Neverdead - Bryce Chronicles. Short Story 3 is now up.
Keep in mind.
With NeverDead's story elements and Bryce's abilities, these earlier short stories will serve more as an introduction to what the fiction atmosphere are instead of just jumping right in. Certain things may not make sense, even at first. So bear with it, if you so choose to read them and are familiar with the story.
Character images taken from the NeverDead website, hence the 'Enlarge Image' part. For character bios and image source, please visit the NeverDead website. Does contain an Age Restriction Portal.
Also, I apologize for punctuation/grammar issues. They will be revised.
Current Characters mentioned.
Story: Despair remains, always.
"Bryce... I'm sorry..."
Grounded, struggling to move, Cypher strains to reach towards Bryce. Not making much progress, light tears drip from her unfocused eyes as she goes limp. Gasping a final taken breath, her head rolling to it's center as her eyes continue looking. Staring at Bryce whom was just out of reach, who was also attempting to get her hand. Looking into her eyes, he fills with pain, anger. Sorrow, despair. Her eyes saying "I'm Sorry." in case her words didn't reach his ears.
Bryce shouted as he managed to grab her lifeless hand, trying to hold onto her life now since passed.
Bryce shoots straight up within his bed. Panting, seething with regret, he lashes out with his fists down into his bed. Absorbing the impact, he remained sitting, his arms throbbing with rage from once again witnessing his loss. Always so vivid, every nightmare he has of his defeat; his loss of Cypher... his fall from his path.
Switching on a lamp next to his bed, he grabs an almost empty bottle of liquor. Swigging the last of the brown sour liquid, he exhales in anguish. Anticipation for more instantly overcame his lust to escape. Throwing the bottle to the ground, he stands up, scratching his neck and back. Getting irritated, he grabs his left arm and with a tug, pulls his arm free. Re-grabbing it, he drags his fingers across his back, getting the itch present along the lower part of his shoulder blades. Sticking the fleshy torn skin back to his body, the inner flesh takes grab and pulls itself back together. Rotating the shoulder with his right hand, he hears a moist snap, recognition of his arm clicks with his nerves as he clenches his fingers into his palm.
"Not even the night can let it go..."
Looking over to the bottle, seeing a portion of his reflection looking back at him - the Yellow Eye. It seemed not even the little things would let such failures go. Picking up a cigarette from his nightstand, he lights it up, taking a deep drag then exhaling with force towards the bottle's mockery.
"Ugh, I got to get out of here."
Throwing on his shredded looking overcoat and placing his gun harness across his back like a metal rod backpack. Taking a set of assault rifle looking guns and placing them within the harness on his back, he approaches his apartment door. Grabbing a folded piece of metal as he leaves.
"Same thing, over so many nights... Time to go release some of this aggression on some demons... And find myself a drink."
The door slams against the frame as he storms off.
Story: Black Powder and a Bloodshot Eye.
A faint shout barely heard among the many Musket explosions. The spraying of burning powder, the flying metal spheres crashing into their targets long before their tailing sound catches up. Bryce looked around the field of slowly lifting smoke and debris for whoever could have shouted his name. Not seeing any recognition, he stood up, facing those opposing to his end and fired his Musket. Kicking back hard, his right shoulder seemed to dislodge.
Slamming back down behind his cover, he grabs his left shoulder and twists is back into place. His rifle sitting firmly in his lap, he then proceeds to pack in another bullet, twisting his head slightly to see what he was doing - wearing a make-shift patch to cover his right eye was making it a bit difficult than he was used to.
Normally Bryce wouldn't worry about such things, but he joined this Red crowd to come over sea. He didn't want his eye to cause a problem, didn't want to exploit his immortality by being a one-man-army and didn't want to get persecuted as a witch. He was well aware of the fears that plagued many of these men and knew his 'condition' could play on those fears.
