until there was no room in the shell of his body for him any more and he fell into the light until he lost all sight and sound and thought and instead became of the light and vanished.

And so, with the trace of a distant smile playing across his lips Rhynold Beck, doctor, husband and father, died with only the crackling logs in his fire to bear witness to his passing.

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The end of “Steal Head”

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.
2) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Steal Head: Chapter 17 – Slipping Back…

Curled in a foetal ball, Beck was lowered from the Revenge to the ground below where a circle of nuns held back the crowd gathering to witness the battle in the rail car. The sounds emanating from the partially submerged caboose hinted at the fierce fight raging, but no one could have imagined the true horror of what was happening inside.

Someone began to lay a blanket over the prone doctor but a large, fawn paw gently stopped them, “No,” a voice purred, “let me help him first.”

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Beck was alone in the night, the darkness complete and total… except… except for a small point somewhere above him. He watched, unsure how to react as the small point grew, becoming a hole in the jet black that surrounded him. The hole began to crack, ripping at the edges, tearing through the thick fabric of his prison. Another appeared, and another. Soon dozens of small pinpricks began to grow and spread, their jagged paths connecting and joining as they went, weaving a criss-crossing web of light around him, splitting and ripping the darkness away until, with a sudden rush of pure white light, the walls of his confinement shattered and exploded into dissolving shards of nothingness.

He blinked his eyes open, squinting against the harsh daylight until he could see, and he found himself looking into the the most beautiful green eyes he’d ever seen. “Welcome back, Doctor Beck,” Softpaw purred with a kind smile.

Beck struggled to find his voice, “Wh… where…?”

“You are safe now, that’s all that matters. You were lost to us, but I found you in the darkness.”

**{}**

Behind him there was a sudden shout from the crowd. He turned and found he was on the quay side of the Sampan lagoon where Xao had blown up the stilted rail car. (How had he come to be here? The last thing he remembered as finding Xan’s body… or was it the ball in Manchester… or the endless ice…?) As he tried to order his thoughts and memories, a spout of water leapt from the lagoon as, with a grinding of metal on rock and a cracking of wood, the rail car began to slide over the edge of the lagoon’s basin and into the deep, cold waters of Shanghai’s docks.

“Everyone back!” a nun shouted “It’s going down!”

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To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.
2) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Steal Head: Chapter 15 – The Rescue Begins!

After the delay in telling the last chapter, things are moving rapidly towards a conclusion – if you are wondering what will happen to the stricken Dr Beck and what the vague noises he heard at the end of Chapter 14, then you need to join the action over on Darien Mason’s many blogs of wonder. Below are the links so far, but I’ll post more as they come – and don’t forget, you can check the oft update “Story So Far” over on the Ning at any time.

Dr Beck falls to the creature and a rescue is undertaken.

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Steal Head: To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
2) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
3) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Steal Head: Chapter 14 – The Darkness of The Past

The moon shone weakly through the haze of smoke that carried upon it the faint scent of fire and death, the charred signatures of war. Beck spun around, the boat beneath his feet was gone, the bone-numbing cold of the Arctic wastes replaced by the warmth of a summer’s night on the streets of Manchester. He recognised this place, this time… The city had fallen, the resistance crushed by the mechanized mage armies of Rasputin, and tonight was the the military ball to celebrate the victory of Her Imperial Majesty Tsarina Victoria’s army. Yet more than that, this was the night he met…

“Me,” his wife’s voice hissed in his ear. “This day should have been the happiest of my life, but you ruined it,” her anger was colder than the dark-stained ice that rolled and cracked in his heart. “I was going to marry him!” she thrust an accusing finger towards a handsome naval officer , “but you had to go and spoilt it all.”

Beck found his voice, a small dry thing deep at the back of his throat, “I… We… we fell in love here…”

“You took me from everything I was promised!” she shouted, “My life was laid out for me, so easy, so perfect. But you took all that from me! I was to be the wife of a great officer in the Imperial Navy but instead I left it all behind, ran away with you, you who were nothing! A grubby doctor from some godforsaken hole in the North!”

“No, it wasn’t like that,” Beck gasped. “ You hated your life, hated the atrocities Rasputin’s mages were committing, hated what England had become….”

“I was eighteen! A stupid, naive girl! You took me from my family, took me from my life! And for what? So we could live together in a hovel? Always looking over our shoulders? Never settling anywhere? What life was that for me? What life was that for my children?”

