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Abhorrence (Original novel)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Arathes, Aug 19, 2022.

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  1. Index: Penultimate 1.1
    Arathes

    Arathes Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2022
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    Penultimate 1.1



    Across all forms of video display, there was an overlaying statement that was being broadcast. "From now at mid-day, wards 106, 107, and 108 will be locked down as we begin the cleansing of these lands. Their borders will be closed, and there will be no travelling to and from them as martial law is declared and my peacekeepers are deployed."

    "For too long, the terrorists of the state have used these lands as a place to hide while they seek to debilitate our great nation, but no longer, as now marks the beginning of our advancements into these wards as we seek to wipe out the terrorists and liberate you."

    The citizens of the wards all looked at the broadcast, tuning in, in their homes on their TVs, in schools and offices on their board screens, in the streets on their digital devices, and in the district squares on large video display boards as the Chancellor spoke.

    "From midnight, all citizens are commanded to stay inside your homes, and I encourage you to inform any authorised personnel of my peacekeepers if you possess any knowledge which can lead to the location, capture, or apprehension of the radical terrorists."

    "You have 12 hours to prepare anything you may need in this time of lockdown. After midnight, anybody who is found outside will be deemed an enemy of the state and will be terminated."

    As the video announcement concluded, Creed was standing still, shocked and dismayed like other civilians on a street near the building TJ occupied when he was jolted by the sound of a thunderclap, and in the next moment, sent flying by the ensuing blast's shockwave.

    At the same time, destruction engulfed wards 106, 107, and 108 as similar thunderclaps sounded and hundreds of buildings that were suspected to have links to the insurgents and their affiliates were levelled to the ground by airstrikes.

    Thus began the operation to advance against insurgents into the northeastern wards, and the conflicts that would shake the entire nation of Carthage to its very core.



    My eardrums reverberated to the resonance of the thunderclap as I was sent flying by the ensuing shockwave. I skid and scraped across the pavement as I was blasted several meters away and collided with the back wall of the store behind me.

    I connected to the concrete wall behind first. It felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. My ears were ringing as the warmness advanced from my brow down unto my left eye and cheeks. Vertigo set in and my vision blurred. Some moments later, I weakly stood up, my steps staggering as the affliction slowly subsided.

    Looking around me, a chaos had descended on the streets of ward 108 following the devastation of the airstrikes. After the ringing of my eardrums stopped, they were again assaulted by the miserable cries of the surrounding civilians who had been injured by the strikes.

    I grit my teeth and forced myself to walk by on the streets. Distressed civilians ran by me, some desperately carrying other injured civilians as they sought help. Some dozen meters ahead of me, another building was reduced to rubble as flames ravaged the remains, and the ensuing deep black smoke rose into a mushroom cloud above, and civilians surrounded the remains of the building. Similar scenes occurred all across the Ward.

    The first thing I thought to do was check up on Bryan and Arielle to see if they were safe from the blasts. I pulled out my phone and quickly dialled Bryan. Uneasiness and anxiety began to creep into me as I held the phone to my ear, and after three ringing cycles, the call ended, no signal.
    "Shit, they must have cut off communications," I whispered to myself, my worry-laced voice being drowned out by the desperate pleas for help by injured civilians around me. However, I didn't have any time to stop and help others. I had to quickly find and reunite with my friends.



    In a dimly lit room, a man sat leaning forward onto his desk where there stood a panel that was constantly being updated with the newest updates on the unfolding situation in wards 106, 107, and 108 when there was the resonance of two knocks.

    "Enter," he spoke, not taking his eyes off the panel.

    After entering, the man's eyes momentarily roamed around the dark room before quickly landing on the figure seated towards the back of the room whose upper half was scarcely illuminated by the only source of light in the room, the panel.

    The dim light revealed his age, yet despite his age, he sat domineeringly with an atmosphere that excluded authority. His snow-white hair was neatly combed backwards and his deep jet black eyes seemingly glared direly to any onlookers.

    The name of the man who stood in silence in the darkness was Claudius Strategos, but that was not his birth name, nor the name the world knew him by. Henry Adams was but a young boy when he was handpicked by the Chancellor from the trainee cadets and was nurtured into being someone whose only purpose in life was to assist the Chancellor in maintaining his absolute autocracy.
    But to the world, he was neither his birth name Henry Adams nor the name Claudius Strategos that was given to him by the Chancellor, he was known as the Right Honourable General of his Excellency the Chancellor Augustus Domitian, the autocrat who tyrannically ruled The Capitol and all of Carthage.

