Welcome back to the next offering of Left of Midnight. Feel free to leave your opinions of how this work is coming along in the comment board below and I really hope you’re enjoying the story as it moves forward! Herein you’ll find Micro-Chapters 1.27-1.28 of Section One of the first third of the book. So, without further ado, Left Of Midnight: Survival of the Fittest:
AVERY AWOKE IN a cold sweat. He wasn’t sure where he was only that he knew he had to get to the volcano. It was the only way to discover what was truly going on. The Godhand will show him the way. It would deliver to him the True Word so that he could end the Japanese threat.
Yes. That’s what I need to do. I need to end them. End them no— Avery struggled for a moment and then paused. He couldn’t separate his feet from one another. Nor his hands. It was like he was…
Bound? By what? How?
His eyes slowly opened. The light was impossibly bright as he struggled with just this simple task. It was like his eyes had been closed for centuries. Sealed together in the vastness of a deep sleep. Mummified for future researchers to explore. He rolled over onto his back, felt his wrists tighten in the effort. There was definitely something wrapped around them. His eyes fluttered open. At first, there was only the milky white of sleep being driven from his deep slumber. Then, over minutes as he blinked the sleep away and remoistened his tortured sight, the vision of a bright blue sky seeped into existence.
Wind blew across his face as his sight focused on a few wayward clouds flowing across the pale blues far above. Huh. I think those are only some of the few clouds I’ve yet seen. When it hasn’t been storming out the ass… These thoughts came to him above all else and then he was shaking his head to drive them away. That wasn’t the important issue. An ache cracked his skull and he clinched his eyes once more. Gonna be a killer headache…
He rolled back onto his side trying to work his hands free. His eyes came back open and he saw that he was facing out towards the forest at the edge of the lake. He didn’t see the lake, though, however he did sense its presence behind him and beyond whatever place he found himself bound within. The gentle lapping of waves along the shoreline told him that much. Which meant the Jap pilot had somehow managed to capture him and kept him close by. Oh, he’ll regret that course of action!
Avery took in his environment. The forest was a dozen feet or more off to one side and curving around and up the inner ring beyond his line of sight. The sky above was open, which meant he was out in the open. He could hear and smell the lake (it’s fresh waters carrying the scent of fish and submerged vegetation; not entirely unpleasant). He turned over onto his back again and looked behind him. The alcove that was camp to the pilot was not even half a dozen feet away. He was on the opposite of the campfire site which was now long since out. There was no sight of the pilot to be found as he continued taking in all he could see. It was just him all alone tied up at the campsite. Avery looked to his feet and saw what he thought was a rope. But it looked more like some sort of twine. Green twine.
What the shit… Did he… did he make his own rope? A smile crossed his haggard visage. Clever little fuck.
He tried moving his feet to loosen the wound up material. There was no give whatsoever. If it was some sort of vine or reedy material, it was expertly stitched. And in short notice too. Unless I’ve been out for a while…
He leaned back, his head flumping into the moist soil beneath him. His eyes looked over his forehead and he saw from an upside down angle a large stone jutting up two feet away. He was grateful for not being any closer. He might have just knocked himself back out in his need to drop back to the ground. A shadow hovered over him and he jolted his irises to his left to see the pilot had returned and was now standing mere feet away from him. The man’s silhouette wasn’t as deep as he was expecting (the sun was still beyond the valley horizon line, after all), but he still seemed to tower over him nonetheless.
“Warden.,” Avery grinned with a nod. “Is it time for the morning exercise?”
The pilot said nothing as he squatted down and Avery saw he was holding a plate (rather a flat wooden slab) with something on its surface. The man picked up a stiff selection of whatever was being offered and mimed eating it then held it forward towards his mouth. Avery laughed and fell back onto his back.
“You expect me to eat that shit!?” Avery glared into the shadowy recesses of that alien face. “Don’t make me laugh!”
The Japanese pilot tried once more and Avery head butted the tray sending it flying from the man’s hands. This made him laugh again. The pilot frowned and went to pick up the food to replace on the wooden plate, then walked around him and towards the other side of the campfire where he sat down and place the tray down on a rocky surface beside him. Avery followed his progress with his eyes and turned over onto his right side to lift his head up and grit his teeth.
“I tell you what, you just untie me and let me up, then I’ll finish you off and go get my own take out,” he spat. “How’s that sound?”
The pilot shook his head and then rubbed his face with his left hand. After a moment, the man looked to Avery. Sweat was cascading off his face. He looked pale. Whatever his natural skin tones (and Avery could see that he wasn’t quite as dark skinned as himself), this nearly jaundiced look couldn’t be anywhere close. Words came out of the man’s mouth. At least, Avery assumed they were words. The sounds he was hearing were fast and rambling. An incoherent slew of rushed babble he had no idea meant anything or not. After a moment, the man stood up and began pacing the firepit, his hands dancing before him in excited oscillations.
When he was finished, he turned to Avery and waved one final determined arc of his arms and they flopped to his sides. Avery chuckled and shook his head.
“I have no idea what you just said, but it sounded like the kind of psycho babble a murderer like you would spout out,” Avery grimaced and felt a knot tightening in his gut. His hands clenched and he heard a grumble from his stomach. The grumble cloyed at his intestines and there was a sudden urge to hit the brushes. “Hey! Whatever you’re trying to ruminate over, over there, get me up! I’ve got to take a shit! And from the feel of things, it’s going to be violent!”
Sweat beaded his brow as the Japanese pilot waved his hands again in a dismissive gesture and went to sit back down, his sight off to his right in what had the look of disgust or irritation. Avery didn’t care which. At that moment, his stomach was like the roiling ocean and ready to explode. He pushed his hands into the top of his pants, thankful that he’d taken his shirt off already, and then yanked down as hard as he could thrusting his hips upward and back in the same motion. The pilot leapt to his feet, words failing to fly forth but his face taking on the look of total surprise.
