Starlight Rust: Chapter Two
I am still.
I move an inch and feel my body in pain. I am laying on my back, arms by my sides and the weight of the world on my chest, with the pain of the world in my head. My eyes are shut tight as if being forced to not see the horrors that lay in front of me, but i see red through my aching eyelids as the light penetrates through like a bright Sunday morning. Though my ears are ringing, i can hear the sound of falling rubble and flames howling and crackling. A loud monotone whistle amongst mechanical gear like sounds comes crashing down as if it just fell. What’s going on?
My eyes half open. The pain as if i have never used them pulses through my sockets. My vision is blurred but i see bright orange flames all around amongst rubble and fallen structures and some sort of crashed vehicular contraption on my right. I squirm for a moment pushing away the rubble that is pinning me to the ground. I can feel my legs, my chest, my neck, and the pain attached to them. But in the moment fear rushes through me because i have no feeling in my left arm. I try to turn my head but my neck is stiff and stuck, and i give up and continue squirming until i am clear of all rocks and boulders. I fill my lungs with what ever i am lucky to inhale and with one push of all the might i can muster, i push away the large slab of rock pinning me. The smaller rocks and stones fall off me, like critters afraid of one who has defeated their master. I am freed and my chest fills with the poison that is the air around me. I think for a moment. Did i fall from the sky? Was it even real?
It doesn’t take me long before my loose frail grasp of reality is returned to me in full embrace. No, it was not real. It was a dream or something else i could not at this moment fathom, but all i know in this moment is that it was not real. I feel however, that somehow it means something. The flames and explosions in the distance grow louder and this hellish display of destruction snaps me away from my descending thoughts. I roll my body to the left until i am lying flat on my front and as i lift my head up, the paralysis fades and my body rises from its tortured slumber. Something trickles down my head onto the dead stone and dirt and i realise that it is blood. I don’t even know if it’s my blood, but i assume that it is. A jolt of relief pervades my mind as my left arm tingles. I raise my aching body and onto my knees i sit there as my vision returns like the focus of a stained lens. What happened here? A crash site. I couldn’t remember a thing. The only thing on my mind once again was the dream. Why can i not remember? I feel the blood from my forehead trickle down to my chin and realise that i must have lost my memory from whatever damage was inflicted on my head. That explains the erupting migraine. I can feel my left arm a little now, but i cannot feel any pain. I turn my aching neck to my left afraid of what i might find. A wing? Shattered bones? No. I freeze in horror. What i find is far worse.
There are no bones, no flesh, nothing human. My mind becomes light and faint. I look at my right arm. It’s human. I look back at my left arm. Hoping that it is just an illusion, i am faced with the reality that it is real. Mechanical. It’s machine. It looks damaged but i can feel it like it’s part of me. I look closely wishing that each time i blink, one of them alters my perception back to something i understand. Giving up, i look closer. A few large metallic cylinders make up what seems to be replacement bones structures, and i see amongst and in between those cylinders some pneumatic articulated pipes, pumping in and out of each other like a steam train system. Every few seconds a hiss of odourless gas ejects from within the damaged section. I pull my right hand closer to it and decide to touch the inside. A high frequency beam of sound shoots through the skies and my attention is diverted. A cloud of smoke is visible from behind a building a few metres to my right. I squint thinking i may get a better view of things and a loud crash follows. The dead old red bricked building in front of the smoke quakes. My heart begins to palpitate as my body is being filled with adrenaline. I manage to jump to my cut and bleeding knees and before i am even allowed to feel the relief of standing tall for the first time, the building explodes from behind into my direction.
In the opposite direction, i give no thought but run.