A Bit of Short Stories

The serenity of his Death

Dedicated to my stepdad, Michael Moore, who would be lost without my mother.

Waves crashed onto the steel platforms. Water breached through the iron barricades. The seafoam drained back into the ocean.

People in loose-fitting togas and Roman style dresses ran in every direction. Screams of terror echoed throughout the complex. Children were left unattended as the metal island lurched. One girl hid between two mismatched metal houses with tears streaming down her face.

Two men checked their black wristbands standing still amongst the chaos. The wristbands were thick covering the entire wrist. The center of these wristbands held a black screen. The screens lit up, and a voice spoke from their device.

”Good day Valens. ” Valens device addressed him accordingly.

”Good day Barbaros. ” Barbaros marveled at it. ”This is a wonder of the ages. ”

Valens reached up to muse his taller comrades hair. ”Eyes on the prize we need to head to the central station. ”

Barbaros took his finger flicking through the contents. ”So this thing gives us an adrenaline boost? ”

Valens snorted doing the same actions. ”Did you not listen to Gabriella? Go under body monitoring. ”

Barbaros did as Valens suggested and a hologram of a human body popped up on the screen.

”Flick upward and then click bodily functions. Agility boost should be under strength boost. ” Valens gave directions while his eyes remained glued to his screen.

”Right so click this and this. ” Barbaross tongue flicked out to the corner of his mouth.

Once they were both finished, their wristbands had a little needle that came out of the side. The needle bent down and went into their skin. Electric shock waves went from the device into them.

For a few seconds, they gritted their teeth and clenched their hands.

Their devices spoke synchronized. ” You are now increased. You have ten minutes. ”

Valens feeling charged up started running weaving around the people. Everything looked blurry to him. The screams of terrified people morphed into sharply acute whistles of wind.

Barbaros took off after him experiencing the same thing. ” This – th-is is amazing. ” His voice changed sounding like he had a high falsetto.

They tore through the streets avoiding waves, boxes, and people. They jumped, dodged, and rolled. Their minds were buzzing dictating their actions. Sounds became little-pinging noises. Their bodies shook with exhaustion. Sweat poured from them.

They turned down an alleyway jumping up a set of stairs.

Vallens huffed pushing his body to the roof. Once he reached the tin roof, he placed his hands on his knees heaving. ”How much longer Barbaros? ”

Barbaros faired better only looking slightly red in the face. He released short puffs of air. ”Three minutes if we travel by roof, ten minutes by the street. ” He glanced down at his wristband that was beeping red. Barbaros perched his lips to gather stretching them out. ”We have about five; No make that four minutes. ”

”Rooftop it is. ” Valens stood up and began running. As he ran, he tripped landing flat on his face.

Valens frowned hitting the tin roof with his hand. ” Garther, ” He snarled. Valens flipped around. His knees bloody from the hasty fall.

Barbaros went pale as his jaw dropped. ” You cursed! You better not kiss your wife tonight. If you do shame on you, a thousand curses. ” Barbaros pointed and wagged a finger at Valens with a raised eyebrow.

”Help me up. ” Valens held out his hand to Barbaros.

” Nay, I say to the dirty Naysayer. ” Barbaros promptly turned his back to Valens.

Valens flipped back around. ” Fine, you Jonther. ” Valens tried to pull himself up. His legs gave way. He laid there panting for a few minutes. Valens let loose a scream of agony pulling his overexerted body up. Finally, standing his wristband beeped announcing, ” Two minutes until the program ends. ”

Valens ran again this time breathing heavily as his vision blurred. Sweat droplets clouded his vision.

Barbaros ran up beside him frowning. In a whiny voice, he spoke. ” I am not a Jonther. ”

Valens reached the edge of the copper-tin roof nearly falling off. ” Woah. ” He backed up for a second.

Barbaros peered over the ledge. ”Yeah, we are not going to make it. ”

Valens ran a few feet back and then ran forward as fast as he could. He vaulted over the space between this roof and the next. Valens landed with a roll. He winced squeezing his eyes shut as he stood up. Valens reached his hand up to feel his shoulder.

Barbaros shrugged and repeated Valens action landing with more grace. They took off again jumping from roof to roof until a giant sliver building made into a point came into view. Valens looked down the side of the current building he was on and spotted a stairwell. A few feet down before the stairs was a window with a ledge. Valens jumped down garbing onto the windows ledge. He grunted kicking his feet out. He released the ledge landing in the stairwell.