    Despite his title, he was anything but honourable. The man whose only purpose was to assist Augustus in his tyrannical rule was someone who was feared throughout the entire world. From his infamous methods to his efficacy, he was undeniably extremely competent, judging by how he had all but up until now, maintained the status quo of the absolute power of the Chancellor and removed any threats to his reign.

    He was an extension of Augustus. He was his right hand, the hand that did his bidding, in his name, in his dominion, the hand that had spent its entire life enraptured and engrossed in violence and bloodshed.

    After several moments had passed, Augustus snapped his fingers, and in an instance, the room lit up, revealing the man standing stoically, his deep red hair cascaded down unto his neck in curly waves, despite the sudden burst of light that seared into his debonair auburn coloured eyes, Claudius remained unphased, standing firm and waiting for permission to speak.
    Augustus nodded his head and said, "Speak."

    Claudius extended his arm upward and outward in salute before responding, "Reporting, we have entirely surrounded and enclosed the borders and have established an armada that will block anybody who seeks to flee from the seas.

    "The incompetent premiers and all of their associates have been detained and will be ready for the broadcasted execution tomorrow morning, and we will properly start our advance into the wards then, so far, I have sent three battalions of peacekeepers, one into each ward to oversee the lockdown."

    "I do not expect the insurgents to make any noise or resistance today or through the night, as they will be busy licking their wounds from our display earlier. Despite that, it is still possible that we may be attacked by the insurgents from the surrounding wards, which is why I had decided to keep the majority of our units stationed right outside as we wait for the remaining battalions to arrive."

    Augustus had his eyes closed during Claudius' reporting, only nodding periodically. When Claudius finished his report, he spoke, "Good, you have done well," while getting up from his seat and turning around, "I will let you handle everything from here on out. Do not disappoint me."

    Despite Augustus turning his back to him, Claudius saluted again nonetheless, "Yes!" before turning around and leaving the room.



    Back on the ground, the wards were still in a state of utter disorder following the aftermath of the strikes and announcements from the Chancellor. Calm after the storm, it was a common idiom, but it didn't seem like the calm was coming anytime soon.

    The streets were completely jammed by cars as civilians opted to leave their cars behind and go on foot. Some remained in their cars and honked, seemingly having not yet realised that the road up ahead was jammed by the vehicles that had been caught by the blasts and ensuing rubble.

    "Miss, we can't do anything. The entire clinic is full and the staff are overloaded with patients." a young nurse with a panic-stricken expression explained to an exasperated mother who was holding a young boy in her hands. The boy's entire body was mangled and bloody, dyed in a mixture of black and red as a gruesome substance leaked out of his blackened body, just the sight of him caused Creed to feel sick to his stomach as he passed by them.

    "No! I don't care. Please save my boy! He's innocent! He hasn't done anything!" the mother cried as she knelt and held the arm of the nurse to her trembling body, around her, the crowd who similarly were accompanied by their loved ones who had been injured by the devastation of the strikes looked on in anguish.

    The glass windows of stores had been shattered as looters ran back and forth, some with carriages fully loaded carrying as many supplies as they could to stock up on, the peacekeepers had not yet arrived at the scene, and such, the devastation and chaos that ensued could not be put into words.

    Everything was going wrong. None of this made any sense. According to what TJ had told me, the Capitol wasn't going to make a move until next week. We still had time to prepare. Time to prepare so that we could escape to the independent wards in the south, but it now looked like that had all gone down the drain.

    Bryan and Arielle should have by now finished their business at the pier and returned to our apartment, everything was set, we were going to leave 108 tonight. We were.

    I recalled what TJ had said to me.

    "Just be careful out there, Creed. It's looking like a full-scale war is inevitable. I've received word that the insurgents are preparing themselves for something big. Ward 108 will undoubtedly become a battlefield."

    "Take your friends and leave to the 10 wards, or if you can, leave the country entirely. The independent wards on the southwest coast will likely be the only ones that can escape the war that will engulf the rest of this nation."

    The Capitol had made the first move, and we were unprepared.