“They were my children too!” Beck snapped back. The slap across his face made his ears ring.

“They were MY children! You lost them the day you killed them!” she screamed in his face, her hatred white hot and terrible.

The streets of Manchester had gone, replaced by the hills and valleys of the Bowland forest thronged with columns of fleeing refugees in a chaotic exodus. The Lincoln Line had fallen two days before and the rout was complete with the mecha-mage armies hounding the resistance mercilessly, pushing them north towards the ruins of Scotland. The stragglers, exhausted and defeated, were a terrible sight and Beck’s heart ached to witness it again.

“Remember this?” his wife was by his side again, “remember the squalor and misery you subjected us to? Remember the people dropping dead where they stood? The stench of death and fear? The constant attacks? And this is the life you gave me and my children!”

“You can’t blame me for this,” Beck countered, “You wanted to fight with me, support the resistance. You left your family to be with me…”

“Something I regretted every day of my life! I should have been in London! I should have been married to an Admiral! But no, you cursed me to a miserable life up here tending to these pathetic fools!”

“No! No, that’s not true, you loved your life here, you loved the resistance, you loved me…”

“I hated you! I hated you!” she screamed at him and he felt the dark void inside squirm and stretch, growing stronger and bigger. Maybe she was right. He could have turned his back on the resistance and lived in comfort in London. The resistance was a joke, it never stood a chance of winning, not against the mages, not against the nightmares they conjured up. He must have known that, he must have known that fighting them was for fools, a death sentence. And that’s what he’d given to his wife… that’s what he’d given to his children, a death sentence. He closed his eyes, pushing his balled fists into them.

When he looked up again, the forest had gone and he was stood on a small wooden dock next to a battered fishing trawler being hurriedly loaded with supplies by its desperate crew. Further down the coast the Imperial Navy were shelling anything that floated into matchsticks, staining the sea and the sky red. He felt sick, the shameful memory of leaving his friends behind twisted and swelled inside him. He had deliberately split away from them, leaving them to their fate, hoping that their desperate attempts to escape would allow him and his family valuable time to flee to Iceland. From there he had no plan to speak of as the world had long ago shifted from pink to red but at least in Reykjavik he would have some breathing space, some safety.

“Don’t you dare!” his wife hissed, “Don’t you dare tell me this was for us! You left your friends, the people you promised to fight and die with. You left them to be slaughtered by the Navy because you are a coward! Don’t you dare tell me this was for us!”

Beck looked at the burning sky; all the people he’d fought with caught by the Navy and whatever horrors the god-forsaken Mages called up from the depths of the ocean. She was right. He had abandoned them. He had run like a coward.

“Yes, like a coward. And like a coward you used me, my children, as the excuse you needed. Iceland? ICELAND? How could we have lived in Iceland? We’d have been shipped right back, or more likely simply dumped into the sea to save them any trouble with Rasputin!”

“I… I had no choice,” Beck tried.

“You always had a choice, always! You could have left us, my family still had connections. You could have stayed away from the resistance, taken up a practice in London. You could have left me to my life when you met me! You could have given yourself up to the Navy instead of taking us here!”

The sudden icy wind ripped at Beck’s skin. Now he was on the boat as it slowly cracked its way through the icy sea. His journey had come full circle leading him back to the Arctic. He could never escape from here. In truth, he had never ever left this place, he carried it around with him wherever he went. He turned slowly, looking behind the boat. Two small bundles of rags lay alone and still on the ice. His children… his beautiful, wonderful children.

“No! Not yours! Mine! My children and this is where you murdered them. You vanity, your pride, your cowardice led them here and your inadequacies let them die,” his wife’s face was twisted by pure, naked hatred that sang to the growing, swelling emptiness inside his gut.

“No… I… we had no choice. The navy followed us, we had to head north. The chased us non-stop. We had to try for the north-west passage, to make for America,” but it seemed to him that a stranger spoke his words as he no longer believed them. He knew the truth, he’d always known and his wife had simply helped him out of his denial. Without him, without his pointless existence, his useless cowardice, they would have lived.

“Don’t forget the crew, every one of them lost their life following your insanity!”