Barbaros looked down. His mouth formed a circle and his eyes were wide. He then shrugged. ”Oh, well here goes nothing. ” Barbaros jumped landing perfectly on the stairwell.

Valenss wristband flashed red as he was going down the stairs. Barbaross screen flashed as well. The voices synchronized from their wristbands speaking out. ” Program has ended. ” The little needle retreated. The wristband spoke out again. ”Sanitizing now, ” Red lines appeared on the screen, and they heard beeping. The beeping stopped. ”Sanitizing complete. ” The wristband then went into rest mode turning the screen black.

Valenss legs gave out when he reached the bottom. His knees hit the metal grates. Ocean water bubbled up underneath crashing up soaking his legs.

Barbaros could not stop once he started down the stairs. He crashed into the back of Valens toppling over. His head hit the grate. Barbaros hissed his hands went to his head while his legs were up in the air. ” No, no. ” Barbaross eyes were wide as his legs came crashing down. His feet hit Valens in the face.

Valens turned his head to the right after being whacked by Barbaross feet. Barbaross sandals scraped the corner of Valens eye. A light splatter of blood trickled down. Valens hit the ground after that fiasco.

Barbaros flopped up whining. He felt the back of his head hissing. ”That hurt. ” He realized Valens was on the ground face-first into the stairs. Barbaros scampered over to Valens. He checked his pulse first and then Valenss wristband. ”Stupid always check the wristband first. ” Barbaros smacked himself in the forehead. He then checked Valens wristband. ”That is funny it says his pulse is just a bit slower. okay, then time to wake him up. ” Barbaros slapped Valenss face. He got no response. So he tried again.

Valens felt a sharp stang going across his face. He blinked once. His vision was foggy. He blinked again and again until the sight in front of him was clear. He saw Barbaros getting ready to strike him. Valens roughly pushed Barbaros away. ” Enough! ” He stood up and got into a stance to jog.

Barbaros stood up and shouted at him ” It is right there, walk! And don you dare say every second counts! We are here. Let us be gentlemen upon our entry. ”

Valenss eyes rolled. ” Fine, fine let us enter like prim kings. ”

Barbaros lifted up lightly on his toga pinching it. He released it. ”Now that is what I am saying. ” He pushed passed Valens

”You do realize this could be the end of Atlantis? ” Valens made a fist and placed it under his chin. ” Just saying Atlantis could fall. ”

Barbaros whipped around. He pointed toward the ground stomping toward Valens. ”I hope for your sake, for your childs sake that it is fixable! Otherwise, we are going to be at the bottom of the ocean! ”

Valens clapped Barbaros on his back. ”It is Atlantis everything is fixable. ” He walked toward the silver control center. Upon entering the building, Cold air wafted into him. Valens shivered trying to adjust to the low temperature. His sandals made squeaking sounds against the polished bronze flooring. There was a girl a few feet away behind a desk. She was sorting white cards and placing them in different files.

Valens cautiously approached the desk. ”I need to go down to the fourth-floor tri-center. ”

The girl glanced reproachfully at him with her lips perched. The girl sucked in a breath. ”Why? ”

Valens threw his hands up and smacked his head. ”So I can do my job and possibly save Atlantis! ”

Barbaros stuck his finger up in the air. ”Hold up. ” He pulled Valens aside. ”Be nice to the desk lady. It will get you far in life my friend. ”

Valens narrowed his eyes. ”I am not, going to be nice to her. ” Valens turned away heading back to the desk.

Barbaros garbed him by the shoulder. ”Wait, hear me out. ”

Valenss lips twitched. If you do not let me go, I am going to hurt you! ”

Barbaros released him placing both hands up. ”I am not looking for a fight just a bit of advice here. Tensions are high. I get it. But she is still a woman and deserves respect. ”

Valens gritted his teeth. ”Fine. ” He stomped over to the Desk. ”Maam may I please go to the fourth tri-center. ”

She sighed glaring at him. Her lips trembled. ”No, go home spend it with your family. ” The ends of her eyebrows went up. The middle of her forehead creased

Valens growled storming over to her. He went around the desk.

The woman backed up. Her heart pounded, as her breathing exhilarated.

Valens face was red. His eyes were ablaze. ”I have a wife and daughter! This place is not sinking! I will not allow it to sink! ”

The woman covered her mouth sobbing. ”I am sorry. ” Her body shook.