Came the voice again, more noticeable this time around. Looking to his left, he sees a man staring at him, gesturing with a wave to 'come over here'. Bryce tucking his head as another volley of shots came in his direction, he bolted without thinking twice once they were embedded into their wood and dirt.
"I'm coming Alex!"
Bryce flew into cover right next to Alex. Looking at his body to notice a fresh hole he looks up at Alex with a smirk.
"I guess I was bound to get hit at least once, eh?"
Bryce laughs it off as he gets a new bullet packed into his rifle.
"I guess being alone in this isn't the best situation to be in, right?"
Alex nudges Bryce, knowing he would get the hint.
"If only you were immortal! Hah!"
Bryce continued to laugh as he stood to fire once again. Dropping back down, he looked up and stared right at Alex.
"Wait, is that why you are here?"
"Maybe, I might have a chance for mine."
Alex said, standing to take his turn to fire.
"You are here because any major conflict tends to have a demon involved, right?"
"Yeah, I like them to know I am still here. As if they could forget, thanks to Astaroth."
"Well, if he is high enough, maybe I can get mine!"
"You crazy bastard! You are waging a lot on this chance. You could loose it all when you aim to keep it all."
Bryce retorted as he stood to fire one more time.
"I might as well. If I fail at least you have one less person to worry about."
Bryce shook his head than stilled to look at Alex's face once more. His determination was unlike what he expected.
"Then you might need this!"
Bryce took a Bayonet off his Rifle and gave it to Alex, Who instead of attaching it onto his, he dropped his bag and rifle, holding his Bayonet in his other hand.
"You know me well, eh senior Bryce?"
"I am not that old..."
Bryce said under his breath and he reached for Alex's ammo and powder bag.
"Now we wait for this to settle."
They remained for a little while till the fighting slowed. Couldn't have been very long, few hours at best, before something began to rustle among the bodies and burnt ground. Clanking rifles on stone, shredding stiff cotton and leather, debris sliding down unstable slopes.
"That may be our, well my target."
Bryce turns to look over his cover, lifting up his eye cover to look all around the field. Noticing something large, pulling bodies together - both Red Coat and Blue Coat. A Red glow among the center, shining out faintly.
"I... have seen that eye before."
Bryce said to himself, gritting his teeth trying to recall where he has seen the eye.
"That is it, isn't it?
Alex asked, entrapped by the glow. Almost drooling with anticipation.
"Let's go say 'hi'."
Bryce stood up and casually approached the Red glow.
"Hey! You ugly Red bastard!"
Bryce shouted, hoping to hear something that will remind him of what he is talking to.
"It is you... from so long ago it seems."
A phlegmy sounding voice tremors from the group of bodies.
"Azrail! I should have known you would be involved in this bloodshed."
Bryce tapped his forehead with his rifle, shrugging. Almost envious of the dead.
"So what brings you to these parts?"
Bryce asked aloud, standing in front of the bodies. Dropping his arms to his sides.
"These places... so rich with human life. So easy to get them to fight. It was plentiful."
"Too bad I am not among them, right?"
Bryce followed up, taking his bullet and powder bag off his shoulder and tossing it among the center of the mass.
"Alex! Get ready!"
Bryce shouted behind, readying his rifle aimed at the bag. Shooting it, the bag rupturing from a mass ball of fire enveloping the bodies, scattering the body parts. Knocking Bryce back, to the ground. His body - arms and legs falling off his body. Alex rushing up afterward, dicing up anything in his way. Dead flesh, living unrecognizable flesh. Getting too the core of the blast zone.
"it is... mine. Finally..."
Alex dropped his Bayonets as his hands reached for the Red Eye among a face completely hideous to the look. A part hidden among the bodies jumps up, stabbing thru Alex's chest. Knocking Alex to the ground right in front of the Eye.
Bryce shouted, as he was pulling himself together. Alex collapsing all the way to the ground, his arm remaining in the reaching position. Bryce now standing right behind Alex, looking down only to see Alex. No more Azrail - no Red Eye could be seen. Bryce bends over to place a hand on Alex's body.
