[BF15] Silence of the Cicadas

BrikWars fiction in long-prose form. Trigger warning: Walls of text

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Vami IV
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[BF15] Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Vami IV » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:01 pm

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For the compiled version of this winning short story, please click here.



Eight years had passed since their tanks and bombs had annihilated the armies of our world. 416 weeks since their ships scored our planet with craters and piles of rubble. 1825 days since their troops marched against our people, scorching our planet, burning our homes, driving us into the ground-

-genocide.

My parents talked about the genocide - genocides? - in whispered tones. Columns of my people taken prisoner and marching to the Camps, never to be seen again. From time to time, clean white ships with sharp lines can be seen rising from these camps, into the stars...

Those same stars we had stared at for so long, dreaming of conquest of faraway lands of milk and honey, or endless knowledge. Anything we could have wanted, we presumed, waited in those stars, gleaming forever like those specks of light upon the surface of the water.

They came at midnight. 70080 hours ago...
Last edited by Vami IV on Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Colette » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:17 pm

Huh. Is this connected to the BrikVerse? I'm interested in finding out more.
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Re: Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Vami IV » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:03 pm

I have heard from the occupying soldiers that our planet is fairly average in the grand scheme of the worlds. I don't know how to define how our "planet" is normal. The soldiers don't speak to us often - we're not worthy of their strange words. Plenty worthy of their wrath: beatings, cruel and painful "experiments." They're monsters hidden in grey armor and black visors. Always was there room for more brutal suffering for them to lay upon out tired and broken bodies. Some of the older folk believed to be the demons that ancient and forgotten prophecies spoke of. Maybe - just maybe, we should have written them down somewhere...

I was probably eight when They came. I remember it as though it were yester year...

The sound of hundreds, maybe thousands, of cicadas filled the night air, like every other night before it, just as they had for ever and ever, no matter what fortunes befell the land or the people. The cicadas would never rattle or fill the night with their soothing sound again.

The sky above our town was clear and beautiful. There was no nearby industrial complex to cloud the sky with smog. We spent the night gazing at the old and familiar shapes in the stars after finishing the day's tasks before sleeping. After this night, no one gazed at the stars. Once they were hope; now they were suffering. Our cruel oppression, punishment laid upon on us for our very existence. There were those who did - they always did in tears. The waters of their soul ceased pouring when the red waters of their blood fed the ground and grapevines. The "dam" would be broken by the invisible metal darts reserved for those whose fingers weren't picking the fruits of the Offworlders.

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Re: Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Vami IV » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:30 pm

brought back from retirement by interest in this story voiced by Colette and Quantum's contest. if you come to enjoy this story, thank colette

The sounds they made at night were relaxing; if noisy at times. Thousands, maybe more, in the trees and the shrubs and the bushes and the grasses...

...they fell silent when louder, equally hidden cicadas of awesome size filled the air with the sound of their rattling, rumbling devices. They must have had some sort of arcane knowledge, for those insects that had previously made every night before so orthodox, took to flight. Few made it from the earth before the new comers began spitting balls of fire, lines of light, and explosions into the forests, the grasslands, our homes and our streets; even the quay that harbored our fishing boats.

The earth cracked and cratered, and the intense firestorm cracked and buckled the roads, and cast the buildings and their inhabitants into the chasms. Dragons. They had become Dragons. From their bellies they birthed eggs, and from those eggs the yellow skinned Star Men came, shouting in their odd tongue and dressed in grey armor. They spread throughout the town, spitting gunfire into all living creatures. They did not force themselves upon our riches nor our women, preferring instead to ignore our trinkets and shoot the women who came to submit to them. Great white machines were lowered to the earth from the great bodies these Space Men came from, and they razed the town. The Spacegoers then brought great chests, and indescribably beautiful people to the surface. I don't remember more than that. We ran into the woods.

"Là! Ces sauvages sont en cours d'exécution!" they shouted. The dirt would be littered with missed shots. In future years, trails used by my people to run from the Space men would be called "Lead Trails."

