Immortality's Touchstone, p.1Mark Tufo
Lycan Fallout 4: Immortality’s Touchstone
Lycan Fallout Series
About the Author
Also by Mark Tufo
Also From DevilDog Press
Copyright © 2016 by Mark Tufo
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
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Edited by Sheila Shedd
Cover art by [email protected]
Created with Vellum
To my wife whose endless patience I truly appreciate as she listens to me ramble on about various possibilities in these fictitious realms!
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To my beta readers, Vix Kirkpatrick, Kimberly Sansone, Susan DiMuzio and Jeff Shoemaker; I’m always amazed at your insight, suggestions and attention to detail!
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To all those that are, have ever been or support those in the Armed Forces you have my sincerest thank you for your service to our great nation.
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To my editor Sheila Shedd who at times has taken my tangled web of words and spun it into something far better than I could have woven on my own.
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And finally to you my dear reader without whom all of this would be impossible. THANK YOU!
The Green Man’s Origins
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“WHAT IS SO special about this slab of meat?” Trinitor asked, as he held the screaming man upside down, dangling him by his ankle over a river of molten lava.
“Nothing. He is no more important than all the other two-legged rats...yet,” Villizen answered. He churned a small boiling pot of gray-green gruel. Thick wet bubbles burst, plopping the heavy liquid all around the cauldron, occasionally striking the human, causing him to shriek even louder. Trinitor hoisted the man higher so he was staring into his face.
“They are so ugly. Did their god really make them in his image? I can see why we want to destroy them. They have no place among us. That we are regulated to the under-plane while these insufferable little beasts crawl all over everything on the upper-planes is something I do not understand.”
“Victors can do as they please. What we are doing here today is the first step to changing all that,” Villizen explained.
“I could eat half of this whelp in two bites.”
“They do not taste good; I have tried.”
“When did you ever see a human before this?”
“When Lamatsu escaped, I was sent with four others to retrieve her. She nearly broke the covenant which would have sent us even farther from the realm we should rightfully have inherited.”
“How old are you, Trinitor?”
“Over two thousand earth years.”
“And yet you have learned nothing of our history?”
“Who needs history? I am told to do things and I do them.”
“It is a slave’s duty to better himself so that one day he may be more than a servant.”
“In all my years, Villizen, I have never seen you do anything but another’s bidding.”
“Naught can be done until the time is right. This is that time, Trinitor. Bring the little ogre over here.”
Trinitor swung the man violently back and forth snapping his ankle and lower leg before dipping his head into the boiling vat. The cries of pain and panic were stifled as he was submerged into the liquid.
“You need to be more careful. Four daemons died crossing the chasm to pull him back. Get him out of the cauldron before you cook his brain.”
All of the man’s hair had fallen off. Skin sloughed away from his face, a dripping candle had more in common with the man’s features than any current inhabitant of the plane he called home.
“Can we not leave him this way? He is almost acceptable.”
Villizen reshaped the man’s face as if it were made from clay. The nose was much flatter and the ears were pulled back farther along his skull. Other than that, he thought he had done a reasonably good job of putting the monster back together.
“Tell me again how this thing is going to help us? He barely has enough mana to be noteworthy.”
“It is not the amount of power he possesses but rather what that power can be made to do. I have told you everything, Trinitor. There is a way for those of us that wish it, to be free of this place.”
“I have listened, Villizen. I have listened well and what I do now, I do for myself not you, nor your commander or our false demon. My entire existence has never been my own. I was created to serve under a cruel master, and I am done. When you said you had a way for us to be free, I heard nothing else. Now that you believe there is a way I need to know how it may come about, for I will be able to think of little else.”
“Listen this time for I will not say it a third.”
“You will say it as many times as I need you to.”
Villizen looked over at the other. “Perhaps it was a mistake ordering you here. Your youth makes you volatile.” Villizen stood to his full twelve feet. He set his cloven hooves wide apart before unfurling his great wings. He revealed rows of murderous teeth in a mouth nearly half the size of his head.
Trinitor did not recoil. Instead, he held the man out in front of him. “I will tear him in two and all of your terrible plans will die with him.”
“You are foolish, Trinitor. I created you to do that which I did not want to. Do you believe yourself to be the first? Now ask yourself why you are the only? It is because, at some point, those before you questioned my position of power over them. You are not as invulnerable as you believe yourself to be.”
