I've gone back and forth on whether or not to post any of my new project Eden.  But, it's been a while since I've posted anything of any of the new stuff I'm working on.  I hate to admit it, but I LOVE feedback, I crave it, even if it's not good.  So here it is, the first part of Eden!  A little note first:  This is of course all very quick first draft.  I don't know if I've even read through any of it more than twice myself.  Names might change, terms are very up in the air.  I'm still figuring this whole science fiction thing out.  That said, here you go:

“Good-bye old friend,” Avian whispered, closing his eyes in silent words of regret that echoed through the rest of us.
We all closed our eyes, unable to watch the death of the man who had been our family member and protector since the fall. The sounds reverberated in my brain, the sounds of thousands of volts of electricity racing through Tye’s infected system. Tears threatened to break free of my eyes as I heard the sharp hiss of the electrodes under his skin short out and die. Agonizing seconds later, he took his last gasping breath.
Avian set the one piece of modern technology that existed in Eden down on the wooden table. I finally opened my eyes again when I heard his suppressed sob. Rexen and Afius bowed out of the medical tent quickly, unable to deal with Avain’s loss in the moment of their own. I could only stand there and hug my sides, trying to keep myself from falling apart as my eyes couldn’t keep away from Tye’s body any longer.
His lifeless body lay limp on the table, one of his legs about to slip off. His left arm lay at his side, the skin shredded and decaying where he had tried to pull it off. The dirtied and bloodied gears shone from under the skin, visible under the tares. His head had lolled to one side, staring emptily at me with one still human eye and one metallic cybernetic one.
I wished Avian would stop his sobbing. I should try and comfort him but what do you say to the man who had just had to kill his own cousin? His tears seemed like too much of an invitation to let my own come out. But that wasn’t me, Evain didn’t cry.
Avian looked up at me from where he stood, braced with his hands on the table next to the body. “Thank you for bringing him back, Eve.”
I bit my lower lip and could only manage one small nod. He held my eyes with his own for a long moment as we both knew what the other was thinking. We both knew we would never hear Tye’s hesitant laughter again, never urge him to take a break from his watchful post to eat a few bites. Our beloved protector and brother had been taken away from us forever.
“Let me help you,” I offered as Avian started picking up the body. He graciously accepted, his lower lip quivering as we carried what was left of Tye to the furnace. We couldn’t even burry our fellow men and women in the ground, couldn’t visit their graves. Even the destroyed cybernetics were too dangerous to keep around. They were melted down and transported away.
Avian collapsed to the ground as we slid the heavy door closed. He broke into another fit of tears as I lit the fire beneath it. I sat on the ground next to him, hugging my knees as I watched the flames grow in intensity and consume our friend.
I knew I was going to have to speak to Afius again. With as few of us as there were left, you couldn’t ignore anyone. Maybe in a few days I would be able to look him in the eye but for now he was nothing but the one who had gotten Tye infected. All it had taken was one brief touch from the hunter and less than an hour later Tye’s eye started changing. He’d tried ripping his own arm off before the infection could spread any further. The attempt had been useless. He’d turned on us within three hours and tried to join the ranks. It had taken the entire unit to drag him back to Avian.
“Why don’t you go to bed?” I said quietly as I stared at the flames. “I will take care of things.”
“No,” he said as he shook his head, whipping a few tears away. “I can handle it.”
“You don’t have to,” I tried to argue but only half-heartedly. Saying good-bye to our friend was as hard on me as it was everyone else.
“Go home, Eve. You’ve done your job.”
Without another word I stood and walked out of the tent, never looking back.
Small fires glowed in the darkness, scattered about in the village of tents. The others sat huddled around them, warming their bodies against the still cool air of late spring. We all hoped it would start to warm soon. The gardens were already at such a late start due to our loss of bodies to help plant. We didn’t need the weather working against us as well.
No one looked up at me as I walked by on my way to tent number eight. They knew I wasn’t the reason Tye had been killed but they all expected more out of me. I was the one who always got everyone out, not matter how close it had come. Tonight I had finally failed.
I pulled the flap of my tent aside and stepped into the darkness. The sound of a fly buzzing round at the peak of the ceiling irritated me. The crops were waiting to come to life but the bug certainly weren’t.
My bed of rags felt more uncomfortable than ever as I collapsed onto it. I stared up at the blackness above me, my arms resting above my head. The sound of Sariph’s breathing a few feet away let me know she was still awake.
We lay in silence for endless minutes, an unspoken conversation flowing. Tye’s loss would be as hard on Sariph as it was on Avain, brother and sister in painful loss.
“How’s Avain?” she finally spoke.
“I helped him with the furnace but he sent me back here,” I forced the words out of my mouth. All I wanted to do was sleep now.
Sariph was silent again and I knew there would be tears rolling down her flawless, pale cheeks. I understood why she had not come to the farewell. It killed a little piece of us all whenever we attended one. Sariph was fragile, she wouldn’t be able to handle watching that happen to anyone, much less her cousin.
I faintly heard her roll away from me before I fell off the cliff of consciousness into the dark.