Even miles away from the city, there was no soothing rattle from the Cicadas, nor any presence of them. What corpses of them there were, were probably devoured by the flames.

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Re: Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Vami IV » Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:21 am

The days following were bathed in a sea of our blood. Some of the invaders fell at our hand. Some. It was not enough. Not even close.

The weeks that followed were roasted by fire. They razed our dwellings from the sky, the Beyond, and on the ground. Hope escaped the box. It was replaced by the bodies of millions.

The months that followed were soaked in the tears unlucky enough to not die. The Lead Trails would be discovered, routed, and made anew. From all corners of our world, we were mustered like cattle and forced to march. No one ever saw the Marchers again. They were to suffer cruelly for our maleful occupiers.

The years following were crafted by cracked, dry hands, covered in dust and dirt. Working hands. Unwilling. When the outworlders dressed in gray failed to gather up the rest of my people, new outsiders arrived. Bounty hunters. Money talked, and it brokered by the amount of living heads gathered and brought before the Gray ones. My life of "freedom" came to an end at around this time.

We were hiding in the ruins of a great city. I don't remember the name, for the Gray Ones made a point of erasing anything that was before their arrival. No matter. Seeking refuge in some kind of ruined tenement, we were ambushed. Our caravan leader was obliterated by a landmine. The caravan spooked, then scattered. Bullets forced us back into each other's loving arms. I endured long hours, days, and weeks marching to what used to be a golf field on the shore of the lake by my home town. It had changed.

There was no more wide open green pastures. The entire lake shore had become a single, enormous plantation. The ruins of my former home had transformed into a gleaming white diamond overlooking the plantation. I felt nothing. We were dropped off at the barracks facility while our captors went to claim their prize.

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Re: Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Vami IV » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:53 pm

The change was quick. Too quick.

The Gray space men ordered us into lines and columns. "Stand dans une ligne! Pas de bavardage!" I didn't understand the tongues. I understood the beatings and the shootings. I stood in a line, obeying like mindless cattle. The joy of life was burned from me.

"Toi! Hé toi!" I looked up. A unnaturally beautiful woman wearing a buttoned white uniform walked up to our formation. She was wearing her long, blonde hair in a ponytail down her back. Her burning, marble-like emerald eyes scanned through my element. She pointed in my vicinity. "Oui toi! Hors de la formation, maintenant! Je ne ai pas de patience pour la pêche racaille comme vous, la saleté!" It wasn't for me, but for a boy child standing next to me. Couldn't have been older than 14. He did not speak. He shuffled out of formation, and stood in front of the woman. She coolly looked him over, then smirked. The smirk blossomed into a full smile. She called for one of the guards to come over to her.

"Prenez ce dégénéré à mon laboratoire. Je cherche un remplaçant pour mes expériences pharmaceutiques." She held the clipboard close, smiling. She clipped her lavish, gold and platinum pen to the board. Behind her, orderlies dressed in similar uniforms dumped a deformed, glowing corpse into a ditch. The guards standing over it covered faces. One of them blankly stared at his geiger counter. The commander of our formation barked orders to continue moving.

* * *

Our brisk pace ended at processing. There, we were split by gender, age, etc. I suspect the younger children and the elderly met their deaths in ways different than ours. For whatever reason, our captors despised the sight of our bare skin. Mercs forced us to strip, and then handed us full body gray uniforms. They were completely blank, except for the "SITE 19" scrawled across our backs. Then the torrent of fresh slaves billowed from the processing compound and into the fields. The view now was much clearer: the entire shore of the lake alive with moving, laboring, suffering grey bodies. I could not make them out from under the millions of cotton plants, grape vines, orchards, and various grains. I knew at once this is what was left of my people. There were sobs in the crowd around me. Only a single tear escaped me.

Days, weeks, months passed. They are all the same: painful, hot, dry days carefully plucking cotton and fruits and harvesting various crops. Little if any food was issued. It was typically the very fruits and grains we harvested.

