Lies of the old world, p.1
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       Lies of the Old World, p.1

           Brett P. S.
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Lies of the Old World
Lies of the Old World

  Brett P. S.

  Copyright © 2017 Brett P. S.

  All rights reserved.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Table of Contents





  Chapter 1

  Into the Chasm

  Dianne coughed up a puff of sand as streams fell across her jacket from the hole above. Rays of evening sunlight leaked through the split open sinkhole, casting a soft glow that barely reached her. Dianne lay on her back, curled from the heaving smack of her body hitting hard sandstone. She cradled her arm, lurching to sit up with increasing success.

  “Remind me to watch my step next time,” she said. “Oh right. I’m talking to myself.”

  She pushed herself up to a sitting position, wincing from the abrupt jerking movement. She inspected her arms, running her fingers up and down the lengths of her forearm. She pressed down at certain points to check for any sore spots. So far, no lingering injuries, nothing a medibot couldn’t fix. She’d need to either climb back up or hail a transport crew, and the former didn’t look like a solid option. Dianne fished out her comm stick from her jacket pocket and held it up to the light.

  “Figures,” she said. “Broke as hell.”

  Her fall had cracked the case and nearly cleaved the device in two. Moreover, the power light wasn’t lighting up as it should have been doing. The rectangular stick was now about as useful as a brick, though its condition mattered little in light of her predicament. Transports would come eventually, and they would find her. Heaven forbid the Order lose track of Dianna Dubois or heads would roll.

  Carefully, and against her overriding better judgment, she rose to her feet. The fall had cracked her shoes, and one arm had taken more of a beating than the other had. She clutched her left arm, the one that sustained most of the impact, with her right hand. It seemed fine enough laying down her side, though she should fasten something for it later.

  She released her cradling gesture and dusted off her jacket before she unhooked the strap on her survival gear, a fine pouch clipped to her belt. She rifled through the contents, taking care not to slice open her finger on something sharp. Dianne grabbed a pocket flashlight with her two fingers and switched it on. She aimed the light into the depths of the chasm she’d fallen into and watched as the rays bounced off marble and sandstone.

  “What’s this now?” she said.

  Dianne hobbled over to one such marble structure. She’d heard of marble quarries before, but this wasn’t nearly identical in scope or nature. Chasm would have been a terrible term to apply to this particular predicament as well, especially on two points.

  First, and most notably, her current confinements were quite small, even maze-like, with structures of stone leading off into pathways deeper into the underground. Second, and more importantly, as she pressed her hand against the softly carved white and black marble walls …

  “It’s man-made.”

  Chapter 2

  Old Necropolis

  Dianne huffed as she walked down a set of corridors, walls lined in old plaster and stone. She brushed back a set of curtain rods, the cloth eaten clean to the bone from the decay of centuries past. The Order had claimed something very different from what she was seeing now, her flashlight revealing lost pieces of the old world.

  She’d begun to recognize the architecture of the building. Some of the sculptures and pieces stood mostly preserved. It was a museum of some kind. She glanced across to her right as she entered another sizable chamber. Statues reminiscent of old Greco-Roman artists stood with chips and missing limbs, but they stood nonetheless.

  She hummed a tune to herself to keep the pain in her arm at bay. Her better judgment had told her to stay put and wait for the transport to locate her, but the explorer inside begged to differ. What had started as a romp through the old desert wastelands outside city limits had turned into something of quaint curiosity, for better or worse, something more.

  “I wonder how old you are,” she said, eying one such statue.

  She turned and paced over to the carved sculpture. Dianne had always shown an interest in the lost eras. The old world had been something grand, or so she’d been told. That past laid buried in centuries of time and rubble at the dawning of a new world. People used to be so barbaric in those days, making war with grotesque tools. She ran her fingers across the grooves, feeling a metaphorical gap.

  “It’s all so distant,” she said, kneeling down for a rest. “You don’t mind if I sit down for a minute, do you?” She paused, smiling. “Of course, you don’t. I’ll bet you’ll find any company pleasant.”

  Good lord, she was conversing with a statue. Dianna checked her pulse and the temperature of her forehead. A little elevated, probably the adrenaline from the fall. It had occurred minutes ago, so it made sense that she’d be feeling the effects for a while longer. Especially still, as long as the pain and general discomfort refused to subside, she’d continue feeling it for hours to come.

  “You aren’t supposed to exist, friend,” she said. “I have it on good authority that nothing survived the war.” She paused, looking up at the athletic man’s action-oriented pose. He seemed frozen in time, a relic of a forgotten age. “Of course, this would mean that the Order neglected to account for all relics, either in earnest or on accident.”

  Dianne pressed her thumb to her mouth and bit on the nail. It was a troubling possibility, to say the least. While the latter would present itself as benign, the former evoked a much darker picture. She’d need to think on this some more, explore further into the ruins. See more of whatever lied outside the museum. Dianne rose to her feet with discomfort and dusted off her jacket.

  “Well, good day, sir,” she said. “I hope we meet again soon. I should like to see you in a better kept museum.”

  Dianne aimed her flashlight down the room toward set of old oak doors rotten to pieces from centuries in isolation. She trudged over and curled her flashlight tightly inside her fingers. With one good smack, she punched a crater of a hold through the wood. To her, it felt as if she’d pushed her hand through a cloud. The rest of the door came crashing down in a pile of fibers that spread through the room. The splash of dust blew across her face. She shut her eyes and mouth in time to avoid the sudden rush until the dust settled.

  Dianne let out a cough and cautiously opened her eyes to look upon the sight, a deep darkness. A void as deadening as she’d ever seen, one her flashlight couldn’t touch. Outside the museum and by her feet, a set of steps retreated into the dark of the chasm. It was a city, and she stood on a hilltop museum.

  “Now, this is more to my liking,” she said.

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