My eyes slid open to meet the darkness above, fear and relief seeping through my system at the same time. We were all past screaming in our sleep but we all still had the nightmares. Each of us was haunted of images of cybernetic infested friends, feelings of having your cells harden and turn against everything that made you who you were.
I pulled myself up, listening for sounds of movements outside. It was still early, the sun was still a long ways from coming up.
Wearing the same clothes I had worn yesterday on the raid, I stepped outside, leaving Sariph sleeping. The fires had been reduced to smoldering embers, the camp left with the feeling of being empty and abandoned. Grabbing my bag I had left outside the medical tent, I headed toward the tree line alone.
My boots darkened, dampened by the heavy morning dew. My fingers trailed on the tall grass as I walked down an unseen path. My ears strained for any sounds that didn’t belong, searching for any warning hums. The morning was quiet but that did not mean I dropped my guard against constant danger. Dropping your guard meant getting killed, or worse.
The walk to the gardens was long but I appreciated the opportunity to stretch my legs. I was glad I had woken so early. It gave me a chance to have the quiet to myself. Though I doubted anyone would ask about what had happened the previous day, everyone would be asking the unspoken, wondering how and why I had finally failed to bring someone home. Maybe I could put my hours in undisturbed.
The trees dropped away in an abrupt line, giving way to the ten foot tall wire fence. Five acres of garden lay before me. The piece of earth that kept Eden from starving.
I went quickly to the storage shed that was camouflaged at the tree line and geared up with a pair of worn gloves and a religiously cared for hoe. I pushed back my dirtied sleeves and fastened my pack tighter to my back. It never left my back, other than to sleep. To be separated from it could mean the difference between life and death. I had everything I needed in it to survive in the wilderness for near a month.
As I worked my way to the southeast corner of the garden I realized I was not in fact alone. A figure in dirty rags was kneeling on the ground, working steadily on a row of slowly growing corn. I realized it was Terrif, the oldest member of Eden. He was mute and growing frail. I had heard talk from some of the more questionable men of our family, wondering at Terrif’s value here. He knew the most about gardening though. Without him our harvest would be half of what it was.
Terrif looked up at me briefly as I went to work on a new area that would be planted later that afternoon. He met my eyes briefly; oddly grey orbs that were starting to slowly lose their sight, and went back to his work.
The garden was in its ninth year and was gaining maturity. The fruit trees had produced well the previous year and we were hoping the late start was not going to hurt production this year. It was agonizing, having so little control over something so vital to our survival.
I had been working in the gardens with the others for nearly as long as I could remember. I had helped put up the fence, my eight-year-old hands helping to plow the field of grass. Three years after the fall people started realizing they weren’t the only ones on the run and began to band together. As our colony of a hundred or so people came together we knew we were going to have to provide food for all these people or everyone was going to starve. And so the garden had been planted. Eden itself might be constantly moving but the garden was the center, the anchor of which we revolved around.
As the sun started graying the sky, other’s started trickling in, those assigned to work the morning shift while the others guarded camp. Not many words were spoken, each man or woman working in their silent grief. I saw the eyes flicker to my face, the questions forming in their heads. I wanted to tell them it was Afuis they should be asking the questions to but I would never betray him like that. If he wanted them to know what he had done to Tye he could tell them himself. It wasn’t my place.
Each of us had reached Eden in our own way. Those who had survived figured out that it wasn’t safe to be in the cities anymore. With so much electricity and other mechanical resources available, the cyborgs flocked to them. If you had been smart you ran as fast as you could toward the mountains or to the open country.
I didn’t remember much of my arrival at Eden. Only that I arrived alone, an eight-year-old child, mostly naked, covered in blood, but with not a scratch on me. I only had flashes of memory prior to that time but no recollection of my parents or of where I had come from. I only remembered my name. Evian, or Eve.
It was Avain and Sariph that had taken care of me. Avian had just escaped from the Army that wasn’t safe anymore, just as the world was falling to ruin. He’d collected his sister, hiding in the cellar after their parents had been infected. They were some of the first to arrive at Eden, only eighteen and sixteen-years-old. They were as much my family as anyone else could ever be.
Just as the sun broke above the tree line Sariph joined at my side. She carried the sack of seeds and dropped them in shallow trench and I raked the damp dirt over them.
“How is Avian this morning?” I asked, keeping my voice down.
“He didn’t look like he had slept all night,” she said quietly as she dropped seeds. “He wouldn’t eat this morning but said he was fine.”
“I will talk to him when I get back,” I sighed as I continued to rake.
Avian was the one person who never left Eden. He never went on raids, never even worked in the gardens. He couldn’t leave his supplies and the “ender”. It was too dangerous. All too often he was needed. Even though he had only a years worth of medical training he knew more than the rest of us did.