Yes. Only he had lived. First his… no, not his, never his but always her children, taken by the terrible cold, dark stains on the perfect ice as he left them behind. Then the crew, one by one, falling to the cold or hunger or disease. Then his wife, his love, his life, the woman he’d stolen from her perfect life and taken to her death, the woman he promised to protect yet allowed her to witness the death of her children before dying in agony herself. Then the storm, only he and a young lad left as the boat sank beneath the night-shrouded waves. And when the sun rose again only he remained. Only he lived. All of them gone. All of them dead. All of them murdered by his cowardice and inadequacies…

Faces flashed before his eyes, all the people he’d killed or allowed to die, all the people he’d failed to save, all the pain and loss he’d inflicted on the world. His wife, her children, his friends, Li Fe and his family. All of their blood on his hands, dark stains creeping and crawling along his skin, scouring him away, taking him over, the darkness enveloping him, swallowing him whole, eating him alive.

From far away there was a noise above him. He had a vague notion of people shouting, struggling, fighting around him. Whatever it was he no longer cared. His eyes saw only dark stains on perfect ice. The darkness inside him was complete.

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To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.
2) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Steelhead Stories: Hope Rides Alone – The Autopsy Report.

“Are you sure we should be doing this?” the voice belonged to a well spoken young woman who was clearly nervous.

“Yah. Vat else kan ve do?” this voice was different, male, gutteral and raw, “Leaff vat’s left uf him here und let Herr Doktor sort it out ven he gets back.” He kicked the surgery door open and heaved a sack onto the metal table.

“If he gets back,” the young woman replied from the doorstep, apparently unwilling to enter

Her green-skinned companion stopped briefly to think about this, “Yah,” he chuckled “Dat’s a goot point halright. He kould be feesh fud for hall ve know.”

“Oh don’t!” the women said, “I’m sure Captain Vales will find him safe and well, won’t he?”

“Heh,” the jager snorted, passing her and closing the surgery door behind him, “I vouldn’ be so sure, dat Schteal Head kreep iz vun tough feesh man. Kome on, ve’ve left de schtiff so let’s get back to de Konsulate, huh?”

And they were gone, heading back to the city’s capital, taking the long route round less to avoid the criminal gangs (what Tong member in his right mind would take on a Jager, after all) but more to avoid the squalor and filth of the slums that lay between the surgery and the Wulfenbach Consulate.

From the window of the missing (presumed eaten) Dr Beck’s room, a man watched them go. He checked his watch: things were running to schedule, give or take, and now it was his turn. He picked up his battered leather bag and headed down to the surgery below.

**{}**

Three hours later he read his typed autopsy report

Name: Unknown
Gender: Male
Age: Unknown – approx. mid-twenties.
Race: Japanese
Cause of death: Localised explosion.

The subject was killed by a direst blast from what would appear to be a significant energy discharge. His entire lower body from his feet up to the bottom of his rib cage, along with his right arm, has been totally evaporated. The remainder of his torso shows signs of significant heat trauma consistent with a large energy discharge at close range, the burnt tissue and bone indicate a heat signature consistent with a directed blast of plasma. This would appear to match witness reports of the attack on the victim.

My conclusion is that the so called ‘pink robots’ currently seen around town are armed with a highly advanced energy weapon system currently beyond the technological capabilities of Steelhead.

My recommendation is that the public be warned to keep their distance from all of the robots and both the Europan Jagers and Qlippothic should increase their patrols.

Signed………………………………….

Date…………………………………….

The man sighed, it was strange to be back knowing what was happening so close-by. He wanted to go and stop it, help put an end to the torment, but he knew he couldn’t, not without upsetting so much of what he’d fought for. No, he was here for this and nothing more. With a last look around the old, familiar room, he sealed the single page in an envelope and wrote across the front, in large bold letters, “For The Immediate Attention of The Town Authorities”.

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To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) Hope Rides Alone is a tale told by Clara Corryong on the Steelhead Ning – you can read it here.
2) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Steal Head: Chapter 13 – And the World Went White…

“What… what do you…” Beck stammered, his voice small and full of fear.

“Shhh,” the voice rasped wetly from behind his ear, “Our Lord approaches…” The owner of the voice moved around from behind him and Beck gasped as he saw the ruin that had once been a man half crawl into view. Pallid, mottled skin hung from a frame so frail Beck wondered how it could hold him up. He looked worse than starved, worse than sick, this pitiful creature looked like as thought he were dying in front of his eyes. But before he had time to wonder what could have brought a human being to such a terrible state, the pool of water at the bottom of the tunnel of wooden walls and decaying heads erupted over them both.

