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Short Story: Jackson

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I thought of this character and decided I had to write it down. So I did. Causality!

It’s not very long, but if you read it, it would be nice to hear your criticisms. I’m trying to get better at the things I lack in writing – action and description.

 

_ _ _

 

Jackson runs.

 

The spears that were wind grazed his shoulder as he lurched forward against the reality. His jacket, open, snapped in his wake, buttons flying, increasing drag but no time to stop to fix it. Shoes scraping earth and providing traction for the escape from them. Them who follow forever and provide no release. Them who shoot arrows made of hate and despair and wish for Jackson to stop. The ditch appears, and there is no choice.

 

Jackson leaps.

 

Like sledgehammers smashing into his back that pushed him forever onward, as far from the unseen danger as they could possibly exert enough force to give him. Legs, running through air, for the ground could not keep up. The sky embraced his climb for as long as it could, before gravity once again decided Jackson was hers. Dragged back down, chains flailing, never escaping. His body buckles at the embrace but momentum keeps him going, running, forever onward away from the pursuers.

 

Jackson crashes into earth; dirt, gravel, dust exploded in his landing. A smokescreen of cover to give him time to move. His current smaller stature hunched over saves him from the cannonball that shoots overhead, destroying air and friction in its wake. He knows he has to keep going, lest they catch him.

 

The desert is long, plagued by mountains of rock and stone, a small winding valley for which to cross. Direction is forgotten while the sun is high, beating down its radiation upon Jackson. He wears no hat, his hair damp with sweat and the fear of possible futures.

 

He hears them, mouths foul with oaths against him, for he has stolen it. It, which hangs clipped to his belt, small, spherical, dangerous. Jackson doesn’t know what it does. Only that he should take it, and return it, his head pounds with the order. He knew not of its execution, only that failure could not be tolerated. He had been snatched out of space-time for this purpose, left weapon-less in the desert with only the order, drumming endlessly in his mind.

 

Jackson digs his heels in, the ground obliges, a hard surface to provide him thrust, and again he runs. The clang of weapons behind smashes into his ears like waves, a tsunami that threatens to expel him from life itself. The music of war that will never leave his memory.

 

The boundary is close.

 

Jackson picks up the pace, now running not on stamina, by force of will. He must cross that boundary, where his reality will change. He can see that one possible future beyond that invisible line.

 

They scream, the melody of revenge gaining volume. The stolen orb must never leave. For they protect the land which Must Not Be Entered for this reason entirely.

 

The ground trembles as Jackson reaches the boundary. Earth rises like a wave, prepared to seal him in forever. He readies his fist, prepared for this purpose. His arm bends, fingers and muscles clenched, the wall rises, Jackson screams. He is ready. The one possible future shall not elude him.

 

His fist shatters stone, a hole blown open by the strength of his will. He climbs through, wind slicing his body, a sheet of pain that ask that he fall, stop, never leave. But Jackson pays it no heed as me makes the last escape through the hole in the stone.

 

Free. Beyond the boundary line. Jackson’s hand pulls the glass bell from his pocket and hurls it into the air.

 

The bell chimes once, and space-time cracks.

 

He can see it, though it’s distance is unclear. A crack of light, of size which could not be calculated. The light which drowns out the screams from behind the wall. Jackson runs toward the crack. He knows it is close, but that he will never reach it. It will come to him, but no use waiting beside the gate of his hell.

 

The bell chimes again, it’s flight arcing downwards.

 

The crack explodes, and the yellow excavator drives through, metal and paint shining in the harsh desert landscape. The woman piloting it lets out a cheer as it’s treads cross over to the desert world. She had taken hold of that Possibility, which had led her here, to Jackson’s success.

 

The bell chimes a third and final time as it smashes into the earth.

 

An explosion, the crack rips itself into a vortex of light and energy. The fabric of the desert is being torn, ripped up and consumed. Jackson steadies himself against the shock wave, resists it, and pushes on, reaching the excavator. He unclasps the orb from the belt and hands it to the woman, where upon touching her outstretched hand it turns black, glowing like a sun. The order in Jackson’s head stops; he has completed his mission. He weeps for the freedom of pure thought returning to him.

 

The woman laughs, triumphant in her success. She knocks the exhausted Jackson down effortlessly, and drives the excavator back through the vortex. Lightning crackles, and the vortex implodes. She has gone, and at the same time, was never there. The only evidence – a man named Jackson collapsed on the earth.

 

They catch up to him, but he has nowhere to go. There is nowhere but here. The desert is endless, infinite, and yet contains nothing but the settlement within the boundary. And now, tricked, used and discarded like a broken toy, he is one of them.

 

And they will get it back.

 

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