Avery thrust his buttocks backwards as the pilot came around the firepit and stopped. The hot liquid was already flying out from between his butt cheeks coating his arms, the ground, and large portions of the rear of his pants. A grunting groan escaped Avery’s lips as he unloaded whatever hateful rage had settled across his internals. The pilot took two steps forward, a strange grunting of his own (sounding very much like ‘uht’ and ‘ohm’) and raised his hands to his cheeks (the facial type, not the nocturnal side) and stared in stunned silence. Avery started laughing, his rear end sputtering in the process as his whole body wracked in the process.
“Yeah! Yeah! You like that, you Jap bastard!?” He heaved harder, the flow from his already raw hind not tapering off one iota. “This is what you get! This what you get! You and yours! Stop laughing at me, Janus!”
Avery glared off across the pit and towards the edge of the alcove where the stoned rounded down into the ground. His lips turned down into a scowl and the pilot dropped his hands following Avery’s gaze to whatever distance he was staring into. Then his look came back to him writhing on the ground. The pilot took another step forward, his stuttering moans letting more of his rambling speech fall forth.
“It wasn’t my fault! I did everything I could! You even admitted as much! These fucks did it! They did it!” Avery’s face brightened in its strained blushing. His legs started kicking out as the spewing mess sputtered out and drew to its end. But Avery couldn’t stop himself as he continued spasm out, desperately trying to kick free of his bounds. His words became their own babble as he kicked and twisted, the pilot staring helplessly and muttering his own pleas. Avery glared up at him then, his face streaming tears, the rage thickening his brow, his eyes fierce infernos burning up in his skull. His mouth fell open and spittle flew in every direction. There was less of it now as he felt himself getting faint.
“You mother fucker! All of you Jap fucks! You did this! You took him from us! Attacked our homes! Tried to destroy who we are! But I’m here now! Oh, yes, I am! I’m here to send you straight back to hell!”
His body quavered and his sight dimmed. There was a darkness overcoming him. One that sang of the joy of murderous rage and vengeance. Kill him, echoing in his mind nonstop. He kept screaming, his voice a thunderous boom ringing out all across the valley. His voice dimmed, though. His throat grew raw. His cries became heaving sobs and then there was only the silence of unconsciousness.
SHŌTŌ STOOD STARING as the American continued to kick and scream yelling something incoherent and uncertain. His words were thick and heavily accented. Like some deep creature of myth had entered his campsite and was now roaring in some ancient language that he was about to eat him for dinner. Everything had been going fine, more or less, Shōtō figured when he’d first came back to the campsite. The man had still been bound by the knotted tree vines he’d quickly fashioned into ropes the night before. He wasn’t sure if they’d hold for long, but it was good to see that the effort hadn’t been a wasted one. He was even more glad now as the American pilot looked on the verge of bursting open. His face was a mask of agony and despair, eyes bursting with tears. His mouth frothing a thinning spittle.
Then he’d looked to the alcove edge and was screaming at something he was seeing there. Shōtō couldn’t say what that something was, but he was certain he had an idea.
Just like me. Demons that won’t let you alone… Shōtō sensed a welling pit of pity and understanding dawning over his whole body. Yet, he was as uncertain of what to do about it as he was when trying to determine how to deal with his being drafted into the Emperor’s army by the War Ministry. Powerless. Only able to stand and watch as the events played out before him. After a few minutes that felt like ages, the pilot finally passed back out. It had been shocking to see him pull his drawers down and shit all over himself. But it’d been more alarming to see that same tortured expression etched across his visage. Shōtō figured he’d seen that look in the water more times than he cared to admit. Only, he’d never allowed it a showing on his own visage. It was one act of Kabuki he kept buried deep down.
Yet, this man wore that rage, that hate, that lust for retribution and reconciliation on his face like the most intimate of lovers. Willing to share that pain because it was the only thing he had left to give. In many ways, he envied the man that ability. But he didn’t look forward to the task of nursing him back to health. He thought that might prove a very difficult task indeed.
He also didn’t look forward to cleaning up all the man’s excrement.
Whatever he ate, has not sat well with him. I shall have to show him what a proper diet entails, Shōtō nodded to himself lowering his arms to his sides and watching the shallow breaths of the pilot still rolling on the ground in spite of his unconsciousness. In all the time I have been here, not once have I had such a flaming case of heated of expulsion.
He sighed and rubbed his hands unconsciously up his arms. He’d meant to roll up his sleeves. However, he’d been sans shirt for nearly a week now.
Guess I’d better get to work, then, Shōtō thought. He took a deep breath and frowned. His hate for me runs very deep. It does not hide from me. I suppose that makes sense. What else is there for it? It can’t be helped. We’re supposed to be… enemies. And enemies hate one another. But, Mr. American, I will not let you die. I will not be such an adversary. Whatever else is going on out there in the world. With my country. Or with yours. How ever the rest of our colleagues work against one another or spread rumors of people eating their grandmothers to train for battle, I will not be that adversary.
Shōtō went to grab a bowl he’d hollowed out of a tree trunk and then headed out to the lakeside. He would gather some water and wash the American off. Then he’d go about trying to break whatever sickness had overcome the man. He coughed twice and felt his own forehead. There was a growing fever there as well. He only hoped that he didn’t pick up the same thing bringing his adversarial pilot low. He prayed to the spirits and the gods then as he went about his work.
Thanks for reading and come back next week for more Left of Midnight! Also, stay tuned for other postings coming soon!
~Timothy S Purvis
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