“You are wrong, Villizen. For two thousand years, I have watched you and the others scurry about, attempting to curry a favor that does not exist. He does not even know you exist, yet you all bow down when his name is mentioned. You quake in fear from a being that is as loathsome as this insect. This human is being changed; he will find the one that can open the gates that keep us locked away, the one that was promised to our kind many millennia ago, the one who has finally arisen. I will not squander this chance away with your tentative steps. We will leave here, and we will do as we please in a realm where we are not hindered.”
“If you have the answer, why then are you bothering me?” Villizen yelled.
“I know that I cannot defeat you by myself, master,” Trinitor sneered the word. “If I had not figured out how to garner your attention I would not be able to do this.” He looked over the other’s shoulder and smiled. Villizen screamed as rough hands gripped his wings and savagely ripped them free from their moorings.
“With your wings gone, so goes the majority of your power, Villizen.” Hands pushed the bleeding beast to the ground. “I think now I will be the one that has you do those things I find distasteful,
The Green Man Cometh
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A THICK MIST swirled around the naked, shivering form. The man stood. His goose-bumped flesh felt like it was burning. He slowly shivered and looked about him. Shoulders slumped, bent at the waist, he did his best to protect himself from the elements.
“Where am I?” he chattered. Then a more alarming thought came to him. “Who am I?” He was terrified as he searched through a mind devoid of all knowledge of self. All he knew was that he was cold, in pain, and hungry. A word came to him as he looked about, deciding which way to go.
“Stonehenge.” He recognized the formation, he knew it was in England, but he had no clue why he was there. He stumbled forward along a path. After a few hours of walking, the sun finally broke out. It did little to penetrate the cold within him, though he was thankful for the light. Whenever he was engulfed in darkness, his visions were filled with nightmarish creatures he could not fathom could possibly exist.
“Well lookie here at this right cunt!” Bones said to his friends. There were three of them, all carrying a weapon of some sort. Bones had a cricket bat as did his best mate, Freddie. Maysie had a length of cement-filled pipe.
“Are you some sort of fuck-twat?” Freddie asked. The three had been out on a supply run when they came upon the strange man. They’d got off their bikes and were preparing to take anything of value the man may have had, but it was looking as if someone had beat them to the punch. The man turned to face his tormentors.
“Holy shit. What happened to your face, man?” Bones asked.
“What...?” he asked moving his hands up to touch his features. There was an unnatural smoothness as he felt around.
“You been burned or something, man?” Maysie was having a hard time looking upon the face. “Bones, let’s go, he ain’t got nothing.”
“Fuck that,” Bones said. “This one is too ugly to go on. Gonna be hard enough fucking my old lady now that I’ve got that mug in my mind; I won’t feel right if I don’t spare some other poor bastard from having to look at that thing.
“I need help,” the man said.
“Yeah, you do,” Bones replied. He took two steps forward and began to swing his bat. The man attempted to defend himself by putting his hands in the way. A loud snapping could be heard as Bones broke the man’s wrist and forearm.
“Bones, man, come on. He didn’t do nothing. He doesn’t have nothing,” Freddie pleaded.
“There’s something wrong with this one, Freddie. I can’t put a finger on it, but he’s spoiled with evil or some shit. Just look at him.” Bones wound up and swung again, cracking the man on the shoulder hard enough to make him topple over.
“You don’t understand!” The man had his good hand up. “I don’t know who I am or how I got here. I need help.”
Bones was standing over the man threatening to bash his skull in. “Yeah, you do, mate, and I plan on giving it to you.” Bones swung with enough force he’d hoped to cave that melted face in on itself. Less than three inches from making contact, a force no one had seen stopped the momentum of the bat. Whatever it had hit, had caused the bat to snap in half. At first, Bones had mistakenly assumed it had been the man’s skull and whooped in celebration at how hard he had struck. He was shocked when the man did not fall over.
“What the bloody hell?” he asked, looking at the jagged end of his bat. “That was my best stick. You’re going to pay for that!”
The man looked at his outstretched hand. He’d felt something come from his fingertips, some unexplained power that really shouldn’t have been there. Bones changed his grip on the hilt and was preparing to stab the man in the face with the wooden shards. The man flexed his fingers and concentrated; Bones was sent reeling backward as if he’d been kicked in the stomach by a donkey. What was left of the bat was ripped from his hand and skittered away. Bones was on his knees gasping for air.
“What’s going on?” Maysie asked. He looked terrified.
“Evil...evil. I told you so,” Bones gasped. He was pointing with his right hand; his left was wrapped around his midsection.
The man stood. He moved his hand over his broken arm; there was a grinding and an abrasive scratching sound as the bones knit back together. Bones was finally getting his breath and was scrambling to get back up and away. Quicker than his two friends, he knew there was a power here that was going to completely overwhelm them and swiftly.