Beck spluttered and rubbed the gore and salt-water from his eyes, blinking furiously until he could see again. As soon as he could he regretted it for standing in front of him was Steal Head, all ten feet of him with teeth dripping blood and clawed hands holding two freshly severed heads by their hair. Beck’s blood froze in his veins as he realised their eyes were still moving, that the poor souls were still alive and registering the horror that had befallen them!

The creature looked at Beck and, the doctor fancied, smiled as it strode towards him. It lifted one of its prizes up to its mouth and, without taking its gaze from Beck, pushed the torn stump of neck to its mouth. A long, agile tongue darted out and dove into the head where, with the sickening sound of wet tissue being pulled apart, it snaked and probed until a strange light suddenly emanated from the victim’s skull. The light grew briefly, shining brightly in the gloom, illuminating the cave until Beck saw the cave was actually some form of railway carriage plunging downwards into water before it faded and was gone. The monster swallowed the light whole, gulping wetly as it went. It raised the second head and repeated the process, once more the light shone briefly from the head and once more the creature appeared to eat it hungrily.

“Our Lord feasts,” croaked the man next to Beck, “and we serve His hunger.”

Beck’s eye’s grew wide with the terror of sudden realisation but the man saw his fear and wheezed “No. Not you. Not yet. You must serve Him to earn that honour. Serve Him as I have done. You are to be His new servant. His new Herald. My time has come. Take me Oh Lord!”

The creature looked down at the pitiful bag of decaying bones and skin and reached out to him. “Oh yes my Lord,” the man sighed in ecstasy, “Oh ye…” With a swift, effortless move, Steal Head pulled the man’s head clean from his shoulders and tossed it behind where it sank from sight in the churning pool.

Beck watched in horror, his legs desperately trying to push him up and along the roof of the rail car, away from the monster stood at his feet, but it was no good, everything was slick with water and blood and he could gain no purchase. He merely slipped back down towards the beast and certain doom.

~HE WAS WEAK~

~YOU ARE NOT~

~YOU SHALL SERVE ME~

~YOU SHALL BE MY HERALD~

The voice appeared in his mind, deep down where it resonated though his whole body until he thought he would faint with the power of it. With hands clasped to his ears, Beck at last found his voice, a small thing lost in a vast ocean it now seemed to him. “I… I will not…”

~YOU SHALL SERVE ME~

~YOU SHALL BE MY HERALD~

“N… no…” Beck said, tears streaming down his face with the effort of disobeying the all-powerful voice in his head.

~YOU SHALL SERVE ME~

~I RELEASE YOUR DARKNESS~

There was an explosion deep inside Beck’s mind, a terrible force of light and noise and wind flung him through the air and into the void. He fell and fell, tumbling past the point of return and into the deep, dark spaces he’d fought for so long to keep forever hidden.

And then he stopped.

It was cold. He was cold. Cold to his bones. Colder than he’d ever been. Colder than he could ever remember being. Except… except for…

He opened his eyes and the world was white. The boat swayed beneath his feet as it cracked through the icy ocean beneath. On the deck, at his feet, his wife, his beautiful wife sobbed uncontrollably. In a daze he turned slowly, his stomach lurching as he did so, knowing what he was about to see. The white landscape stretched out behind the boat, perfect in every way save for two dark stains slowly receding as the boat moved forward. Two small black ovals on the perfect, brilliant ice. His children.

“You killed them,” his wife’s voice was even colder than the arctic winds that burnt his face, “You murdered my children you bastard.”

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To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.
2) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Steal Head: Chapter 12 – The New Herald…

The monkeys had grown clever. Clever and dangerous. They had new things, things not given to fear. Things of china powered by the dust of creation flew through the skies. Dog-men bred for war ran through the streets. Metal machines clanked and splashed above and beneath the waves. All were looking for Him, all protecting His prey. He was still weak, still consolidating. He had to hide and swim as His terrible hunger drove Him on. He would fight them all! He would kill them all! He would not be denied! He… He was not what He once had been. The fall had been far. He was hungry and to eat He found He had to adopt a level of caution He despised.

Until, as if sensing His desperation, the capricious whim of the Universe turned in His favour.

