Here’s the beginning of a new piece I’m working on. It was originally intended to be a flash, but it may grow beyond that.
Klaudijs learned to catch bullets at age twelve, a full six months before his brothers and sisters. He led them in packs across the ruined cityscape, scrounging for food and destroying Red-jack scouts. If the monastery were ever found there wouldn’t be any more brothers and sisters, and no more safe haven. Under Klaudijs’s watch, no Red-jacks had been found within three miles of the old temple.
At the heart of the old city, ten miles distant, a massive Red-jack factory sat, as tall as the skyscrapers it devoured. Dozens of crooked legs arched from the bulbous factory superstructure in a miles-wide web of metal. Klaudijs’s mentor, Thorben, had taken him close once, close enough to see the destructive work of those legs. They’d watched as the leg, a dense conflagration of scavenged materials, had moved, lifting up just high enough off the ground to fall atop an old city bus. Before the leg had punched all the way to the cracked street, hundreds of tiny Red-jack scavengers erupted from the extremity like a burst spider egg. They set upon the bus and chewed it to pieces, eating until their cargo pod had filled with metal and plastic, then scuttled back to the factory leg. In a few hours, nothing remained of the bus. Thorben had traveled from the east years ago, and had seen dozens of cities like this, the architecture of human civilization become mulch for the machines.