Ladies and gentlemen this is a very unpolished-as-of-now prologue to my book. There is more, but I think I will wait for posting that. There is a lot of myself in this story, and it will not be an easy read but I have finally gotten all of my research together and got everything ready to go. I decided to go with a prologue set at the end of the story as that is a trademark in my short stories and I went ahead and kept it for this. There is a little violence but no language and keep in mind, I have not edited this into something I would send for publication yet so its rough and not well written. Nonetheless, you guys are people I trust for honest feedback so let me know. Remember, not on the grammar as its not polished, just the story. You guys are the best, and I hope you enjoy
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The air of the sand swirled with the heat radiating off of it. In the deserted ruins of the city there were not a lot of options for comfort. The buildings reduced to dust, the metal rusting and misshapen from untold years of decay, the glass windows bare on what little structure remained. The entire atmosphere had a sort of post-apocalyptic atmosphere about it. It was fitting.
There was a sharp sound as he staggered forward, his foot coming down on the rust-red point of what was once a long nail, blood sizzling on the sand as it leaked from the wound. He staggered on, the nail sliding out with the next step. He didn’t even feel it anymore. He couldn’t feel much of anything anymore. Not that it mattered. Hell, he’d experienced it all. Unfortunately that was literally.
The sun beat down on his naked body. He had figured out that there was no longer a need for decency. It sort of felt like his apartment again. When alone, you couldn’t exactly offend anyone with a lack of shame.
He heard movement to his right and stopped, turning to look. The sound came in the form of a quiet squeak in the shade of a deteriorated wall. He stiffened, crouching close to the ground, his entire body tense and ready for anything. There shouldn’t have been anything left, but he’d found unaffected areas in the past and regardless of it being in the air he still would not have been shocked to find one or two more things. Even a companion would have been nice at this point. The squeaking suggested a small mammal. A mouse would be a miracle in this dirty wasteland.
The squeaking started up again, rising above the literal sizzle of his wound cauterizing on the scorched surface of earth he crouched on. He began to creep slowly towards it. The wind rose up, blinding him momentarily with sand. He let it fly into his eyes. No point in stopping it, he would regain his vision once his eyes stopped tearing up. He wondered how long it would take his body to stop producing tears.
The wind clearly agitated whatever hid in the shadow, as it started squeaking in earnest. He crept forward slightly faster, not wanting to lose his chance to capture whatever hid there. If he couldn’t keep it alive as a companion, it might at least make a decent meal. He hadn’t eaten in over a decade at the least, and while he no longer felt hunger physically his mind knew he could still feel better if he got a little sustenance now and again. He reached the far side of the wall and leapt over, ready to throw his entire weight at whatever creature waited on the other side.
In midair he realized his mistake. It was not a creature at all, but a wheel halfway down a spike being propelled by the wind. He cursed under his breath, as even though he was impervious to most pain this was definitely going to hurt.
He landed in the sand, the spike entering his throat. He didn’t even bother trying to block it with his hands, as he’d need them to bind himself. The blood began to sizzle on the ground. He knew if he didn’t move he’s pass out. He had a lot of experience with it. He could also feel his lungs filling with fluid. He needed to find a place to lay flat on his face to let it drain, or else he would awake again with his lungs still full and he would have to go through the pain of draining it.
He hated this kind of damage. Pushing himself up through the pain, he lifted off the spike and over far enough to lie on his face. He could feel the blood going into his lungs, and it hurt to breathe, but he knew he would soon fall into the black and when he awoke it would just be another scar. The stars began to dance before his eyes. This part he’d always found kind of fun, that floating feeling right before the unconsciousness.
He sat against the wall. It had been several weeks since he had severed his throat, and it had finally healed enough for him to sit up and be awake during the day. At night he slept without a stir, and he was fairly certain it was for days at a time, but no matter. It wasn’t like he had anywhere to be.
The injury had damaged him, but he could speak again. He could make noises and swear just like he always could. It was relieving, but not shocking. He had to admit that the spike had caused less damage than the fire or bullets he’d had injure his throat. Those had taken a lot longer to heal, whereas this had just gone straight through and therefore caused less damage. At least that was his reasoning. He couldn’t be sure since he’d had no way to measure how long he’d been unconscious.
The shimmering above the sand stirred. This time he didn’t even bother looking. Unlike the squeaking that got his hopes up, this was something he’d come to understand was different. For one thing, it was the sound of footsteps.
The man approaching was the same as he always was. Black and white robes, hair and beard that were so long that they were indistinguishable from one another, and for some reason a portable music device. He hadn’t exactly pictured that when he had first learned of this man, but the universe was a funny place and he had to admit that it wasn’t the weirdest thing he’d ever seen. Let the old man have is electronic media, there was no one left to be disillusioned by the image.
He approached with a friendly smile, his white eyes sparkling. He sat next to the injured nomad, awaiting him to speak first.
“Hello Larry,” the nomad offered. He hated the conversations. “Larry? Last time it was Scott. Make up your mind kid,” the old man replied. “Piss off, I’m not in the mood for you right now,” the nomad demanded, his words filled with a sickening gurgle from the blood that still infiltrated his throat and lungs. “No, I’m not going anywhere. I’m here because of you, it isn’t like I can just ditch these little sessions you know.”
The angry, injured man sighed and leaned away to vomit blood on the sand. His lungs were filling more slowly now, but he still had to purge once in a while to be able to continue breathing. The old man chuckled to himself as he watched the blood boil on the ground. “It sounds like you’re making scrambled eggs. Nice job on this one, it looks to be one of your least damaging injuries.” Unable to reply through the blood, he merely waved the remark off with his hand.
It took a few moments, but he was once again able to speak. “Listen Damien, I don’t need this right now. As you can see I’m a little under the weather. Why don’t you come back on my birthday? It can be a gift to me.” The old man smiled slightly. “It is your birthday,” he replied, “and I’m not going anywhere. And stop with the different names. It has gotten old.” “What do I call you then,” the man replied through his gritted teeth. “Most men used to call me God, Jacob,” the old man said, a sad look in his eyes.
Jacob looked up at his companion. The sadness that had leapt to the old deity’s eyes held no sway over him any longer. He stared back into the sadness with the bloodshot yellow eyes that had marked him in his new life. He looked angry, diseased, and he was both of these things and neither of these things. He should not have to put up with this kind of thing.
“I,” he hissed, “am NOT most men.”
Perfection is a lifelong pursuit requiring sacrifice. The only way to get it quicker is to sacrifice the most.