Darkness awakens chronic.., p.1
Darkness Awakens_Chronicles of Hunter, page 1
Chronicles of Hunter - Book One
Copyright © 2017 Frank Perez
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The Consort Prince glanced down upon the shattered remnants of the drone he’d just killed. A brittle section of an ebony bone was left unscathed from the briefest of battles. It was all he needed. With this final piece, the invocation would have enough energy to smash through the barrier. An obstacle that had kept his brethren, and himself confined for countless ages. Imprisoned for such a length of time now that the time before the barrier appeared to be a myth. The only benefit being they now they understood they were not alone in this universe, a much greater power lived and the Prince had spent centuries examining it.
Searching the sky, his gaze fell upon the pulsing bright green paths of power that formed the barrier on their home-world, no longer as compelling as they had been. Every moment, more of the Brethren's’ power was being funneled towards its elimination. The robed ones must no longer be watching over the enforcement of the barrier if they had allowed it to go this long without redress, perhaps reasoning that the Brethren would never have the skill to escape.
Pain is what they would soon learn. Reams of blood would flow within the universe as the forces of The Brethren plundered each planet. The Regent Queens' might would have them all bowing. He thought back to the age before the attack by the combined forces of the Robed Ones and the monstrous Dark One. Centuries ago, they had shown up and slaughtered them for no reason. This time The Brethren would be the aggressors showing no sympathy.
An angry roar left his throat at the image of the times. The united strength of the four was like an imps' when measured to the Dark Ones', whose energy poured like magma from within.
The only useful thing that had come out of the unjust battle and captivity being the time they'd given him to examine the above origin of energy.
Where once he’d been happy with his wish to become the most dominant Brethren on this world, now he’d set his sights higher. The power above has taught me the way, he thought to himself. Only one tiny barrier now held him from subduing endless worlds, planting himself as their overlord.
While the barrier above kept the Brethren sealed within this world, it also opened him to the potential energy that could be used. For an entire century, he’d been sending his consciousness out into space, searching for a weak spot, a place to establish the base of his new command. Somewhere not under the continuous scrutiny of the Robed ones, home to someone powerful he could exploit to crush the confines of the barrier. Over time, his patience had won, allowing him to find the perfect one. A vulnerable young girl of immense power, born on a small remote planet, undetected and unknowing her potential. The Consort Prince directed his will and sent the first nightmares her way. With no one to guide her, his confidence was high she would open the portal, allowing The Brethren to re-enter space. Taking their self-appointed place as Masters.
Focusing on the bone he drew its dormant strength and inhaled it into his lungs, enjoying the familiar surge of power that the Queen had once used to anoint him with a single touch. Enough power he could now reach out over time and space to the one spot he saw the barrier was at its thinnest.
All beings in the universe would suffer at the might of The Brethren. Fear and submission their only choice.
Smoke drifted through the room tracing lazy arcs around the dull halogen lights. Joe’s Bar was no more distinguished than any of the thousands found around every city in the world. Gloomy, drab and smelling of booze. A few shabby stools placed overlooking mock mahogany benches from which the barkeep would pour drinks to the needy hearts seeking to drown out their suffering.
Being mid-afternoon on a Wednesday assured that there was a handful of individuals around, three in this specific bar, cradling their own drinks and maintaining their own counsel. The television set hanging on the wall silent and tuned in to some daytime show which no one was paying mind to, background imagery on the pretense of entertainment without the noisy chatter. Unlike when there was a sports game on the tube. Then the sound would be turned up to appease the mob of fans that would drift down to revel in a few suds whilst encouraging their favorite team.
Hunter threw back his shot of bourbon and drained the last of his beer, signaling the bartender to pour him another. Within a couple of hours, the bar would swell up with its normal clientele. The ‘after-workers’ as Hunter had defined them in one of his best-selling novels. These were people whose lives bore little in the way of true living. Ordinary everyday people who worked their nine-to-five jobs every single day and would then slip into Joe’s on the way home for a quick beer before dealing with their average night-time routines.
Although Hunter was a best-selling writer of countless novels and admired by millions around the world, he envied the after-workers and their ways of life. They woke every day at the same time, did the same routines, working at the same place day in, day out and drifted back home where they ended up the night slumbering through a good eight hours of sleep.
Sleep. How we missed it.
Ever since Hunter could recall, he had not slept straight through the night. It was either a night time full of bizarre dreams that left him sweating, horrified, ecstatic and sometimes forlorn or a bleak nothingness like he would tonight when he would drink himself into a stupor. He felt like a fraud. He wasn’t an author that came up with ideas, working long, hard hours at creating a storyline for his novels but rather someone who just detailed the peculiar realities of his dreams which felt more real than when he was awake. Those very dreams allowing him to develop into the ultimate author with tales covering every type of genre. No one knew what type of work he would come up with next, least of all, Hunter himself.