    Creed made it to the mid-south side, to the district his apartment block was in with his entire world going round. Unbeknownst to him, he was leaking a terrifying aura as he dashed through the ward. Even in this time of catastrophe, the inhabitants of the ward could feel it and heeded to it, with the effect being magnified by those he passed by, leading them to subconsciously and instinctually be wary of and avoid him.

    He passed by multiple other disaster zones on his way, as the other inhabitants of the ward gathered around in unity in this time of anthropogenic disaster; Creed's mind was in a different world, ignoring them all.

    As I was running, I suddenly felt the presence of Arielle and Bryan nearby, snapping me out of my stupor. I didn't understand what it was or why I felt that I could sense them, but I could definitely feel them.

    It was like an instinctual prescience in my mind. They weren't far from me. They should've been on the street across from me.

    Passing by a long row of apartment complexes, it entered my view. To the left, ahead of me, was another apartment that had been levelled as the rubble sprawled across the streets I walked, Bryan and Arielle stood covered in a layer of filth, ground concrete, and ash as they helped excavate through the rubble, searching for survivors along with the other denizens who had crowded around.

    Walking up from behind them, I began to feel a euphoric rush spread throughout my body. Bryan was the first to notice me. With a stupefied expression on his blackened face, he called out to me, "Creed?"

    Arielle heard him and dropped the piece of concrete she was holding, turning around swiftly. "Creed!"

    After the rush, I began to feel my world spinning as vertigo overcame me. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as I suddenly saw the world sideways.



    As I came to be I found myself lying on my mattress in the room I shared with Bryan. Rays of sunlight creaked through the gap in the windowsill, but the slightest bit of light passing into my eyes was like bombs exploding in my retinas, as if I had just spent an eternity in darkness.

    I groaned lightly and quickly shut my eyes, pointing my head back down towards the mattress. It was at this time I heard footsteps approaching just on the other side of the door into my bedroom, Bryan and Arielle both walked in.

    "You're awake, Creed?"

    "Yeah," I replied, my voice being hoarse and croaky, leading me to clear my throat.

    "Why are you lying like that?"

    I assumed Arielle was asking why I looked like I was bracing for something. I looked pretty stupid I reckon.

    "Nothing." I shook my head and stood up, by now my eyes seemed to have adjusted to receiving light again. They both stood between the entrance to the room and myself. "What time is it?"

    "About 6 o'clock." It was Bryan who spoke this time.

    Six hours. Both the frequency and duration were increasing.

    "Did it happen again?" Arielle shook her head.

    I just nodded. She already knew. "What have you guys been doing? What happened?"

    "Nothing. We've been waiting for you to wake up. We don't know what to do," Bryan replied
    .
    I nodded, and we walked together into the living room. "How did it go? Did you guys get our stuff?" I asked them.

    Bryan pointed towards a duffel bag near the entrance to our apartment. I inspected it. Inside were protective equipment, guns, and other tools that would be useful in combat.

    "We were leaving the pier after getting everything from TJ's guy when it happened." Brian paused for a moment, his forehead creasing. "What's going on Creed?"

    I sighed and slouched, sinking into the couch, feeling goose bumps rise across my body. "Honestly, I don't know either"

    "So then, what do we do now?" Arielle budged in anxiously.

    "I don't know that either."



    It was entirely silent, and the streets were near empty except for the remaining devastation and the few Peacekeepers that would pass by every so often.

    We sat crossed down on the rooftop. Overlooking Ward 108, a deafening gloom shrouded District 12 and spread across the entire Ward as far as the horizon my eyes could see.

    The darkness was incomplete. The deep blue canopy was covered with thousands of specks of cold light. The celestial fabric was splattered with silver. I could see every shadow of her face; the liquid of her eyes.

    Arielle pointed her eyes toward the horizon, shrugged, and sighed, and I followed her gaze.

    "This is it huh?" Arielle frowned.

    "Yeah," I whispered in response. This was it. The beginning of the end.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2022
    Bagrat likes this.
  2. Index: Penultimate 1.2
    Arathes

    Arathes Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2022
    Messages:
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    I felt two soft hands on my head, bringing me to consciousness. "Creed! Wake up!" My eyes shot open. Arielle looked dishevelled and anxious as she tugged on my face. "What happened?"

    "There's something happening outside. I heard gunfire!" she replied quickly and gulped nervously.

