Liquid Sun

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A liquid sun slides down the sky.

Dusk envelopes a small, empty cabin.

Fowl return to their nests and cover their young, while crickets tune up for the evening’s performance. An owl hoots in the distance as the last orange ripples slip over the horizon.

Night has fallen upon the woods.

A low, quiet rumble as something approaches.

Seemingly out of thin air, a door opens two feet above the ground spilling light across the road. A hooded man jumps down from it, clutching a bag tight.

He latches the door of the blacked out carriage and with a quick thanks runs towards the cabin.

He bursts inside, quickly slamming shut and barring the door.

Knowing the layout he makes his way through the dark to another door. This opens upon a set of descending stairs which, after shutting and barring this one, too, he takes to the basement.

Now concealed, he finds a small lantern in the corner and turns up the wick. The light reveals a small workshop adorned with tools and items. Some familiar. Some strange.

He rushes across the room pulling the bag from his shoulder and sets it upon a workbench. Pushing his hood back, he reveals a young, stubbled face. He opens the bag, removing an unseen item.

Tossing the bag aside, eyes on its former contents, a look of excited urgency spreads across his face. He grabs some tools and begins to work. 

The clock on the far wall reads a quarter of ten.

•••

At half past one he appears spent.

His look of excitement has been replaced with one of worry. It’s not coming together as fast as hoped.

He spreads out some tattered plans, moving the lantern closer. Brown and worn with age, they show something spherical with crisscrossing bands. The lettering is foreign, symbols of some kind.

Looking from the plans to the object then back to the plans, he sees the problem.

•••

He’s still tinkering when the clock strikes three.

The urgency resurfaces, mingled with a healthy dose of panic. He quickly grabs the clock’s chimes, cutting off their extended ring, and listens.

One minute passes. He’s still clutching the chimes.

A sigh of relief as he hurries back to the workbench. He grabs a tool and reaches for the object.

Upstairs the bar thumps to the floor. He looks towards the sound with a start and listens.

A long creak as the front door eases open.

He looks up the stairs and sees the knob twisting slowly back and forth, before something large begins slamming itself into the door, over and over.  

Quickly turning back to the object, he tries to finish before it’s too late. The slamming continues, now emphasized with a guttural growl upon each and every impact.

He fumbles tools and pieces, struggling to maintain control as panic begins slamming against a similar door in his brain.

Something finally clicks into place on the object. He grabs the last remaining piece off the bench and tries to force it home.

The door at the top of the stairs splinters, cracks. A plume of blackness pours through the growing opening and begins concentrating itself around the bar.

He fumbles the items, hands slick with sweat.

He quickly wipes them and regains the object.

The beast resumes the attack. Wood groans, snaps.

Blackness lifts the bar from its slots and hurls it down the stairs. It slams into the wall above, startling him, before dropping to the bench.  

He turns and looks at the door as the beast’s red eye peers through the giant cracks. They make eye contact, and for one eternal second everything seems to stop.

The beast seems to grin and resumes beating the door.

He turns back to the object, forcing the piece.  

The door bursts open, hinges give way.

The man grabs the bar and slams it against the piece like a hammer.

It slips into place.

The beast charges down the stairs, trailing blackness.

Light illuminates the man’s face. The object swirls inside with an electric orange.

The beast leaps, jaws open, claws extend.

The man grabs the object and spins.

Panic overcomes the beast as the sphere releases a bolt of plasma. Surging forward it connects with a thunderclap.

Windows explode outward as the beast launches through the roof in a beam of orange light.

The beam extinguishes.

A smoldering pile of melted fur lands nearby.

The man slowly exits the cabin, approaching the pile. He stares at it, taking it in.

Looking to the moon he sighs, relieved. He begins to turn, a crack in the distance stops him.

He stares into the murky black.

Nothing.

Everything.

This night is far from over. He turns for the cabin, recharging the object.

A legion of red eyes glare from the shadows.

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