* * *

The constant and repeated actions of the day hardened my hands. The constant battle for food, space, and clothes hardened my body. The constant death and suffering hardened my mind and heart. The constant hunger and primal greed hardened my eyes. They were blue once. A kind of deep pond. Dark. They had light in them. Willpower. That light faded. They had become blue gems, imbedded in my skull. I wondered how long into my oppressors tore them out to embed in a necklace. They had taken others very like me to places unknown. My guess was the various scientific facilities scattered around Site 19.

My first year transformed me from an emotionless wanderer and into a monster. I watched entire armies die, and seized their assets. It seemed that my antics pleased my masters. Bottles of the wine that the grapes my fingers extracted from their protective guardians made exchanged hands often in my presence. I desired a taste of that wine - the literal fruit of my labor. I wonder it was naturally that red.

* * *

The summers around that lake were brutal. The monotonous tasks of the years spent at Site 19 erased from my mind all memories. I lived only for the present. I was an animal.

The only shade to be had was in the orchards. I would sit there when I had some time to myself and watch the yachts flying black banners with a single white stripe down the middle float around the lake. I would bite into the succulent flesh of the green apples given to us for consumption while I watched that flag fluttered. These people are fleeting - and rare.

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Re: Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Vami IV » Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:56 pm

"Toi! Lève-toi ou je te tue!"

I was with my unit of "workers" picking grapes. I heard the shouting. I tried to find it's origin; a guard had a gun sighted on an adolescent girl not far from me who had collapsed and was struggling to get to her feet again. Her efforts, hindered by exhaustion and dehydration, resulted in her falling over again.

"Dernier avertissement!" The guard shouted. The blue axehead fixed to the front of his weapon flickered. The girl tried to use the fence post to pull herself to her feet. Her weight broke it. The gun fired. He missed. I tasted iron. The gun barked again, striking the girl in the neck. She choked. The ground her grew moist. I turned to resume work and fell over. Three holes decorated the right side of my abdomen, each surrounded by a large dark ring. The taste of iron intensified. I looked over at the dead girl. Her eyes had already rolled back into her head. Few other eyes would match mine. Those that did saw those dull blue gems fade to black. The guard manipulated his radio.
* * *
The sliding glass doors into the massive white blemish on nature's beauty also known as a "supermarket" opened and closed continuously for the seemingly endless hordes of USA shoppers. Towards the back of the building, near the frozen aisle, stacked in a large white block were several hundred neat white boxes stamped by the Universal Wines Inspection Agency - the luxurious wines and spirits of the Trattorian Wine Distribution Company. In gold text near the packaging information on each box was written "brewed by the finest of Trattoria's workforce on Neu-186b!"

"Fuck." A man in black standing next to his other half uttered. His hand came up to his ear. "Yeah, Agent Gaspard here. We've got an intelligence breach."

Painted in large, blood red letters was wrought "DISTILLED FROM BLOOD AND TEARS"

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Re: Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Silverdream » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:06 am

Welcome back Vami, we missed you.

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Re: [BF15] Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Quantumsurfer » Sun Jan 03, 2016 12:47 am

  • Concept and Theme: 8/10
  • Form: 5/10
  • Voice: 9/10
  • Style: 17/20
  • Presentation: 7/10
Total Judge Score: 39/50

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Re: [BF15] Silence of the Cicadas

Post by Duerer » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:14 am

Gave the whole thing another read and must say, that it's pretty solid.
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Re: [BF15] Silence of the Cicadas

Post by runnybabbit223 » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:10 am

Concept and theme: 8/10
Form: 8.5/10
Voice: 9.5/10
Style: 18.5/20
Presentation: 4.5/10

TOTAL: 44.5/50

Really good read, I only have a problem with that hideous purple text.
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Re: [BF15] Silence of the Cicadas

Post by The Shadowscythe » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:17 am

  • Concept and Theme: 8/10
  • Form: 8/10
  • Voice: 9/10
  • Style: 17/20
  • Presentation: 8/10
Total Judge Score: 42/50

Side Notes - Could use an edit into one single piece and getting rid of that goddamn purple text, but otherwise - brilliant stuff Vami.
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