The Master - a short beginning to a possible longer story
So, I have been away for a long time and pondering the outcome of my love of writing. I would love to write more, but life is so busy, there never seems to be time to do it. Yet, somehow, amidst the continuing barrage of busy-ness, I managed to write this little nugget.
The first half was written several months ago, at work, during a period of unusual quiet. The rest, during a similar period of unusual quiet just today. I have wondered previously if sharing any of my creative writing here would be worthwhile or useful, so today, instead of wondering, I've decided to experiment. Instead of "what if?" I will answer the question "what now?"
So... the story below just came to me in a flash of inspiration, as many of my stories do... Unforunately, that is part of why I have 5 or 6 novels in my head, 3 started, and none anywhere NEAR completed as yet - the other part of that is that I have a job and kids and never any time outside of that life to pursue the writing as I would like.
In the meantime, here is a small piece of my brain that fell out onto the keyboard that I have decided to share with the world. It isn't much, and it certainly isn't great. It's just a quick little bite - a literary snack, if you will! Let me know what you think, good or bad. I can take it! (I hope!)
“Is this the final battle, Master?”
I watched as he wiped the blood off of his blade onto his dirt-encrusted and already blood-stained pants. He smiled slightly and made his usual “Mmm…” sound that I often understood to mean “Yes.” I looked out at the battlefield below, the armies of Mosair and Kyera engaged in the bloody dance of death. From here high atop a cliff, far from the main battle, it was impossible to tell who was winning, if such a thing even existed in war.I wiped my face with the shoulder of my shirt, seeing the dirt and sweat left behind.
“Then we will die, here. Right, Master?”
The Master sheathed his sword, then knelt down and withdrew the pistol from his ankle holster, checking it, and reloading it quickly. He looked up and squinted against the sun, staring over the battlefield as though it would tell him the answer to my question. I followed his gaze.I still saw only the clash of bodies thrown against one another, some standing, some falling, the standing number slowly dwindling. He holstered his pistol, clipped it in place, straightened his pant leg and stood, starting the task of reloading the spare clips for the twin handguns at his waist. Then he gave me one of his little nuggets of wisdom that always confused me and made me wonder just how sane he really was.
“If you run away, you will surely die. If you stay and fight, you will live forever!”
I stared at him for long moments, hoping for something more. Of course, I knew there would be no further explanation. Still, my nature is curious, and my mouth is not something that likes to remain at rest for long, so, inevitably, I questioned him.
“You say that I will live or die, depending on my choice, Master. But what about you? Is it the same for you?”
This time I was not so sure that he meant “Yes.”
“Well, you can’t die yet, Master. You haven’t taught me all you know.”
I smiled my winning smile as I combed my fingers through my hair. I noticed it was getting a little lengthy, and must have focused on that for a moment too long, because I didn’t see him approach and grab me by the loose fabric of my sleeve.
Caught off-guard and still a little hopped up on adrenaline and instinct, when he pulled me toward him, I swatted the fly, pulled the rope, and opened the vault without thinking, just as he had taught me, pushing him roughly away. He just smiled as he stopped his backward momentum.
“’Mmm’ yourself, old man,” I scolded, turning away. He barely ever spoke, but always had lots to say in the few words that I actually understood. Even when he didn’t speak, he got his point across. He was like that ‘Miyagi’ guy from that old movie about karate, and that little green guy from the famous space movie I can never remember the name of. ‘Yogo’ or something? I dunno. It doesn’t matter. He was neither – he was simply ‘Master’.
I’m sure the Master has a name, but he never bothered to tell it to me. He found me wandering in the wastelands of Tari’o, narrowly avoiding cannibal clans, slave miners, and some strange, rogue AI walker that had it in for me, for some reason. The Master took me in, hid me in these underground caves he had, and taught me about fighting, defending, and this weird kind of ESP or something that I have that allows me to move stuff, and make people see things that aren’t there. He has it too. That’s how he knew how to teach me about it.
Mostly, in the beginning, it was panic that led me to move things in order to defend myself or find an escape route. I never even noticed what had happened. I simply thought I was the luckiest person alive, and that the hole in the wall that just appeared to let me through, or the beam that fell and crushed the Slave Captor were purely by chance. Apparently, these were ways my mind found to get out of a situation, and by hoping they would happen, they did.
The Master was hiding among some rocks when that AI walker was chasing me one time, down a narrow crevice that was just wide enough for it to get through. It scraped and shuddered along the walls and, occasionally, a rock would come loose to hit what was left of it’s head, or trip it up when it was getting a little too close. He found this interesting and paid closer attention – while watching from afar, of course!
He noticed that I would look back and something would fall or move, or in some way assist with my escape. He decided to help me at that point and tried to move the walker itself in some way, but something about it could not be touched by our particular brand of ESP – he calls it something else, but I don’t know what he’s talking about. Still, since he could control the ability he has, he pulled down a good chunk of wall JUST behind me (I actually thought I was a goner, that time) and it blocked off the way of the walker to ensure I could get away.
Of course, with my survival skills, I was only able to count it as a reprieve, and thankfully, the Master caught up to me and showed me what he could do. He also told me I could do it too – I didn’t believe him at first, and it did take a while before he proved it to me – and offered to train me. Once I realized that all that lay ahead of me was foraging, hiding in inadequate bushes and rock outcroppings and hoping for the best, I figured his way of living was probably better for the time being.
It turned out I was right. I hadn’t intended to stay quite so long, but the more he taught me, the more I thought he could teach me. Besides, he doesn’t talk much, so I could say pretty much anything I wanted, and he never told me to shut up like my parents and brothers had. He just sat and listened – I’m pretty sure he listened, at least. He seemed to have a way of bringing up some insignificant detail I had recounted as a lesson point, from time-to-time. It at least made me think he listened to everything I said, though it was kind of hard to tell from his vacant expressions and ability to tune out almost everything but the task at hand.
So he taught me how to survive in this harsh, rocky desert we call home, finding food and water. He showed me how to hide myself from enemies so that the slavers couldn’t see me and the cannibal clans couldn’t smell me. He taught me to move things with my mind, and how to fight, and even how to fly – yeah, I didn’t believe that one either, but man is it ever cool! But the most important thing he taught me was how to see.
I don’t mean he taught me how to use my eyes like we all do to just see what’s there in front of us, but to see what came before, and what’s coming next. It’s more like the ability to see potential in things or potential waste in a venture. I don’t know how to describe it, but it was how I saw that there was a war coming, and I saw which side was the one to back and which was the one to fight.
The Master agreed with me which made me feel better, but even if he hadn’t, I knew, somehow, that the Kyera Corporation was the strength to follow, and the self-proclaimed General Mosair and his army would make this area of the world a hellish place if they were allowed to continue. And if their reach extended further, it would be a horror worse than the war that had put us all here a decade ago to begin with. So I put my training and strength behind Kyera, and Kyera showed an interest in me.
Of course, that didn’t go exactly as expected…