”What do you mean you are sorry! Tell me! ” Valens roared approaching her. He pressed her against the inside of the desk.

She looked at him as if she was staring into his soul. ”Atlantis is falling! The waves are going to overtake us. The damage is done. ”

”No, I can not accept this! ” Valens slammed his hand violently on the desk. ”Atlantis cannot fall! It was not built to fall! ”

Barbaros went pale. His mouth loosed and his body lost all the strength it had. He silently began weeping.

”Atlantis Can not fall! ” Valens slammed his hand down again as angry tears gathered in his eyes.

”It can! It is, ” she screamed at him. ”Can you see my fear? ” She hunched over pointing to her heart. ”I want to go home to my parents. They were so proud of me to get this job. Now I am stuck here! I can leave in case someone comes. Duty til the end! ” She calmed down. ”They are going to die alone. I am going to die here alone. Go home while you can. ” She solemnly turned around toward her white cards. ”If you must go to the tri-center, then go. They are going to tell you the same thing I am. ”

Valens raced away from her to a set of stairs located a few feet away from the desk. The stairs led downward. Barbaros remained behind.

Barbaros finally getting over his shock walked over to the woman. ”Your name and adobe. ” He bowed placing his hands together.

”Aquilina, why? ” Her tearful eyes drifted to him.

”Let me do this one act of kindness for you. Let me tell your parents. ” Barbaros looked up at her still hunched over. Barbaros stood up.

Aquilinas face froze, and then a painful smile spread across her it. ”The upper aqueducts. The house is the sixty-seventh on the right. ”

Barbaros turned to leave.

”Wait, ” Aquilina called after him.

Barbaros waited

”Tell them I love them. Tell them I am sorry for being a horrible child. I led a disappointing life. ”

Barbaros pressed his hands together. ”No child is truly disappointing to a parent. We express our disappointment at the action one commits. Not the person. You as a person are not disappointing. ” Barbaross mind flashed with memories of a little girl with black curly hair. He closed his eyes. Barbaros then reached for his wristband activating the agility boost once again.

Valens tore through four flights of stairs. Once he reached the end of the fourth flight, he turned to his right eyeing a door. Valens huffed and slowly made his way over to the door. He pushed it open revealing a room with a holographic sphere that had landmarks. Red lasers were pointed to a specific location on the Atlantic Ocean off of the coast of Morocco. The water of the sea seemed to be bubbling up on the sphere. Valens stood in the way of one of the lasers. The heat from the laser burnt through his toga into his flesh. ” Arrgh, he screamed out clenching the burnt area. He moved out of the way allowing the laser to resume its position on the sphere.

Valens looked around spotting quite a few things that looked like telescopes with a reflective lens mounted on walls.

He charged over to the lasers that he determined where the cause of the disruptive ocean. Valens reached his hands over to grab one. The metal burned once he clasped his hand around it. He squeezed his eyes shut pulling on the device. The sounds of smearing flesh reached his ears. The smell of burnt flesh taunted him. The laser would not budge.

A couple of people hearing the commotion ran in. They yanked him away. One person pushed Valens away further. ”Go home. There is nothing you can do. The wave editor malfunctioned. The monitor destabilized. ”

”How, ” Valens yelled. He hissed holding his hand.

”We do not know! Everything was fine, and then the next minute everything went wrong. Please go home. Give Augusta and Cecilia my love. ” The man patted Valens on his shoulder. Valens gritted his teeth running out the door.

Valens ran up the steps until he reached the bottom of the third set of steps, he activated his wristband choosing agility. He raced through the building turning everything into a blur. He made it outside and looked around. Valens saw slow blurs picking up smaller slow blurs. Blurs representing people pushed other blurs down. A sudden splash hit his face. He looked down, and water covered his knees. Valens frowned pushing forward. He felt resistance. The waves were trying to force him back.

Valens heart rate was dangerously elevated. His breathing felt shallow. He could not get enough air. The water splashed up again this time washing some blurs away. He grabbed on to a pole as another wave surrounded Atlantis. It was higher than any building on Atlantis. The tide came crashing down with enough force to break the metal plates holding Atlantis together. Valens gritted his teeth forcing himself forward.

Someone grabbed on to Valens screaming in his face. ”Save me, save me, please! ” The fear evident in their tone. Valens shook his head. ”I am sorry. I have to get home. ” He pushed the person off. The person reached out to him screaming.

