|The Alvin Chronicles REBORN
Author: Rifle PM
Alvin is a normal kid at a normal school with extremely strange friends, living out a normal existence when suddenly a cataclysmic event sends him and his friends into a new world of adventure. How will he cope? Characters based on my real life friends.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Humor - Chapters: 17 - Words: 79,603 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 01-07-13 - Published: 03-06-12 - id: 3003077
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Alvin Chronicles REBORN
Chapter Fifteen: The Military?
The cave was huge, with long winding tunnels that twisted and turned on itself, forming multiple layers of dark corridors and perilous shafts surrounding paths that dropped off and resumed without warning. The sides of the cave were smooth, carved by the river water that passed through many ages ago, back when the tunnels were completely submerged within the old Moon River.
Victoria walked along a small path, keeping her balance by placing a hand on the wall to her right. To her left was a steep drop to the stalagmite-littered cavern floor below.
"I'm sorry, Victoria."
The voice rang in her head. It was a memory from her carefree days at Lynbrook High School, probably spoken to her at the Table where she frequently had lunch with her friends and beat Daryl. That was the thing, though. Victoria knew someone had said those words to her; the memory was as clear as day, but she couldn't remember who said it, or even when it was said. The voice was familiar, but Victoria for the life of her could not remember who it belonged to.
"Maybe it was Derek?" Victoria wondered aloud. She remembered Derek. She remembered Derek quite well.
Lunchtime at the table.
"Sorry! Oh, I'm so sorry! Sorry sorry sorry sorry!" Derek rapidly apologized as he picked the remnants of his fallen rice ball off the pants of Howard.
"Gosh, Derek! Be more careful next time!" Howard scolded in a friendly, mocking manner. "I just bought these jeans yesterday!"
"You did?" Alvin asked. He scooped ramen into his mouth with his wooden chopsticks.
"No, not really," Howard replied.
"Sorry, man!" Derek continued to apologize as he bowed his head down in shame. He had the Wide-Eyed Look™ on his clean-shaven face.
Derek did have a habit of apologizing for a lot of things, but deep down Victoria knew that the voice who uttered "I'm sorry, Victoria" did not belong to Derek. It was a voice that she could not put a face to, a voice that seemed all at once familiar and unrecognizable...
Who the f*** did that voice belong to?
Victoria stepped on a loose piece of rock and stumbled to her left, in danger of falling onto the stalagmites below. She quickly performed a corkscrew backflip to land back on the path.
"Victoria! Are you okay?" Jenny called out, her voice followed by a bouncing echo. She was across from Victoria on the other side of the valley of stalagmites, standing on a separate path that seemed to wind into oblivion.
Victoria spotted Jenny and waved. Jenny waved back.
"Hey!" Victoria greeted her enthusiastically. "I'm fine! Have you found Matt?"
"Not yet," Jenny shook her head. "But I did find this!"
Jenny held up a human skull. Victoria stared at it. Jenny let out a laugh.
"That's not all I found," continued Jenny blissfully. "Look! I found two!"
She revealed another skull in her other hand. Jenny had skulls in both hands, was standing above a pit of raised stalagmites in a dark cave, and was chuckling softly to herself with an echo that carried her voice across the entire cavern. For the first time since they crash landed in the Kingdom three days ago, Victoria felt a small tinge of fear run up her back.
"Neither of those skulls are Matt, right?" Victoria asked.
"Who knows?" Jenny shrugged. She wiped the ominous grin off her own face and looked down at the two skulls in her hands, bobbing them up and down as she weighed them.
A new voice echoed down the walls, prompting both Jenny and Victoria to look in the same direction.
"What was that? A ghost?" Victoria asked.
"Ooooohhhh...ooooohhh..." the voice continued.
Victoria suddenly exhaled in frustration and put a palm to her face.
"I know that voice," Victoria muttered. "It's Matt."
"Really? Sounds like he's...enjoying himself," Jenny observed in neutral fashion.
"I sure hope he isn't doing what I think he's doing," Victoria's voice was low and menacing.
"Oooohhhh...oooohhhh...oooohhhhyAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" a sudden scream echoed through the cavern.
"Huh?" Victoria exclaimed in surprise.
"That sounded like a call of distress!" Jenny exclaimed.