"Well, seems you wagered and lost it all, my friend... goodbye."
Standing back up, he proceeds to walk around the field and leaves.
The ground trembling slightly once more, Alex weakly blinks his eyes, sighing.
"You seem similar to Bryce... I will share my power with you... on one condition..."
The deep phlegmy voice came again. Alex looking up at the returned Red Eye, blinking in recognition.
"I assist Asmodai, if I do this for you, you will assist him as well..."
Alex blinks his eyes once more in acknowledgement. The appendage that penetrated Alex's chest stretches and wraps around the Red Eye. Pulling away leaving no red glow, it reaches to Alex's face. Lowering just above his left eye, a red glow erupts from the connection. Alex's wound appearing to close - his breath returning to it's normal pace.
"It is done... Your injury was taxing for the transformation. You must be cautions, for you are now immortal. But not to it's fullest - too much will cause you issues."
"T-t-thank y-you... Azrail..."
Alex's voice returning as well, Driven by his wish being granted, being given new life. It was almost too much to take in. Alex stands up and wraps some cloth found on the ground around his neck and upper torso. Alex nods once again to the face that last spoke.
"Things will get interesting now... Bryce."
Alex takes his Bayonets and stabs them into his shoulders, grinning. Then turns and walks away.
Story: Of the unspoken - Left Behind.
Walking around a new and unfamiliar town, Bryce was clueless to how different this newly taken country had developed. It was similar to one over sea but not, by it's own right. Feeling completely isolated, like usual, he continued walking around just looking at what is being constructed. Until he grew tired of it and stopped in at the only tevern around. He drake before, during his life. Mostly after his 'incident' in the past but the longer he lingered alive, the more drive there was to escape. Alcohol has 'saved' him a few times. At least with amounts of alcohol, it brings the sleep.
Taking a seat away from anyone else, he remained. Silently sitting, until he made up his mind to once again escape by the bottle. Standing up and approaching the one who could trade for drink.
"I would like a bottle of your strongest..."
Bryce said, making a sigh before he finished his simple question.
"... All I have is Whiskey. Will that do?"
The man turned to face Bryce with his maintained straight face.
"... yeah, that will be fine. The whole bottle. I don't need a glass."
"As you wish."
The man walked around the far side of a counter nearby and pulled a bottle of whiskey from behind and sat it upon the counter. Looking at Bryce, he gestured to make sure it was acceptable then proceeded to walk back to Bryce.
"Here. That will be..."
Bryce interrupted him, with as small bag of coin that he knew would cover the drink and make sure there were no questions. Bryce then walks back to the table he was at earlier and took his seat once again. Uncorking the bottle he began to take gulps of the liquid. At first, quenching his face after each swig due to flavor but the further down the bottle he got the more his expression remained the same.
Unknowingly, he ended up passing out on the table for the remainder of the night.
Waking up the next day, outside, covered in dirk, he stood up. Puzzled to what could have happened. He was unsure if he was forcibly removed or just removed for this building to be closed down. Either way, it didn't matter. He would most likely be back soon. But for now he made his way to go find some food. A while after waking, the alcohol's effect could still be felt. Pain radiated in his head as any light and sound just ripped into his skull. He contemplated taking off his head to 'take care' of the problem but figured that might be... frowned upon in this area.
He wasn't too far from where the town ended when he heard a crash echo from a small wooded field nearby. Curious yet unconcerned he went to go check it out. He may have been in pain but he still owed any potential demons a form of payback. Approaching the wood line, he hears some struggling going on near the ground. Arming himself with his favorite Crossbow, he watches as a female jets halfway out of the woods. Trying to get away from something.