“People are wondering what happened last night,” Sariph said as she looked around to make sure no one was listening. “I heard them talking at breakfast this morning. They’re starting to lose trust in Afius.”
Sariph’s statement surprised me. I had expected her to say that people were starting to lose their faith in me. “Why?”
“Rexen said something about how Afius had something to do with Tye’s infection. We all know he can be selfish and sloppy.”
I straightened slightly and looked over my shoulder to where Afius was working. He was alone, his head hanging low. I would never say it to someone but Sariph was right. Afius always tried to grab just a few more things, one more thing to take home for himself. He hadn’t noticed the hunter creeping up on him. Tye had gotten him out before it was too late but it had meant the death of himself.
“We can’t afford to turn against ourselves,” I said as I got back to work before anyone could notice my stiff behavior. “We all know better than that.”
“They’re upset,” Sariph said simply.
“They’re going to have to move on though,” I said, more bluntly than I had meant it. “We need him. We need everyone.”
Sariph didn’t say anything else as she continued her work. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realized she was vocalizing not only the thoughts of others in Eden, but her own. I was going to have to talk to Avian and Gabriel about it later.
I worked a longer shift than required, in a way anxious to prove my devotion to keeping Eden alive. It was unnecessary but I seemed to be feeling the guilt Afius didn’t. The afternoon shift started trickling in, the post in the watchtower shifting. As I handed off my tools and gloves to someone else, I realized that Afius and I were the last of the morning crew to head back.
I hesitated, unnerved at having to walk back with him but I wasn’t stupid. It was safer to travel with a companion, even if it was just between the gardens and home.
We traveled in silence. We had known each other for five years now and had been going on raids together for almost three. He was a good fighter and when push came to shove, I would want him on my side.
Afius had come to Eden when I was twelve-years-old. He himself was twenty at the time. He had been recently married and had a child, a baby girl, both lost to the infection. It was hard to condemn him for his selfish actions, he had lost everything that ever meant anything to him. He was just trying to take something back from the world that had stolen it from him.
We were nearly back to Eden, our journey nearly successfully silent, when he finally spoke.
“I didn’t mean it you know,” he said in his gravelly voice. “I never wanted Tye to get hurt.”
“I know,” I said simply as we stepped into the perimeter of camp. That was as close to an apology as anyone would ever get from Afius.
We went our separate ways, he heading for the armory to clean his weapons from the night before, me to the medical tent.
I hadn’t expected anyone but Avian to be inside and was surprised to see him working on someone. Wix lay on the table, propped up on his elbows, watching as Avian worked on something at his ankle.
“Hey, Eve,” he said with a bright smile on his narrow face. “Look what I got on the way home!”
He held up a nearly three foot long snake, the fattest one I had ever seen. “Looks like it got you too,” I said as I raised my eyebrows.
“Eh, it’s nothing,” he said with a grin again, watching as Avian treated the bite.
I just smiled and shook my head and sat on a stump. Wix was the skinniest person I had ever met but made up for his small size with personality. Even all the tough warriors like Rexen couldn’t make fun of him. It was impossible to dislike the green eyed, stubby-brown-haired kid. I supposed I shouldn’t call him a kid, he was two years older than me.
“Well, that’s all I can do,” Avian said as he finished wrapping a bandage around Wix’s ankle. “Let me know if it starts oozing or turns black. I want to check on it before you go to sleep tonight.”
“Well that doesn’t sound pleasant,” Wix said as he sat up, his twiggish legs hanging off the table. “Thanks for patching me up doc.”
With that he limped out of the tent, his prize and dinner swinging at his side.
“Snake is actually pretty good,” I said as I watched Avian clean up.
“What are you doing here, Eve?” he asked.
“Making sure you are okay,” I said quietly, taking the quick and honest approach.
“I’m fine. Did Sariph say otherwise?” he said with a sigh, throwing a few used rags into a basket.
I only gave a shrug, picking at a piece of bark that was peeling off the stump I sat on.
“You don’t need to worry,” he said, placing his hands on the table, staring at it. I had little doubt he was seeing the body of his cousin, hearing the volts course through it. It was the same thing I was seeing.
“I wanted to talk to you and Gabriel, together. I’m worried about people turning on Afius.”
Avian looked up at me and after several long moments still didn’t say anything. I was worried that I knew what he was thinking. That maybe they should.
“You know we can’t afford to lose him,” I said quietly but keeping my voice firm.
His eyes hardened for a moment. “Gabriel is on scouting duty right now. He should be back this evening though.”
“We need to talk,” I said as I stood. I hesitated at the opening to the tent, wanting to tell him that what Afius did was wrong, but that we needed him. Keeping my mouth closed, I walked out. I would make my argument later, when both Avian and Gabriel where there.


Kassie said...

This is cool. lol I'm still kinda confused, but it was really good! I cant wait to read the rest.

Kassie said...

Oh one question, is there a reasoning behind the place being called eden? I just thought it was kinda interesting considering the garden of eden and stuff...