When the craziness had first taken his night’s hostage, Hunter tried every remedy for it he could. Every doctor he'd gone to telling him the same thing, there was no such thing as too much dreaming. Everybody averaged the same time. Some would remember them, others didn’t. It was probably more the case of him being awakened at the time he was in the REM stage of sleeping where the dreams occur. Heeding their advice, he tried everything he could think of to get himself tired, trying to fall asleep the way others did.
Nothing seemed to work.
There was no relief from the relentless stream of dreams he confronted every night on turning in. These dreams were so realistic that soon he confused them with reality. Things he felt had taken place in actual life were just figments and parts of greater stories from within his own tormented mind at night. That’s when Hunter started to journal some of the night-time chaos. Perhaps it was nothing more than his subconscious trying to deliver some information to him.
It wasn’t long before he realized the dreams all formed individual parts of a greater storyline. Stories he turned into novels making him a fortune. People assumed he was a literary prodigy when in fact he was doing nothing but recording his dreams. The only problem being he had found himself not being able to distinguish them from reality until one day he drank himself into unconsciousness.
At least not that he could recall. He hadn’t slept through but rather drunk himself into a virtual coma. The hangover the following morning the most ruthless he'd encountered. Better than nothing, he thought to himself, far better than not being able to sleep.
From that day on, this was his new normal. With nothing on his calendar, and occasionally even when full, he would relax at whichever bar he could and drink himself into oblivion. Unless he needed to draft a new story or find a new chapter for his latest work. All that would be required was for him to not drink, bringing the dreams once more without fail.
"Hitting it pretty hard today", the bartender said pouring Hunter another shot of bourbon, "Even for you. Ever'thing aright?" he continued in his strong southern drawl.
"Everything's sweet mate. Just another day in paradise. Looking forward to a nice little dinner and some sleep. Feel like some Chinese tonight. Maybe some nice Kung Pao Chicken." Hunter responded, throwing back the drink and placing a hundred dollar bill on the counter. "Keep the change," he added ignoring the knowing look that had materialized on the bartender's face. Something he'd become familiar with over the last couple of years.
Ah well, Hunter thought to himself as he shrugged on his raincoat preparing himself for the wintry streets, Time to look for a new place to drink.
He had turned into an authority on interpreting the slight nuances of the different bartenders over time. Hell, he’d become an expert on the way of life of alcoholics, full stop. The subtle looks in the eyes of the barkeep or waitress when you called for another drink, the shift in the way they put a glass in front of you or the not-so-subtle questioning on how much you had drunk all pointing to the conclusion that it was time find another watering hole. That one basic query from the barkeep the opening wedge that would seek to delve further into why he was drinking so much and that was not a place Hunter was happy to discuss with anyone, let alone a waiter or bartender.
Simpler to find a new place to drink.
This time he would try to discover three or four different places and spread out his drinking among them. Maybe if they saw his face once or twice weekly they wouldn’t be so meddlesome. Tomorrow's issue. Tonight, his only concern was heading over to Kim’s Place to get himself some dinner and on the way, stopping off at the liquor shop for a new bottle of Jim Beam. At least he could afford to be a drunk with great taste and get clobbered on bourbon rather than having to swill down a bad $5 cask wine.
His latest novel had been turned over to his publisher earlier in the day and for the next few weeks at least, he was looking forward to holding hands with the nothingness that being an alcoholic allowed him. Only sobering up when there was a demand to look normal for his agent.
With those thoughts, he pulled up the collar of his leather coat and headed down the rain-soaked street towards Kim’s and his much-awaited Kung Pao chicken dinner.
The Kraxus shrugged its shoulders to ease its cramped muscles. It had forgotten the intensity of this travel, having its full body ripped apart into billions of individual pieces and hurled through time and space. Reforming again at the destination. Centuries since the last occurrence yet it only seemed like yesterday. It knelt in the rainstorm, raising its snout to assure that it was safe.
Unlike most of his Brethren, the Kraxus was a skilled warrior. It also had an extremely evolved sense of self-preservation, animal impulses and a higher level of intelligence than the lesser Brethren. All this, with the extra ability to alter its shape into any other being, made it the ideal soldier for the Consort Prince, and the clear option for the required mission. The Prince Consort would have exhausted itself considerably after spending so much of its elemental force in opening enough of a rift to give the Kraxus a way through to this forgotten planet. No doubt this also played into why it had been chosen. The attack on a crippled Prince Consort would have been immediate allowing it to take the position as the most dominant of The Brethren.
