Story Twelve – The Great Motivator


These are old characters. They were created by Aaron and a few friends when they were in highschool. The original creations have changed over the years… For instance, MAX, used to be a large cybernetic duck. Yeah… ‘What the hell?’ is right.


It wasn’t looking good.

The ramps were blocked. Lazarus could see the traffic from the corner of his eye. His short, spiked, multicolored faux hawk was being torn apart in the wind. They were speeding in one direction, he was facing the other. He blinked, holding tight to the grips in his hands.

“Uh, hey boss, thay’s a prollum, huh?”

MAX shrugged the racist dialect.

“Here’s an idea, pipsqueak, you stick to what you’re doing and I’ll worry about the shit in front of us, kay?”

MAX’s face was calm. It was immoveable.

Literally.

The interconnecting metal pieces could barely articulate speech. He hadn’t shown the stress when he’d noticed the lack of an exit strategy after this surprise chase started. He saw the other cars a long time ago. He had the benefit of driving, of being positioned in a forward facing direction, of being equipped with digital visual units. He was also not currently firing two large rotary pistols at the odd silvery, slithering creature chasing them.

Lazarus’s sight was orange, overlain with tracking symbols, following and circling the serpentining thing that never seemed to stay in the same form. His goggles beeped when its infrared beams matched targets with those of his guns. He developed the system to be perfect and efficient. It was. The shots landed every time. The monster wouldn’t relent

MAXMAX forgot Lazarus’s ears were human. He growled something too low to overtake the engine’s roars and the guns’ blasts moments before taking a sharp left to a miraculous car-sized opening on a declining off ramp. Lazarus’s torso flapped against the hood. The edge of the sun roof pressed hard on his abdomen. His trajectory went off, cutting a swathe through a dividing wall.

The deeply grooved leather holster gabbed his right gun. His right hand gripped the edge of the hood. He steadied himself, turning to the oversized driver.

“What was that?”

MAX shrugged.

“I said, hold on.”

Lazarus glared down. MAX could felt the disdain in the rearview. Seeing his friend, the small-bodied bastardization of Bruce Lee and Sid Vicious bruised and battered struck the mechanical man. It struck him as funny. He released a sound like air escaping from a shaken bottle of soda.

Lazarus continued to stare, curling his upper lip.

“Oh, fuck you.”

A curt, British sentence chimed in Lazarus’s ear.

“Sir. Turn around.”

The fiery-lensed equipment had kept an ‘eye’ on their pursuer. It was its owner’s better half, never distracted, never apathetic, never drunk, never any of the things which one could almost always describe as quintessentially Lazarus.

The pissed off wearer complied. He twisted back around, grumbling all the way.

“What? What is it?”

A muffled scream from his holster cut the goggle’s off.

“We’ve still got an enemy, dumbass!”

Lazarus looked. The creature was now resembling a jaguar. It was pouncing towards them, landing on any car in its path. It was heavy. When it sprang forward, the vehicles and any inside were crushed. The discarded stepping stones fell back in the flow of traffic, slamming into the front ends of those spared vehicles still following.

“Shit. So we do.”

He slipped down, returning to his seat.

MAX glanced at Lazarus. The inorganic eyes were omnidirectional and independent of each other. He kept one eye on the road and one on his friend.

Lazarus was slow to realize he was being watched. He returned the gaze.

A few seconds rolled by with only the sound of the crazy cat-thing and the explosions behind them. Lazarus opened his eyes wide.

“What?!”

MAX cocked his head.

“Seriously? We’ve got some fucking B-Movie villain on our ass and you ask ‘what’? Get back up there, that’s what!”

Lazarus shifted in his seat, finding the only room to point towards the back window. Max’s shoulders filled most of the volume within the cab of the car.

“We’ve got civils back there. I miss a shot, actual people die. Not scary shapeshifting t-100 wannabes, not giant fuck’in racially ambiguous robots, not annoying yet incredibly handsome ommitance, no, people that the companies like.”

MAX stares ahead.

“I’m kind of shocked. You’d risk our safety to save from friendly fire victims. Noble.”

With his teeth checked in the rear-view, Lazarus answers.

