Title: A Warrior’s Umbra
Author: Christopher Dinsmore
Genre: Science Fiction
“A Warrior’s Umbra” is told by Jester detailing his experience of going from a lost boy stranded in the tundra of a foreign planet to becoming the destined protector of the Histianites, a local tribe. In this adventure, Jester lives among the Histianites, concealing his unique abilities in accordance with his adoptive father’s wishes. During Jester’s time on the planet a Histianite nearly dies in front of the tribe. Unable to control himself, Jester reveals his abilities in an attempt to save the man. The revelation of Jester’s powers sends fear through the tribe. Under instruction from the tribe’s leader, Jester is sent to seek guidance from a legendary deity who is rumored to reside at the peak of Histian, the home mountain. Jester accepts this mission, unaware of a dark entity lurking just beyond the horizon.
My brain started to fill with survival tactics, most of which consisted of using my senses, touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. The voice informed me of the things I was capable of doing. The voice said I was able to absorb all information I came into contact with, down to a material’s molecular structure, and my senses had adaptations that would become useful. The voice began its run down on specific adaptations, but before it could finish the first one, the robotic voice interrupted.
“Estimated time until impact is currently thirty seconds.”
I had gotten lost in listening to the voice and didn’t realize how much time had passed by. I focused on the area around me, still too dark to see. I had no idea what I was supposed to do other than listen to the voice’s directions. The voice had told me that my only job at the moment was to stay calm, but that task became increasingly difficult with the temperature on the rise and a quiet hiss from outside.
The hiss I heard quickly grew into a roar making it hard to hear the voice when it delivered yet another message.
“Estimated impact velocity is 12,000 meters per second,” the voice said.
The voice’s message didn’t help my situation. I knew the measurement and the number, but my relative comparison for speed was non-existent. I was left guessing until the event actually happened.
“Initiating countdown sequence. Ten.”
I knew there were only nine more numbers before the count would strike zero and the impact would occur. In these last moments my vision began to work in a way that allowed me to see through the darkness.
The room appeared to my eyes in full color, and I was able to look at my body and the things around it. I assumed that this ocular ability was one of the adaptations the voice spoke of during its last talk. Most of the things I saw I had already identified, such as my hands, feet, torso, and the restraints holding them down.
The size of the room was also consistent with my prior estimation. The things I didn’t account for were the dark clothes tight against my body and the wires running from the chair into my arms and legs. There were ten wires that I could see. Each wire was black with a colored tag at the end nearest to my skin.
I jerked my head forward only slightly before feeling a quick tug in the opposite direction. Now I knew what had been keeping my head restrained. There was a thick cord, much larger than the wires in my limbs, running from behind the chair into the back of my head. My senses sharpened, and I started to feel the wide array of tiny wires running under my skin nearly surrounding my skull. I tried to determine their potential purpose, but before I could, the robot raised its volume.
“Five,” it said continuing its count.
The noise coming from outside was much louder, now blaring through the walls of the room. I prepared myself for what was about to happen, and when I did, a message shot through my head. I couldn’t tell where it had come from, but I heard it warn me of danger, then almost as if the warning had never happened, it was gone.
The world around me lit up just before it all happened for real.
The robot’s voice delivered its last message. “Brace for impact. Two. One.”
My eyes widened, breath sharpened, hands clenched, and body jerked as an incredible jolt of energy slammed into me. My mind flashed back to the clock inside my head. The clock had slowed down along with the world around me. I could think in real time, but everything else was moving along with the clock I held in my head.
After the initial shock I saw the metal wall in front of me tear away, revealing a bright light that filled the room. I became momentarily blinded before switching my vision back to normal. Once I could see again, I looked down toward my body. When I did, I felt the cord in the back of my head get ripped out, taking shreds of my skin with it. My eyes locked onto my arms, which were being launched from my seat with the rest of my body. The cushioned restraints snapped and the wires tore away, leaving deep cuts along my limbs. The world picked back up to its normal pace beyond my control, and I flew forward back into the darkness.
I felt lost again.
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Christopher Dinsmore is a writer from Crofton, Maryland. Mr. Dinsmore has long held an interest in fitness and the limits of strength. This interest inspired him to create something that explored the struggles one endures when growing both mentally and physically. He hopes to complete the second and final part to “The Warrior Series” soon.
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