“I am cold,” the man said. “I’m going to need your clothes. We appear to be the same size.”
“You can right fuck off,” Freddie said. “You know how hard it is to find a tuxedo? The zombies destroyed everything.”
“Give it to me.”
“Fuck you.” Freddie came at the man swinging.
Instead of letting him continue, the man simply froze him in place. “You,” he said, pointing to Maysie. “Hit him.”
“Are you deaf? I said hit him.”
“I...I can’t. He’s my...my mate.”
“I don’t care if he’s your dance partner. I said hit him.”
Maysie looked over to Bones who had stopped of his own volition as he watched this train derail and begin to crash in slow motion.
“What did you do to him?” Maysie asked, looking at his friend who had not moved so much as a muscle in the last twenty seconds. He was halted in a position he should not have been able to hold for more than second or two. He was leaning in towards the man, balanced precariously on just the front of his right foot.
“I haven’t done anything, but you will. Oh yes, you will.”
“Fuck you if I will.”
“You most certainly will or...Bones, is it?” He looked over to the boy who had not got up off the ground yet.
Bones looked shocked that he’d been talked to. He nodded.
“Either you take that lead pipe and hit your popsicle friend here, or Bones is going to stick you with that bat. Isn’t that right, Bones?”
Bones nodded; he couldn’t help himself.
“Get up, Bones. Tell him you mean business.”
Bones did as he was told without being forced to do so.
“Get your bat. Hurry up about it; I’m not getting any warmer.” Bones ran over to where the bat had rolled and picked it up. “Now tell your friend here to hit Freddie or you are going to shove that bat up his ass. Can you imagine the damage all of those huge splinters will do as they travel up that very sensitive canal? I really don’t know what might happen. If you survive, the odds are that you will never be quite the same.”
“Do it, Maysie. Hit him...please. I don’t want to do anything like that,” Bones said.
Maysie did not move.
“Fine. We can do this the difficult way. In the end, I will get what I want. Remove your pants.”
Again, Maysie did not move. The man made a gesture with his hand, and a large tugging at the back of Maysie’s pants pulled him over and on to his face. He broke two teeth and his nose on the roadway as they made hard contact. There was a loud ripping sound as the seams to his pants finally gave way, revealing a pair of dirty underwear that had not seen the inside of a washing machine in nearly a year.
“I am glad you were not the one wearing the tuxedo,” the man said as his force wrenched the disgusting undergarment free as well. “Well, there you go Bones. I don’t think you’re going to get a much better angle. Now, I really want you to drive it up in there, perhaps you may even spear his genitals into the roadway. If you don’t do it hard enough—if he’s able to get up, I’m going to have him do it to you.”
Bones turned his head and threw up even as he took a couple of steps closer.
“Don’t do this, Bonesy, please, mate!”
Bones shuffled closer.
“Mister! Mister! I’ll do it! Please let me up. I’ll hit him, I swear!”
“No little love taps, either,” the man chided. “I want some crushing impacts. Do you hear me?”
“I do, I do.” Maysie was nodding vigorously.
“Well, get to it.” The man looked over to Freddie and released his grip on his eyes and mouth.
“What are you doing, man?” Freddie was struggling to look over to his side and see what his friend was up to.
“I’m sorry,” Maysie said. He was crying now.
“We grew up together, Maysie. You lived at my house for three years after your mum died!” Freddie pleaded. “Don’t do this!”
“Oh do!” the man said, nearly clapping his hands as he did so.
“Maysie, don’t listen to him! Hit him, man. Take his fucking head off!” Freddie yelled.
Maysie was bawling. Fat tears streaked down his face, his eyes held completely closed as he swung. The snapping of Freddie’s shoulder blade was the loudest sound in the surrounding area, until Freddie began to scream.
“I hit him!” Maysie cried out. “I did it. Now let us go.”
“Oh, I think you’ve mistaken my intention. I plan for you to keep hitting him until he is dead.”
“No,” Maysie said softly. Yet this time, he did not protest in his actions as he swung and struck Freddie’s lower back. A welt formed so quickly and became so large that the skin cracked and split, spilling out blood.
“Wait, wait,” the man said as Maysie was winding up for the third hit. “Get in front of him. I want your betrayal to be face to face.”
Whatever resistance had been in Maysie had been completely pushed out. He moved to the front of Freddie, though he would not look his friend in the eye.
Immortality's Touchstone by Mark Tufo / Horror / Fantasy / Mystery & Detective have rating 4.6 out of 5 / Based on41 votes