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The MIddle of Inbetween [ART2015]

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posted on Mar, 23 2015 @ 08:48 PM
The Middle of Inbetween (non-writer)

There is a place, between worlds, between dimensions, between universes. There is a place where sometimes people get stuck, where magical creatures dwell. The middle of Inbetween. Once you are there, you stay. There is no escape. Some enter living, others after passing, but in this world all are the same – immortal to nature yet vulnerable to the hand of man.

Dread Elves – disgusting, fiendish little creatures. They make your skin crawl yet you can't look away as fast as you would like. Every once in a while you see one with clothing that seems ancient. Those are the ones to watch out for. Elves don't change clothes for some reason. If you see a Dread Elf in clothes that look a thousand years old, he is probably a thousand years old. Dread Elves don't live to be a thousand by being stupid...

Trick thought about the letter the Tribe had received almost three months ago. Sent by a scout that had been out on a mission of discovery for nearly a year, it warned of a new threat to the Tribe in the form of a Dread Elf none of the elders were familiar with. Familiar or not, a Dread Elf was a threat to be dealt with. When facing such a formidable foe knowledge was a strong ally, but, when a Dread Elf was lurking nearby delay was akin to suicide. This new threat named Whist was an unknown, but also unwelcome.

The cold September wind bit into the Champion’s skin as they traveled down the well used path. The fact that the path was so well used bothered Trick. ‘Well used’ meant others knew of the path and the chances of being detected were greatly increased the longer they stayed on it. Trick knew they had no choice though. It had already been nearly three months since the Tribe received the letter. Trying to negotiate the dense underbrush on either side of the path would slow them down more than he would like. He already had a sinking feeling that this was going to be messy and dragging it out was not a pleasant thought.

The typical sounds of the forest were not interrupted by the team moving stealthily through the environment. Years of training had paid off well. Trick thought about the combined effort taking place on this mission. In his capacity as head of the Champions, the people responsible for defending the Tribe, Trick decided who went on what mission and why. Click and Slick, his best friends and fellow Champions, accompanied him along with Paws and Claws, two man-beasts with ties to the Tribe and interests in keeping the lands around the Tribe's home safe from threats like Dread Elves. Paws and Claws were genetic marvels. Paws had features that were Ursine in nature. Strength and ferocity were his greatest characteristics. Claws had the features of a Feline. Silent, and lightening fast, Claws could strike faster than the eye could follow. And faster than Claws could think, Trick feared. All were superbly trained and conditioned.

The team was spread out single file with Claws on point. Trick had come to rely on the mutant’s superhuman senses. The Champion’s thoughts were interrupted by the soft trilling sound that had become all too familiar. It meant Claws had seen something. Sure enough, Claws had dropped to one knee and was motioning for the others to do the same. Trick had hoped the team could avoid any resistance until they were much closer to the Dread Elf camp if not within its boundaries.

Trick was on his stomach inching toward Claws’ position with Click several yards in front of him. Without a word, Click jumped up and grabbed Claws by the scruff of the neck hurling him backwards. The diminutive catman sailed through the air hissing and spitting like a mad roman candle only to land on his feet and immediately prepare to launch back at Click. Trick, too far away to physically intervene, relied on his booming voice to stop the impending assault.

“CLAWS!” the Champion bellowed. Claws checked his position but never took his furious eyes off of Click. Most humans would blanch at the thought of taking on a mutant but not Click. Click’s unparalleled speed and accuracy with the .357’s he had slung around his waist and his willingness to dispense death at the drop of a hat had earned him the reputation as one of the deadliest men in the Inbetween. A reputation proven well deserved on countless occasions. In fact, its how he got his name. Click – is about all his opponent heard before the fight was over.

Trick knew that under normal circumstances Click would never draw a gun on a fellow Champion yet something in Click’s eyes told Trick that these circumstances were anything but normal. Trick turned his gaze back toward Claws just in time to see the furry mutant start to inch forward. Before he could say anything the sound of a .357 boomed and a thin red line appeared high on Claws’ head amidst a puff of dislodged fur. Blade knew something was definitely wrong with Click. Even a marksman as skilled as Click could miss. A bad round of ammunition could have made its way into the gunman’s supplies. Any of a number of unusual things could have taken place that would have resulted in Claws’ death rather than the apparently minor injury Click intended to give him. Click stood frozen in place with the .357 still pointed at Claws who could only blink in disbelief at how close he had just come to meeting his own death.

“It was a damn deer!” Click growled. “He could have gotten us all killed just because he was hungry!”

“Hey, its been hours since breakfast,” Claws spat back. “So I was hungry. So what? Where do you get off taking a shot at me? You could have killed me!”

