The country of Dornia was a great land of wreckage, expanding from ocean to ocean, covering thousands of square miles of once-beautiful, thriving areas of both forestry and civilization. All of it was once great and all-powerful; all other civilizations envied it to the fullest.
Then came the bombing. The entire planet saw it coming – most of them prayed for it – and when it came, though there was a widely-performed memorial, nobody missed the city after a matter of days.
The entire planet saw it coming, but so did a small percentage of Dornia's civilians…
At first, none of Dornia's civilians thought in the idea of there being a bombing, though all of them certainly knew of the envy-filled criticism their beautiful city received nearly every passing day.
But who bombed Dornia?
Hector knew. He tried to tell them, all of them, but none of them listened to him because he was too young to have possibly known what he was talking about. He remembered sitting in an abandoned underground military base (it was relocated to a much larger one across the city) with his face in his hands, running his fingers through his mid-length blonde hair, tears running down his cheeks as outside he heard shrieks cut off by ear-shattering blasts of explosions.
He remembered how simple it had all been before coming to Dornia; he'd lived with his parents in the city of New York City. New York had been a small city compared to Dornia, but it was certainly a much safer community, regardless of the thousands of crimes committed there every day. It was safer in the sense that nobody envied it, as they used to before the birth of Dornia.
He remembered all of this, because it had all happened within the last week.
Hector lifted his face from his hands, suddenly aware of the silence all around him. It had been just yesterday when all the bombs had gone off, and now he sat in the dark corner of the military base with wood splinters, chips of concrete and brick, and broken glass all around his feet.
He breathed, his breath releasing itself in a cloud of white fog, and he very slowly lifted himself to his feet, bracing himself with a broken pipe protruding from the concrete wall. The pipe was rusty; a brown, watery substance dripping from the bottom in a random pattern.
Everything around him was foggy with the lift of settled dust raised from the vibrations in the ground all that night and for once there was silence as Hector looked at the room around him.
("Can anyone please remind me what the Domino Effect means once more, class?" Mr. Burmann, Hector's Theorems teacher, called out with his relaxed voice as he stood in the middle of the classroom.
Hector and three others immediately held up their hands and Mr. Burmann nodded to him, "Yes, Mr. Hatcher, go ahead.")
Hector reached up and pulled on a small chain and a light bulb flickered and died above his head as he reminisced of his day in school three days ago; last Friday.
(Hector lowered his hand and recited, "One falls," he smirked, "ashes, ashes, we all fall down."
The class began to laugh, even Mr. Burmann. "Very nicely put, Mr. Hatcher, and also correct to a degree." He walked over to his desk and picked up a stack of papers and began to pass them out as he spoke, "I'm giving out a worksheet I want you all to look at with me…")
It was probably about that moment that Hector realized just how deep he was into a bad situation…
He began to warn the people of Dornia by sneaking into news stations and radio towers and interrupting live shows to scream his warnings to any and all people watching or listening to the program.
He was soon titled a terrorist, and Dornia's government systems began to hunt him like a fugitive. His entitlement was just yesterday.
Hector figured that the last place the military would search for him was at a military base. He was right. Again.
"If he does not wish to come out and face us, I guess we have no other choice." Raven Ko – president of a major corporation – had said last Friday (three days ago) from beside her right-hand man. She looked to the man, "Fire the missiles. I want that entire city to fall to the ground. That ought to get his attention."
"President Ko," the man, Eric Dolarand said, "are you sure about this decision?"
"Yes, Mr. Dolarand. How long is the impact time on those missiles?"
Dolarand hesitated and then flipped up a latch and pressed a small red button beneath the latch. There was a beep and then a timer loaded onto a great monitor:
Beside the timer there was a map of the volcanic island of Dornia with a blue wavelength symbolizing the location of the boy in the grand city and there now was a green wavelength across the island symbolizing the impact zone.