Both of them sprinted down their respective paths towards the source of the scream. They reached a sunken clearing that was softly lit by a lone torch located in the middle of the area. Looking down, Victoria and Jenny could see a long metallic box propped next to the torch, its top lid missing. A lone figure lay over the box, seemingly rummaging through the contents contained within, which from Victoria's and Jenny's vantage point were indistinguishable.
"Matt-" Victoria called out towards the figure below. However, she was interrupted when the figure suddenly stood up, raising a long, black object over his head.
"YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAH!" Matt shouted with joy. He kneeled and propped the object down on his knee. He inspected the barrel. The nozzle. The grip. The scope.
"An M40A5 Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle! Amazing!" Tears began streaming down Matt's cheeks. He looked up at the ceiling of the cavern. "I know it, I must be dreaming. This is too good to be true!"
"Matt? Hello?" Victoria waved at Matt, who looked up in surprise as he noticed Victoria and Jenny for the first time.
"Hey, Victoria! Jenny! How was the dinner?" Matt wiped away the tears and waved back with his free hand. The newly-discovered sniper rifle was pressed tightly to his chest.
"Palatable," Victoria replied. She jumped down from the raised path and onto the clearing below. Jenny followed suit. "Alvin and Patrick are still out, and Victor's been talking about nothing but vegetables since you left."
"Sounds like Victor, all right," Matt sighed.
"This doesn't make any sense," Jenny knelt down next to the metallic box. She reached in and pulled out a couple ammo cartridges.
"Yeah, I know right?" Matt replied. "Victor just keeps dawdling on and on about things that don't make any sense."
"No, I'm talking about Victor," Jenny said. "I'm talking about this box full of weapons that shouldn't even exist in this world."
"Huh?" Matt stared at Jenny.
"Now that you mention it, you're right," Victoria held a hand up to her chin as she worked her mind. "I didn't think this Kingdom had the technology to make guns."
"Hey, this is not a gun," Matt retorted, stung by those words. "It's a RIFLE."
"WANNA ARGUE, WOMAN?" Flames shot out of Victoria's eyes.
Matt took a quick step away from Victoria. "I'."
Jenny put the ammo cartridges on the floor next to her and began examining the box itself, running a hand along the side.
"This box is composed of unique metallic properties," she said. "Titanium, probably. Titanium alloy."
"So what's the matter then?" Matt didn't really understand what was going on. "This box clearly belongs to the military. I mean, the M40A5 sniper rifle is a USMC issued sniper weapon."
"That is exactly what's wrong," Victoria said to Matt. "We're not on Earth anymore, Matt. We're like in some world where everything is still in the dark ages."
"Are you being sarcastic?" Matt asked.
"No, she's telling the truth," Jenny affirmed. She pulled a bulky radio transmitter out of the box. "This isn't Earth."
"It's more like...Middle Earth," Victoria added.
Matt stood there, dumbstruck. Finally, resigned to his fate, he let out a sigh.
"Then we aren't on the floor of the Grand Canyon, then?" he asked meekly.
"Nope. We are in a cave on the floor of the Moon River Gorge," Jenny replied.
"Damn!" Matt looked up at the ceiling. "So all of that wasn't a dream. Lynbrook really did..."
Jenny turned on the radio transmitter. Static enveloped the clearing, enhanced by the echo bouncing off all the walls.
"Come in, Redbird, come in," a low man's voice came through the speakers. "Have you located the supply drop box, over?"
All three of them stared at the radio transmitter, not sure how to respond.
"Negative CC," a second voice replied. This voice was a bit higher than the first. "We're on recon in the cave, over."
"It's a recording," Jenny said to Victoria and Matt.
They continued to listen to the filtered voices projecting from the radio transmitter.
"Affirmative, Redbird. Be advised, Archer Eleven reports a group of locals heading across the cavern entrance, over."
"Um...negative. They're carrying what looks like mining equipment and are passing the cavern entrance. You're still in the clear Redbird, over."
"Roger CC. Hold on. We've located the drop box. It's in an open space somewhere deep within the cavern, over."
"Uh...probably just missed its coordinates on the space jump, Redbird."
"Area secure, sir." A third voice, barely audible in the static.
"Good. Open the box. CC, we're retrieving the goods. Everything looks sharp, over."
"Redbird, I hear you. Rendesvous with Archer Eleven at Kalzanis when you've retrieved the goods, over. That's K-A-L-Z-A-N-I-S. I'll mark it on your NavMap."