The mutant had a point. Even the most serious transgressions were not to be dealt with by the use of individual hostility. If a matter was that serious it was referred to the Tribe's elders to handle. Click was definitely out of line and everyone knew it.

“If I wanted to kill you furball, you’d be dead,” Click rejoined. His gaze seemed to be set in stone as he stood motionless with the .357 in hand.

Trick knew even he wasn’t fast enough to disarm the gunman. Instead he opted to rely on their years of friendship. “Click”, he said softly. “It’s ok. Put the gun down.” Click stood motionless seemingly ignoring Tricks request. The moment seemed frozen in time and no one dared to draw a breath for what seemed like an eternity. Then slowly, very slowly, Click lowered the .357 into its holster. Just as the gun hit bottom in the holster and everything looked like it was heading back to normal both .357's cleared leather faster than the eye could follow and 6 shots boomed so closely together they almost sounded as one. A strangled gurgle came from a bush roughly twentyfive feet behind Claws and a mangled body fell onto the path, crimson rivulets striping it's chest, it's nearly severed head flopping to the side at an unnatural angle. Click’s shots had all but decapitated the hapless victim. A Ruger .44 magnum was held in the strangers right hand, the hammer back ready to fire. Even with the gun already cocked the would-be attacker was no match for Click’s blinding speed.

edit on 23-3-2015 by Vroomfondel because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 23 2015 @ 08:49 PM
Trick took control of the situation. “Paws – perimeter check.” Without a word Paws took off knowing exactly what to do. “Slick, tend to Claws’ wound. Make sure his brains don’t leak out.” Trick looked at his friend and wondered exactly what was going through his mind. “Click, you need to tell me what is going on.” Click silently reloaded his guns then said, “One less Dread Elf to worry about.” This was not going to be an easy mission, Trick thought.

Trick inspected the would-be attackers possessions for anything that might be useful. As he inspected the Ruger he was surprised to see that it was in such good condition. Not many people had weapons that looked this good. 'Elves', he thought. Good with machines and the like. His speculation was interrupted by Click walking slowly by. Trick walked nearer to Click and stood quietly with his thumbs hooked in his belt. “Nice day for a walk in the woods”, Trick said looking up at the sunlight filtering through the forest canopy. “Yup. Nice day.” Click said without looking up. “A bit warm for my taste.” Trick glanced uneasily at the troubled gunman that had been his best friend since childhood. Something was terribly wrong.

Paws came running from the south and indicated that all was clear. Trick thought the lone attacker might have been a scout, or maybe just someone out hunting or travelling. At least he hoped it was something that easy to explain and if their luck changed that might be the case. Claws had his fur matted to his head by the salve Slick had applied. He looked like a furry version of that annoying little troll imbecile that had popped into their world and lasted nearly 30 seconds before someone took his head off. Trick struggled to remember the fools name...Beeber, or something like that...

The forest suddenly fell deathly quiet. That could only mean one thing - a predator was nearby. Trick motioned for the team to take cover and hold their position. The team disappeared into the vegetation edging the trail. Trick heard voices approaching but no other sounds. Whoever was coming knew how to negotiate natural terrain silently, apart from the yapping.

Trick was surprised to see a Dread Elf and a human together. Typically the two despised each other, Trick thought. “Great. Look at the fool. Head off, laying there. And he was trusted enough to get scout duty.” The human spoke with obvious distaste toward the Dread Elf Click had dispatched. “He served his purpose and that was all he was meant to do, more than you can say, human.” Trick was right, they didn't care for each other. It was their animosity toward each other that had them arguing instead of approaching with stealth as should have been the case. The team was probably alive because these two morons were more interested in insulting each other than doing their jobs.

Trick saw Paws rise silently behind the two idiots and make a grab for them. Paws had the human by the neck and off the ground in one hand and nearly had the Dread Elf in the other when the Elf did something unusual. He disappeared. Paws stood blinking at Trick with the human struggling in vain to break the mutant's grip. The Dread Elf reappeared directly behind Trick with a dagger in hand, which was unfortunate. It meant he reappeared directly in front of Click. The moment he realized his mistake the Dread Elf tried to disappear again, and would have made it were it not for the .357 slug tearing through the back of his head. The Dread Elf fell to the ground half visible and half invisible. He was literally caught in the midst of becoming invisible and froze that way. One remarkable benefit of Click's amazing speed was the cape the Dread Elf was wearing. It was the first, and only garment worn by the Dread Elf, to turn fully invisible. Trick removed the cape and held it in front of him. He was right. Behind the cape, he was invisible. This mission just got a bit more interesting.