"Good." Raven said with a spreading smirk across her face. She shook her blonde out of her face, not wanting to draw her hands from her pockets, and she repeated herself. "Good."
"Dornia," one friend said to the other slowly, awestricken as he read the headlines on his television screen. He looked to her, lying on the bed beside him with her elbows propped up and her head in her hands. "Isn't Dornia that place that…?"
"Yeah," she said, eyes never leaving the view of the television screen. "He's there."
The first friend scrambled to his feet and lifted his cordless phone off its base and began to rapidly dial numbers. The second friend began to cry.
2006 was just not going to be a good year for them.
A sixteen-year-old boy with strawberry-red hair and shredded clothing grunted and pushed a piece of the wreckage off of him with his back strength, accompanied by the strength of his left arm. In his right arm, he held a young yellow Labrador wrapped in the boy's jacket; bleeding in its left side, just beside the rear legs, and whimpering like a pup. A light breeze blew a snowflake into the boy's hair. Snowflakes rested on the ground all around him; many of them melting instantly if they came in contact with some of the still-hot metal, sizzling as they died away.
He threw the wreckage – a singed car door – off the hill of debris and set the dog at his feet to rest, standing in the moonlight with a gentle, eerie wind brushing his hair to the side. The moonlight reflected off his eyes, creating a glowing yellow color as he breathed rapid gasps. About fifty-feet perfectly beneath himself and the hill or debris was his high-school and about fifteen of his friends buried with it.
He was in the cellar gathering art supplies to decorate the gym for the upcoming prom late one evening after school hours were long over when he heard the first of many bombs go off. When he heard it, he slammed and locked the door; dragging as many heavy objects in the cellar to block the door as he could manage before the ground began to rumble beneath him. At first he was scared, and then he was oddly tranquil.
He knew this was coming. Somehow.
The boy remembered digging into the metal of the collapsed ceiling of the cellar and climbing in to begin his climb toward the surface after silence had spread across the land of Dornia. He hadn't expected so many other buildings to have fallen onto the school. Had he expected that, he probably wouldn't have even bothered trying to escape.
For the last forty hours he has been digging, and it wasn't until about two hours ago that he found the dog pinned between a piece of piping and the window frame of a fallen building. He hadn't seen the dog, no, seeing was impossible beneath so much wreckage; even in the places where the wreckage was still blazing with fire.
And after forty hours of non-stop work, he was rather hungry at the moment, despite the mixture of confusion – toward the bombing – and mourning – toward the loss of several newly-acquired friends.
It was almost too simple for him to guess who was behind all this.
He was the Time-keeper.
The Chaos Theory:
Dawn of Souls
Yay for chaos. Chaos is the reason our world crumbles beneath our feet. Chaos is the reason the air around us heats and chokes us. Chaos is the reason we're as powerful as we are, because the countries in this world compete to build the most chaos to dominate over the rest.
----- Ben Wuest
Two months ago, Coran Young's life seemed as if it couldn't get much worse. His ability to travel through time had warped his own time into something it wasn't, and it had also put not only him but the entire town he'd inhabited in danger. The Ajax Corporation's computer nerd had developed a tracking device (hypothetically) just for him, and two of their assassins were sent in to rub him out for good.
They would have succeeded, but there was another; a Time-keeper not even Coran knew about. Her name to Coran was first Jade Lanswit, and then Leslie Card, but her real, recognizable name was Leslie Mooker. Why the aliases? She wasn't from this time. The Leslie Mooker the world knew was dead, but her body was never found. That's because for several years, she was lost in a timeline until she found the perfect strand that had led her to where she knew Coran would need her most.
The two assassins had been dragging Coran's severely wounded body out the front doors when Leslie Card had made her perfect move and had taken down both assassins with the help of the local police force.
Now she walks down the cold, winter streets of Nebraska City. In the pocket of her jacket, her cell-phone began to ring and she drew it and crossed the road to sit on a bench beside a bus stop before answering it.
