Posted in Science Fiction, Writing

NaNoWriMo Day 12

Its been a struggle as I get stuck into week 2. The weekend particularly – life got in the way of this challenge again. But today was better – got into a flow and caught up a bit, still only just above the target and was hoping to have been further on by now. I like to be ahead as much as possible to take into account days when it all goes wrong. It flowed today though I don’t think the content was particularly good. Buts it’s words words words. And I finally broke the 20K mark. Editing can come later. The story is progressing. I feel like I should chuck in something unexpected now though. Something even I wasn’t expecting. Maybe I will do that tomorrow.

I also uploaded part one as an excerpt on the official site. So I thought I would also post here.

Please bear in mind though – it is a first draft so warts and all.

Cold Sanctuary

Part One

He woke to darkness. And total silence. Something was wrong.

He heard his brother stir. It was so dark he couldn’t tell if he had woken up too. Before he could ask he heard his father’s voice.

“It’s a power cut.” He was obviously talking to their mother.

“Dad?” So his brother was awake.

“It’s OK!” shouted back their dad. “I’ll just get the torch.”

“Don’t worry Lucas, dad will sort it out.”

“Yeah.” Lucas was silent for a bit, then. “I want a torch.”

“Yeah – you could have one of those with ghost head on it!” He started making ghost sounds to spook out his younger brother.

“Stop it!” Lucas protested. Gabriel continued to rib him, he couldn’t resist it. What was the point in having a younger brother if you couldn’t tease him.  And he had waited so long for a younger brother. Now at last he had one he was making the most of it.

“Damn!” Their father’s curse silenced them both.

“What’s up?” called their mother softly.

“The torch is not working either.”

“What about you phone, haven’t you got a torch on that?”

“Yes, hold on.”

There followed the sound of someone rummaging about and bumping in the dark, a few curses muttered under breath and then.

“I don’t believe it!”

“What’s up love?”

“The bloody phone is dead too. Hold on.. the phone line is dead too. Everything has stopped working. What’s going on?”

“Have we got some candles?”

“Somewhere, god knows where.”

“Hang on a minute,” they heard their mother getting out of bed and joining their father in rummaging about. Then they heard the striking of a match and the saw the sudden flare fire. It resolved itself into a warm glow and came the boys saw the outlines of their parents come towards them.

“Don’t worry boys,” their father smiled reassuringly at them. “It’s just a power cut. Lets all huddle together. It’s exciting really!”

He plopped himself down between the two of them and wrapped his arms around their shoulders.

“We could tell ghosts stories.”

“No!” protested Lucas vehemently. Gabriel was about to add his support to the idea, unsure how serious his father was, but their mother stepped in.

“Let’s all just get into the big bed and snuggle down until the morning. Then we will find out what going on.”

There was a sudden series of silent flashes. Like a strobe light. It felt like it came from outside but it was difficult to tell.

“What was that?” whispered his dad. Then the house shook as a loud rumbling roar filled the air. The four of them clung together trying to stay steady as the ground beneath them bucked and shivered.

Then it stopped.

“What the fuck was that!?” said their father. Lucas whimpered quietly.

“An earthquake?” said their mother.

“Here? Shouldn’t think so.”

Something exploded outside. There was huge boom and the flames lit the darkness. The house shook again.

Darkness and silence fell once more.

Lucas started crying softly.

“Mummy? Mummy was it is?”

She had no answer, she merely cradled him, stroking his hair softly. Gabriel was scared too now but he kept silent, he knew his brother’s need was more.

“Something’s going on,” said his father in an ominous tone. “Wait here, let me take a look.”

His father slipped away into the darkness, he was back in a few minute with more candles, that he lit from the first. He set some up around them, and then took one himself.

“I’ll just take a look outside and see what is going on.”

“Be careful,” his mother put her hand on his arm. He nodded.

“I’ll be two minutes.” he slipped away again. They heard him open the front door. At the same time they heard more explosions, further off in the distance.

The two boys looked worriedly at their mother. She assented.

“OK, come on let’s go and get dad.”

They gathered up some candles and made their way warily towards the from door. Opening it carefully they found their father standing outside staring down into the distance.

From their house they could see down into a long valley. Usually it sparkled with the lights of civilisation, that Gabriel had always found kind of magical. Tonight it was a pool of darkness.

Though not completely dark, here and there were blooms of flames as distant explosions went off. And here and there what looked like laser fire. Like something from a sci-fi film.

Their father turned to them.

“OK, I don’t know what that is, but it does not look good. Let’s get dressed, get in the car and get out of here.”

They nodded.

Gabriel and Lucas snuggled together in bed while their parents started fumbling around in the darkness, trying to hold candles and pack bags hurriedly at the same time.

After a bit curiosity got the better of him. He snuck quickly back to their own room and grabbed his binoculars. He crept back to his parents room, imagining he was a spy along the way. The situation was a bit scary, but also somewhat exciting to an eleven year old.

His parents room had a long window that over-looked the valley. Keeping low, to preserve the illusion, he slipped stealthily towards it. Slowly he rose over the edge and peered out through the binoculars.

It was still very dark down there. But there were pools of light. Gabriel focused in on them.

They were fires. It looked like buildings were aflame. A pang of deeper fear struck him deep in the gut as he realised that there might be real danger here.

Something suddenly obscured the light, a shadow that passed before it. Gabriel had to refocus his view to see what it was.