"Affirmative, CC. Starting up NavMap- What's that, Carter? You hear something?"
A third voice broke through the static again. "Above us! Above us! Shit! WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE THINGS?"
Gunshots pierced the static, coupled with a scattered symphony of dying screams.
"Redbird? Redbird, come in! What the hell is going on over there? Redbird? Redbird!"
The radio transmitter shut itself off as the recording came to a halt. Jenny, Victoria and Matt all stared at it in disbelief. They looked around the cavern.
"So we weren't the first ones to discover this place," Matt muttered.
"That was definitely military," Jenny said. "More than that, it sounded like those soldiers were from Earth, like us."
"...and judging from the screams of terror at the end of that recording, I'd say they were jumped by something monstrous," concluded Victoria.
All three of them quickly scanned their surroundings with a growing sense of paranoia. Matt nervously slapped an ammo cartridge into the M40A5 sniper rifle and pulled the bolt up and back.
"We can all speculate the reasons why modern soldiers and weapons are here in this world, but let's do that after we get out, okay everyone?" Jenny murmured.
"Okay," Victoria murmured back.
Matt hastily stuffed three extra ammo cartridges into his pants.
"Let's get back to camp and tell everyone what we saw and heard here," Matt said.
Jenny was about to reply when suddenly she felt a funnel of cold air wash down on her face. The air spread through the entire cavern clearing, gushing past rock walls and cracks with a long "woosh" noise that echoed off many different places at once. It felt like someone had just turned on a giant air conditioner in the ceiling.
The torch blew out. Everything became pitch dark.
"Guys?" Victoria piped up, feeling blindly at the space in front of her. "Jenny, you still here?"
"I'm right next to you, Victoria," Jenny acknowledged. She took a step back, and felt the edge of the metallic supply box brush against the back of her thigh. "Matt?"
"I'm not here anymore," Matt's voice was close by. "I was kidnapped by a group of ninjas while you two were talking."
"Very funny, Matthew," Victoria muttered as she felt for the hilt of her sabre Cassandra at her side. "If I could see, I'd be clobbering you right now."
"Heh...speaking of which, how are we going to get back now?" Matt lamented. "I don't have a flashlight on me."
"I don't think any of us do," replied Victoria. "If I had one, I'd have turned it on and clobbered you with it right after the torch went out."
"If you had what? A flashlight? You're talking about flashlights, right?" Matt deadpanned.
"Of course? What else what I be talking about-" the realization hit Victoria like a ton of bricks. "You WOMAN!"
A sudden emission of bright colors interrupted Victoria and Matt's banter, illuminating the entire cavern with intense light, constantly flickering. The source of the light, Jenny, pulled the black knife out of her left palm and slid it back into the sheath on her waist.
"Let's move, nyan~" Jenny announced. "This light isn't going to last forever."
"Huhhh?" Matt was completely astonished. Was Jenny really lighting up...like a Christmas tree? What was going on?
A sudden breathing noise coming from above caught everyone's attention. They all looked up at the ceiling of the cave.
Embedded in the rocks, a colony of circular tube-shaped mouths gnashed their many teeth down at the three delicious humans below.
"What the f***?" Victoria shouted. She instinctively raised her sabre towards the ceiling in self-defense.
Matt squinted as he stared up at the mouths. "Those things look hungry!"
With a sudden snarl, one of the mouths lunged out towards Jenny, revealing a long, slimy tube-shaped body that twisted and contorted as it fit through the hole in the ceiling.
Jenny promptly pulled out her cleaver and delivered a clean slice through the creature's "neck", slicing its mouth off. The chunk of flesh landed in the supply box, splashing blood and guts over everything.
Jenny, Victoria and Matt stared as the creature reared back towards the ceiling with slimy vigor. Even though Jenny had cut an entire section of the creature clean off, it still possessed a mouth full of teeth at the exposed end of its body. Looking closer, Jenny could see that the creature's insides were completely covered with teeth. No matter where Jenny cut, the creature would always end up with a tubular opening lined with razor sharp teeth. The only difference Jenny's cleaver made by cutting the creature was to shorten its length.
"Holy...holy shi...what the..." Matt croaked.
"Jenny?" Victoria called out in panic.
Jenny stared up at the giant mouths in the flickering ceiling. A collective shriek filled the cavern, and suddenly the creatures began to descend from the holes in the ceiling with speed, intent on enclosing their teeth-littered mouths over the hapless prey.
"RUN, NYAN!" Jenny shouted urgently. She took off, sprinting towards the valley of stalagmites where she had bumped into Victoria earlier.
Victoria and Matt stumbled in after her, running as fast as their legs could carry them, following the rainbow light being emitted by Jenny, the only light source in the cavern tunnels. Victoria clutched her sabre. Matt hung on to his newly acquired M40A3 sniper rifle.
The tube creatures extended out of the ceiling and gave chase, twisting and turning as they made their way through the tunnels in pursuit of their fleeing meals.
Chapter Sixteen: The Night, Revealed
Alvin sat on a small boulder next to the campfire, inspecting the shiny silver chopsticks in his hands. Just from twirling the chopsticks around his fingers, he could tell that they were slightly heavier than the normal chopsticks he usually ate noodles with. The flames from the campfire seemed to easily reflect off the silver finish; the chopsticks were that shiny. Engraved on the side of one of the chopsticks were three words: The Whole Universe.
"I...passed out?" Patrick was seated on a slab of stone across from Alvin. He was scratching the back of his head absentmindedly, trying to recall a hazy memory of a cliff and some buckets.
"Yurp!" Victor nodded enthusiastically.
"Your bucket landed in one of the marshes outside, and Sis had to use her magic to rescue both you and Alvin," Elise explained.
"You're lucky to be alive," Peter added. He was still leaning against the wall with his arms crossed.
Patrick stared at everyone around him, putting everything together in his recovering mind. Then, he gasped.
"My laptop! Where's my laptop?" he yelled.
"Lap...top?" Elise conjured up the mental image of a skirt. That was what a lap top was, right?
"It's over there," Peter pointed over at Patrick's laptop, which sat atop a nearby stone. Patrick breathed a sigh of relief, and quickly reached over to pick it up. A sudden flare of pain ran through his shoulder, and he pulled his arm back.
"Careful!" Elise exclaimed, concerned.
"Don't overdo it, man," Daryl said. He was still trying to influence the flames of the campfire with his hands, but without much success. "You're going to need a few days up to a week to heal completely."
"You seem to be quite knowledgeable about these kinds of things, Daryl," Peter observed. "Are you training to become a doctor?"
"Everything I know about injuries, wounds and stuff comes from firsthand experience," Daryl replied glumly.
He looked over at Patrick, who was slowly rotating his shoulder to ease off the pain.
"But seriously man," continued Daryl. "Taping a laptop to your back? Do you WANT to create back issues for yourself?"
"I couldn't help it," Patrick winced. He stared into the campfire. "I didn't want to draw unnecessary attention to myself back in that village, so I had to hide it under that cloak."
He looked around.
"Speaking of which," he added. "What happened to my cloak?"
"You mean the one that smelled like garbage?" clarified Peter.
"Yeah," Patrick answered.
Silence fell over the cavern. The eyes of everyone in the room save for Patrick and Alvin gravitated to the campfire in the middle. Flames continued to crackle.
"You know what? Nevermind," Patrick dismissed the subject.
He reached out to grab his laptop again, slowly and more carefully this time around. Gently folding his hands over the edges of the dormant machine, he quietly placed it on his lap. Elise craned her head to stare at the strange rectangular object on Patrick's lap.
"Yay! A computer!" Victor chirped. "Do you have TF2 installed on it?"
"No, no I don't," Patrick replied. "But I do have hundreds of custom-created programs and hacking devices designed to crack the most complex encryption systems ever conceived."
"Cool!" Victor nodded. "But do you have TF2 installed on it?"
"Nope," Patrick replied.
"Okay." Victor suddenly lost all interest in Patrick's laptop.
"What does this box do?" Elise asked, curious.
Patrick was unsure of what to say. He scratched his head.
"Hmmm," he said. "How should I put it...It can create, destroy, and change anything contained within it and anything contained within other, similar devices. So in other words it's like, ummm, a courier. Equipped with a giant axe."
"Oh?" Elise tried to grasp her head around the concept. "So it's like that Constable who tried to burn down my cabin?"
"Kind of," Peter said. "But it works on a different plane, in a separate dimension, and can perform its tasks at lightning speeds. Think of the Constable. Now imagine him with an extremely intelligent, extremely rational disposition."
"I...I can't imagine that," Elise's expression turned unpleasant as she thought back to the Constable who had tried to evict her from the cabin. It had all happened three days before, but recent events made it seem like much, much longer ago in a different lifetime.
A chorus of noises suddenly caught everyone's attention. The sounds were coming from deeper within the cavern, and were steadily increasing in volume.
"Sounds like people screaming," Daryl pointed out.
"It sounds like Victoria, Jenny and Matt!" Victor exclaimed.
"You're right," Peter added. "And it sounds like they're coming towards us."
Alvin looked up from his chopsticks.
"What?" he asked.
The cave began to rumble. A couple stalactites attached to the cavern ceiling suddenly snapped off their foundations and came crashing down near Alvin, who quickly rolled off a boulder to dodge them.
"Woah! What the balls?" he shouted.
The campfire began to flicker out, unable to keep up with the vibrations emanating from the ground. Elise, Daryl, Peter and Victor promptly got up to their feet, alert.
"Are we having another freaking earthquake?" Daryl shouted.
"This cave's not going to fall into the sky like last time, right?" Patrick shouted. He struggled to get to his feet, hugging his laptop close to his chest with his injured arm.
"Guess what, everyone?" Victor exclaimed. "You know what this reminds me of? Massage parlors! :D"
Before anyone could reply to or scold Victor, a sudden shriek pierced through the cavern. Jenny rounded the corner first, lighting up the walls and ceiling with her rainbow light. Matt and Victoria ran out next, looks of fear on their faces.
The three of them darted past their friends standing next to the campfire, yelling incoherently as they charged towards the cave exit.
"What- guys!" Daryl shouted. "What's going on? Why are you running?"
"Sister!" Elise shouted.
"RUUUUUUNN DAMN IT!" Matt shouted back at them.
Everyone else looked back at where Matt, Jenny and Victoria had run out from. About a dozen long worm-like creatures with endless amounts of teeth shot out into the open space, shrieking sharply and squirming through the air like snakes through grass.
"AAAAAAAAAH!" Everyone picked up their belongings and scrambled to get away from the pursuing creatures.
"Wait!" Elise panted as she ran. "If we keep running, we're going to leave the cave!"
"Good! Then those things will hopefully stop chasing us!" Matt shouted back.
"No, but- IT'S STILL DARK OUTSIDE!" Elise yelled in terror.
Suddenly, everyone ran out of the cave, and into a large area bathed by the open night sky, lit by the full moon overhead. It was the canyon floor at the bottom of the Moon River Gorge, the same canyon floor that miners from the Kalzanis quarries crossed to get to and from their homes, the same canyon floor that our terrified adventurers had landed on by way of buckets and rope earlier in the day.
They were outside.
But something was terribly wrong with the scene before them.
Everywhere, from the tops of the cliffs to the sides of the boulders to the edges of the marsh to the open stretches of the canyon floor, dark shadows roamed aimlessly. These shadows were in all shapes and sizes, from tiny to human-sized to creature-sized, and each and every shadow seemed to have indistinguishable edges shaping them, subtly blending them in to their surrounding environment.
The shadows wandered, moving slowly with no sense of purpose. They were oblivious to everything happening around them. Oblivious to each other.
Alvin, who was one of the few travelers not fighting for his or her breath thanks to his track team conditioning, stared at the shadows in front of him. A persistent ringing noise burrowed its way into his ears. Looking around, Alvin could see from his friends' facial expressions that they were hearing the noise too.
"What is this?" Peter breathed, paralyzed with shock.
"These shadows, they are..." Elise stared at the roaming shadows before her. She had heard many stories from her youth, many tales that warned her of the dangers of the night. She had read King Coranus's decree to the Kingdom warning its citizens not to wander around outside after the sun set. From an early age, she had been raised to fear the night.
And now, she was standing outside under the watchful gaze of the moon and witnessing everything before her for the first time.
"...they are the Lost," Elise whispered.
A giant shadow as tall as a skyscraper loomed in the distance off the top of the cliff. This shadow was different from the rest in that it had a couple of soft, white circles on its head where its eyes were supposed to be.
The giant shadow figure gazed up at the moon in sadness.
Everyone instinctively retreated back into the cave they were in a few moments ago. The worm creatures that were chasing them were gone, evidently spooked by the scene outside as well.
The travelers re-set up their camp near the cave entrance, away from the worm creatures' den, and implemented rotating shifts of two to keep watch as everyone else retired for the night.
No one slept well.