Nobody knew what its true form looked like apart from its own twin and it reveled in the fact. More often than not, the Kraxus would appear as it now stood. Six feet four inches tall, sleek black fur covering a torso that most body-builders would kill for. Its haunches more muscled than a stallion's and just as strong. In its present form, the head looked like a skull with a thin veneer of crimson skin. Hairless and human-like.
The Kraxus searched its surroundings. The dark alley cluttered with garbage taking flight before the howling wind as it coursed its way through the streets. He felt at home. An abused world taken for granted. After countless lifetimes within the Barrier, the different smells were exhilarating. Quivering with excitement, it sniffed out the power, assessing the winds to see how much was available in this world. The Brethren didn't have their own innate energy. They slaughtered and gained from other beings.
His eyes narrowed as a whiff of power moved over him, almost stumbling when a second aura fell upon it. In the distance, he felt two beings filled with an energy that the Kraxus had not known for centuries, not since the time of the battle with the dreaded robed ones. Confusion distorted his features for a moment as its maw grew into a cynical leer. Not only had The Brethren formed a way out of the Barrier but once he exploited the power he was feeling, he would be untouchable and the Prince Consort would die. The Prince would certainly have his own plans as did the Kraxus.
Sniffing the air he recalculated. With that much energy, he could take the Queen Regent as his own and turn into the new ruler of The Brethren and the rest of the universe.
He inhaled, the air on this planet was becoming toxic. Just the way the Kraxus liked it. The same underlying current of darkness as his own planet. This one, however, retained a slight tinge of a much lighter power. Breathable but not comfortable. He would need to take refuge for a few days and harness his power. Somewhere dark and moist place that would allow him to hide and gather himself. He would need as much energy as possible to survive the forces he had felt. One of those he would keep for himself, the other ensnared as requested. The Prince Consort would not know any different until he acted. Enough time was available to set traps of his own whilst looking out for ambushes.
With a mighty surge of his hindquarters, the Kraxus bound forth between the dark puddles of inky blackness surrounding the city, moving towards the two forces and shelter for a few days, positive in his own skill to achieve the tasks given.
Ren sat on the edge of Bonnie’s bed hugging her until the tears subsided a little. Her daughters’ nightmares were slowly getting worse with each passing night. Each nightmare, more pronounced and detailed with the passing nights.
The dreams had started a couple of months earlier with less frequency and early on she considered them to be nothing other than plain nightmares. Every child went through them.
Their frequency had increased to the where this week alone, Bonnie had woken up shouting in the darkness every single night. Somehow they had traversed the point between normal nightmare and something more sinister. Ren felt it deep within her as only a mother can. An inner voice alerting her to danger, a danger that seemed concentrated on her little eight-year-old.
"Shhh. It’s Okay Bonnie. It was only a dream. Nobody can hurt you." she soothed, rocking back and forth willing her own calm onto her daughter.
"He’s coming mum." Bonnie whispered "The bad devil in my dream. He looked at me and said my name. He was in the light now. I could see him this time."
"Nightmares can be like that, my darling,” she whispered "they always know the worst things we fear. But always remember, they’re just dreams and a dream can’t hurt you. Ever. Even less so when I’m around, and I’ll always be around for you."
A whispered sob escaped Bonnie as she looked at met her mother's eyes, "This is something different mum. The bad devil-he isn’t alone. He’s just the one that’s in charge. There are millions of them, but none as bad as him."
"Dreams baby. Just dreams." Ren rep
"I know mum but the devil is really scary, even if it’s only a dream. He’s the Consort Prince, and he really wants to free his regent Queen."
‘Consort Prince? Regent Queen?’ thought Ren to herself. ‘Just what the Hell is happening to my little girl? And where is she getting this stuff from?’
The stunned Watcher stood unseen in the corner of the room.
The young girl Bonnie, had come to his notice a few months ago alerted by an aural presence like nothing seen before; Her presence making the combined aural power of The Council itself look like a flickering candle next to the brilliance of a supernova. This would have to be reported and yet, he hesitated and kept a silent vigil, unwilling to report the matter back as he should have. Rampant thoughts went through his mind.
What would The Council make of this and how would they react?
The five elders forming The Council sat upon a silver-colored marble pedestal which floated on an orange-colored ether. Specialized invitations the only way to gain access to their realm.
A realm secret amongst The Watchers alone. One never troubled.
They had taken on the burden of being the interpreters of the will of D'HarmaSan centuries ago. The ultimate mediators.
Elite watchers that excelled in their duties to bring peace and harmonious integration throughout the universe. Never swaying in their interpretation and ultimate judgements.
Each member was mind-linked to the others, individual auras shining for the others to see. Every thought and memory available to the rest. This ensured that there would be no ulterior motives lying behind the actions of any individual who sat on The Council as decreed by Luxfer centuries earlier.
by Frank Perez have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes