The butter cup carved from jade lay on the windowsill. The glass panes were cracked and snow drifted in through the edges. The jade buttercup was dusted in a fine layer of snowflakes. Fusion sat and watched it happen. All the fight had gone out of him. He didn’t even feel the cold anymore. The blizzard raged on outside and Fusion sat in the broken rocking chair inside the dilapidated cottage. Once this place had been full of laughter and roaring fires to keep out the snow. That was all gone now. The cost of him staying true to the vows he had sworn to the Overlord. It had cost him the lives of his family.
He had not been here when the marauders had come through. He had been off fighting in a senseless battle for a greedy Overlord. The news of his family’s death had broken something inside of him. He had crept into the Overlord’s condo and slit his throat while the bastard slept. Now he waited. Someone would come to avenge the Overlord. To make an example out of Fusion. To remind all the other soldiers that their lives were not their own. Fusion shivered. If the assassins didn’t arrive soon, this blizzard might be the death of him.
He sat and dreamed of better days. His wife and two boys shouting with joy when he returned from a campaign. He remembered sitting in this very chair with his two sons begging him to tell the thirteenth tale once again. Fusion had always given in to them. He had told the tale the way his father had told it to him. Once this was a great land, prosperous, and free. Then the portal had opened. One scientist had gone too far in his reach for glory and fame. He brought the Overlords down upon them. Within a year the world was under their thumb. They looked no different then the humans that they mercilessly enslaved except for their star shaped pupils. They died by the thousands in the takeover but they just kept coming. The Overlords were emotionless killing machines.
In the end, it was the humanity of the human race that was their downfall. Many humans retreated to the wilds rather than remain under the Overlords grasp. Things were quiet for a time. Then the Collection began. Every human between the age of 15 and 35 was rounded up. They were paired off for breeding programs. Fusion had been fortunate. He had loved the woman they paired him with. Fusion never regretted following passion’s heart and volunteering for the military in order to retain the bond with his wife. Not even on his darkest day had he wished that he was free of the bond they had shared. A crunch sounded outside. After this, he would be with his family again. In whatever afterlife that still existed. Two women entered the ruined cottage.
“Fusion. You know what the penalty is for killing an Overlord.”
Fusion smiled. It was Steel, one of the the soldiers he had fought side by side with. “Make it quick. I accept my punishment.”
But that was not the order, Steel was to make him suffer first or suffer the same fate herself. The sheer curtains that surrounded the broken window did not remain stainless. Fusion’s blood covered the walls before they were through. Steel choked back tears as she tortured and killed the man who had fought beside her through countless battles. When he breathed his last, something broke inside her. Her tears evaporated and rage took its place. She had had enough. She turned and put her blade through the eye of the soldier with her. She was a loyalist and would not help her cause. The seeds of rebellion blossomed in Steel’s heart. She would take down the Overlords or die trying.
The prompts for today’s story:
The Thirteenth Tale
These Dark Days
Copyright 2019 Klaudia Grady