“I’m already over my quota. If I report another civilian casualty my pay grade’s gonna go down.”

MAX nods.

“That’s more like you. Uh oh, brace yourself.”

Swerving between the gaps and utilizing the middle of the lanes, they passed the through the crowd at high speed. They both saw the huge chemical tanker appear in front, slide to the side and begin to disappear behind them. It was an unmanned vehicle, all of the really dangerous hauls were. The company decided to shell out massive change for the guidance systems too costly and unnecessary for normal loads.

Lazarus craned his neck, checking for tags.

“Damn. Ten bucks says it’s flammable.”

Servos in Max’s mouth twitched.

“Twenty says it’s inflammable.”

A flesh fist punched a metal shoulder. Lazarus smiled, shaking his head.

“You’re on. And you’re an idiot. They only put things in there that can catch on fire.”

MAX nodded. The wires strung from his wrist to the torn open control panel sent an urgent signal to the fuel injector. ‘Faster’, it said. Faster the wheels spun. He glided the mass of metal across the four lanes, across the lane of the tanker. It was a shame he had to use it. It was a beautiful machine.

Lazarus leaned forward. They were blurring along a circled ramp surrounding a large grassy area. His goggles anticipated his question and displayed a measurement for how far they were from the ground.

“Keep going left…”

MAX turned to him.

“There is no more left!”

Lazarus gripped the wheel, a purple flash sparked from his fingers to the leather cover. The car took over. Lazarus shouted in a way that only he could.

“Wrong again, Frankenstein!”

The creature fell into the tanker with all it’s weight. It had not been expecting such a blast. It hadn’t anticipated the force sending it back into the hillside it had descended.

The concussive wave accelerated MAX and Lazarus. The car let out a hoot of enjoyment when it’s bumper sheered through the guard rail.

