Chimeran (first chapter of a new story)

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Chimeran (first chapter of a new story)

Postby DaHeckIzDat » November 16th, 2020, 4:53 pm

I've really been struggling to settle on a new project lately. I've started a lot of new stories, but none of them have really grabbed me. I've a good feeling about this one, though. I'd appreciate any feedback you guys feel like giving!

Chapter One

The elevator lurched as it ascended, rusty gears banging loudly enough that they almost drowned out the alarms blaring down below. The only light was a centuries-old bulb hanging from a wire. The bumpy ride caused it to swing back and forth, briefly illuminating the elevator’s five frightened passengers.

“It’s going to be all right,” said one, a twenty year old girl whose light brown hair was cut boyishly short. She had her arms wrapped around a teenage boy with a hair color matched her own, but whose eyes were staring vacantly into a nonexistent distance. “Okay, Tad? We’re all going to be fine!”

“D…D…Dead,” Tad stammered under his breath. “A…All…of them.”

“Hey, look at me,” she said, taking his cheek and turning his face toward her. “See? I’m here with you.”

Tad blinked slowly. “Kris…ta?”

“That’s right,” Krista said with a smile that she hoped looked braver than she felt. “Big sis is here to take care of you.”

Standing by the edge of the elevator, looking anxiously over the side, was another young man. Two years Krista’s senior, he watched the flashing red lights below slowly grow farther and farther away.

“They can’t follow us up here, right?” he asked. “There’s not, like, an emergency staircase, is there?”

“Emergency stairs?” snorted a second girl. She was the same age as Krista, sitting in the opposite corner of the elevator, leaning back against the railing while she casually smoked a cigarette. “To get out of the Colony? Why don’t you try making medicine that makes you sick while you’re at it?”

“Stairs go both ways, you idiot!”

She smirked. “Not here they don’t.”

“What if somebody went up there and the elevator broke?” His grip tightened on the guardrail, turning his knuckles white. “Are you saying they’d have no way to get back down?”

“Nobody’s supposed to go up there, dumbass.” The girl flicked the rest of her cigarette away, idly watching its glowing embers vanish into the dark void below. “We’re lucky this old thing even works.”

The young man spun around at that, his face turning red in the weak light. “It’s your fault we’re here in the first place, Willow, so how about you drop the attitude?”

Willow’s face hardened, and she stood up. “My fault? I’m not the one who—”

“Will both of you shut the hell up?” Krista demanded. “This isn’t helping!”

The boy turned his glare on her. “Why not? We’re leaving the Colony, Krista. It’s not like things can get any worse!”

“Lea…Leaving…” stammered Tad. “Leaving the…”

“Shut up, Ryan,” Krista hissed, hugging her little brother tighter.

By now the sound of the alarms were barely a whisper from down below. To her surprise, Krista found herself straining her ears to hear them for as long as she could. Those alarms meant the peacekeepers were searching for them. Marshal Ramsey would have issued them guns by now—real guns, something that hadn’t happened since her grandparents’ grandparents had been her age—and ordered that they be shot on sight. There was no going back. Not ever.

But still, those alarms were the last sound of civilization…of humanity…she’d ever hear. She wanted to make it last.

“You all know what this means, don’t you?” asked the fifth passenger, who had stayed silent until now. He wasn’t as tall as Ryan, but still stood a head taller than Krista and Willow.

Krista sighed. “Dereck, no. Not right now.”

“Yes, right now!” he insisted. He took a deep breath, expression grim. “If we’re going to do this, we all need to be prepared for what’s about to happen.”

The pit in Krista’s stomach grew heavier, but she didn’t argue. The small group stood in silence, the elevator chugging its way upwards, slowly carrying them away from the safety of their underground home, up to the surface world.

And Ferus.

“Tad?” she said softly. “Cover your ears, okay?”

He did as she said without question, kneeling down on the grated metal floor with his hands over his ears. Squeezing his shoulder reassuringly, Krista stood up and crossed her arms, looking expectantly at Dereck.

“All right,” she said softly. “Tell us.”

Dereck swallowed as everyone’s eyes fell on him, nervously pushing his glasses farther up his nose. “W- Well, we all know what Ferus does. If we’re going to leave the Colony…and it doesn’t look like we have any choice…we need to be ready for what it’s going to…you know, do to us.”

Krista looked down at her feet, her insides squirming. Ferus. The Savage Moon. It had just appeared in Earth’s orbit one day three hundred years ago. Nobody knew where it came from or how it’d gotten here, and nobody had been given a chance to learn. The mysterious green moon’s effect was instantaneous. Some people thought it was a strange type of radiation. Other’s insisted it was alien technology. Still others called it magic. In the end, it didn’t matter. What mattered was that anybody caught outside while the new moon was overhead, bathed in its green light, would be transformed.

