Writing Prompt: Many people died; not many survived. Those who did… were changed. “In what sort of way?” Oh, *chuckles mirthlessly*. Many, many ways. We are superior now, that’s for sure.

Jórun Holtz, only eighty seven years young, stood before the self pronounced God, a whip in one hand and subtle claws extending from the other.

“How many?” Jórun called across the bridge, “How many did you kill?”

Stonewall lingered on the far side of the raging rapids, in the near distance a towering inferno rose in great plumes for the sky. A facility, the sort designed to further mankind’s knowledge of the universe, lay in ruined flames, a blackened sky emerging from the smoke.

“Not nearly enough.” Stonewall chuckled, his heavy head lolling to the side, “Do you not see it, Jórun? Only from the ashes may the Phoenix rise.” as if on command a secondary explosion toppled the last standing tower block of the facility, “Those that perish, they simply weren’t worthy. Those that survive…”

“This is murder, madness.” Jórun cracked his whip stepping out onto the bridge, Stonewall coming forth in like, “The natural laws of man were not meant for meddling. Perfection, immortality, they are dangerous lines to cross.”

“Oh, Jórun, you know nothing of danger.” Stonewall extended an arm, fist converging to a solid spike. He thrust the spike at Jórun, and the bridge did shake before his might, shards of loose rock hurtling through the space between both beings.

Jórun threw himself beneath the coming spike, wrapping his whip around it, coming out on top to run across Stonewall’s arm.

Stonewall simply smiled, a face full of diamonds staring at the mortal man that dared oppose him. He raised his arm, a shadow over the fragile bridge upon which he stood, then brought it crashing down, splintering body and bridge alike.

Dust covered the battlefield and debris spotted red with blood rained down into the river. Stonewall had disappeared, and Jórun was drowning.

“Well don’t just stand there.” a feathered creature with a bright blue beak and flippers, slapped the carcass of what looked to be a lifeless machine.

The machine was but an orb, with an eye without a light. A dull grey sphere of scavenged metal.

“Hurry up!” the beak snapped, and suddenly the machine came alive. Still there was no light to mark its coming, just sound, the subtle hiss of air from jets that propelled the sphere skyward.

“Directives, Spritt?” the sphere asked, its voice a garbled mix of old radio clippings.

“Seriously?” Spritt pointed a stump to the river, “Rescue Holtz, you God damn trash can!”

“Trash can, well I simply never…” the sphere hovered over the bridge, diving down for the water, a faint and barely visible scanner probing the rapids.

Spritt watched as the sphere, B-3-N, struggled to keep itself afloat, muttering something about how machines don’t get on all that well with water, and seeing as Spritt was an amphibian by birth right surely she should be diving down to rescue Holtz?

“I’d offer you a hand…” Spritt shouted down, waving her stumps sarcastically at the trash can, “…it ain’t as if my wings are up to flying either.” she sat back against the grassland, the tiny, useless wings upon her back now flapping madly.

“Holtz?” B-3-N called out, “Holtz? Oh, this is damn near fruitless.” B-3-N sighed, suspending motion for a moment to search through the stores of information in its data banks, “This will do nicely.” and if a sphere could smile, then B-3-N surely did.

“What’s that gumball up to now?” Spritt wondered, and wasn’t she in for a nice surprise.

B-3-N began emitting a message, short and sweet and constantly reeling, from out its inbuilt speakers, “Marco?” that one word, over and over, “Marco? Marco? Marco?”

“Jesus Christ.” Spritt stared in dumbstruck horror at the machine’s stupidity, “You can’t be serious?”

“Marco?” B-3-N called again, positive that this alone was the best method by which to locate Holtz, on account that its scanners had found nothing.

Then, as if by some sheer miracle, a cry rose up in response, “Polo!” then the sound of water gargling in a throat, “Polo!”

“Found him.” B-3-N said, somewhat smugly.

“That’s great, well done you.” Spritt clapped her stumps in mock applause, “Now how about you save him from drowning?”

“Ah, yes, good idea.” and with that B-3-N dove into the water, coming up under Holtz, forcing his sodden body to the surface. Holtz was a shivering wreck, but he was breathing, he was alive.

“Now, what in Gods name are we supposed to do about them?” Spritt turned to see, from out the fire on the far side of the bridge, a group of shadows rising, flexing, coming. She hadn’t expected a response, but sure enough she got one, a deathly voice rising from behind her.

“They’re beautiful, no? Survivors. That’s what we need.” Stonewall summoned himself into being, scattered rock coming together to build first gargantuan pillars meant as legs, “No more need to cater to inferiority. They are the master race, they are superior, they are… different.

“Different how?” Spritt looked up into the hollow eyes that formed, slowly backing up toward the cliff edge by the river. Across her chest she had strapped a number of explosives, she moved carefully to take one from its holster.

“How?” Stonewall laughed, “You must see it, to understand it.” Stonewall leered over Spritt, a menacing tower eclipsing the dot that was this amphibious creature, “Oh, child, what is done will blow your tiny mind. And what pleasure I’ll have in watching it tick, tick, boom.” Stonewall mimed an explosion with a hulking fist beside his head.

“Perhaps,” Spritt smiled, tongue rolling out across her lips, “but what if I blow your mind first?”

Stonewall’s face turned in a flurry of perplexion, not truly understanding until it was too late…

Spritt pulled the pin of the device in her hand, launching it high, then diving over the cliff, “You better catch me!” she screamed at B-3-N.

B-3-N looked up to see the feathered creature falling, an explosion of blue-white light erupting from behind her, rocks tumbling in a self-made avalanche.

Stonewall loosed a scream, and from a throat now lost he whispered, “What is done is done. My body holds no purpose. They are coming. Let them have their fun.”

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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