Continue the Adventure with Time Wars Tales books!
Antonville, Mississippi, June of 1852
* Violence and Gore
* Family Betrayal
“Drop it! Drop the stone!” the growling continued, and Ash continued to understand the words in a way which was, itself, not understandable. Ash looked at the creature, obviously in a position to destroy Ash, and down at the stone which he held in his hand. Why hadn’t the creature simply killed Ash and retrieved the stone? Unless, Ash thought, attacking Ash meant risking the destruction of the stone.
“Eat mud, filth-sack,” Ash snarled back. The creature seemed to understand English in return, because it looked even less pleased than before. Ash gripped the stone tightly in his fist.
The creature put its weapon on its back, sheathing it like a sword. Then the creature shifted its weight back, and lunged at Ash.
Ash wished very much to be at home. For a moment he closed his eyes.
When he opened his eyes and saw nothing but the sky. He felt no land underneath his feet. He was twisting in midair, and when he looked around he realized that he was falling to Earth from miles above. If he didn’t do anything, he would be crushed… in his own yard! He was falling to Earth directly above the home at which he had wished to be.
He wished that he wasn’t falling anymore.
Ash was standing on top of his home.
His heart still pounding, Ash looked at the glowing stone still clutched in his fist. He actively tried to wish, at the stone, that he was laying on his bed. And, as simply as he thought it, it happened. He was laying on his bed.
Realizing that he had harnessed some kind of power which that bear-like creature desired, Ash resolved then and there to use it as well as he could.
He hadn’t forgotten that the town, a few miles from his home, was still in trouble, and now he was realizing that the creature was probably involved.
Ash considered what might be a good vantage point from which to survey the town, and within the blink of an eye he was standing in the belltower of the church, looking down at the town square, and across the roofs of his neighbors and relations.
The pillar of smoke Ash had seen from so far away had been coming from a pile of rifles and pistols which were on fire in the town center. The wood was ablaze, causing the metal to twist and crack in the heat. Pockets of gunpowder would explode, causing the pile to shift. The fire looked like it had been going on for quite some time, winding its way down.
He noticed it first on the general store, and then as he scanned the facades of the buildings he saw them everywhere: perfectly circular holes which looked like they had burned into the building. Ash used the stone to teleport to the roof of the general store and leaned over to check the hole he had first noticed. He felt the edge and found that it was blackened and charred just like it would have been if it had been fire, but nothing beyond the edges of the hole showed any sign of having caught ablaze. There was no sign of embering, either. Aside from the singe, it almost seemed as though someone had cut a perfect circle using an impossibly sharp knife.
Then, while his eyes were looking at the burnt edges, he noticed something past the hole, inside the general store. Calvin Greave, the man who owned and operated the store, was dead on the floor.
With a thought, Ash was standing next to Greave’s body. Greave’s eyes were glassy, his expression one of agony. There was a hole punched through his abdomen, and Ash could see immediately from the burnt edges that it was the same thing that had punched through the wall. Looking up at the sunlight streaming through the hole, and down at Greave’s body, Ash realized that whatever had done this had punched through the wall and gone down into Geave’s body, then boring down into the floor. For the first time it clicked in Ash’s mind that Greave had been shot, much in the same way someone could be shot with a gun, but with some kind of much larger and more destructive force than a bullet.
Then Ash thought back to the bear-like creature, and the gun-like weapon it carried. If that creature’s weapon caused this kind of destruction, then it was no wonder that it refused to shoot at Ash while he was still holding the stone. The stone, like the wall of the general store and the middle of Greave’s body, would have been vaporized.
There had been holes in all of the buildings’ walls. Ash realized, with his heart sinking, that each hole must also correlate to a body.
With a blink, Ash was standing over the body of the local school teacher in her home. In another blink, he stood over the body of the town butcher. With each blink, he was in a new home, looking at a new dead body. Sometimes they were in groups. Families, businesses, annihilated.
Ash finally mustered the courage to go to his parents’ home. He hadn’t been there in years. This certainly was not how Ash thought he would return.
His feet became colder as he phased into the house had grown up in. The polished wooden floor was immediately familiar, with its deep soft grooves and multiple layers of dust. Mother had always kept the blinds drawn to keep the sunlight from overheating the house and fading the artwork. Growing up, Ash had gotten used to having darkness inside. At times it had comforted him. Now, it was as unnerving as the silence.
TO BE CONTINUED
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