Within hours of Ferus’ arrival, the streets were crawling with monsters. Dubbed the chimera, some were big, some were small, some had claws, and some had wings. All of them had once been human. Within a day, mankind was all but extinct. The planet had been taken over by savage creatures with no more humanity in them than a wild animal. What few humans were left had banded together on the outskirts of Legacy City, burrowing deep underground to form the Colony, a widespread, mazelike series of tunnels that protected them from the wicked green light above.

Nobody had gone to the surface in hundreds of years. To do so would mean death…or worse, to join the inhuman mutants that had replaced them.

That was exactly what Krista and the others intended to do.

“The old blueprints say there should be a small tunnel leading to the elevator up there,” Dereck went on, his voice soft. “We could use it for shelter, but we won’t be able to survive in there for long. Not without…” He paused, sighing heavily. “Not without going outside.”

Krista hugged herself, shivering. That was it. The thing they’d all been more afraid of than anything else. They would have a choice once they reached the top: starve in the tunnel, but keep their humanity…

Or live on as chimera.

Nobody said anything for a long time, and the only sound was the rumbling of the ancient elevator. For a fleeting moment, Krista wished it would fail. The cable could snap—it was three hundred years old, after all—and send them all plummeting back down into the abyss. They’d die, and that terrified her, but at least the choice would be made for them.

But then she looked back at Tad, still kneeling on the floor, shaking with fear.

No, she decided. Tad didn’t deserve to die. Ryan, Dereck, Willow…even her…none of them could say they were good people with any degree of honesty. Not after what they’d just done. But Tad was innocent. He deserved life—even if it wasn’t a human life.

“I’m going,” she whispered.

“What was that?” Ryan asked, turning to her.

Krista raised her head. “I’m going. And I’m taking Tad with me.”

On the other side of the elevator, Willow laughed softly.

“You can all stay if you want,” Krista went on. “I wouldn’t blame you. But we all know it’s possible to live up there on the surface.”

“As a monster,” Dereck put in.

She nodded. “I know. But Tad deserves whatever life I can give him.”

To her surprise, nobody argued with her. In fact, Willow was the next to step forward.

“What the hell, I’ll go too,” she said, waving her hand as if she were only volunteering to run a quick errand. “What else are we gonna do, sit around and wait to die? Screw that. I’ve always wanted to see what it’s like up there.”

Krista gave Willow a grateful look, which she of course pretended not to notice. Willow could be nasty when she felt like it, but that was mostly to cover up how much she really cared about the others.

“Ryan?” Krista asked. “Dereck?”

The two boys shared a look.

“I…I don’t know,” Ryan finally admitted. “I’ll have to think about it.”

“Think fast, then,” Krista said. “If we’re going to go, then we need to stick together. We’ve got no idea what’s waiting for us up there.”

“But what about…” Dereck gestured vaguely at all of them. “Us? I mean, the real us? The human us.”

Krista didn’t know how to answer that. What did happen to someone after they transformed? Were they still them inside their new body? Or did they become something new entirely? Once they changed, would they even remember each other? Or would they forget and…God forbid…try to kill each other like animals?

“Our ancestors fought for our ability to stay human,” Ryan said. “If we give that up now, aren’t we, like, betraying them?”

Willow snorted. “A bit late to worry about that.”

Ryan glared at her, but didn’t reply.

Suddenly, the elevator stopped with a lurch that sent everybody reeling. The old light bulb finally went out. Flailing blindly, Krista managed to grab the guardrail and stay on her feet. What had happened? Had the elevator broken down after all? She shuddered at the thought of them hanging there, thousands of feet above the ground, in complete…

No. Not complete darkness.

In the distance, she could see light. It was faint, but it illuminated the elevator enough that she could see they’d reached the top. A stone path led from the edge of the ancient machine into a tunnel. Krista looked at the others, who all seemed just as apprehensive as she was. Amazingly, Tad was still kneeling on the floor, whimpering with his hands over his ears.

She put her hand on his shoulder, and he looked up. “Come on, bro,” she whispered. “It’s time to go.”

“Wh…Whe…Where are…we?” he asked.

“You’ll see,” she said, not knowing how else to answer.

Reluctantly, he got to his feet and took her hand. She led the way off the elevator, her feet crunching against the dimly lit stone floor, and the others followed. Nobody spoke as they ventured through the tunnel, leaving their families, their homes, and everything they knew behind. The light grew brighter with every step they took.

Brighter…and greener.

Finally, they reached the mouth of the tunnel. There they were greeted by a sight that no human had seen for over three hundred years. Krista froze, her mouth falling open in wonder. A field stretched out before them. A real field, with grass and trees and other things she had only ever seen in drawings. Something gently caressed her cheek, nearly making her recoil, until she remembered stories the old folks had told her about wind. Could that be what this was? A gentle breeze, the first to be felt by human skin in generations?