Barbaros had made it to the upper aqueduct. ”Program ending. ” His wristband warned him. The upper aqueduct was already breaking apart. People and things were being rushed out to sea. Barbaros pushed himself until he made it to the sixty-seventh house. As he stood in front of the door, a giant wave loomed over him. He looked up. Barbaross jaw dropped. He whimpered dropping his arms down. He hung his head as the wave crashed down taking the upper aqueduct.

Valens raced through breaking metal and crashing waves. He clung to whatever he could reach. The platform suddenly titled bucking up. The platform of metal then split in half. The part he was on started sinking. He ran up the tilted piece and jumped nearing missing the still stable part of Atlantis. One of his hands caught the edge. His eyes squinted shut as he tried to pull himself up. The wristband warned him. ” Program ending. ”

Valens pushed himself up managing to get his other arm to grasp the platform. He grunted trying to pull himself up. As the needle retracted, he felt the strength he had, leave his body. Valens body jerked down toward the dangerous waters.

He cried gritting his teeth. Valens shouted out, ”give me Strength! ” He pulled himself up, and his knees touched the platform. A small wave reached up and drenched him. The remaining part of Atlantis quivered starting to buckle. Valens tapped his wristband seeking out the agility boost.

The wristband flashed a red. ”Access denied. Your condition will destabilize. Monitoring shows your heart may give out. ”

”I do not care, ” he shouted at his wristband. ”I will make it home! I will hold my wife and daughter! Activate emergency protocol. ”

The wristband flashed red speaking, ”Denied. ”

Valens stood up as the metal creaked. He shouted at the wristband. ”Atlantis is falling! ”

The watch screen turned green. ”Checking other wristbands. ” The wristband beeped and then spoke. ”You are correct. I detect less than half of the populace. I have determined the best type of action. ”

The wristband injected him with the needle. A series of violent shocks traveled through him. He was stunned Valens could not move. Then all of a sudden his body jetted forward. No matter how he felt, he could not stop. The program rushed him through the wet metal streets to a reasonably decent metal house that for now remained untouched.

”Program ending, ” his wristband spoke as he opened the bronze door to the house.

A woman with red hair immediately ran up to him. She was trembling. ” What is going on!? I heard all this racket. I was too afraid to look out. You were gone. ”

Valens hugged her pulling her tightly to him. He sighed in relief. Valens pulled her away. ”Augusta I love you. ” He closed his eyes smelling her, taking her scent in. His hands reached up, and he held the back of her head. Valens pulled her away gazing into her eyes. He looked lost. He removed one of his hands tracing her facial features.

Augusta trembled, ”What is wrong? ” Her eyebrows went up and the center of her forehead wrinkled.

” Where is Cecilia? ” Valens asked tearing away from his wife.

”In her room. She threw a fit I would not leave her out to play. ” Valens placed one last chaste kiss on Augustas forehead. He gripped her hand.

Augusta tried to resist Valens grip feeling an unfamiliar roughness. ”What is going on? What happened to your hand!? Why are you wet!? Valens Talk to me! ”

Valens turned around speaking, ”Atlantis is falling. ”

Augusta let go of his hand. ” Nooo, ” she screamed.

Cecilia came running down a flight of steps holding a stuffed animal and pouting. She noticed her father. Cecilia brightly smiled and then looked over to her mother who began to tear at her face.

Cecilia ran over to Valens leaning on him. ”Papa, whats wrong with Momma? ” She frowned as her little eyes started to water. ”Is it because I was a bad girl? ”

Valens reached down picking Cecilia up. Once he had a firm hold on her Valens kissed her cheek. Cecilia giggled pressing her stuffed animal to Valenss lips. He kissed that as well. He turned around to his wife sweeping her up into his remaining arm. The three of them were pressed together.

Cecilia trembled and began to bite her lip. She tensed picking up on the tension in the room. Augusta sobbed into the back of Cecilias dress.

”I am scared, ” Cecilia admitted softly.

Augusta reached her hand up and ran it through Cecilias red hair. ”Atlantis is sleeping. Dry your tears. Cry no more. The workers who toil are sleeping. Atlantis is sleeping. ” Augustas voice cracked as she sung.

Valens closed his eyes rocking Cecilia.

The end

Words

Garther: A curse word

Jonther: Someone who abandons their friends because of religious, or political reasonings.

Prim Kings: A term for someone or someones who are too upright even when the situation does not call for it. It means you are doing it to get looks.

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