Heroes Of The Green City Chapter Two: Ouch

Jason hurt all over. This was just like the one and only time he’d had a hangover, plus his worst bail down a 5-stair.

“Ouch,” he complained to the universe.

Jason opened his eyes.

“What the fuck?” Jason was in a cave. An honest to god, goddamn cave. It was wet and cold, like a fucking cave.

Jason stood up carefully and tried to remember how he’d gotten here. The last thing he remembered was night skating. He’d really been on fire. Landing shit he’d really not been landing before. It felt like he’d leveled up.

He looked down at his clothes. They were what he was wearing last night, assuming this was the morning after. Maybe he’d taken his other stuff to wherever this was?

 

He looked around. Yes indeed, there was his skateboard and backpack. Both were a little damp on the sides they’d lain on, but his board’s bits didn’t seem rusty and the contents of his bag were dry.

It was early morning alright. He could see sunlight coming from (what he hoped) was the mouth of the cave. The light made his headache worse. Jason put on his backpack, picked up his board, and headed toward it.

Goddamn he was sore. Part of it must have been normal soreness from so much skating last night. But he also felt bruises and scrapes, way more than normal. And why the hangover? He didn’t drink.

Also, what the fuck was he doing in a cave? He’d never been an outdoorsy type before. He’d never gone to any wildlife parks with caves in them.

He reached the exit. The mouth of the cave was actually pretty big. He could just walk out. He’d been a little afraid the opening would be in the roof or something equally inconvenient. The cave mouth came out to a fair amount of solid rock on the ground. Beyond this was grass.

The rocks around the cave mouth were worn and smooth. They kinda looked skate-able, lots of curves that looked just like quarter pipes. A slab of rock jutted out and looked for all the world like a bench made just a little too tall to sit comfortably on.

Probably best not to try skating here, as tempted as he felt. He might piss off a park ranger. He probably wasn’t supposed to be in this cave in the first place. Best to find a discreet exit, call a friend, and get a ride home.

Wait. Had he been dumped in a cave by kidney thieves? He started to check himself but, no. It was a stupid idea anyway. That kinda thing was probably a myth. Plus, weren’t they supposed to leave you in a tub of ice or…

“Oh shit.” Jason had finally looked up at the sun. Or rather, suns. He kept on staring until he realized he was frying his eyes. He stood for a few minutes, dumbfounded. Then, once the after images had faded from his eyes he looked up again, just to be sure.

There were definitely two fucking suns in the sky. Also the sky which only had a few small clouds floating by, was green. He was pretty damn sure a clear sky like this wasn’t supposed to be green. He looked at one of the clouds. It had a slightly purple hue. A flock of bird-sized dragons flew across the mostly white (but slightly purple) cloud.

“Am I high?” Jason had never done more than drink a beer or two and smoke weed once or twice. He’d never done acid or shrooms, though he’d never been opposed to the idea. Even as he asked the question out loud, he decided this was all too real to be a hallucination.

He looked at the ground. It looked like regular dirt. The rocks looked like rocks. The trees were some kinda pine or similar evergreen. A pleasantly warm wind had been lightly blowing. An unfamiliar creature called out in the distance in the unthreatening way a bird might sing or a cricket might chirp. This place was goddamn beautiful.

The pain he woke up with was lessening.

Ok, so he was in another world. Wasn’t that kinda cool? Wasn’t that amazing? He decided to reserve judgment about how fucked he may or may not be. For all he knew this was a better world than the one he left, and if not…

Hell, if there was a way from earth to here shouldn’t there be a way from here back to earth? The first step was to get the lay of the land. There were some taller hills in the distance and some mountains beyond them.

Jason smiled at himself. He was scared, sure, but he was more excited than anything else. Didn’t most people dream of this kinda thing? And here he was, living a goddamned adventure. He started toward higher ground.

Heroes Of The Green City Chapter One: Waking Angel

I’ve been sleeping for a long time, dreaming of the warm and welcoming hearths deep in the snowy mountains of Hell, of the green fields of Heaven. In my dreams I’ve seen the stars up close, drifted through nebulas, tasted the ice of comets.

I woke up once, briefly. I heard a howling wind. My eyes blinked and I saw fire and smoke. There was a loud explosion. But my body was so heavy and I was so in love with sleep. I closed my eyes again. I dreamt about rain, snow, running water, birds and animals. I dreamt I was an eagle. I dreamt I was a jaguar.

I dreamt of people, people talking. Or are there people actually nearby? I feel like I’m waking up, but it feels so good to just lie here. Why not stay in this dreamy sleepy half-awake state for a while?

Some of the people’s voices are matter of fact. Some are unkind. Others are excited. I feel excited for them. They’re learning. I hope they find what they’re looking for.

I don’t know how long I sleep. Then…

They’re screaming! C’mon Angel, get your ass out of bed!!

******

The steward looked at a map of The Green City. His long cloth fingers spread out among the rendering of the city’s streets and alleys as if he wished this were the city itself, as if he could pick it up and carry it to safety.

If something wasn’t done soon the real city would be embers, rubble, and blood.

“Where is it now?” he asked, turning to Clockwork Martin. Martin was looking out the large window of the city planning room. His metal and glass eyes were focused on the walls of the city. The walls weren’t in good repair. They hadn’t needed to repel invaders for generations.

“It’s just hit the limits. The metal squadron is meeting it now” Martin replied.

“There deaths will give us time” replied The Steward. Some of the staff exchanged looks. Others became more engrossed in their given tasks. One started quietly sobbing before getting in control of themselves.

The steward paused, “We are fighting for our survival. I need everyone to understand that even if we survive, more will die. We will all lose friends and family today. No one in or out of this room is safe. Our goal is to make sure as many of us survive as possible.”

As pep talks go it wasn’t the most rousing. Some of the newer people likely would have said so if they weren’t so intimidated.

Also there was this. The people who had been with him the longest (Martin, Commander Wood, and Jack) seemed to love him.

******

Thoroth saw a lot of metal shiny bugs. They stuck Thoroth with small needles. They were not a real threat. Thoroth would smash the shinies. They were easy to kill.

This place was cold, but it was full of food. Even some of the shinies were food inside. Inside the large square rocks was even more food. Screaming food was running away from Thoroth.

There was so much to eat here. It didn’t seem to belong to anyone. Here, No one was stronger than Thoroth.

More food was flying toward him. It was on fire.

*******

Angel didn’t know why she as a giant cat with wings but she did know she could breathe freely and didn’t feel any pain. More than that, the old physical awkwardness was gone. She was goddamn graceful. Moving and flying (fucking flying!) was so easy.

She could see a giant creature hurting people. She knew she could help them. She’d never felt more alive, more certain of what to do. She spread her wings and let her engines burn as hot as they could.

She didn’t know why she thought these were her people and that she was their protector. The mystery didn’t bother her.

As she barreled toward the giant at top speed, it saw her and raised a clawed arm to strike. She started to laugh uncontrollably. She’d never been happier in her life.