"Oh my god," Leslie said, standing with Morgan, Michael, and Morgan's sister Shana in Morgan's living room. The television was on in the center of the room, displaying an anchorman interviewing leaders of dominate countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia.
"No." Leslie said. "Coran can't have been on Dornia when the bombs struck."
"But he was," Michael said. "Natasha said he wasn't expected to come back to the States until February at least, Leslie."
It was January, and in Leslie's mind she knew Coran was on that island, and that he was never coming back.
"Why don't they have any helicopters or rescue teams out there? Aren't they doing something about all this?" Leslie asked; her voice panic-stricken.
Shana placed a gentle hand on Leslie's shoulder and spoke with a gentle voice. "The world powers believe that it's better now that Dornia is out of the picture. They're not going to do anything." She paused. "I'm sorry."
"We're all sorry." Morgan said from the other side of Leslie, placing another hand on her shoulder.
Hector walked across the room to a cabinet where he found his winter coat and a pair of gloves and he dressed quickly. Beside the cabinet there was a locked steel box labeled Military Personnel Only. This of course was a welcoming sign to Hector to lift a broken hammer head and smash the lock off the latch.
Inside the box, to Hector's surprise, there was nearly nothing. But beneath a pile of thick dust, he found a sole remaining automatic handgun. He checked the clip; thirteen shots. It would have to do. Of course, he wasn't quite sure if the military would still be looking for him after all this… or if there even was a military left. But he still wanted to be protected just in case.
He slid the handgun into the waistband of his khaki pants and he turned and walked once more across the room to an elevator. He was always taught not to trust elevators, but this elevator was his only entrance to the base and the only escape from his sanctuary. He climbed in and pressed a button with an arrow pointed upwards.
He sighed, releasing another breath of curling white fog and he looked up. To his satisfaction, the ceiling of the elevator was made of replaceable white cardboard tile. He climbed onto the railing of the elevator walls and reached up with his hands and pressed his fingertips along the edges of the cool tile. He pushed it up and slid it to the side and rolled himself into the hole in the ceiling.
He stood in the darkness, spinning slow circles as his eyes adjusted to the new, unknown surrounding. On three of the four concrete walls there were two cables attached to the elevator car that ran upward toward the surface. Above him, there was a faint light leading to the surface and the soft glow of moonlight was all that dimly illuminated the area. However, it did give enough light to allow Hector to see the hundreds of snowflakes that floated around him.
The ceiling fifty-feet above him, however, was made mostly of metal splinters. The cables in front of him and on his right didn't look like they would lead to much hope for getting to the surface without losing a great load of blood, but the cable to his left led to a ten-by-four foot window gathering snowflakes protruding from the wreckage that he figured he could climb onto and safely climb to the surface with.
As if impossible to choose, he went with the left cable and wrapped his gloved fingers around the cables and he began to pull himself off the roof of the elevator.
All because the country refused to believe him.
Coran hopped down from a crushed Cadillac and finally felt the freshly-plowed dirt of land beneath his boots as he landed in a crouch. Behind him, the Labrador hopped from a television onto the Cadillac and then to the ground beside Coran.
Coran reached out and patted the dog on the head a few times before collapsing onto his butt with his knees against his chest and his arms wrapped around his knees. He placed his forehead against the groove of his knees and began to speak.
"We're going to have to get off this island quick, Boy." Coran said indirectly to the dog standing beside him. "Soon they'll find out that the bombing didn't work and they'll try again. When that happens," he looked to the dog, "we may not be so lucky."
The dog whimpered and then sat down beside Coran. Coran looked at the wound just beside its leg and he began to speak again. "That's a pretty nasty cut you've got there, Boy. We're going to have to have a vet take a look at that."
As if the dog knew what he was talking about, it began to lick its bloody fur. Coran climbed to his feet and looked up at the gray sky. To the distance, the moon peaked through the clouds every so often, but mostly the sky was filled. A snowflake neared Coran before a slight gust of wind blew it in another direction and Coran suddenly realized just how cold he was beneath all the torn clothing he wore.