    This time I heard it too. It sounded like there were two sides clashing. "Quickly, go wake up Bryan," I told her, and she nodded. We both hurriedly got dressed, and she left for my room.

    It was then that I could hear a loud voice, "Come down, kids, hurry!" It was TJ. I dashed into the living room. There, Bryan and Arielle both stood still with stupefied expressions on their faces. "Let's go!" I shouted, bringing them out of their stupor, and they rushed down to the ground floor, I stayed behind momentarily, glancing at the duffel bag towards the entrance I debated whether I should take something with us before finally opting to take the entire bag with me and follow them down.

    Outside, the intoxicating smell of sulphur littered the dusty air, and the still-warm bodies of the easily recognisable peacekeepers lay strewn across the civilian streets that had turned into a chaotic battlefield. The opposing group stood strong, decked out in black special ops gear. It looked like they didn't have any casualties, but I only recognised TJ out of all of them.

    When they saw us, TJ looked relieved and grinned slightly. "We have to leave quickly. I'll explain everything on the way."

    The others in TJ's group suddenly took something out from the sides of their armour that I didn't recognise and launched them into the air. Time seemed to stop for a moment as dozens of flares were launched high into the air before descending on the streets. In an instant, a camouflaging smokescreen enveloped the streets, covering for us as we escaped into narrow alleyways.

    No more words were exchanged. I didn't know what we were doing, or where we were going, but I had faith in TJ. He wouldn't be doing this recklessly if he didn't have a plan.

    All of a sudden, the entire group came to a screeching halt. "You guys go down first," TJ finally spoke again. Ahead of us was an unofficial entrance to the subway system. "Arielle, Bryan." I didn't need to say anything else. The three of us climbed down together, followed by TJ's group and finally TJ himself.

    The environment down under was dark and damp. This abandoned part of the subway network was more like a sewer than anything else. Wherever the squad's flashlights pointed, rats would screech and scurry away.

    Somebody I didn't recognise handed me three headlamps and said, "For you and your friends, you'll need these."

    I was a little taken aback, but quickly thanked him and he gave me a light nod.

    After giving one to Bryan and Arielle and putting mine on myself, TJ came up to us. "Look alive, kids," he chuckled, but his appearance betrayed his feigning. He was pale and deep dark eye bags sagged on his face. I thought he was probably exhausted.

    "What's this about TJ? That was crazy. You guys killed peacekeepers!" Bryan told him.

    "What's going on? Well, I'm saving my favourite trio, of course."

    "The majority of the peacekeepers are still stationed around the borders, and the one battalion that was overseeing the lockdown has mostly moved towards the central district in preparation for the execution that'll soon take place. The few bastards left behind are no problem for us, so I managed to convince the leaders to spare me one squadron to pick you guys up."

    "Execution? What execution?" we didn't know about any execution.

    TJ showed a bitter smile. "They are going to make an example of the premiers and the other higher-ups in 108's council. Many of them supported the resistance." His expression became cold. "Many of them were part of our resistance."

    "I am taking you guys to a safer place. You can stay there for now. The chaos and destruction that will unfold on the surface when the fighting starts will kill many of the inhabitants of 108." TJ's expression became a shade more distant. "Well, at least whoever is left after the Capitol's butchering."



    TJ and I separated slightly from the rest of the group. He put his hand on my shoulder reassuringly and said, "As soon as there's an opening, I'll send you guys away to safety in the independent wards." His fists clenched as he said this. "I won't let you guys be caught up in this conflict. There will be nothing here but suffering and anguish. You guys deserve better, especially you, Creed."

    A strange feeling welled up inside me. It was a mix of anxiousness, nervousness, unwillingness and for a fraction of a moment, madness. I just couldn't accept it. I couldn't accept leaving TJ here to die while I escaped. I shuddered, and a chill ran down my spine. My vision flickered between the sight that lay ahead and a static of absolute darkness, but that static felt strangely familiar.

    I shook my head aggressively as if it would make a difference, but it was already gone.

    Bryan and Arielle. I thought about them. Things were more complicated now than they used to be, especially with Arielle, but it didn't change the fact that I loved them, and that I wanted the best for them. The three of us were orphans, one with unknown parents, the other abandoned by their parents, and the last separated from parents. Growing up, we only had each other. We had lived a life for each other. Bryan and I worked our odd jobs and put Arielle through school in the hopes that she would then lift the rest of us up with her.