Bryce lunged forward and grabbed at her legs trying to help, noticing there was some form of tentacle wrapping around her leg. Dropping the Crossbow and grabbing a knife he had in his boot, he plunged the blade into the tentacle just far enough to nearly cut thru but not harm her. She kicked back, making it hard to assist but Bryce knew it was the panic that had already kicked in. He kept smacking and stabbing at the tentacle until it gave way and she slid out further without anything else attached to her. Grabbing his Crossbow, he shot a few bolts in the direction he herd the creature struggle before it seemed to scurry away.
Walking in a fair bit, he retrieved his bolts but noticed there was blood left behind. Blood that had a different hue to it.
"A tentacle and this type of blood... Hmm..."
Bryce muttered to himself, piecing it together with his hangover making it difficult.
"Must be a demon. But why here?"
He asked himself just before he looked up for the lady he just helped out but she was nowhere to be seen now. She kept going when he shot at the creature that held her. Shrugging, he left to go back to the town and further peruse his escape. Upon reaching the first line of houses, he overhears a conversation between females. One sounding familiar had grabbed his attention, causing him to go scout if it is the one he helped put.
"... then someone came and helped..."
The frightened voice barely made out as she was holding her leg. Badly cut up by the thing that had her.
"Do you know who it was? Or what had you?"
Came the voice of an older women who seemed to be helping take care of her wounds.
"No. It was just some man that I've seen around here..."
She muttered, still in shock.
"I don't know what the thing was... Some kind of demon."
Came the woman's voice again.
"It didn't look or behave like the animals we are familiar with..."
She said before her head seemed to get light and she swayed to the closest stable object to lay against.
"Bah. It had to have been just an animal. But no matter, I'll finish treating your wounds."
The woman said, irritated but with concern as she continued cleaning the ladies leg.
"I'll have to talk to her later about what happened."
Bryce thought to himself, wondering if there was any special reason she was attacked by a demon. He left for the tavern, to drink the next few hours away till he could finally get some answers.
Later that day, he walked passed the house he saw the lady at and approached the door. Knocking lightly and waiting patiently for an answer. The door opens and the woman from earlier stands looking up at him.
"Yes? May I help you?"
She asked, curious as to why this stranger was even here.
"I'm here to check up on the lady you were treating earlier. I helped her and want to make sure she is alright."
He said, trying not to breath too much to get the scent of alcohol to confuse his intentions.
"Sure... Right this way."
She turned inward and awaited by the door for him to step in. Closing it right behind she took point and led him to a back room.
"Thank you, ma'am."
He said, trying to be nice.
Coming to the room, the woman stands by the door and waves her hand inwardly, to gesture the lady was inside. Peering in, Bryce saw her laying on a sheet on a small pile of hay. Her leg wrapped up.
"She is resting right now. You can wait here or come back."
The woman said, implying she didn't really want him to stay.
"I'll stay, if you don't mind. I didn't get the chance to speak with her earlier when the attack happened."
He said, walking in further and taking a seat against a wall next to her.
"All right. I'll be out here if you or she needs anything..."
She said, making a gesture to behave. Bryce knew these kinds of gestures well.
Hours passed, Bryce had barely drifted asleep when he herd the sounds of a female voice and some struggling. Opening his eyes, he looks at the lady laying down. Her face covered in sweat, her body moving to what seemed to be a nightmare. Her leg wrapping drenched and seemed to be coming undone. Bryce tapped her shoulder to snap her out of it but it was in vain. He grabbed her shoulder and gently shook until she stopped moving. Her eyes opened and she slowly glanced around. Till her eyes came to rest on Bryce.
Filling with fear, she jumps away, forcing Bryce's hand to release from the movement. He lifted both to show he was innocent and shook his head.
"Don't be alarmed. I am the one who helped you earlier when you were attacked. Do you remember?"
Bryce asked, unsure if he would get a positive reaction.
"No! I don't remember anything but trying to get away."
She remained, staring at him.
"Well, I just wanted to make sure you were alright anyway."
He said, sitting back to where he was.