"We're going to have to build a fire, Boy." Coran said. He turned around to face the dog, who was staring at a fallen, flaming tree buried beneath a sheet of metal that may have once been a section of someone's house.
"No," Coran said, "we're going to need to travel a bit farther to try to dodge the satellite signal. Then we can build a fire. But not now."
He turned around and looked at the area around him. All around him there were mountains of wreckage, but there seemed to have been an open path leading to the distance. Coran could see that further into his path there were impact craters, but he knew that this open path was probably safer to travel than atop the mountains of wreckage.
"Come on, Boy. We've got to get out of here."
Hector kicked out a chunk of concrete in the wall and he placed both feet into the new hole and leaned against the cable to rest his arms. He looked up at his destination once more; about thirty more feet of this until he could begin his climb out of here.
The dislodged mass of concrete drifted charismatically downward, tearing through both cables that were once on Hector's right before bouncing back toward the elevator. It blasted through the tile roof and burst a massive dent in the floor inside the elevator car.
It was when the elevator began to scream as it fell downward that Hector's eyes widened at the realization of his mistake.
The cable gave behind him and he fell out into the open, swiftly flailing his arms out and he caught the second of his two cables and his body twisted at the sudden swerve in momentum. Then there was a third swerve in momentum as the cable blasted upward, toward the surface.
As he skyrocketed upward, he calculated every single move he would have to make and when to make it in order to get out of this situation without a scratch.
As he skyrocketed upward, however, the elevator below him exploded into several large sheets of twisting metal. A small fire even built up from the mass of friction as it was falling.
Hector gritted his teeth when he was about fourteen-feet away from the window and he let go of the cable. The momentum launched him upward and he covered his head with both arms in time to feel himself burst through a collection of glass shards and scattered snowflakes.
He uncovered his face and flailed out his arms as his body now began to decline. He caught the edges of the window frame with his gloved hands and his boots smacked and slightly dented the other end of the frame. He closed his eyes and gripped both ends of the frame tightly as he suffered through the piercing of several falling glass shards nicking and driving into his back and legs and arms, but luckily none of the shards struck his head or neck.
Hector bit his lip to cease his screaming and when everything around him was finally silent, he began the next step of his process of climbing to the surface. He pushed forcefully with his arms and simultaneously he shifted his feet forward and he rose perfectly balance onto the toes of his feet.
So glad I took gymnastics, Hector thought as he sighed another rolling cloud of white fog. He rubbed his gloved hands together eagerly before kicking off the thin metal frame. He landed on the other side of the frame and quickly bounced off of that high up into the air - the frame serving as an imperfect diving board - and he caught onto an aluminum pipe wedged between the hoods of two trucks.
He rolled his feet up above his head and steered them toward another pipe and he used what leg strength he had to hoist his perfectly straight body upward, toward a horse trailer just beside the glow of moonlight.
As he went up, a metal splinter drove into his left shin, tearing into his flesh clear to the bone. Hector bit his lip to cease another scream and he felt his legs give beneath him. He began to fall and he quickly kicked off the pipe with his good leg and seemed to fly upward. He wrapped his fingers inside the grill of a crushed car buried beneath the roof of a fallen house.
A stream of hot blood ran down his leg behind his khaki pants and his white sock absorbed it as he gripped one of the roof's shingles and pulled himself onto the roof. He laid flat on his back and breathed rapid clouds of white fog and he felt several snowflakes land on his moving chest and in his blonde hair as he now looked up at the glowing white moon.
He slowly, very slowly rolled onto his chest and used his arms and his good leg to drag himself up the rest of the shingles toward the peak of the roof. From there, he saw that he was on a hill of disheveled wreckage composed of crushed cars, glass windows, flaming trees, fallen buildings and houses, and even the occasional charred remains of what used to be human life.
All because the country refused to believe him.