“Thats a neat trick your buddy does” Trick teased the human. “He is no buddy of mine. I hated that filthy Elf.” The human seethed and his hatred was obvious. “So why go wondering through the woods with him then?” Trick asked. “We were ordered to find out what the noise was. We heard gun shots and were sent to find out what was going on.” The human went limp in Paws' grasp. “Whist will kill me for this” said the human bemoaning his plight. “What makes you think you will live long enough to have to worry about Whist again?” The human begged for his life. “Please, let me live. I can tell you things. Things you need to know if you want to fight Whist and live.” “I'm listening” Trick responded. The captive human told Trick about the one weakness of Whist - a crystal dagger. He had been stabbed by it once and very nearly died had it not been for the powerful magic of his father. The dagger had been charmed with a curse meant especially for Whist. It was a normal dagger to anyone else, but to Whist, it was his prized possession. He kept it on a pedastol near his throne to remind him that anything and anyone can be killed, with the right weapon. No one dared to go near the dagger for fear of the full wrath of Whist, who was famous for enjoying the suffering of his victims. Though Whist survived, the dagger did claim a victim that day. Whist' father had given so much of himself to save his son, he could last no longer.

Trick reflected on the revelations of the human prisoner. It what he said was true, they were nearer to the Dread Elf camp than they thought. Either the location had been wrong in the letter, or the camp had grown since it was written. Trick could not decide which was worse. Regardless of how it happened, one thing was certain. Whist new they were coming, and he would be ready.

Trick didn't like the idea of killing prisoners, but the decision was made for him when the human spat in Paws' face. Paws squeezed a little harder meant as a rebuke but the crunching sound that came from the human's neck told a different story. Paws let the human drop the ground and said “Sorry...” Claws couldn't help but jump in saying, “At least the food issue is resolved” and snickered. Trick walked away shaking his head like he was trying to get a loose piece to fall into place.

The team had moved to a low section of ground facing a side of the Dread Elf camp that seemed to have far fewer guards than any other they had seen. Trick figured the shallow pools offered so few places to hide that any approach would easily be seen or heard so enemy forces were unlikely to approach from that direction. Which was exactly why he chose to approach from that direction. He instructed his team to navigate the shallow pools as silently and slowly as possible, keeping an eye out for guards at all times. Ranged weapons would be used on any guards who happened to see them if need be. Once inside the camp, the team was to move around the perimeter only until they reached the point nearest to Whist' throne room. Once there Trick would decide how to attack.


edit on 23-3-2015 by Vroomfondel because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 23 2015 @ 08:51 PM
Trick gave the signal and the team began wading in to the shallow water. Everyone except Claws seemed to be doing well. Claws didn't need to voice his displeasure, it was readily apparent on his furry face. He wanted to hiss but held his tongue. The team was moving well until Trick noticed some motion near the edge of the camp. He was about to give the signal for ranged weapons when he realized he was stuck, and sinking. A quick look a the rest of the team revealed that they were all, save for Claws, stuck and sinking. The shallow water wasn't disregarded because it offered no place to hide. It was disregarded because it was quick sand. In what Trick would later appreciate as an act of brilliance, Claws too acted like he was stuck. Guards were gathering near the edge of the camp watching the team sink slowly into the mire when Trick noticed one Dread Elf standing near the edge with an evil smirk on his face. Whist.

“Tell me who you are and why you are here and I might have my guards fish a few of you out of that muck” Whist said. “Pull us all out and I will tell you whatever you want to know” Trick answered. “Oh, you will tell me” Whist assured. “You will beg to tell me, before I am through with you. Guards, pull them out of the mire and secure them.”

After having the team throw their weapons onto the ground near the camp, the guards extended a lattice of tree branches out over the mire. Each member of the team was able to grab the branches and begin pulling themselves up, except for Claws. The branches seemed just out of his reach. One of the guards crawled out onto the lattice to reach for Claws and the other two remained on either side of Whist. When Claws was sure the other members of the team were far enough out of the muck to move freely he made his move. Using the nearest guard's neck for traction Claws launched himself directly at Whist. He moved like lightening. Two throats clawed to shreds and a lunge at Whist looked like the fight would end quickly, but Whist was quick as well. Claws swiped at the scowlng face of the Dread Elf only to have him turn and shriek as he moved quickly away. Paws snapped the neck of the last guard as Trick arrived at his side. “Damn” Trick huffed. “He got away.” “Almost,” replied Claws holding out his right paw showing the team the severed eye he had claimed from Whist.

Alarms were sounding and Trick knew surprise was a thing of the past. The best route now was a direct one. Looking at the ground Trick saw a trail of blood next to claw like footprints. The team gathered the few remaining weapons that had not been taken earlier by the guards and began pursuit of Whist. Click had his .357's and that would be enough to get them to the middle of the camp. But it was going to take more to kill Whist. Trick needed to get his hands on that dagger. Trick wrapped the cape around himself as best he could telling the rest of the team to await his signal.