After a few moments she relaxed, sliding back to where she was and stared at the ceiling. She seemed to fall unconscious for a short time. It was a few hours before she seemed to have woken up to finally speaking up about anything.
"I... think it was a demon."
She said, the first sound muttered within the uncomfortable silence.
"What makes you think that?"
Bryce questioned needing a bit more to go on before a hunt is possible.
"It... just didn't look like an animal of the wild... Something about it was off..."
She continued, turning her head to look at Bryce.
"I felt something before the attacks. Like something wasn't... real... then was. Like a ghost that appeared in form..."
She ended, looking back up at the ceiling, closing her eyes.
"Thank you for helping me... but I fear it may have been in vain."
Bryce looking at her with some intensity, questioning what she meant by her comment.
"Why do you say that?"
Bryce asked, trying to piece together her earlier point of something feeling to 'appear'.
"I have been ill for quite some time... It took much of my strength to get away much less deal with these wounds..."
She said, looking back at Bryce.
"No, it will be alright. I'll make sure you okay. Tell me your name?"
He said attempting to ease her worry.
"My name is Ceila. If it helps, I've always felt some kind of presence as long as I can recall..."
Speaking under her breath in disbelief as she fell unconscious. Her head slightly turning to ground level. Bryce remained a little while longer, pondering what she could have meant when he came to a conclusion; she was a Medium. Shooting his eyes upward, it seemed to make sense to him. Her 'feeling' the demons presence, getting attacked when no one else did. It may have been an assumption, but Bryce held onto it as if it were a certainty.
Thinking back to his wife, the last known Medium, was his last chance to pay back the demon who cursed him to live forever. His mind filling with memories of Cypher, with good times... and with Asteroth... Putting it all to a defeated end. Taking her away from him. Hm being completely defeated, wounded. And endowed with Asteroth's eye of immortality - he was to live forever in despair for his failure.
When he came to, it felt as if a few hours had passed. Looking back down to Ceila, he smiled.
"I understand. Rest, I'll see you when you wake up."
He muttered, standing up to a stretch. Grabbing his Crossbow he left the house, giving a nod of thanks to the woman who seemed happy he was leaving. Returning to the woods where he remembered the demon to have been, he looked for any signs of the creature.
Progressing deeper into this part of the woods, he noticed some sounds along the ground. Something struggling with the brush. Aiming his Crossbow in the direction, he stepped slowly in that direction. Looking down, and from side to side, conveying as much as possible. Stopping after a few feet to look more in depth when he felt something moving across his legs. Aiming downward, he shoots a bolt hoping to hit something.
The bolt causing the creature to become aggressive and taking hold of his legs. Struggling, he falls over and pulls himself free. Crawling around and starts shooting bolts into the creature. Getting it to stop moving, he reaches towards his leg to grab his knife. Pulling it free, he begins to carve up the creature, the stench reeking of demon. Completely destroying the body of the demon, he gasps and crawls away. Making it barely out of the wood line before growing his legs back.
Kicking them into the ground to make sure they were good, he made his way back to the house Ceila was at. Knocking on the door, he waited. And waited. Knocking again, to wait longer. After a few moments, the door opens to reveal the woman. Looking down to avoid eye contact she stepped aside allowing Bryce to walk in. He made his way in back to see Ceila with good news, to see a few people sitting over her. Looking back and fourth, shaking their heads. She had died in her sleep. Her leg revealed the injuries had turned for the worst. Or her sickness behaved poorly.
It escaped him. The new Medium was now lost once again. Unknowingly if another would return.
He shouted before leaving the house. Looking down at his arm, imagining the blood in his veins, he clenched his fist.
"I should have saved her when I had the chance... This goddam blood!"
Shouldering his Crossbow, he then returned to the Tavern. Storming in, grabbing a bottle of Whiskey and leaving a small bag of coin on the counter and left the town as a whole. He grew tired of loss. People he knew, people he tried to help, people he barely met... it always ends the same.
It was getting old...