And far, far in the distance, she could see…things. Tall, narrow things that rose out of the ground like fingers pointing at a sky that somehow retained its blue color despite the overwhelming green light. Buildings, she realized. Big ones. She must have been looking at the fabled Legacy City.

But then her spirits fell when she saw where the green light was coming from.

Ferus hung in the sky, glowing with a bright green hue that rivaled even the sun. Krista thought she could feel a strange tingle run across her skin, but she pushed the thought away. The transformation was supposed to be instantaneous, which meant the tunnel was still providing them enough shelter to protect them from the green moon’s evil rays.

But not for long.

Steeling herself for what she knew she had to do next, Krista turned to look at her friends. “Well, I guess this is it.”

The other nodded slowly. She looked at Ryan and Dereck, hoping the two boys would come around. Whatever was waiting for them out there, good or bad, she wanted nothing more than to go through it with all of them. Ryan looked past her, his eyes watering. Finally, gritting his teeth, he nodded and stepped up beside her.

“All right,” he said hoarsely. Then louder, “All right! Let’s do this!”

Krista’s heart leaped with happiness. She turned to look at Dereck…

But the spectacled young man stepped back into the shadows.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I just…I can’t.”

Krista nodded. This was his choice to make, and there were no right or wrong answers. She stepped forward, wrapping him in one last hug. Ryan joined them a moment later, and then, amazingly, so did Willow.

“Be safe out there,” Dereck said. “And don’t forget me, okay?”

“Never,” Krista said, a tear running down her cheek.

The hug didn’t last nearly long enough. Finally, though, Dereck broke away, stepped further backwards into the tunnel, and waved goodbye to them. Krista took a deep breath and, with her other two friends, turned to face the new world they were about to claim as their own. They all shared a look, nodded to each, and took their first step outside…

Where Ferus’ power hit Krista like a landslide.

Luigi & Peach
Posts: 284
Joined: August 19th, 2015, 9:30 pm

Re: Chimeran (first chapter of a new story)

Postby Luigi & Peach » November 19th, 2020, 6:18 am

Entertaining. Curious where the story's going to go.

Posts: 1269
Joined: April 9th, 2015, 1:41 pm

Re: Chimeran (first chapter of a new story)

Postby DaHeckIzDat » November 21st, 2020, 2:44 pm

I've been brainstorming really hard over the past couple days, and I finally think I've got a solid foundation to build the rest of the story on...

It starts with the same basic concept: people underground, mutants above ground, weird green moon turns people to monsters. But now the reason Krista and the others go above is because they're sacrifices. Whenever the Colony think the chimera are upset or on the verge of burrowing down into their cavern to attack, they send a bunch of young people up the elevator as sacrifices. They think the chimera eat them, but in actuality the tribes fight over them, bring them back to their camp to transform them and add to their numbers.

Ferus the green moon is still there, but now it's only part of the transformative process. The tribes all have an idol (or maybe a mask?) that resembles the kind of chimera they turn into, and looking into the eyes of that idol (or putting on the mask) transfers Ferus' power to you and transforms you into a chimera. After using it a certain amount of times, the idol has to be left out beneath Ferus to recharge its power. Nobody knows where the idols came from, they suddenly just appeared right after Ferus did.

There's also the Wild, which is what they call the concentrated power of Ferus. Even after becoming chimera, they can transform further into even more powerful forms if the channel the Wild inside them. But the Wild feeds on powerful emotions, meaning that they have to go into a frenzy to make the transformation happen. To them it feels good, even addictive, but it causes them to go completely animalistic until they eventually exhaust themselves and change back to their normal chimera form.

Its possible, though very hard, to keep control of yourself while channeling the Wild. You have to let yourself feel the needed emotions, but not let them rule you. Anyone who learns to do this will have control over their more powerful forms and are called Wildmasters (...for now).

There are a few different races of chimera. Their names are tentative at this point, so I'm open to suggestions.

Sims: a monkey-like chimera whose feet function as hands and have long, flexible tails.

Varg: wolf-like chimera, carnivorous and pack hunters. Extremely good hearing and smell, but not great eyesight.

Ursa: bear-like chimera. They're bigger and stronger than the others, but also more solitary. While they still live in tribes, those "tribesmen" are usually spread out and only gather for very important meetings.

Valkyries: avian chimera with human-shaped bodies and large wings coming out of their backs. Extremely good eyesight, but physically weaker than the other races so are only at an advantage in the sky.

Theres also a rare event called the Savage Night (???) where Ferus rises more brightly than the other nights, flooding the chimera with power so they go into Wildform naturally. It drives them all mad with bloodlust, and always results in a huge battle breaking out. Krista (she becomes a Sim) has to find her brother, learn to control the Wild inside her, keep from losing her humanity, and...something something, stop a bad thing from happening on Savage Night that I havent figured out yet...

And that's about it. What do you guys think?

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