    A self-deprecating chuckle escaped my lips. Our pathetic struggle that was just barely enough to get by living on the low with no way out now amounted to nothing. From bad to even worse.

    "Thank you, Sirius," I replied genuinely.

    He slapped me on the back and laughed cheerily. "Cheeky brat," before rubbing his nose and continuing somberly, "Besides, I owe you my life, Creed."

    TJ and I rejoined the rest of the group and said nothing else to each other for the remainder of the journey. Some others held conversations with each other as we walked. Bryan was at the front talking to another burly man. Arielle came up to me. "What were you guys talking about?"

    "TJ will help us escape to the independent wards as soon as there's an opening," I responded.

    "By us, do you mean me, you and Bryan?" Arielle poised.

    "Yes," I nodded.

    Interrupting our conversation, a woman at the forefront shouted, "We're here! Up ahead." From the darkness, figures slowly walked out, advancing towards our group, and the woman spoke again. "Special mission squad 3, no casualties."

    The new figures were fully covered with headgear included too, making it hard to discern anything about them. One of them, seemingly the leader, nodded and signalled for us to follow them.

    They led us through an even more narrow passage. I wasn't ready for what I would see on the other side of what I could only describe as a huge settlement. It was like an underground city, albeit makeshift. There must have been at least a few hundred people here. Armed guards were everywhere, decked out in similar gear to the group we had been travelling with.

    Large campsites were perched, and wooden crates had seemingly been littered everywhere. TJ interrupted my thoughts, "Right now we're underneath the abandoned industrial zone in District 4 we've built a makeshift settlement within the subway system that we can use to stay under the radar as we move around, but there are still forces above ground, in fact, the majority of our forces are still on the surface."

    "Anyway, I need to go report to the higher-ups. Echo will take you guys from here. I'll see you kids later." With a light wave, TJ made his way away and the woman from the front who had spoken earlier came up to us. I could see her properly now. She had a sharp face, deep brown eyes and neck-length curls.

    She examined the three of us for a moment before her eyes landed on me and squinted. "I don't understand why Sirius values you all so much that he would risk an entire squadron for you, especially you, Creed. He speaks of you highly."

    I didn't know how to respond. It seemed like Bryan and Arielle didn't either. Luckily, she soon turned around and motioned for us. "Follow me."

    As we followed behind her, many of the others in the vicinity eyed us curiously. But I was too preoccupied with thinking about what she had said earlier to notice. How did she know this? And what was her relationship with TJ?

    We paused standing in front of one of the camps. It was a dome on the larger side relative to the ones perched in the surroundings, with a black fabric covering it entirely. It was impossible to see within.

    Echo led us inside. I didn't know what to expect to see, but I was still surprised. five lamps in formation provided enough lighting for comfort. The floor was covered in a similarly simple black fabric, but it was thick enough for, again — comfort. Three futon-like mattresses lay on the floor towards the other end of the dome. I assumed that was where we were supposed to sleep.

    "If you guys get hungry, the cafeteria is near the centre, you'll be able to find it by the smell. TJ will stop by soon and give you some supplies. Well, bye." and with that, she left us alone in our dome.

    As I walked towards the left-most bed, I asked, "So, what do you guys think?" and finally let go of the duffel bag that had been weighing on me before sitting down.

    "I guess this is better than staying in our apartment, right?" Arielle answered unconfidently.

    "Bryan?"

    Bryan seemed to be deep in thought. "I don't know what to think of this," he paused to put his hands on his face and rubbed it aggressively. "I don't know. It's all just too much."

    I walked up to him and mimicked TJ's earlier actions. I put my hand on his shoulder reassuringly and said, "As soon as there is an opening, TJ will help us escape to the independent wards. We will be safe then. There's no way that the Capitol will clash with the independent wards, not unless they want to kill everyone, themselves included."

    Bryan looked like he had regained some hope for a moment, but it was quickly diminished. "Really? But how can you be sure that there will even be an opening? Or if his plan will even work?"

    I interrupted his thoughts, which were spiralling out of control. "Bryan!" and he turned to face me. I told him, "We will make it through this, like everything else. If you don't believe in TJ, then believe in me. I will ensure that we all make it out of this alive."
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2022
    Bagrat likes this.
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