Trick entered the biggest structure in the camp. In it he found Whist sitting on his throne, the dagger on a pedastol next to him, and a roaring fire in the middle of the room. Trick started to work his way toward the dagger when guards dropped down from the ceiling grabbing him before he could move. The cape pulled from him, shock was apparent on his face.

“Shadows,” Whist replied to Trick's look of confusion. “The cape fools the eye, but not light.” Trick felt like kicking himself for being so foolish. “Woot”, Trick yelled. “Am I stupid or what...” he laughed at himself. Whist was amused by Trick's ability to find humor in what was surely going to be his last moments alive. As he contemplated how to best deal with the interloper the rest of the team swarmed into the room engaing the guards at every station. The melee was wild and fast. Claws was in his element and guards were falling fast. Then, as if in slow motion, everyone in the room saw the pedastol with the crystal dagger begin to fall. It landed with a thud moments before the dagger crashed onto the floor shattering into hundreds of shards. Whist grinned knowing the weapon meant to kill him could no longer be used against him. Click fired his last two rounds taking out the guards on either side of Trick. Paws had been brought down by a thunderous crack to the back of his head. Claws was pinned down by two Dread Elves who were holding on to the swirling feline frenzy for dear life. Slick lay motionless on the floor. Trick bent down feeling the floor for a second then ran to his friends side just as Whist returned with reinforcements.

“Fools. You should have run when you had the chance. Now you will suffer as you have never imagined until you beg me for death.” Whist stood trembling with apoplectic fury, blood covering the side of his face coming from his ruined eye socket. “I will make you pay for this. Guards!” Whist barked.

“Letting your guards have all the fun?” Trick teased. “I would have thought you would want a more...hands on approach. After all, we did rip an eye out of your ugly face.” Trick knew he was getting to Whist. “I guess we did you a favor. The less you have to look at yourself, the better off you are.” Trick laughed at his own joke. Whist lunged toward the Champion but froze just a few feet away from them. His legs seemed to have stopped working. His face contorted in pain as he looked at his feet just in time to see them turning to stone. His ankles followed soon thereafter. The curse was moving up his body slowly, turning him into lifeless rock. Whist looked questioningly at Trick who pointed at the floor where Whist stood. The curse was enveloping his genitals and he writhed in exquisite pain as the realiztion struck. The cape was thrown over the shards of the dagger. He had been teased into stepping on to the instrument of his own death. The curse swallowed Whist in one last gulp and the Dread Elf camp had a new statue to worship. Until one of the guards knocked it over shattering it into a thousand pieces. “Dread Elf or not, I hated that miserable bastard.”

The Dread Elf turned to face Trick. “You freed us from this sadistic tyrant and we thank you. When you and your men are well enough to travel you are free to go. We will bother you no more.”

A few miles from home Trick walked next to Click with his thumbs hooked in his belt. “Nice day for a walk in the woods.” “Yup. Nice day. I bit warm for my taste though.” “You ever going to tell me what happened back there?” “Yup. Nice day for a walk.”

posted on Mar, 23 2015 @ 11:27 PM
a reply to: Vroomfondel

Great story! I would love to read more,
Thank You!

posted on Mar, 24 2015 @ 08:37 AM
I enjoyed your tale. Very enjoyable characters.



posted on Mar, 26 2015 @ 12:47 AM
a reply to: Vroomfondel

I'm marking this page to come and read this over My morning Coffee.
Droppin' a comment afterwards. Oh, If You haven't already done so,
be sure to link this Thread to the Contest Page here:

posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 05:51 PM
a reply to: Vroomfondel

Nice job!

posted on Mar, 27 2015 @ 08:10 PM
I just realized there is an error in my story and I wanted to clarify.

Years ago I was every interested in a post-apocalyptic series of books. For whatever reason, they stopped printing them. I was really disappointed, so, I started to write one of my own using characters that were present in many installments in the series. I had hoped that, if it was good enough, maybe the publisher would allow me to continue. The story posted above is that effort. The story is completely original. The cast is similar to some of the characters from the original series. Of course, I changed their names and many personal attributes, but the basic relationships were the same. I then changed my story to fit more into the scenario of the Inbetween and the Dread Elf I imagined looking at the artwork for this contest.

In one place in the story posted above, I missed changing one of the character names. I don't know if anyone noticed it or not, but I did. I wanted to clear up any confusion it may cause before anyone begins to speculate plagiarism. As I stated, the story is completely original. I liked the story and never did anything with it. I saw this contest as a way to finally give it some life.

I hope my method has not insulted or offended anyone. It was not meant to. I started with someone else's work and made something entirely new out of it.

posted on Apr, 9 2015 @ 10:24 AM
a reply to: Vroomfondel

I like this story! Good Job!!

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