They were high enough for Lazarus to grin and shrug.

~~~

“HOW DO WE KEEP SURVIVNG?”

Lazarus walked out of the wreckage. The wheezing car had opened it’s doors to let him free. The distance between they two extended; the life connection it had been given faded to nothing.

MAX ripped the metal frame apart, standing to his full, imposing height. The segments of his torso, legs and arms extended. He no longer needed to fit in such a confined area. He cracked the synthetic lubrication gelatin in his fingers.

“It’s a little unsettling to hear you say that… WHEN YOU WERE THE ONE THAT SENT US OVER!”

Lazarus wiggled a finger in his own ear.

“Jesus man, stop yelling.”

MAX reached for his shotgun.

“That’s it. Fuck it, I don’t care anymore.”

Lazarus raised his hands but quickly saw it wasn’t a necessary precaution. The broken pieces of the large barreled, devastating device fell and bounced on the neon green grass.

MAX stared at the handle still in clutched in his fingers. He opened his mouth and yelled. He pressed the trigger a few times, then threw it at Lazarus.

The much smaller man jumped to the side, avoiding the missile. It dug a long trench in the ground before coming to a stop.

MAX picks another piece of the gun off the ground and tosses it even harder than the first.

Green flashes shot from the top of the hill still smoking from the explosion. One beam seared MAX in the center of his shoulders. Pushed into the ground, he rolled three times before crumpling in a heap against a large piece of the smoldering car. Lazarus, already moving, was sent flying from the expansion of warm air as the emission tore through the ground near his feet. He eased his back on the grassy surface, halting his fall a little more gracefully than his fellow victim.

“Joo wanna play eet tha way, hah?”

His fingers touched the pistols at his side. They didn’t have a chance to grip before the strange enemy fell from the sky. Lazarus danced backwards, rising to stand. His heel skipped along the grass. He pushed a leg behind him to counterbalance. Long claws sliced through the grass and topsoil. The thing’s failed swing became footing and it came flying at lazarus.

The lights on his thick, fingerless gloves turned on with a sound like turbines. He flattened both palms and spread all fingers. He pointed his left at the creature and the right behind him, lower, towards the ground. His heightened senses and mental processing speed gave him a moment to wait. When the creature raised it’s claws, hoping for damage this time, Lazarus sent a pulse of his animating energy through his wrists.

The gloves woke. They did their only job, they activated the nuclear batteries housed in the cuffs. Tiny circuits funneled the energy into the circular devices on the palms. The power was released as a field. The gloves extended it at destructive speeds. Pieces of liquid silver splashed from the impact.

Lazarus’s arms and chest took the acceleration. The thing weighed more than he did. The fields just provided a powerful buffer. The back-facing glove doubled it’s charge. It was up to Lazarus’s strength now, not his mass. He sent it up, straining to keep it in the air.

His other arm came forward. The ground collided with his back. The whooshing sound from his gloves grew louder.

The thing was held away from striking distance. The field had fluxed, embracing it, restricting it.

He saw it start to fall. His arms were failing. The batteries were failing too.

“Shit! I… shoulda… charged… these goddamn things!”

The gloves responded. The field became permeable. It enveloped the monster even further. The arms and legs moved slower, held out, lessening the danger. The less solid field, however, dropped it even closer.

It’s face, more dragon-like than cat, began to stretch. Jagged points extruded from the smooth surface. They scratched the plexi-glass covering Lazarus’s eyes. He was not happy. Strained and red from exertion, he spat in the thing’s open mouth.

“This all you got? Huh? Think you’re big?”

The gloves patched into the reserve power in his jacket. It stopped the fall but it wasn’t enough to send the beast anywhere. Lazarus continued, his words kept the inevitable from sinking in.

“Cause you look like a bitch to me.”

It stopped. It looked insulted. Lazarus saw numbers flashing over it’s eyes. He saw symbols rolling over it’s skin. Two protrusions erupted from the side of it’s head. They grew, separated and grew again. Two spider-like arms bent and twisted into usefulness.

Lazarus felt the sharpened tip of a leg tap on his lens. Tiny cracks formed. The tip broke through. It was pressing closer a micrometer at a time.

The only thing going through Lazarus’s mind was how much he hated things being near his eyes.

He heard a low rumble in the ground. A blinking dot appeared on the still working broken protective gear. He smiled.

“You need to ease up outa my face ‘fore somethin’ bad happen to ya…”

Lazarus waited until the thundering came close enough. He grinned wider, sharp fangs showing themselves.

“Too late!”

The gloves shut down. The beast began to fall. The earthquake of a man known as MAX intercepted the bulk with a full speed tackle. His now spiked shoulder tore through the creature.

Lazarus rolled away, drawing the pistols and taking aim. The laser pointers searched but only found MAX, sitting in a pool of innocuous luminescent fluid. MAX shook his head.

“A Men in Black line? Really?

Lazarus dropped his guns to his side.

“You let him get away!”

MAX stood, narrowing his eyes.

“For starters, you’re welcome. Secondly, he didn’t get away. He’s all over the place.”

~~~

Explanations hadn’t come easy. They didn’t know what they hell it was. They’d collected samples but their only found base elements.

Why would an enemy like that just dissolve?

MAX paced his garage.

Lazarus opened the door. He couldn’t keep his smile down. He kept his hands behind his back and kicked the tank-bus’s tires.

MAX turned around.

“What?”

Lazarus bowed. He was like a child.

“You owe me money.”

MAX was honestly confused.

“What?”

Lazarus frowned.

“Come on, don’t pussy out. You lost the bet.”

An object zipped across the room, smacking Lazarus in the face. He stumbled backwards.

“What the fuck, man?”

MAX walked out, speaking loudly.

“Read it.”

The book was old, worn. It had a blue cover and a big shield-like medal on the side. Lazarus looked it over.

He slipped it in his coat pocket and ran after MAX.

“What the hell does a dictionary have to do with owing me money?”

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About Aaron Shively

I have been working as a freelance writer and artist for the last decade. In that time, I've done everything from ghostwriting to toy design and everything in between. I am currently working on a novel series called 'Myth' which has held my attention for the past sixteen years. I have spent my time developing the world, character and story and am now ready to funnel all the preliminary material into the manuscript of the first installment, 'of Men and Monsters' Bookmark & Share

Posted on 05/12/2011, in Excerpts, Freewriting, Personal, Projects, Short Stories, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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