Into his limited field of vision strode a monster. At least that’s what he first thought. It looked like a huge lumbering beast, humanoid in shape but monstrous in size and shape. As he watched, drawn in by fear and fascination, he realised that he was looking at some kind of suit. It looked like a twenty foot tall old fashioned diving suit, like ones he had seen in a museum once. Yet the resemblance was passing. It was festooned with many bulbous extrusions. And the helmet had no glass viewing point.

He could not see the man inside the suit.

The thing lumbered about kicking aside everything in its path, cars, fences, sheds. It lifted an arm laser fire shot out towards an unseen target.

Whoever they were, they were attacking!

Gabriel turned to tell his father but was stopped when the scream of jets passed suddenly over head. He leapt up and turned his binoculars back on the scene below. The jets released missiles towards the lumbering suits.

Gabriel’s heart was thumping.

“What is it?” said Lucas. Gabriel couldn’t answer. He was transfixed. He watched the missile scream, towards their targets. He saw two hit, the suit he has spotted first was engulfed in a bloom of flame and heat. Moments later the tremble and the boom reached them.

“What the fuck!” cried his dad.

“There is someone attacking the town dad!” Gabriel called. “I think the air force just blew them to hell though”

Even as he spoke though he saw the suit emerge, seemingly unharmed, from the explosion. It waved an arm behind it and Gabriel watched in horror as the two jets, sweeping back for another pass, seemed to suddenly just fall from the sky.


He didn’t hear an answer as there was another deafening roar and ground vibrated and buckled again. Through the window Gabriel saw what he instantly guessed was a huge spaceship loom over them and head down into the valley. Broad laser swept the ground razing everything in their path.

Gabriel turned to run and found his Dad beside him staring at the scene with horror.

He then noticed his two boys looking up at him with fear.

“Come on,” he said quietly. “Into the car.”

Gabriel grabbed his brothers hand and dragged him after his father. He grabbed their mother and they ran to the garage. His father pointed the key at the car but it wouldn’t open the door. Cursing he slipped the key in the lock and opened it manually, the door opened but the central locking was not working. Cursing even more he fumbled open all the locks and piled everyone in.

The car was dead. It wouldn’t start, didn’t even try.

“Everything is dead,” muttered his dad. Now Gabriel was getting scared. Those things down in the valley had been moving this way. They looked slow but how long could he and Lucas run for?

“The bikes” snapped his dad. They all jumped back out of the car but as they did another roar shook the sky, it was lower and the ground did not tremble as much.

Suddenly light flared up around them, it came from outside but leaked in through every open window and crack.

There came a sudden voice. A mechanical, robotic voice, programmed by someone who didn’t really understand the language it was speaking.

But they understood well enough.

“Humans! Come, Karak take your place. They destroy. We can save some. Hurry! Horun save.”

They all looked at each other in shock and disbelief.

His father shook his head.

“Aliens? What? What…” he kept shaking his head.

But their mother reacted quicker.

“They can save us they said! The children – we get them to safety.”

He turned on her with fear and indecision in his eyes.

“We have no fucking idea what’s going on!”

“I think we’ll be dead if we stay here.”

He looked lost for a moment and then turned to look at Gabriel. He nodded and turned back to their mother.

“OK let’s go.”

His father took Gabriel’s hand, his mother picked up Lucas and they ran out of the garage.

The light outside was blinded them for a minute. When they could finally see properly they could hardly believe what was before them.

A few houses up, hovering overhead, was another spaceship. Smaller, covered in bright lights and despite everything looking totally magical it waited. As they looked around they saw several more around them.

“Karak come! Hurry Humans. Save some.”

As they watched people ran towards the ship, a platform had been extended from beneath it and as people approached strange four armed creatures helped them up and inside.

There was another roar and they turned to the valley. The other ship, the darker, aggressive ship was heading back their way.

They ran. They ran towards the nearest bright ship.  As they approached the creatures on it started to withdraw. They were the only ones approaching it now. Had they not been spotted.

They began to scream at the tops of their voices. The creatures did not react, maybe had not heard. But then one happened to turn in their direction.

As they reached the platform the creatures held up their arms, gesticulating something the family could not understand. But they were not helping them up.

Then the mechanical voice spoke.

“Two. Save two only. Room gone.”

What did they mean.

“What the fuck! Take us all!” shouted their father.

Laser blasts shook the ground behind them.

“Dammit!” screamed their mother, “get the kids onboard.”

She lifted Lucas up to the platform amd one of the creatures took him from her. Gabriel felt himself suddenly boosted up and strange arms take hold of him.

“Look after Lucas!” shouted his father. “Make sure you’re both safe!”

The platform began to rise. Gabriel and Lucas screamed after their parents. Fear threatened to suffocate him and tears blurred his vision.

With a black hole opening up in in his heart he watched as their parents ran towards another of the bright ships.

The dark ship looked like it would get their first.

Then they were whisked inside the ship and confusion. There was a crowd of aliens and humans, a cacophony of shouts and cried and strange noises.

But through it all his brother’s cries cut. Gabriel found some inner strength and barged his way through to find him.

As the ship began to lift away from earth they clung to each other until they cried themselves to sleep.


Scott Bailey is an author and blogger. His works include the dystopian novel “Mankind Limited”, "Thirteen Tales" – a collection of Ghost Stories and “A Spring of Dreams” collection of poetry, plus his latest work, a collection of epic poems - Andervayne's Dream. His blogging ranges across family articles, poetry and short stories and even the odd book or movie review.

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