From the moment He saw the monkey He knew His Herald was found. The old Herald had been unsuitable from the start and now hovered on the brink of death. This one was different. The fear coursing through its veins and the scent of its soul had nearly sent Him into a feeding frenzy but the black emptiness inside it spoke to Him. He halted and stared into the weakling monkey at the thick tar of its self-hatred that had crept out to inhabit every part of its pathetic little body. The monkey was all but lost and would soon rejoice to be His Herald.

Cries of alarm! The dog-men were coming and there was no time to loose. He swept the monkey from its feet and dove into the water. His new lair was nearby and there His new Herald would learn to serve Him…

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To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.
2) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Steal Head: Chapter 11 – Into the Lair of The Beast…

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam

Flashes of stones, snatches of cobbled streets…

To shine for Him each day

A sickening leap into nothing…

In every way try to please Him

The cold slap of the ocean…

At home, at school, at play

Underwater… choking… drowning…

A sunbeam, a sunbeam

Into air… sudden, gasping, retching…

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam

Crashing onto wet wooden boards… slipping… sliding…

A sunbeam, a sunbeam

Darkness… faint light through strange, square holes in the walls

I’ll be a sunbeam for Him

Lips suddenly pressing against his ear “You are to be His… you are His new servant… His Herald…”

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam

Beck’s eyes snapped open. He was in a cave, a narrow, wooden cave sloping downwards into a dark pool of churning water. As his eyes adjusted to the gloom he saw heads, lots of heads, severed and rotting heads skewered onto to spikes rammed into the walls, their faces twisted with their final screams of horror.

The terrible decaying voice whispered to him again, “This is His temple and you will serve Him here.”

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To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
2) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
3) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.
4) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.

Mutations: Chapter 12 – And The Ocean Swallowed Her Up…

With a lurch Beck awoke, the frantic knocking at his door jolting him from deep, dark dreams of snow-blanketed wilderness spotted with the coal-black stains of accusation. He stumbled over to the door and opened it to the panicked face of Meili, her skin as pale as the full moon hanging in the sky behind her. “Meili…?” he slurred. A tall man moved in behind her, Beck’s eyes darted back and forth as he felt a sudden, and entirely surprising, pang of jealousy.

Before he had time to wonder where such an emotion had come from, Meili, between sobs, blurted out “Doctor Beck, please! It’s Xan, she’s missing!”

**{}**

The night, though chilly, was free from fog and the wharves of Shanghai shone with the torches of Jager patrols as Beck grabbed his lantern followed Meili and her male companion into the moon-lit streets of Shamian. As they ran towards the family home, Meili told how she had returned from work to find her sister-in-law gone and, fearing the worst, had gone to fetch Beck.

“Hold on,” Beck gasped, exhausted from the run, “we need help. Let me go and alert the Jagers. You go home and see if Xan has returned…” Meili began to argue, but her companion intervened in Mandarin. Whatever he said worked as Meili nodded sharply once and agreed. “I’ll come to your house as soon as I hear anything, and if Xan does return then we can let the Jager captain know. I’m sure she will be alright, Meili, I promise.” As soon as the fatuous words left his mouth he hated himself for saying them. How could he promise such a thing? He wanted Meili off the streets and out of harm’s way and the fact he’d promise her anything to keep her safe squirmed evilly inside him. He watched her go before setting off towards the wharves facing the moon tower.

As he strode through the night, footsteps echoed down the dark, twisting walkways of the slums and more than once he found he was holding his breath in fearful expectation until he broke free and came out onto the open stone docks. There were no Jagers in sight and he peered out across the bay looking for signs of a patrol on the far side. As he did so, he saw something in the water that turned his blood cold.
Li Fes mother_006

Her hair floated around her head as if it were wheat waving in the wind and as he gazed at her corpse, the black void inside him crept out further from his gut, numbing and smothering him from the inside out. He had no idea how long he stood by the water’s edge watching her lifeless form rise and fall with the swell of the bay, but as his senses slowly returned he began to call out for help. He shouted for the Jager guard, for anyone to come. He would not let her stay out there. He would not leave another person out in the water, in the cold, deep ocean, all alone, abandoned. He would not…

The wet slap on the stones behind him was barely audible yet it stopped his thoughts in their tracks. Slowly he turned, the sounds of the Jagers sounding their alarms fading away to nothing as looked up into the terrible eyes of the creature known as Steal Head…

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To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.
2) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.